Physics of the Sweet Spot on a Baseball Bat

Physics of the Sweet Spot on a Baseball Bat

Length: 566 words (1.6 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓
The focus of my research is isolating and locating the
"sweet spot" on a baseball bat. I chose to avoid presenting
raw data, but to examine the science that causes
this reaction. Participants of this sport probably
have first hand or an intuitive knowledge of this saying. Locating the
"sweet spot" can be done at home. A simple experiment
of your on can be done using either a wood or aluminum
bat. The only apparatus required is a hammer. Gripping the bat
by the handle suspend perpendicular from the floor. Using a hammer, tap
in various places on the barrel of the bat. As you approach the
center of the barrel, vibration from the force will diminish.
Vibrational modes will be detected from the hand gripping the bat.

Every baseball bat has a “sweet spot.” When a baseball hits a bat in the wrong place your hands “sting,”
it means the force of the collision has excited waves or vibrations called modes. When the ball is hit at
the node it will not sting your hands. A mode generates two nodes or a position of zero displacement.
A baseball bat consists of two major nodes; this region is proverbially known as the “sweet zone.” Higher
frequency modes affect the ball speed, but can hardly be felt by the batter. Baseball bat vary in lengths,
but generally the “sweet spot” is approximately 17 cm from the end of the barrel of a major league baseball bat.

A collision near the node reduces the vibrations felt by the hand. The existence of the
“sweet spot” is mainly because the vibrations do not agitate at that particular node. Impact on the first
node will not excite the first mode, but will affect the second mode. Thus is true for the second node’s
relationship with the first mode.

Close to where the point of percussion occurs is the “sweet spot.” According to a
study done by H. Brody at the Physics Department of the University of
Pennsylvania, “A bat of mass M and with initial velocity zero can be treated
as a free-body that is hit by a ball whose momentum changes due to
the interaction.” At the time of percussion the bat will oscillate which indicates
a transferal of kinetic energy into vibrational energy and some kinetic energy is lost.
When all this occurs it is an extremely aggressive action. The bat has a
massive force on the ball changing the direction and speed.


Newtons Second Law of Motion
"An unbalanced force causes an object to move in the direction of the force.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Physics of the Sweet Spot on a Baseball Bat." 17 Jul 2018

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Physics of Baseball Essay

- Finding and understanding the sweet spot on a wooden bat. When you strike a bat against a ball it sends vibrations, much like the vibrations acting on airplanes or bridges, which travel in waves through the bat. This motion is important to understand because every vibration the bat experiences takes energy away from the ball's speed as it leaves the bat. If you hit the ball at a bat's "nodes", the frequencies (each bat vibrates at several low and high frequencies at once, which is like the harmonics of stringed instruments) cancel out and since this happens you don't feel the sting in your hands that you experience when you hit the ball at different points on the bat....   [tags: physics sport sports baseball]

Free Essays
630 words (1.8 pages)

The Physics of Cheating in Baseball Essay

- My science report is about whether a corked aluminum bat hits a ball farther than a regular aluminum bat. But first before I get into that boring science stuff, I’ll tell you about the history of baseball. Baseball originated in American before the Civil War (1861-1865) the game was called rounders and was played in sand lots. The first professional team was founded in Cincinnati in 1869. During the 1950’s and 60’s the MLB really took off, it was a time for expansion for the American league and National league....   [tags: bat, corking, distance]

Research Papers
815 words (2.3 pages)

Essay on The Physics of Baseball

- Swinging the Bat for Power Many people might think that swinging the bat straight through the ball would be enough to hit the ball a decent distance off the bat. There's many more mechanics involved in the swinging process. Muscle has only a small part to play in the swinging a bat for power. There are two types of mechanics involved while swinging a bat, Linear and Rotational. Rotational mechanics are the dominant source of power in the swing. Out of the rotational mechanics come the two forces that help generate the speed and power of the swing, torque and the other comes from the energy of rotation....   [tags: Sport Baseball Physics]

Free Essays
1526 words (4.4 pages)

Aluminum Bat vs. Wood Bat Essay

- What is better a wood or aluminum bat. In this project I will take the scientific approach to answer this question. I will compare the average hitting distance of a wood and aluminum bat, how the bat feels, and how far the ball goes then compare the two bats together. Aluminum bats are more durable then wood bats. They are also lighter than wood bats which means the ball coming off the bat will be faster then when it was pitched. Aluminum bats are hollow and wood bats are solid. The wood bat can go just as far an a aluminum bat but the wood bat is heavier then the aluminum bat....   [tags: baseball, hit, speed]

Research Papers
703 words (2 pages)

Would mandated regulations for bat usage at all levels of baseball provide a safer environment for the sport and reduce costs?

- Would mandated regulations for bat usage at all levels of baseball provide a safer environment for the sport and reduce costs. Decades of debating over these questions leaves people in disagreement. When it comes to discussing the use of metal bats from Little League to the Majors cost, safety, and performance are among the currently most heavily debated topics, with wide spread disagreement among people in the industry. Complicating the debates, especially the safety debate, is the fact that little scientific, researched based, safety studies have been conducted....   [tags: Sports ]

Research Papers
1861 words (5.3 pages)

Essay about The Physics of Tennis

- The Physics of Tennis I. Introduction Background: A friendly game of tennis is being played. Camera: pans away from the game and zooms to Sunne. Sunne: Hello, my name is Sunne. Today, my group, which consists of Ravi, Gramh, Whitney and myself, will portray how physics plays an essential role in one specific aspect of tennis. This aspect is the tennis racquet itself, which can only be mastered when the physics of it is completely understood. In this video, we will show you an actual tennis match, a couple of candid interviews, and much more about the physics behind tennis....   [tags: Papers]

Research Papers
548 words (1.6 pages)

Essay Physics of Baseball

- Introduction Baseball is a fairly simple game, once you understand the simple mix of science involved in baseball. Also, there is much more to the game of baseball than simply hitting and pitching the ball. Here is a few bits of information about a baseball that is hit 400 feet. 1. For each 1000 feet of altitude you can add 7 Feet. 2. For each 10 degrees of air temp you can add 4 Feet. 3. For each 10 degrees of ball temp you can add 4 Feet. 4. For each 1 inch drop in Barometer you can add 6 Feet....   [tags: physics sport sports baseball]

Free Essays
946 words (2.7 pages)

Essay on Physics of Baseball

- Missing Figures Baseball is a fascinating sport that is exceptionally fun to play. This assignment is all about understanding the physics of a few key aspects of this sport. One might ask what physics could have to do with baseball. Like most sports baseball involves physical motion. Baseball encompasses all three planes of motion through throwing, hitting, and fielding. All of the classical laws of mechanics can be applied to understand the physics of this game. Baseball is not a difficult game to comprehend, but it can a very long time to achieve a high level of performance....   [tags: physics sport sports baseball]

Free Essays
1477 words (4.2 pages)

Physics of Baseball Essay

- Ever wonder why a curve ball curves. Or why a bat breaks when it hits the ball. Or how exactly a homerun is hit. Here you will find the answers to these questions. I will discuss a brief history of baseball, forces that are applied in baseball, the curve ball, and what exactly happens when the ball meets the bat. In the early days of the history of baseball there were several variations of the game known as Rounders, but the game had no set of "official" rules. This game of Rounders eventually led to a game known as Town Ball and then to the game we now know as baseball....   [tags: physics sport sports baseball]

Research Papers
1689 words (4.8 pages)

Tin vs. Lumber Baseball Bats Essay

- Tin vs. Lumber Baseball Bats There has been great change throughout time in the game of baseball. One of the biggest changes in the college game we have seen is the baseball bats used. Before 1974, in the NCAA, the only bats used were wooden. Since then, mostly metal or aluminum bats have been used. This has caused great change in the college game, some say for better, some say for worse. For as long as I have been around aluminum bats, there has always been the question of safety. Each year we hear about a college pitcher being injured from a line drive off of an aluminum bat....   [tags: Sports Baseball Bat]

Free Essays
984 words (2.8 pages)

Net Force (F)
F=ma is equal to mass times acceleration

Conservation of linear momentum
Total Momentum (p)
when the net force acting on a system of a object is zero,
the total momentum (p) of a system is constant.

Elastic Collision
A collision between two objects where no kinetic energy
is lost and energy is conserved.

Conservation of energy
Energy can neither be created nor destroyed, it can only change from forms.
The total energy of an isolated system is constant regardless of internal changes

Note: A net force hit on a small mass will go farther than a large mass.


R. Cross, “The sweet spot of a baseball bat,” American Journal of Physics. 66, 772-779 (1998).

H. Brody, “Models of baseball bats,” American Journal of Physics. 58, 756-758 (1998).
Return to