When contact is made with the softball, it will often have a rattling or vibrating feel. The vibration can be felt in the hands of players who both wear gloves and who don’t wear gloves.
Softball bats will rattle and vibrate due to missing the sweet spot of the bat, which causes rattling and vibrate frequencies to be sent through our hands. This rattling typically stings the hands and causes pain to the batter.
This vibrating feeling will often feeling stinging or painful to the batter. The batter will feel pain in their hands if they catch the part of the bat that causes the vibration.
In this article we’re going to show you what causes the softball bat to vibrate and how you can avoid the stinging feeling in your hands when making contact with the softball.
What Is The Sweet Spot When Swinging A Softball Bat?
The sweet spot is the dead center of the softball bat that causes the least amount of vibration. Players who make contact with the softball, hitting the sweet spot of the bat, will often feel “almost nothing”.
This is because all of the energy that’s generated from the batter is then transferred to the softball. No vibration, rattling or stingy will occur when the ball is hit in the sweet spot.
Why Does The Softball Bat Rattle Or Vibrate?
The impact of the ball to the softball bat is what causes vibration through natural friction of contact.
As shown here by the Pennsylvania State university’s study of physics and acoustics of baseball and softball bats, we see how the ball effects the bat through contact.
Here are three different phases in connecting with the sweet spot, and the dead spots of a bat.
In the first image above, we’re seeing a player hit the ball in the sweet spot. Notice there’s not vibrations throughout the bat. All the generated power from the hitter is transferred into the bat and into the baseball. The bat stays consistent throughout the entire swing.
Power hitters will often say they feel “nothing” when the sweet spot is hit as the ball travels 300+ feet.
Missing The Sweet Spot Outside
Below are two images (again, courtesy of a study done by the Pennsylvania State University), of the player missing the sweet spot.
The above image shows the players swinging and completely missing the sweet spot of the bat. Due to the miss of the sweet spot, we can see vibrations be sent throughout the bat, all the way to the players hands.
Whether it’s softball or baseball, the science rings true to both sports. Especially in softball, as the bigger ball and bat have a wider surface area to miss the sweet spot.
Missing The Sweet Spot Inside
In the image below, we’re seeing similar results, as the ball is hitting closer to the players hands. The ball, upon contact, will cause the same vibrations throughout the hands.
The ball catches the inside (closer to the hands) part of the bat which immediately sends vibrations to the hitters hands. These types of hits are often short or shallow due to the lack of power that’s generated.
These images are great visual representations of how the ball impact the bat when making contact with the ball.
Without getting to scientific ( check Pennsylvania’s study for more of a scientific explanation), below is a visual of the vibration shapes when the ball makes impact with the ball.
Notice the where the speed spot in in the bat, and where the vibrations effect both the top and bottom hand.
How To Stop The Vibration Or Rattling In A Softball Bat
There’s a few ways to stop the rattling or vibration in a softball bat. One way, and the easiest/most cost efficient ways, is to consistently take batting practice.
Softball is a hand-eye coordination sport. Consistently hitting the dead spot of the bat means the player isn’t seeing the softball clearly through the sweet spot of the bat.
Hitting off a tee or having a coach do soft toss is one of the best ways to improve hand eye coordination and ensure the sweet spot is contacted.
Bat knobs are made by Easton Sports and are used to reduce the vibration that’s made throughout the course of a swing.
The knob is said to reduce the friction, as the knob will not only give you better grip, but the rubber piece will reduce the friction that’s caused from the softball hitting the bat.
The softball bat will vibrate mainly because of it either hitting or missing the sweet spot. The dead spots in the bat will cause a vibration to be sent down through the handle of the bat into the hands, which ultimately cause a vibration or “stinging” feeling.
In order to combat the dead spot, there’s two things the softball player can do. First, they can practice their swing on a T or slow pitch from their coach. This will help improve hand-eye coordination, which will help with hitting the sweet spot more frequently.
When batters learn how to hit the sweet spot, they will consistently try to pull, push or place the softball where they need to. Learning how to hit the sweet spot, combining it with bat velocity and hand speed will make the ball travel farther.
The second option is to purchase of the bat knobs that we featured above which will help eliminate the vibration. For the long term however, we recommend you take as many swings as possible, in order to find that sweet spot every time. Great hitters, where it be in little league or professionally understand this concept and try to hit it every time.
We recommend doing soft toss or any type of close range swinging to ensure the sweet spot is met with every single swing.
How do you feel about hitting the sweet spot? How have you been able to replicate not making the bat rattle or vibrate? Let us know in the comment sections below.