PORTABLE PITCHER'S MOUND
It is much better for the Little Leaguer (or anyone) to practice pitching off of a mound than on a flat surface. Constructing a dirt mound in the back yard is not easy and it must be constantly maintained. An option is a portable pitcher's mound made from wood and Astroturf. This mound can be built in just a few hours and the cost is around $125.
The materials needed are:
1 - 2x10x12 treated
3 - 2x10x8 treated
1 - 2x4x8 treated
1 - 1/2x4x8 treated plywood (3/4" will give a stiffer surface)
1 - 4x8 Astroturf
1 - can 3M Hi Strength spray glue OR two quarts contact cement.
100 (approximate) - 1 1/4" deck screws
1 - handful of 3" deckscrews or 12 penny nails
1. Cut 4 feet off of the 2x10x12. This piece will be used later as a back brace.
2. On one of the 2x10x8's make a mark at 24", then make a mark at 3', 4', 5', 6' 7' and 8'. The required slope is 1 inch per foot, so starting at the 3' mark, use a square and make a mark 1 inch below the edge of the board. At 4', make a mark 2 inches below the edge of the board and so on at each one foot interval. The last mark, at the end of the board, will be 6 inches down the square.
3. Snap a chalk line to make the mark for the angled cut and then cut along the chalk line to complete the brace. (NOTE: At this point I cut 3" off the small end of each brace. This is because the back brace and front brace will each take up 1 1/2" of the total length, i.e. 3" in total). Repeat these steps on the remaining 3 boards or use the first one as a template. After all four boards are cut, lay them out on a flat surface. I just happened to have a skateboard ramp that my son and I built the weekend before and it made a nice flat surface.
4. Next install the back brace and the front brace. The back brace is cut from the 2x10x12 discussed previously. The front brace is cut from the 2x4x8. I put in bracing between the stringers at the very edge of the flat surface. The purpose of this is to even out the flat edge where the slope begins and to add strength where the rubber will be. If you want to do this, use the remaining 2x4.
5. At this point the frame should be tight, so you can move it out to the yard for completion. Cut a piece of the plywood to fit the flat surface. This piece should be 25 1/2" long. Use the remaining plywood to cover the sloped area. You may want to cut a 5 degree angle on one end of the larger piece where it meets the flat piece. Use 1 1/4" weather-resistant deck screws to attach the plywood.
6. Next, attach the Astroturf using 3M Hi Strength spray glue. One can of glue is all that is needed. Spray both the plywood surface and the back of the carpet and then press the turf into place. (NOTE: about 2 quarts of contact cement will also work well for attaching the turf). Cut a piece of scrap wood approximately 4"x18" to make a pitching rubber. Center the rubber and attach it at the end of the flat surface.
Now you're ready to test it out.