As Field of Dreams said: “If you build it, they will come.” While anyone can build a softball field, most people don’t realize it takes a lot of work and organization to maintain that field. From soil composition to softball field padding to base paths to dragging patterns and pitching mounds, there’s a lot of detail when it comes to softball field maintenance.
Fieldwallpads.com has installed backstop padding, windscreens, and field padding at thousands of stadiums. We know a thing or two about safety and softball. Here are seven tips we recommend to save you time, stress, and money.
Ensure Safety Is a Priority
The Foundation for Safer Athletic Fields (SAFE) and the Sports Turf Managers Association (STMA) have published an excellent softball field safety and maintenance checklist. It’s a great tool to help you check the playing surface, turf, fencing, facilities and other areas before and after games. Once everything is itemized, after all, getting things done becomes all the easier.
Another safety aspect we’d be remiss not to mention: top-quality dugout pads and stadium padding. While softball isn’t a contact sport, per se, it still involves running at high speeds, diving for the ball, and high-speed projectiles. When your players’ heads are entirely in the game, it can be difficult for them to watch where they’re going—and as we’ve covered in our blog, running into a wall isn’t at all pretty, nor is it comical. It can be downright dangerous to your athletes and leave them with injuries that fail to heal.
Save yourself the stress and your athletes the agony and thoroughly pad your stadium. Trust us: it’s worth it.
Why Fieldwallpads.com’s Softball Padding?
FieldWallPads.com offers 3” high-impact foam that provides a barrier against injuries. When your softball backstop pads are made of a hard surface—such as brick or cement—experts recommend backstop padding to cover those surfaces.
We take safety very seriously at Fieldwallpads.com. We’ve conducted our own independent research to see how our field wall and backstop pads stack up against the competition and found that our durable field padding provides superior protection against concussions.
Apply a Sports Field Conditioner
Whether you’re constructing a new softball field or renovating your current space, infield and soil conditioners allow your players to perform at their highest level. But what exactly are soil conditioners in the first place, and what do they do to your grass?
It’s a bit of a heady topic to get into in a single blog post! Generally speaking, these are products designed to help your field manage moisture. Not only does this make for healthy grass, but it can also help keep the field drier when wet conditions come knocking, making for a safer playing space.
Sports field conditioners come in many materials and brands. Diatomaceous earth, brick dust, and calcined clay are a few common substances used to make the stuff. Though calcined clay is generally thought of as the gold standard for sports field conditioners, you should think critically about which substance is right for you, as each has its pros and cons.
Make Sure Your Softball Fields are Dry and Puddle-Free
Not only are wet fields the number one reason for field damage, but they’re also the leading cause of player injury. Puddle sponges, drying agents, and raking can help in a pinch. But the best preventive medicine is to re-level the infield in the fall.
Need some more encouragement to get serious about moisture management? Check out this horror story from the Los Medanos College Experience!
Learn and Continue Safety Training
Groundskeeper University is an online professional training tool that’s perfect for volunteers, staff, and seasonal workers. The more experience and continuity you have, the better you can maintain your softball field.
Test Your Turf and Soil
Buy a soil probe and use it at random spots around the field. The plugs will indicate compaction, moisture, and root growth. Based on your findings, you can tweak your maintenance schedule.
One common problem is mowing incorrectly. If your mower blades are too dull, grass blades may be torn and shredded. Your mowing regimen should take off about 1/3 of the grass blade. If you find a lot of clippings, you may be mowing too much of the turf.
Once your grass is under control, consider lawn striping and adding some beautiful patterns to your softball field. For more general tips on making your turf look beautiful, check out this YouTube video from Busch Stadium.
Be Careful About Who you Allow to Care for the Field
As the National Alliance for Youth Sports states, “Most departments don’t have funding available for a full-time sports trainer or grounds crew, so they rely on other city department personnel and their volunteers to do what they can to keep fields maintained and in good condition.”
While larger sports organizations may not have this restriction, the point still stands: keep a close eye on your field management team. That’s another reason why continued safety and field management training is so important: if you know what best practices are, you’ll know when the personnel you’ve hired aren’t upholding them.
Contact Fieldwallpads.com Today for Top-Quality Stadium Padding and More
From wall graphics to outdoor padding, we’ve got everything you need to make your softball field the best it can be. Reach our Clarion office today at 1-800-257-6405.