Unique Perspective: Practice Pitching Mounds
In the last few years I have discovered the benefits of using a practice portable pitching mound. A regulation high school or professional pitching mound is to be raised 10 inches higher than home plate. A practice-pitching mound is only raised 4 inches above home plate (or ground level). The dimensions of a typical practice-pitching mound are 4 inches high by 3 feet deep by 3 feet wide. You can get “game” portable pitching mounds much closer to the regulation dimensions of a real pitching mound, however the big difference between these and a practice mound is price. A practice mound can be purchased in the $300-$400 range and a portable game pitching mound will be in the $800-$3,000 price range.
As kids get older and start using mounds in games more it is very important for them to not practice pitching off of flat ground. When someone is pitching off a mound they have become accustomed to throwing “downhill”. In other words they are throwing from a higher plane than the hitter and will get more velocity. Mechanics are developed to throw off this higher elevation. Going back to throwing from flat ground requires different mechanics than from elevated ground and can be difficult for pitchers to adjust to. Not to mention counter productive.
I purchased a portable practice-pitching mound a few years back to use with my teenage son. I found even being only 4” off the ground he was able to work on his mechanics. He was having difficulty throwing off of flat ground in the gymnasium, so we started taking this with us to the gymnasium (it only weighs 21 pounds and is very easy to transport). We also use it at home to put down in the yard to throw a few pitches. We will do this if we don’t want to make the trip to the high school field and use the bullpen mound.
I have found great use for my practice portable pitching mound, especially for the price. I must caution that it truly is just a practice mound and it shouldn’t be used in any game situation. It isn’t very wide or deep and would be difficult to use in a game, but as mentioned above, if used in a practice type setting, it is much more affordable than the “game” portable pitching mounds that are available.
- Matt Kiley