Portable Pitching Mound Buying Guide
This is the most comprehensive guide to finding and purchasing the right portable pitching mound for your youth league team. In this expert-written guide, you will learn everything you need to know about portable pitching mounds - From mound size to construction and everything in between. If you're going to be purchasing your first mound soon, you're going to love this guide! Let's get started!
Introduction - Why You Need a Portable Pitching Mound
A portable pitching mound is a great training tool and a valuable asset to any field or facility. Portable pitching mounds will save you time and money and give a competitive edge to your players for many seasons to come.
Building and maintaining a dirt pitching mound is a lot of work and requires a groundskeeper on staff. Before and after every game, the dirt mounds must be inspected and rebuilt to the specifications of the league that is using the field. This is extremely time-consuming, especially since every league has its own mound dimension requirements, and some baseball fields host multiple games in a single day.
(Building a dirt pitching mound is time-consuming and requires a groundskeeper on staff.)
For these reasons, portable pitching mounds instantly became a huge hit in the baseball community. Shortly after the production of the first portable pitching mounds, many high schools, parks and recreation centers, leagues, and even baseball parents began buying portable mounds like crazy.
Suddenly, a single baseball field could host several games in a single day, catering to the needs and specific mound dimensions of more than one league. Since most portable mounds weigh less than a few hundred pounds, it only takes a few parents or staff members to switch out the mound for a new league's mound.
Pitching from a cheap mound or a mound with the wrong dimensions can be dangerous for youth players. Some portable mounds built with styrofoam or wood become squishy over time and develop dead spots. These mounds are dangerous and will teach poor pitching mechanics to kids. Therefore, it is important to purchase a quality mound that will not deteriorate over time.
It is also extremely important that there is consistency with pitching mound dimensions between practice and games. If a player practices pitching from flat ground, level to home plate, then starts a game on a new field with a mound 8” taller than home plate, they will have difficulty adjusting and will not pitch at their best. For optimal pitching performance, ensure the mound dimensions remain consistent between practice and games.
Overall, a properly built portable mound will drastically improve any pitcher’s skills, promote proper pitching mechanics, create a safe pitching environment, and save you time and money over the years to come.
Choosing the Right Pitching Mound Type
There are three types of portable pitching mounds: game mounds, indoor practice mounds, and pitching platforms. Although they are all designed to improve a pitcher’s pitching skills, each has its application.
Game Pitching Mounds
Game mounds are designed for precisely what they sound like: games and tournaments. Game mounds are portable and typically designed for outdoor use only. This means the turf is extra durable and usually treated with a UV-resistant layer.
Indoor Practice Pitching Mounds
Indoor practice mounds are great for indoor facilities, like an indoor gym or an indoor batting cage. Indoor pitching mounds are also portable and designed to help pitchers improve their pitching skills despite the weather. For this reason, we recommend purchasing an indoor pitching mound during winter to keep your pitching skills sharp during the off-season.
A good indoor practice mound should be able to grip a slick gym floor and not move around with every pitch delivered. Some indoor mounds are rough on the bottoms and will move around and scratch a gym floor! Be sure your new indoor mound won’t scratch the gym floors and will grip well.
Another great feature that we love about indoor mounds is the two-piece design. Our favorite indoor mound brand that we carry, PortoLite, does a great job of creating the indoor two-piece design. This design allows for easy storage and portability and the ability to stagger the mound, allowing the front foot more landing area (see image below).
Pitching platforms have the same features as both game mounds and practice mounds. Pitching platforms are generally used outdoors on a field as a game mound but for practice, like an indoor mound. And, like the other mounds, the platforms come with turf or some kind of turf equivalent and are sloped downward.
The beauty of pitching platforms is that they are generally less expensive than game and practice mounds while still being lightweight and portable. Most platforms come with wheels, which makes it easy to bring on and off the field.
Now that we understand the different types of pitching mounds and platforms let’s figure out what size mound you need!
Doing Pickoffs with Your Portable Pitching Mound
Another thing to consider when evaluating the size of a pitching mound is whether or not the mound is big enough for pickoffs. If you’re looking to teach your kids how to do pickoffs properly, purchase a mound with enough room around the pitching rubber for the pitcher to work with.
If these full-size mounds are out of the budget or just too big, don’t fret; we carry other mounds that are a bit smaller and still offer the same benefits as the full-size mounds for pickoffs.
Take a look at the Pitch Pro 796 portable pitching mound; although the pitcher’s front foot will land on the flat ground, there is still plenty of room around the pitching rubber for the pitcher’s foot to work with.
Pitching Mound Construction and Durability
Now that we understand mound sizes, age and skill levels, and mound types, let’s look at the mound construction. Let’s see what some leading portable mound manufacturers build their mounds out of!
Pitch Pro pitching mound construction: Pitch Pro mounds are the most rigid and durable mounds on the market. Pitch Pro decided to go with a more rigid structure to emulate the realistic feeling of a packed dirt mound and to avoid the “dead spots” other mounds develop over time. Pitch Pro mounds are built with quality turf and finished with a UV and weather-resistant coating.
Watch how Pitch Pro builds its industry-leading pitching mounds!
Allstar mound construction: Our most popular mounds, AllStar Mounds, are constructed with durable fiberglass and are layered with AstroTurf. Their fiberglass makes for a lightweight and durable mound. No styrofoam or wood materials are used to manufacture Allstar mounds, which sets them apart from most other pitching mound manufacturers.
PortoLite pitching mound construction: Using only the highest quality fiberglass and AstroTurf, PortoLite manufactures some of the most lightweight and durable mounds on the market. The PortoLite mounds feature a solid, but not bouncy, cushioned landing that closely imitates a real dirt mound and promotes a safe pitching environment.
True Pitch pitching mound construction: Another popular pitching mound manufacturer, True Pitch, produces the only pitching mounds that Little League approves for game and tournament use. True Pitch mounds also utilize high-quality fiberglass and finish their mounds with AstroTurf.
These are just a few of our premier pitching mound brands that we carry. Most brands we carry offer high-quality construction. Otherwise, we wouldn’t carry them!
The common denominator is that a durable pitching mound should be built with high-quality fiberglass and strong turf or AstroTurf. Make sure wood and styrofoam are not used in the production of the mound you are looking to purchase, as these mounds tend to fall apart and develop "dead spots" over time.
Side note about "spike-proof" turf
Despite what some people may say, there is no such thing as spike-proof turf. We called the biggest pitching mound and turf companies and asked for their expertise. They all agreed there is no such thing as a spike-proof mound and that metal cleats will ruin a turf mound over time.
Metal cleats cut deep into the fibers that keep turf together and will eventually break it apart, ruining your mound. This is why turf manufacturers do not extend warranties to pitching mounds.
If someone tells you their mounds are spike-proof, take it with a grain of salt. What they probably mean is that the mound is spike resistant, meaning that it can resist metal spikes for a period of time but not indefinitely.
Please be sure that only plastic or rubber spikes are used on your portable mound!
Pitching Mound Warranties - How Long is Long Enough?
Every manufacturer offers different types of warranty on the pitching mounds they make. Let’s see what kind of warranties some of the leading portable pitching mound manufacturers offer!
Allstar Mounds: Allstar Mounds are manufactured right here in the USA and are backed by a three-year manufacturer’s warranty on the fiberglass shell.
Pitch Pro pitching mounds: Pitch Pro mounds are backed by a 10-year manufacturer’s warranty on the mound core. This is the most extended pitching mound warranty we have seen in the industry. It’s no wonder they are so popular!
True Pitch pitching mounds: True Pitch is one of the oldest names in portable pitching mounds and offers a 6-year warranty on mound fiberglass. Backed by a strong brand name and warranty like that, you can’t go wrong!
PortoLite pitching mounds: PortoLite now offers a 10-year manufacturer’s warranty on the manufacturer’s defect. With a durable design and a 10-year warranty, this is a no-brainer.
At the very least, we recommend a 2-year manufacturer’s warranty on any portable mound you purchase.
Note About the Warranty on Turf
Unfortunately, there are no warranties on turf or AstroTurf. Turf companies do not extend warranties to any pitching mounds. However, we do offer some replacement turf kits for select pitching mounds.
Pitching Mound Color - What color should we pick for our field?
Typically, pitching mounds are either sold in clay or green. We have found that our clay models sell much better because it more closely resembles regulation MLB pitching mound.
Real pitching mounds are just mounds of dirt built to a particular specification, so customers usually prefer the clay/ dirt color.
Some people prefer the green because it looks like grass and fits in with their field's aesthetic.
Pitching mound color is a preference and is entirely up to you!
Pitching Mound Safety
When looking for the proper mound for your kid or youth league team, make sure that the mound is safe. One of the biggest safety concerns with portable pitching mounds is the lip on the edges of the mound. On some mounds, the edges start to stick up over time, which can be a safety issue for the pitcher.
Make sure that the mound you purchase has tapered edges and that the lip doesn’t stick out. Any edges that stick out may worsen as people step on it. As the lip sticks out more, the more dangerous the mound becomes.
For the pitcher's safety and the mound's longevity, it is a good idea to move dirt around the tapered edges of the mound to reduce the size of the lip.
Nowadays, there are plenty of quality portable pitching mounds to choose from, making your search for the right pitching mound as simple as ever. As mentioned earlier, the most important things to understand before placing your order on your first portable mound are the mound types, size, age and skill level, color, construction, and warranty.
A quality portable mound will last you many seasons and save you time otherwise spent building and maintaining a dirt mound. Watch your kid or youth team reap the benefits of a properly built bank and develop a competitive edge over their competition over the seasons to come.
We hope you got value from this article and feel informed enough to make a buying decision on your next portable mound.
And now we'd like to hear from you:
What did you like or dislike about this article?
Are you ready to purchase a portable mound, or do you still have questions?
If this article helped you purchase a mound, let us know how it helped and which mound you decided to buy!
Let us know, and leave us a comment below right now!