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2024 Preseason Checklist to Ensure Safety and Playability

March 6, 2024 | Categories: ,
Baseball field view from behind home plate

A few days hit 70°F (and more) this past week and the grass has started to gradually green up, which is proof that the spring season is upon us.

March definitely means the beginning of the spring sports season. Hopefully, you and your staff have been preparing for this time to arrive. During my time managing a minor league field, I would use a whiteboard to keep a list of things that would need to be completed before the first practice. This would be the staff’s preseason checklist and the goal was to eliminate any surprises when it’s “go” time. Another idea is to have a list of jobs for each part-time staff member. I found over time this really helps them take ownership and pride in what they are doing.

In most cases, the field is going to be the top priority to get ready, but don’t forget about the safety of the athletes and the spectators. Make sure to do a walk-through of the facility to ensure the netting and padding are in top condition. Look specifically for holes in the netting or padding and don’t forget chain-link fences. Fence caps are a great idea for keeping the players safe and eliminating sharp edges. Eliminate as many safety hazards as possible before the season arrives. Keep in mind that pads and netting may take a few weeks to order, so don’t wait until opening day and expect replacements.

Here is a list that might be helpful to go through and check off before the season begins:

  • Mound and Plate Covers: Inspect and check for holes and tears.
  • Bases and Anchors: Make sure the anchors are secure in the ground and the bases are free of any defaults.
  • Measurements: Double-check‌ measurement between the pitching rubber and the plate for correct distances. If your facility is using portable mounds, Advanced Turf Solutions is now a distributor for The Perfect Mound. You can check out their link here to see what is available.
  • Trip Hazards: The transition between dirt to grass should be unnoticeable. After edging the field for the first time, now is a great time to fill in low spots where these two surfaces meet. Soccer fields should make sure the goal mouths are nice a smooth. If managing artificial fields, check all seams and worn areas to ensure player safety.
  • Irrigation Audit: No one likes surprises, so don’t wait until opening day to turn on the irrigation. Yes, weather and temperature will affect the timing depending on where you are located. Make sure all heads are operating correctly and are below the playing surface.
  • Field Conditions: Before the season is a great time to roll the entire field if conditions allow. This will smooth out any imperfections from the freezing and thawing over the winter. A light topdressing might be needed if any settling occurred during the offseason. Use proper packing clay to ensure the mound and home plate are ready. Then, top off the infield playing surface with a conditioner that will result in a safer and playable field. Advanced Turf Solutions offers the highest quality infield and turf conditioners and packing clay for your mound and plate.

Make sure to reach out to your Sports Field representative with any educational needs and to assist with the full line of AIS field supplies and materials. Good luck with your upcoming season!

Brock Phipps

Sports Turf Sales Representative