Just as you wouldn’t go through a baseball or softball season without regularly checking on equipment such as gloves, helmets, and bats; you shouldn’t take the game’s biggest piece of equipment for granted – the playing surface.
Rob Guthrie, Little League® Turf and Groundskeeper, and the person in charge of field maintenance at the Little League International complex in South Williamsport, Pa., shared some strategies and suggestions that local leagues can implement to ensure a strong, healthy playing surface and the best conditions for safety and quality of play.
The most important thing is to make field maintenance and upkeep a priority throughout the year. Once the season is ready to begin and during the year, Mr. Guthrie suggests regularly scheduling field maintenance days. Gathering volunteers, coaches, parents, and players to each take on a little bit of work makes for a shared experience that benefits everyone involved and develops pride in the fields that host Little League games and practices.
Allocating some financial resources in a league’s budget also helps the process.
“In addition to time, you’ve got to put some money into the field to have it nice,” said Mr. Guthrie. “That includes proper equipment and tools along with seed and fertilizer.”
Investing in field maintenance equipment such as a nail drag to level uneven areas, a screen drag for the infield skin and warning track areas, a hand roller that can be filled with water, a hand tamp for the mound and batter’s boxes, and hand rakes makes the work more efficient throughout the season.