Find the sweet spot on a baseball bat, in this Moment of Science.
There's a right way and a wrong way to hit a ball with a bat.
If you hit the ball with the wrong part of the bat, your hands get stung and the bat may break.
If you hit the ball on the "sweet spot" of the bat, you get the feeling of a solid connection with the ball—no stinging, no vibration, no broken bat.
Every bat has a sweet spot. The location along the length of the bat varies, depending on the shape of the bat and on how you hold it. You can find the sweet spot by gripping the bat handle with one hand in the same place as when you're swinging. Take a hammer in the other hand and gently tap the bat at various places along its length. At some point you will feel almost no vibration when you tap. That's the sweet spot. That's the best place for the ball to meet the bat.
If you don't have a baseball bat handy you can find the sweet spot on a pencil. Hold the pencil loosely between two fingers and tap it sharply against the edge of a hard table. Try tapping various spots along the length of the pencil, from the far end to very close to your fingers. You'll find one point where the tapping does not tingle your fingers. You'll probably also notice a difference in the sound as you get closer to the sweet spot.Any swinging object has a sweet spot, or "center of percussion," as engineers call it. A good hammer or axe is designed so that if you grip the handle at the proper place, the sweet spot is right where the tool strikes the nail or the wood. As a result, you get the optimum in power and control.