If you are familiar with the game of baseball and have ever coached or played the game, you are likely aware of the importance of the "warm up" routines that players go through before games. One of the most essential warm ups that takes place is the pitcher's throwing routine. Before the game, the pitcher and catcher will use a designated throwing area that features a mound which closely resembles the mound on the field of play. This area is referred to as the "bullpen." However, in many cases, fields fail to supply pitchers with an adequate bullpen area and proper mound. I have put together a set of instructions for a relatively easy to create and affordable bullpen mound.
Step 1: Ensure You Have the Proper Tools
The tools required for this project include:
- Circular Saw
- Power Drill
- Tamp or "dirt packer"
- Tape Measure
Step 2: Acquire the Proper Supplies
The supplies necessary to complete this project include:
- Three 2x12 inch 10 ft. long boards
- A box of 3 inch wood screws
- Agri-Lime Dirt for approximately a 10 x 5 foot area, up to 10 inches deep (black dirt can be used as a substitute)
- 3 x 24 inch standard baseball pitching rubber
- Standard home plate (optional)
Step 3: Cut Your Boards to the Proper Length
As I mentioned in the previous step, you will be using three different 10 foot long boards. One board will be used in the rear of the mound and the two other boards will be used for the left and right sides of the mound. The rear board needs to be cut down to five feet in length. Use measuring tape and a pencil to mark out exactly five feet on your board. Then use your circular saw to make a straight 90 degree cut across your board. Above is a diagram of the rear board with the cut line being indicated by a dotted line. The two side boards will remain at 10 feet, so they do not require a cut for length.
Step 4: Cutting an Angle on the Side Boards
As you can see from the photo, the side board begins to slope downward. The slope begins four feet from where the side board meets the rear board and slopes downward for six feet until the board becomes flush with the ground. To create this, start by using your measuring tape and a pencil to mark exactly four feet from one end of the board. Then, using your measuring tape to ensure a straight line, mark a cut line with a pencil beginning on the edge of the board at the four foot mark all the way down to the opposite corner. Then use your circular saw to make your cut. Above is a diagram showing a side board marked with a dotted cut line and below it is what the finish product should resemble. Do the same for each of the side boards.
Step 5: Designate a Bullpen Area
The location of the bullpen at the baseball field is extremely important. It should be an area that is a safe distance away from on-field action while still easily accessible from the dugout. Common locations for the bullpen are running directly along the outside of the fence down the baseline or outside of the outfield fence. If the bullpen must be inside of the fence, designate an area down the foul line in the corner where the outfield fence meets the baseline fence. It is important that the bullpen area is on a flat, level surface.
Step 6: Attach the Two Side Boards and Rear Board
Once you've determined the location of the bullpen, you can begin the process of assembling the frame of the mound. The rear 5 foot board will be attached within each of the two side boards, so the rear width of the mound will slightly exceed five feet across. Use your power drill and wood screws to fasten all three boards together. I created a rough diagram to show the location of the wood screws indicated by the three dots near the end of the Right Side Board. Do the same for the Left Side Board.
Step 7: Begin Filling the Dirt Inside the Frame
Before you begin filling the frame with dirt you will need to designate the depth of the dirt relative to the frame. The dirt will fill the frame, leaving 1 1/4" of the space between the top of the dirt and the top of the frame boards all the way around. This will result in exactly 10 inches of dirt at its height around the rear of the mound and it will slope downward exactly one inch per foot as it approaches the front of the mound. Measure and mark the desired depth across the frames. The dirt will need to be packed tightly. Pour a portion of the dirt in at a time and pack it tightly and continue until it reaches the properly depth and the dirt is packed solid.
Step 8: Lay the Pitching Rubber
The pitching rubber will be laid directly in between each of the side boards exactly 3 feet 6 inches from the rear frame board or exactly six inches behind the four foot mark where each side board begins to slope downward. After the pitching rubber is laid, you also have the option to lay down a home plate. Depending upon age levels, the distance between the pitchers mound and home plate will vary but regulation length is considered exactly 60 feet 6 inches from the rear of the pitching rubber to the rear point of home plate.
Step 9: Completion and Maintenance
After completing all of the previous steps, your bullpen mound project is finished. Over time, the dirt in the mound area will deteriorate and you will need to fill it in. Add dirt where needed and pack it in so it is back to being solid.