The Groundskeeper’s Secret Weapon: Hitting Mats

Beacon AthleticsHitting and pitching mats are another great tool in the groundskeeper’s tool box. You may not think of them as a “tool” but they are absolutely effective at helping you maintain the mound and home plate wear areas. They provide two major benefits to the playing surface. First, they eliminate the wear that would normally occur in the batters’ boxes or the front of the mound when any kind of practice is occurring. And secondly, the mat helps to manage moisture in the clay areas beneath the mat during practice since those two clay areas would normally have been exposed and susceptible to the evaporative forces of sun, wind and low humidities. These are the culprits that can rapidly steal valuable moisture from these high-wear areas.

But wait!!! That’s not all, as they say… These mats are not only beneficial outdoors or on natural fields. Hitting mats also work great for protecting permanent artificial turf installations on fields, in batting cages, around soft-toss areas (hitting stations) or the floor of your indoor facility. When permanent artificial turf is installed, it is best to use a hitting mat to hit off whenever possible so that that routine concentrated foot traffic does not inflict excessive wear and damage on the permanent turf, which can result in costly repairs of your turf.

Paul Zwaska

Paul Zwaska

A former head groundskeeper for the Baltimore Orioles, Paul graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1984 with a Bachelor's in Soil Science with a specialty in Turf & Grounds Management. Paul took over as head groundskeeper for the Orioles’ final season at old Memorial Stadium in Baltimore and then was heavily involved throughout the design and construction phases of Oriole Park at Camden Yards which debuted on April 4, 1992. Paul has led Technical Sales Support at Beacon Athletics since the summer of 2000. In 2012, Paul authored and oversaw the launch of "Groundskeeper University", the first online ballfield maintenance training venue. Over the years, Paul has donated thousands of hours working with West Madison Little League, which also plays a critical role in the research and development for many of Beacon’s innovative field maintenance tools.