If you’ve ever played baseball then you know all too well what it’s like to get that sting in your hands after making contact with a baseball during your swing. Maybe the pitcher jammed you and your swing didn’t make it through the strike zone in time or maybe the ball was pitched outside and you made contact with the end of your bat. Either way, not making contact with the sweet spot of the bat seems like you’re just being punished.
So why do bats sting your hands? The reason bats sting during our swing is due to the vibrations from the bat making contact with the ball. Not hitting the ball with the sweet spot of the bat causes more vibrations, which causes the sting for the batter. According to Science Daily, human hands are sensitive to vibration frequencies between 200-700 hertz and we experience the most pain when those frequencies are between 600-700 hertz.
You may still be wondering what the different causes are for the bat to make more of these painful vibrations. Let’s take a deeper look into why our hands hurt from performing our swing.
Poor Swings Can Sting Your Hands
The number one reason the bat will sting your hands has to do with the quality of the swing. If you swing and hit the ball, but miss the sweet spot of the bat, then chances are your hands will sting. The higher the quality of the swing, the higher the likelihood is that the ball will find the sweet spot of the bat and prevent that dreaded sting from occurring.
Inside-Out Approach Exposes the Handle
A lot of players get a sting from the bat by taking an inside-out approach to the pitch. Taking an inside-out approach will keep the bat further back in the strike zone, which causes the handle of the bat to be more exposed. This results in the handle of the bat getting hit, which then causes the bat to vibrate and create that sting.
Hitting the Ball off the End of the Bat
Other players will notice a sting when pulling away from the pitch. When players pull away from the pitch during their swing, their upper-body will move away from the plate.
This movement away from the plate causes players to be off-balance and causes their bats to be further away from the plate. When players’ bats are further away from the plate they are more likely to hit the ball off the end of the bat and receive that dreaded sting of the bat.
Getting Jammed on a Pitch
Sometimes players will just get jammed on an inside pitch. If a player is not suspecting an inside fastball they may be starting their swing a little too late.
When their swing starts a little too late they will make contact with the handle of their bat. If you’re one of the unlucky players to get jammed during an at-bat then you could end up with some fingers that are numb well after the game ends.
Swinging Late on an Outside Pitch
Just the opposite of being jammed, starting late on an outside pitch can lead to a sting from an at-bat. No one wants to be late on a pitch, but if you happen to be late on an outside pitch then there is a good chance you’ll be making contact with the very end of your bat.
Players at all levels have experienced this issue and have been rewarded with their hands stinging from making contact.
Cold Weather Prevents Bats From Expanding
Cold weather causes hands to sting more when making contact with a baseball. If you’ve ever played baseball in cold weather then you know this statement to be true.
Why does cold weather cause bats to sting? This has to do with how the baseball bat reacts in certain temperatures. The warmer the bat, the more it will be elastic and expand. Colder temperatures prevent bats from expanding, which causes more vibrations in the bat from making contact with the baseball.
Do Wood Bats Cause More Sting than Aluminum Bats?
There may be some discrepancies when comparing a specific wood bat to a specific aluminum bat, but in general, aluminum bats have wider sweet spots than wood bats. Due to the larger area for the sweet spot, aluminum bats will cause less sting than wood bats.
How do you reduce bat sting?
Although it’s difficult to reduce 100% of the sting, there are some tools out there designed to help you reduce bat sting.
Using Batting Gloves Reduces Sting
Batting gloves are a great first step in trying to reduce bat sting. Batting gloves will help absorb some of the shock associated with the increased vibrations from the bat. If possible, try finding some batting gloves with additional padding.
Extra Layer of Tape on the Handle Absorbs Vibrations
If batting gloves don’t help then it may be time to try wrapping the handle in an extra layer of tape.
If you already have a grip on your bat then you’re halfway there! Once there is a layer of grip on your bat, get some additional 1.8-millimeter tape and begin to wrap it around the existing grip. This extra layer of tape will help absorb the vibrations from the bat and decrease the sting from making contact.
Use a Thumb Guard
Using a rubber thumb guard can be another great way to absorb the vibrations from the bat. This rubber acts as a barrier between your hands and the bat and reduces the sting when you accidentally miss the sweet spot of the bat.