As someone who mainly plays center field, I know first-hand that the center fielder is a defensive position that’s vital to any team. Center fielders have a lot of responsibility in the outfield, which can make the position fun, exciting, and nerve-wracking all at the same time. Because center fielders have a lot of responsibility, lots of people wonder – is center field a good position in baseball?
Center field is a good position for any player who is fast, has great fielding abilities, and has leadership skills. Center fielders cover the most ground and are considered the captains of the outfield.
But for those who are wondering if center field is considered a good position to play, here are 9 reasons why center field is a good position to play in baseball:
- Playing center field is fun
- Center field helps build leadership skills
- Center fielders get really fit
- Center field is an important defensive role
- Center fielders become better hitters
- Center field is Challenging to play
- Center fielders develop a good first step
- Playing center field improves throwing skills
- Center fielders become better all-around athletes
Keep reading to learn more about each of these reasons in detail, the advantages of playing center fielder in baseball, and how playing this position can benefit you. By the end of this piece, you’ll better understand why people choose to play center fielder and whether this position is right for you.
1. Playing Center Field is Fun
Even for professional baseball players, the best reason to play baseball is to have fun. Center field is an ideal position for those who love playing baseball and enjoy a challenge. It’s an active position in both defense and offense, with a wide range of skills and abilities required to be successful in the role.
Here’s why playing center fielder is fun: you can run, make big throws, back up your teammates, and be involved in those big moments throughout the game. On top of this, the center fielder is also typically a solid contact hitter who is very good at getting on base and getting stolen bases.
2. Center Field Helps Build Leadership Skills
The center fielder is the captain of the outfield on defense. Center fielders have the deepest part of the fence behind them so they have the most ground to cover than any other outfielder. They are also involved in many plays that come into the outfield, whether that’s fielding the ball or communicating with the other outfielders on where they need to throw the ball.
The biggest development of leadership skills comes from the center fielder overriding other outfielders when calling for a fly ball. For example, if the ball’s hit to the area between the left fielder and the center fielder and both players shout that they are going to catch it, the left fielder will move away and allow the center fielder to make the catch.
Therefore, center fielders will learn to be assertive by calling for the ball. They will also learn how to organize the other outfield players by directing the other outfielders on where they should position themselves before the pitch. These skills are all key in learning how to be a better leader.
Improving leadership skills has benefits extending from baseball, as companies across industries often seek out good leadership qualities.
3. Center Fielders Get Really Fit
The center fielder must cover more ground in defense than any other player. They must cover all the space from the start of the outfield, right out to the boundary wall at the center field. This space is typically about 400 feet (121.92 m) from the home base and starts just behind second base.
When you play center field, you’ll have to run and make catches across a wide area. In fact, center fielders have the most ground to cover than any other position on the field so a lot of running is required to play this position.
The more running that you do, the fitter you’ll become. Running more often can improve your cardiovascular health and reduce your risk of heart disease, heart attacks, and strokes. So as a general rule, center fielders tend to be really fit.
4. Center Field is an Important Defensive Role
The center fielder is arguably the most critical defensive position, after the pitcher and catcher. The person who plays center field is responsible for organizing the defense in the outfield as they’re often viewed as the captain of the outfield. They must also watch over a vast space and make key catches throughout the game.
The center fielder must also quickly move from side to side if the ball is hit to left or right field. This quick movement assists the left fielder or right fielder by backing up a teammate in case the ball gets by them. The center fielder must learn to move in directions that best help their teammates.
Holding an important defensive position in a team requires organizational skills along with effective communication and the ability to predict the flight of the ball after a hit. As a result, center fielders will improve their organizational skills, communication skills, and their hand-eye coordination.
5. Center Fielders Become Better Hitters
Center fielders have responsibilities on offense as well as on defense. While center fielder is one of the most important defensive positions, they also have significant batting responsibilities.
Center fielders aren’t expected to be big hitters or get home runs. Instead, they tend to bat towards the beginning of the order and aim to be productive by getting on base. They often aim for singles and doubles and they like to use their speed to get into scoring position.
Therefore, it makes more sense to ensure you get a hit rather than take big swings and miss, hoping for a home run. However, some center fielders are excellent hitters and can make big hits. When a center fielder is also an excellent power hitter, they’re likely to be hitting in the third or fourth spot in the batting order.
Learn about the 12 characteristics of highly successful hitters.
6. Center Field Is Challenging To Play
Centerfield is one of the most challenging positions to play on a baseball team. To play as a center fielder, you need to have the skill, speed, endurance, and a great understanding of baseball. All of this combined makes center fielder one of the most challenging positions to master in baseball.
If you’re a serious baseball player and seek out a challenge, center field could be the ideal position for you. You’ll have all of your skills tested in this position. Seeking challenges is a common habit of successful people, as new challenges allow people to grow and develop.
While an essential role in a team isn’t well suited for everyone, some people are eager to get into a position that poses difficulties. Centerfield is a position that poses these challenges, which can help you to develop your athletic prowess and baseball abilities.
7. Center Fielders Develop a Good First Step
The “first step” is a baseball term used to describe the first movement a player makes when the ball is hit in their direction. Having an excellent first step is highly beneficial to center fielders as they have a large amount of space to cover. If a center fielder has an exceptional first step, they can cover more ground in the outfield.
After playing in center field, players will naturally become better at predicting where the ball is going after each hit. This ability allows players to make more catches.
A good first step is beneficial for center fielders because predicting the movements of incoming baseballs is a skill that is transferable across sports. So if you play other baseball positions or other sports, playing as a center fielder can help you improve your overall skills.
8. Playing Center Field Improves Throwing Skills
As a center fielder, you’ll be the deepest player in the outfield. Therefore when you get a ball that’s been hit into your area, you’ll likely have to make a long throw to a base or your relay man. The more often you make long throws like this, the better you’ll become at throwing, which benefits you at other baseball positions or in other sports.
Improving your throwing abilities will also help with muscle development, fitness, and hand-eye coordination, especially in children. Improving your hand-eye coordination will also reduce your risks of trips and falls while helping you improve at other games and other sports.
9. Center Fielders Become Better All-Around Athletes
Center fielders are arguably the best all-around athletes on a baseball field. They must be quick, clever, agile, and very physically fit. Center fielders also need to have excellent catching and throwing abilities as incoming baseballs have been hit with force. In addition, any throws made by center fielders usually need to travel a great distance and in a short amount of time.
Playing as a center fielder will help baseball players increase their athletic abilities as they’ll be improving the more they play. Center fielders also have keen baseball intellect as they must make predictions on the ball’s flight and their teammates’ abilities to make catches.
Improving your overall athletic abilities is a fantastic way of enhancing your physical and mental health. Better athletic performance will also benefit players who partake in other physical sports like football or ice hockey.
Learn More About How to Play Center Field
This article is one part of a complete guide on how to play center field.
To learn more about how to play center field, read these additional articles:
- What Is a Center Fielder in Baseball?
- Center Fielder Roles and Responsibilities
- 9 Characteristics of Good Center Fielders
- The Dimensions of Center Field in Baseball
- Where to Stand in Center Field?
- Who Is the Cutoff Man for Center Fielders?
- 4 Scenarios Where Center Fielders Should Back Up Teammates
- What Size Glove Should a Center Fielder Wear?
- 9 Reasons Center Field Is a Good Position in Baseball
- The Best 14 Drills for Any Baseball Outfielder