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How to Play Center Field
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Center field is one of the most important positions in baseball. It takes speed, agility and a good arm.
Position yourself correctly. At the beginning of each at bat, you need to position yourself accordingly -- if it's a power hitter, stay back and for a smaller guy, move in. The situation is important too. If there is nobody on, just stand where you think they'll hit it. If there are men on and you want to prevent a big play, like a bases-clearing double, move back more than you normally would.

Get a good jump on the ball. You need to be able to see the hitter make contact, so ensure you have a good view of the plate. When someone hits a ball to the outfield, the natural reaction is to move in, but don't. You need to stay back, it's much easier to move in than run backwards.

Be aware when there is a runner on first that is a threat to steal, because covering second is the center fielder's responsibility. If there is a throw down that eludes the second basemen or shortstop, you need to pick up the ball and hold the runner at second, or throw them out at third.

On a pop fly always run on your toes so you won't bounce around a lot and will still be able to see the ball.

Use TWO hands to catch the ball. This will hopefully prevent an error.

Do not over shoot the cut-off man and always hit him on the glove side.

Tips and Warnings:

  • Be alert at all times, stay focused.
  • Wear sunglasses or eye black if the sun is a problem
  • Get the ball back into the infield as quickly as possible. DO NOT HOLD ONTO THE BALL.
  • Always know what the situation calls for before every pitch. Run through possible scenarios in your head and know where you are supposed to throw the ball and who your cutoff man will be.
  • Never throw behind the runners
  • Back something up on every play. In no situation should you just watch the play unfold, you always have a role.
  • Your first step should always be back, unless it is completely obvious that the ball is in front of you.
  • Take good angles and always come through the ball. Ideally, the ball never gets to the wall.
  • Communicate. Make sure your corner outfielders know you're taking the ball. Also, make sure they know the outs. You are the captain of the outfield.
  • Know whether to step left or right on a ball directly over your head. This will be completely dependent on the batter and the wind conditions, but in general, a right handed batter's ball will tail a bit towards right, while a lefty's ball will carry more and tail towards left.
  • Don't be afraid to call your other outfielders off, but know where they are positioned, how fast they are, and how good their arm is before you do.
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Article How to Play Center Field provided by wikiHow. Content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons License.
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