Winter is in full swing, but there’s still plenty for sports field managers across the country to do as they count the days until spring. Even those whose fields are under a couple of feet of snow can use this time to tackle jobs that will free them up to concentrate on their turf once the weather warms up.
Now is the perfect time to conduct pre-season inspections and maintenance on baseball, softball, and soccer field equipment and accessories.
Baseball and Softball Field Pre-Season Work
Here are six things to look at now to make sure you hit it out of the park when coaches and players show up for their first spring practice:
- Are there holes in the net?
- Does the net have any weakened areas?
- Are the strings anchoring non-sock nets to the frame in good condition?
- Is the frame in good condition?
- Are transport wheels in good condition?
- Is the screen’s protective padding in good condition?
- Portable backstops:
- If collapsible, open the backstop and inspect sites where the net and padding are anchored to the frame, especially along the bottom.
- Indoor batting cages:
- Are the connections tight?
- Is the net sagging?
- Outdoor batting cages:
Stretch out nets before inspecting them.
- Are there any holes? Repair them before hoisting the net back into position.
- Is there rust or oxidation on hardware or cables on batting tunnel net systems? Remove both rusts and oxidation to prevent parts from seizing.
- Home plate, pitching rubbers, and bases:
- Are home plate and pitcher’s mound plates worn or cracked? Are they secure?
- Are bases free of rips, tears, and gouges that could catch a cleat? Are there worn spots or areas where paint has made the base slippery? Are stanchions secure and free of excessive rust? Are base anchors in the correct position?
- Mound and plate covers:
- Are the covers in good condition and doing what they are intended to do? In addition to protecting mounds and plates from the elements, covers also keep moisture in the clay on the mound and in the boxes, which helps cut down on repairs during the playing season.
For a full list of maintenance items, check out the Sports Turf Managers Association’s downloadable baseball/softball field safety and maintenance checklist.
Soccer Field Pre-Season Work
Here are checks to perform to ensure your soccer field’s equipment is in tip-top shape for the season:
- Is there any loose hardware?
- Are the welds strong?
- Is there any corrosion?
- Is there proper anchoring?
- Are there any damaged or missing parts?
Goal checkups should be performed at least once a year, more if recommended by the manufacturer.
- Are there any holes or fatigued areas?
- Are the clips strong?
- Are corner flags, anchors and weight bags in good condition?
If you don’t have nets and other equipment in stock, it’s critical in this era of supply chain delays to place orders early to ensure items arrive in time. Shoot for no later than the first of the year if your budget allows.
For resources on keeping your sports fields in top form when spring season gets under way, check out our Tools for First-Class Sports Fields blog article as well as the Sports Turf Managers Association’s downloadable Playing Conditions Indexes.
Ewing is here to help; you can Lean on Us
If you have a question on sports field maintenance or the best products for your fields, let me know in the comments below, or contact the professionals at your local Ewing branch today. If you’re on Twitter, reach out at Ewing Sports Fields.