We all know that feeling when springtime swings around—the air starts to warm up, the grass starts to grow—and we rush straight to our ballfields. Though we are excited for the season ahead, this rush is also because we have a long list of things that still need done to get our fields ready, and there is a lot of pressure to get them done.
This panicked rush can be avoided. The answer is to get everything done in the fall—that’s right, everything. Fall is the perfect time of year to address all of your infield issues. Read on to find out why and what steps you should take to put your field to bed game ready.
Here is the key: The better you put your field to bed for the winter, the easier it is to wake up in the spring.
The best tool to use for making sure your field is put to bed properly is a checklist.
To start, you’re going to want to visually inspect your entire field. From fences to dugouts, pitching rubbers to home plate, everything needs to be thoroughly inspected. At that point you can determine if anything needs to be replaced or repaired. Replacing or repairing these major facets of your field now will get you ahead of the curve and will get some of that heavy springtime pressure off of your shoulders.
TIP: Light up your scoreboard. Check for burnt out bulbs or any issues. These are the little things that drive you crazy in the spring and are hard to get to on top of everything else. Address those issues now.
Next, look at the playing surface itself. Look for wear spots in the outfield. Does your infield skin need maintenance? Add new material and get all low spots up to grade. These low spots will hold water and slow down your ability to get on your field in the spring.
Additionally, now is the time to edge your field. This time of year is the perfect time to edge—the weather is still nice but growth has slowed way down. You can do things now to prepare that would be much more difficult and time sensitive if you were to do them in the spring.
Fall is also a great time to repack the pitcher’s mound and batters’ boxes, and apply topdressing.
The goal is to get everything done so when spring comes around and the ground firms up all you would theoretically need to do is line. The life!
Take a couple minutes to think back to this past spring. What issues did you experience? What caused these problems? Remembering these issues can help you figure out what you need to do now so those same mistakes don’t happen the next time.
There’s basically nothing that CAN’T get done at this point in the season—use that to your advantage!
After you’ve gone through these steps, now it’s time to talk to your coaches. Get them involved and address the issues they’ve experienced. They might have noticed an entirely different set of issues you didn’t even think to take into account. If you are the coach, then really reflect on any issues you personally noticed throughout the season. Either way, add these issues to your check list!
Lastly, now is the time to think about equipment. The equipment you need to take care of the field, whether that be on a daily or weekly basis, needs to be in running order before you say sayonara to your field for the winter. Perform simple equipment maintenance now rather than later, and determine if there is anything you need to buy or replace. Utilizing the right equipment is a crucial part to having a safe and playable infield.
The moral of the story: If you wait until spring, you wait a lot longer.
Save yourself the stress, and get to it in the fall. Get ahead of the game with a field that wakes up game ready.
Get your very own free printable checklist here!
For more information on this topic, feel free to contact a DuraEdge representative.
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