Fresh lines help our umpires and contribute to an excellent game experience and atmosphere for our players. If time allows before your game, please consider lining the fields. This is a task coaches may enlist parents to help with so coaches can focus on preparing their players. If you're willing to help, let your team's coach know. Don't be shy, they'd love the help.
Lining the field has to be done after all other pregame maintenance, which coaches would surely appreciate help with as well.
Each field should have a chalker in the storage shed nearest the field and lime to fill the chalker within the same shed or in a nearby field box. There should also be a string line with a stake nearby, which will help you set a straight line to follow.
Some fields may also have a batter's box template. Batter’s boxes take a bit more time, but do add to the ambiance. If you only have time for foul lines or batter's boxes, then skip the boxes.
If any of this equipment is locked up, ask a coach to unlock it.
Tips for Using the Chalker
Lime left to sit in the hopper may have clumped up some which will prevent it from coming out evenly or at all. Use a stake, screwdriver, shovel, or other tool to break it up and make it easier to put down.
Chalk may come out somewhat unevenly. Go slow and don't be afraid to pull it back and go over the area again. If the chalk remains uneven, check for clumping in the hopper.
Your first attempts may not be postcard worthy, but you'll improve with experience. Our players appreciate the effort.
If you are going to line batter's boxes, you should start with those. The batter's box template has a handle that is the same size as the edge of home plate. Line that handle up with the edge of the plate and open the template up, dropping it on the dirt. Carefully step on all edges of the template to make sure it leaves an imprint all around. Remove the template and repeat for the other batter's box.
With the template marked, line up the chalker with one of the lines and open it up to the 4" line width. Follow the template line and close the chalker at the corner. Line the chalker up with the adjacent line and repeat the process until the boxes are done.
We generally only line from the home plate area to the edge of the infield. Major fields will have more permanent lines on the outfield grass. The bases can be present when setting up your string line, but should be removed when running the chalk.
You will need the string line to set a line that you can follow. Attempting to run the chalker by eye seldom goes well. Set one end of the string line at the point behind home plate. Set the other end at the edge of the outfield grass, running the line along the outside edge of where the base goes.
Line the chalker up with your string line. If you previously drew batter’s boxes, you'll start from where the string line meets the box. If you did not draw boxes, start a few feet from home plate. Open the chalker to 4" and follow your string line. Try to set the outside edge of the chalk line on the string line. The chalk line itself is in fair territory so when the base is put down, it should just about cover that part of the line.