As any good youth league coach will tell you, teaching pitching isn’t easy. The motion of throwing a ball overhand is unnatural, and it puts numerous stresses on the body, especially with young players who are struggling to simply repeat an effective delivery.
The players know all about this, too. Anyone who’s ever played in or attended a youth league game has watched pitchers struggle with their control, and when this happens the smooth flow of the game turns into an exercise in frustration.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. At the lower levels of the game, a youth portable pitching mound can help smooth out the process of learning to pitch. It’s an essential element of baseball training, and one of the most important tools you can buy when it comes to pitching and batting equipment. For coaches, these mounds are a great tool for speeding up practices, making them more productive, and promoting teamwork and fun along the way.
Youth Portable Pitching Mound: An Overview
To get an idea of what these mounds are and what they do, it’s helpful to start with a definition. A portable pitching mound is just that, an artificially constructed version of a real mound that can be carried from field to field or used at home to build important practice habits.
Why is that important? Start with the dimensions of a pitching mound. They’re different at every level of the game, and youth league or Little League is typically where young players get their first exposure to a real mound with genuine height, which starts at ten inches.
As these players quickly discover, throwing downhill isn’t easy. It’s a skill that requires effort and practice, and portable pitching mounds make practice possible when fields aren’t readily available, which is often the case in youth leagues.
They can also help compensate for rough practice fields where the mound isn’t regulation height. When this happens, a coach can simply set up the portable pitching mound and instantly create authentic pitching conditions.
Baseball Features of a Portable Pitching Mound
But using portable pitching mounds for youth leagues isn’t just about the dimensions. Youth league portable pitching mounds also feature an authentic pitching rubber, which is important because young pitchers will be using this square slab of hard rubber as the launch point for all of their pitches.
Moreover, learning to toe the rubber, was the expression goes, isn’t as simple as it sounds. The different foot positions and angles on the rubber will change the way pitches move, and they will also change the angle at which hitters will see these pitchers.
Being able to control how this happens is one of the major tactics pitchers use to gain an edge. But in youth league and Little League, the learning process is mostly about being able to throw strikes consistently and settle into a comfortable delivery.
The pitching rubber also functions as the push-off point for pitchers to leave the mound to field their position. Sometimes this happens on ground balls hit directly at them, while other times they have to move quickly in either direction.
There are also times when pitchers have to use the rubber to push off from the mound and cover first base. The slope of the mound makes this harder than it sounds, and using a portable pitching mound can help pitchers master this fielding exercise.
Youth Portable Pitching Mound for Softball Pitching
No discussion about portable pitching mounds would be complete without touching on softball. Many young players choose softball over youth league and Little League, especially in more remote areas where access to these leagues isn’t easy to come by.
One of the most important things to know about using a portable pitching mound for softball is that the throwing distances are shorter. Specifically, they range from 35 to 43 feet, as opposed to 60 feet, 6 inches for adult leagues.
Also, the throwing motion for softball is completely different. The underhand motion required to play fast-pitch softball puts a lot of torque on the hips, and a firm landing area is required.
On top of that, the circular arm motion required to deliver a fast underhand pitch can throw pitchers off balance, but a portable pitching mound can help compensate for this possibility.
Portable pitching mounds made by the best companies do this for both softball and hardball. The landing area is made from quality artificial turf, which is designed to prevent the kind of slipping and sliding that can lead to serious injury.
What to Look for in a Youth Portable Pitching Mound?
Evaluating a portable pitching mound for use in youth league and Little League is a little different than it is for older pitchers. Here are some of the most characteristics to evaluate:
- Size and weight: Because youth league and Little League teams often practice at multiple locations, portability is important. The portable pitching mound should be easy to carry and set up for both coaches and players, and some mounds have handles and can be broken down into multiple pieces to make this easier.
- Adjustable pitching height and distance: Regardless of whether a portable pitching mound is being used for baseball or softball, expect the height of the mound and the pitching distance to change frequently. The portable pitching mound should be built to account for these differences, so that they can be swapped out on the fly.
- Stability and durability: These are two of the most important qualities to look for in a youth portable pitching mound. The turf used to stabilize the landing area needs to be high quality, and the mound itself should be made from high-density polyethylene or reinforced fiberglass.
- Safety features: In addition to a firm landing area, many portable pitching mounds used in youth league or Little League have a safety lock, and they also have rounded edges or padding to help prevent injuries as young pitchers learn their craft.
- Price and warranty: Tight budgets are common in youth league play, and for many leagues a portable pitching mound is a luxury. Look for a quality mound with a price tag that matches your budget, and that mound should come from a company that understands your needs.
Get a Top Game Mound from Victory Mounds
At Victory Mounds, we’ve been involved in all aspects of the game, including providing portable pitching mounds for youth league and Little League. We can help you determine your pitching mound needs, get a great mound that suits your program, and tailor it to your budget.
We also supply information and consulting, so we’ll answer your questions, ask a few of our own about your program, then recommend any other equipment you need to maximize the potential of your program.
The process starts when you go to VictoryMounds.com to learn more about our products, then call us at 800 835 9460. If you’d prefer to email, you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.