Think Baseball Isn’t A Contact Sport? Here’s Why You’re Wrong | Baseball Training World (2023)

Think Baseball Isn’t A Contact Sport? Here’s Why You’re Wrong | Baseball Training World (1)

Sports are usually classified by risk of contact between players. The more contact between players, the more risk of injury. Contact with other players is usually how athletes decide which sport is safe and which is not. When you watch a baseball game, there is minimal contact between players, but you will also see players dressed in protective gear. So which one is it? Is baseball a contact sport or not?

Baseball is considered a limited-contact sport, meaning players come into contact with each other and the equipment at some point during the game. Most baseball plays don’t require players to come into contact with each other, but there are some plays where contact between players is inevitable.

The concept of sports being contact, non-contact, or limited-contact can be difficult to grasp, so let’s look at what these terms mean.

Contact SportNon-Contact SportLimited-Contact Sport
DefinitionAllows or requires physical contact or force between participantsRequires zero contact between playersContact between players and objects is infrequent
Sports Examples– Boxing
– American football
– Rugby
– Hockey
– Swimming
– Tennis
– Running
– Golf
– Bowling
– Baseball
– Basketball
– Handball
– Softball
Characteristics of Baseball– Tag outs
– Breaking up double plays
– Physical separation of players
– Playing in turns
Brief/light physical contact rules:
– Catchers must provide a sliding lane
– Baserunners can’t go outside direct path to initiate contact

What are Contact Sports?

Contact sports allow or require physical contact or force between players. The type of impact can include actions such as tackling, blocking or striking using players’ bodies or game equipment like a stick or a ball.

Examples of contact sports include:

  • Boxing
  • American football
  • Rugby
  • Hockey

Because of the nature of these sports, they are also classified as collision sports. That is why most athletes playing these sports have to wear protective gear such as helmets, mouthguards, or pads to protect them from regular forceful impact from other players.

In these sports, almost every play requires physical contact between players.

What are Non-Contact Sports?

Non-contact sports are sports that require zero contact between players.

Examples of non-contact sports include:

  • Swimming
  • Tennis
  • Running
  • Golf
  • Bowling

It is usually unexpected and unintended when players come into contact with each other in these sports.

What are Limited Contact Sports?

Limited contact sports are sports where contact between players and objects is infrequent. These sports usually have rules that set boundaries to how much contact is allowed or prevent it.

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Examples of limited contact sports include:

  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Handball
  • Softball

Excess force and specific types of contact with objects can result in a penalty or disqualification from these sports.

For example, slapping a player’s arm in basketball results in a foul, loss of possession, possible free throws, and counts towards a running foul total that can result in being removed from the game.

With the above definitions, it should be easy to categorize baseball, right? Unfortunately, the debate on whether it is a contact or non-contact sport is still on. So, let us look at both sides of the coin.

4 Reasons Why Baseball is Considered a Contact Sport

Think Baseball Isn’t A Contact Sport? Here’s Why You’re Wrong | Baseball Training World (2)

In baseball, players usually have more contact with the ball than other players on the field, but there are a few exceptions.

When you watch baseball bloopers, you almost always see players colliding (which also makes the game more exciting).

Such instances during the game are why people argue that baseball is a contact sport. Below are some examples.

1) Tag Outs

There are many types of outs in baseball, but a tag out is the most common out where players come into contact with each other.

To record a tag out, a fielder in possession of the ball must touch a runner with the ball before that runner reaches a base.

A tag out is most exciting when it is a rundown. This physical contact between the two players is within the game’s rules. The touch does not require physical force, nor does it take a lot of time.

2) Home Plate Collisions

Runs are exciting to watch during a baseball game, but close plays at home can result in some severe injuries. Baserunners are usually at top speed, trying to get to the plate, where a catcher is waiting to catch the ball and take the player out.

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This has resulted in forceful impact between players resulting in broken legs, arms, and other serious injuries. For this reason, people consider baseball a contact sport even though the players do not do it intentionally.

Major League Baseball also implemented the home plate collision rule in 2014 to minimize and prevent these violent home plate collisions. Some cheered the rule, while others considered it a knee-jerk reaction to catcher Buster Posey’s season-ending injury.

3) Running Over the Catcher

Blocking the plate was a common play in baseball used by catchers to prevent runners from scoring. This technique accounted for a lot of physical contact between players during the game and resulted in many star athletes being injured.

The video below shows how Buster Posey got injured in a home plate collision. This is when it was legal for players to run over the catcher.

Basically, the runner would run full speed at the catcher and forcefully collide. The goal of the runner was to get the catcher to drop the ball or miss the ball while the goal of the catcher was to prevent the runner from touching home.

In 2014, the MLB decided to ban catchers blocking the plate unless they have the ball. They must also leave part of the plate open because the rules state that a runner’s path to score should not be blocked.

Only the umpire can determine if blocking the plate is legal. They make the call on different factors, such as “did the runner make an effort to reach the home plate?”, and “did they use their upper body to make the catcher lose possession?”.

4) Hitters Can Get Hit by a Pitch

Most of the time when a hitter reaches first base, they can do it without any sort of contact. However, if the hitter gets hit by a pitch, they can take first base.

I know from experience that getting hit by a pitch is not fun, but at least that’s one form of contact in baseball that allows you to take first base.

5 Reasons Why Baseball is Considered a Non-Contact Sport

Think Baseball Isn’t A Contact Sport? Here’s Why You’re Wrong | Baseball Training World (3)

A non-contact sport forbids and punishes players whenever there is physical contact. That is why in many non-contact sports, players have designated areas in the playing area. For example, in tennis, each player is in their box on opposite sides of the net.

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Some people consider baseball a non-contact sport because physical contact between players is rare, especially after the rules on home plate collisions were implemented.

Whenever there is physical contact between players in baseball, it is very brief compared to other contact sports.

The argument is that even though physical contact is possible in a baseball game, it can be avoided. It makes sense because even though contact is against the rules in other non-contact sports, it can still happen unintentionally.

Simply put, not all non-contact games are contact-free.

Let us look at the main characteristics of non-contact sports to see if we can put baseball in this category.

1) Physical Separation of Players

Think Baseball Isn’t A Contact Sport? Here’s Why You’re Wrong | Baseball Training World (4)

Most non-contact sports separate competitors entirely. This is done by making individuals play sequentially (like in bowling) or placing them in designated lanes (like running, swimming, or tennis).

Baseball separates hitters by enforcing rules to keep them inside the batter’s box. Pitchers must be on the pitching rubber and catchers must remain in the catcher’s box. And the defense must set up in fair territory.

2) Playing the Game in Turns

Some non-contact sports require competitors to take the field one at a time. In golf, for example, each player takes their turn on the golf course, thus limiting the possibility of physical contact with each other.

Baseball allows one team to hit and one team to defend. After three outs, each team switches places.

3) Game Structure

In some competitive sports (like bodybuilding, horse riding, archery, and ice skating), the nature of the sport rules out the possibility of any physical contact.

Baseball players are separated and take turns on the field. Most of the time, players are not within 50 feet of another player when the pitch is delivered.

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4) Stricter Rule Enforcement

Major League Baseball is constantly reviewing its rules to offer players better protection.

For example, rule 6.01 (i) is in place to prevent players from attempting the blocking of the plate play.

Also, the organization is enforcing stiffer punishment for players who intentionally injure others.

5) Better Umpiring Methods

Several cameras around the park allow you to view the game from different angles. These help umpires call games better. For example, the extended instant replay rule allows umpires more time to determine if there are violations.

Several sports now use extra referees to verify decisions. For example, the video assistant referee in soccer is a team of three officials who the on-field referee consults when things are unclear. Teams can also appeal decisions when they feel cheated.

Baseball is also a non-contact sport because players only wear minimal protective gear during gameplay. But on the other hand, catchers wear a helmet and chest plate to prevent injury while catching pitches.

Players can wear helmets on the field (John Olerud), hats (optional, surprisingly), or cups during active play, but all are optional.

Why is Baseball Considered a Limited Contact Sport?

Limited contact sports have rules allowing brief and light physical contact among players.

Players are warned or punished when they break these rules by issuing fouls and penalties or removing the player from the game after several instances of illegal contact.

Some limited contact sports go as far as barring teammates from touching each other during a game.

From the definition above, baseball fits better into the limited contact sports category.

So, what are some of baseball’s limited-contact rules?

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  • A baserunner cannot go outside their direct path to initiate contact with a catcher or another player covering the plate.
  • A catcher cannot obstruct a runner’s path to the plate unless they have a ball or making a legitimate attempt to catch a throw.
  • Catchers must provide a sliding lane when receiving a throw to lower the possibility of a collision with a runner.
  • Fielders can tag runners out by touching them with the ball or their glove (with the ball inside).

How Can Baseball Players Avoid Unnecessary Contact

The scary reality in baseball is that home plate collisions, getting hit by the ball, or running into the outfield fence can cause serious injuries, including concussions.

Although the game has rules around contact, players are responsible for avoiding unnecessary contact. They can do this by:

  • Wearing protective gear – Batters and catchers must have the necessary gear to help protect them from getting hit by the ball.
  • Avoid sliding head first – sliding is a technique players use to avoid contact with the catcher, but it is essential to do it right. Players can injure their head or hand if they slide head-first into the base.
  • Avoid home plate collisions – the MLB has rules that ban blocking the plate to help minimize home plate collisions. Players must be smart and try to avoid the tag and avoid any collisions when sliding into home.
  • Catchers should practice caution when catching foul balls – while focusing on trying to catch the ball, catchers need to remain aware of their movement. Many players have smashed into a fence while following the ball, resulting in broken bones and other head injuries.


Is baseball a contact or non contact sport? ›

It's not that the players are forbidden to touch, and it's not like there's anything you can do to totally eliminate all collisions. But baseball, at its core, isn't a contact sport. It's a bat-and-ball sport, part catch and part golf.

Why do people say baseball isn't a sport? ›

One of the biggest factors that convince other people of baseball not being a sport is the athletes. According to some baseball definitions, those who play baseball even professionally aren't really athletes. To play baseball, you don't really need to be athletic. In fact, anyone of any age can play baseball.

Why is baseball losing its popularity? ›

Game play. Part of baseball's popularity decline is likely tied to how it's currently played: less action, and fewer balls put in play.

Is baseball a sport yes or no? ›

Baseball is a bat-and-ball sport played between two teams of nine players each, taking turns batting and fielding.

What is the least contact sport? ›

Non-contact sports are those where participants should have no possible means of touching, such as sprinting, swimming, darts or snooker, where players use separate lanes or take turns of play.

What is the most contact non contact sport? ›

Non-contact sports are those sports where participants should have no possible means of impact, such as sprinting, swimming, darts, snookers where players use separate lanes or take turns of play.
Non-contact sports all you need to know
  • Darts.
  • Snooker.
  • Chess.
  • Swimming.
  • Gymnastics.
  • Tennis.
  • Table tennis.
  • Badminton.

What did Albert Einstein say about baseball? ›

Walking out of the stadium, Einstein might well have thought: “God does not play dice with the world ... but He does play baseball.” speed or location of the ball as it arrives at the plate can result in a huge difference in where it goes.

Is baseball more mental or physical? ›

As Yogi Berra once infamously said, "Baseball is 90 percent mental; the other half is physical."

Is baseball more mental than physical? ›

'' In the words of the late Yogi Berra: “Baseball is 90 percent mental. The other half is physical. ''

Does anyone care about baseball anymore? ›

Just 11% of adults listed baseball as their favorite sport to watch in a 2021 Washington Post poll. That put it well behind football (34%) and tied with basketball for the second favorite sport.

Is NFL or MLB more popular? ›

Historically, the national sport has been baseball. However, in more recent decades, American football has been the most popular sport in terms of broadcast viewership audience.

What sports are declining in popularity? ›

Cross country, swimming and diving and competitive spirit registered the biggest decline in the past three years among Top 10 sports with a 13 percent drop.

Is MLB the hardest sport? ›

Over the past one hundred and seventy-three years baseball has proven itself as the hardest sport across the globe due to hitting a baseball, fielding the ball, playing the game inside the game, and succeeding in baseball.

Why do people enjoy baseball? ›

The cheering, the laughter and the sheer enjoyment that everyone feels is almost intoxicating. You can't help but catch on and feel the buzz. Baseball has the most amazingly loyal fans ever. There are teams that have never won anything, but their fans remain loyal to them.

What is the most harmless sport? ›

Swimming is the safest sport to take part in. Its easy on the joints and can be an aid in recovery after an injury so making it the safest sport in America. A study by researchers at The University of Colorado Denver lead by PhD.

What is world's safest sport? ›

Although the concept of the most dangerous sports in the world is a tune well tooted, the opposite end of the spectrum is seldom explored.
  1. Table tennis – a sport as safe as they come.
  2. Golf – a leisurely game. ...
  3. Running – a solo sport. ...
  4. Volleyball – especially safe on the sand. ...
  5. Cycling – a great cardio sport. ...
May 19, 2021

What is the simplest sport to play? ›

The 7 Easiest Sports to Play
  • Volleyball.
  • Table Tennis/Ping Pong.
  • Running.
  • Spikeball.
  • Badminton.
  • Cycling.
  • Bowling.

What sport has the most physical contact? ›

According to several studies about “science of muscles and movement” experts label boxing as the most demanding sport for an athlete. Boxing requires strength, power, endurance, and the ability to withstand huge hits over a period of time.

What is the most high contact sport? ›

When you think of sports injuries, full contact sports like football probably come to mind. However, one of the most dangerous sports in terms of serious injury is not football, soccer, or basketball…it's cheerleading.

What is the most common injury in contact sports? ›

The Most Common Contact Sports Injuries
  • Concussion / Head injuries: A concussion is a brain injury that occurs from a blow to the head. ...
  • Knee injuries: Torn ligaments and tendons, meniscus injuries, fractures, kneecap dislocations and other types of knee injuries account for more than half of all sports-related injuries.

What did Mark Twain say about baseball? ›

Baseball is the very symbol, the outward and visible expression of the drive and push and rush and struggle of the raging, tearing, booming nineteenth century.” -Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens), April 8, 1889.

What did Yogi Berra say about baseball? ›

Perhaps his most famous of all: "It ain't over 'til it's over." "Baseball is 90 percent mental. The other half is physical."

Why is baseball the hardest mental sport? ›

Baseball also requires visualisation skills, you really need to know what you are going to do before going to do it. Whether it involves running to the next base or where you will direct the hit from the bat, you need to visualise exactly what you need to happen. Stay strong in your beliefs and remain mentally tough.

What body type is best for baseball? ›

Typically short and stocky body types will be a good match for specific positions in football and baseball, soccer, gymnastics, and wrestling. Tall and lanky children tend to do better in basketball, volleyball, and long-distance running.

What is the most mentally exhausting sport? ›

Having got the honourable mentions out of the way, here's a countdown of the 10 most exhausting sports in the world:
  • Rowing. How tiring can a sport be if it requires you to sit for the entire duration? ...
  • Water Polo. ...
  • Basketball. ...
  • Boxing. ...
  • Australian Rules Football. ...
  • Ice Hockey. ...
  • Cross country skiing. ...
  • Marathon.
Jan 1, 2017

Who said baseball is 90% mental? ›

The other half is physical' This article was published more than 7 years ago.

What sport is harder than baseball? ›

However, it is scientifically proven that softball is harder than baseball. The speed of pitches, the reaction time for hitters and fielders, and the distance of the field indicates that softball is indeed harder than baseball.

Is baseball 80% mental? ›

Ninety percent of the game is half mental.”

In his book, Berra took credit for this one. This quotation is also sometimes rendered as: “Baseball is 90 percent mental. The other half is physical.”

Why are baseball players so emotional? ›

Professional sports are emotional by nature, adrenaline pumping during high levels of physical exertion. Baseball, a sport that revolves around failure, is particularly emotive. “You're out there giving 100 percent, and when things don't go your way, it gets frustrating,” Mets starter Jacob deGrom said.

Is MLB losing fans? ›

MLB 2022 regular season attendance dropped 5.7 percent from 2019 campaign. Concerns about the MLB's waning popularity will only increase with the release of the league's attendance numbers for the 2022 season.

Is the MLB losing viewers? ›

Television viewership in 2021 was down 12% from 2019, and the average age of baseball fans is 57. That's much older than any of the other major sports (the NBA's average is just 42), and baseball's fans are getting older year by year. The average age in 2006 was 52.

Are MLB ratings declining? ›

Following a 12% decline in Major League Baseball (MLB) TV viewership between 2019 and 2021, GlobalData notes that the sport is struggling to appeal to younger viewers—estimating that the average age of a baseball fan in North America is 57.

What is the #1 sport in the world? ›

Soccer, also known as association football, is by far the most popular sport in the world, despite the fact that it may not be obvious in the United States. Soccer is the most popular sport in practically all of Europe, South America, Africa, the Middle East, Central America, and Asia.

What is America's favorite sport? ›

Football - America's Favorite Sport to Watch and Follow

Football continues to be the most popular sport in the United States. According to, 37% of U.S. adults picked football as their favorite sport to watch. Football has been the favorite since 1972.

What is America's most watched sport? ›

American football takes the crown when it comes to popularity, and this is the most-watched sport in the US.

Why do more girls quit sports? ›

Why they drop out: Social stigma. Despite recent progress, discrimination based on the real or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity of female athletes persists. Girls in sports may experience bullying, social isolation, negative performance evaluations, or the loss of their starting position.

What is the #1 sport in America? ›

1. American Football. American football is the most popular sport in America and is the favorite sport of 37% of the country. The NFL is also the most popular league and is supported by 55% of Americans.

Why do most people quit sport? ›

Performance pressure is the number one reason why elite participants dropout (Butcher, Lindner & Johns, 2002). This is often linked with injuries that can result from overtraining due to pressure to perform and achieve from a young age. In fact, one in five elite athletes cites injuries as the main reason they quit.

What is the hardest sport for a boy? ›

According to Sports Virsa, the top 10 hardest sports in the world to play in 2022 are as follows: Boxing (hardest), American football, mixed martial arts, ice hockey, gymnastics, basketball, soccer, wrestling, rugby, and water polo.

What sport is hardest to go pro in? ›

Here are the top 5 hardest sports to make it pro in (statistically).
  • Ice Hockey. If you enjoy the majesty of gliding over the ice and the thrill of smashing into other adults, you might want to pursue a career in hockey. ...
  • Baseball. ...
  • Soccer. ...
  • Basketball.

What is the hardest skill in baseball? ›

In baseball, if you get three hits out of every ten at-bats, that means a . 300 average and you'll be one of the best hitters in the game. And for this very reason alone, Popular Science says that hitting a baseball is the hardest thing to do in sports.

What is harder golf or baseball? ›

No, golf is harder than baseball. Baseball's a team sport. Golfers are on their own. Baseball players play both sides of the ball, offense and defense.

Is hockey or baseball harder? ›

Baseball is easier to learn, harder to master. That said, hockey fundamentally becomes a different sport in the playoffs and in different leagues. Baseball's more or less the same sport year round.

What country loves baseball the most? ›

United States

Is hitting a baseball mental? ›

Hitting in baseball requires a strong mental game.

When you step into the batter's box, you need to tune out your thoughts and rely more on your instincts. Many players over-think their performance at the plate. Thinking too much in the batter's box will interfere with fluid mechanics and slow down your reaction time.

Is baseball good for your brain? ›

Keeps your brain active

Playing baseball requires you to make quick decisions. Mental focus and concentration are essential. You have to decide on the correct strategy to implement, and this keeps your mind alert and sharp. Pitchers, hitters and catchers all have to strategize when playing the game.

Which sport is a non contact sport? ›

Examples Tennis, cricket, darts, bowling, volleyball, netball, squash.

Can you play baseball with contacts? ›

Yes, you absolutely can wear contact lenses while playing sports. In fact, eye doctors recommend contact lenses because they are safer. Think about it. The lenses in eyeglasses can break and cause eye injuries.

What is considered a contact sport? ›

Contact/Collision Sports and Activities

Examples: boxing, ice hockey, football, lacrosse. In contact sports, the person is constantly making contact with other people or objects, but with less force than in collision sports. Examples: basketball, soccer.

What are the examples of contact and non contact sports? ›

Definition of Contact and Non – Contact Sports

Examples are football, basketball, handball, boxing, judo, wrestling etc. Non – contact sports are sports that do not allow partial or full body close interaction between two or more opponents.


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