Why Do Your Hands Sting When Hitting A Baseball?

October 19, 2022
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If you’ve ever hit a baseball before, you must have asked yourself this question at least once: “Why do my hands sting when I bat?”

There’s nothing quite like the adrenaline of hitting a baseball. But, as you swing and make contact, the bat jars your hands and makes you feel like you just got electrocuted. What’s going on?

There could be many reasons for the stinging sensation. The easiest definition is that the stinging occurs because there is a gap between your top hand and the bat. It could be the result of hitting the ball off-center, or it might be because you’re using a bat that’s too heavy for you.

Whatever the reason, there are ways to reduce the sting. Read on for more!

Why Does It Sting When You Hit A Baseball?

In general, the bat stings your hands when there is a gap between your top hand and the bat. When you hit the ball on the inside or outside of the bat, or when it’s cold outside, the bat will reverberate down to the handle and jar against your hand where the gap is. It’s super painful and can sometimes legitimately cause an injury if you don’t have the proper tool in place to protect yourself.

We will get to a very simple and cheap fix for you that the majority of pro players now use. This thumb guard fills the gap between your top hand and the bat, thus reducing the sting substantially.

But before that, let’s explore some of the various reasons the bat can sting your hands:

Weather: Baby, it’s cold outside

Have you noticed that the bat stings almost every single time you hit the ball when it’s cold outside? Cold temperatures play perhaps the most significant role in stinging the hands when hitting a baseball. Why?

The stinging bat in your hands comes from the fibers within the bat freezing and becoming stiff, thus, when the ball hits the bat, there is no flex. In warmer weather, those fibers work to absorb the impact of the bat on the ball. But when those fibers become stiff, they transfer all of that impact into your hands instead. Ouch!

I remember one time in a Kansas high school baseball game when it was legitimately 22 degrees outside with a windchill in the teens. The game almost got called off because of snow. I believe it didn’t snow because it was too cold. I was in centerfield wearing 3 layers of pants, 3 layers underneath my jersey, and hid my hands in my pockets unless a ball was hit at me.

It was the only time in my baseball career that I purposely struck out. I’m not kidding, I thought I was going to break my hands the first couple of at-bats that day. And no, I didn’t get jammed either. I hit a screaming double into the left-center gap on my second at-bat and all the way to second my hands were on fire. So my next two at-bats, I tried to work a walk. It worked one time and the other it didn’t. I struck out swinging on purpose so I didn’t crack a bone in my hand.

The bat became a stiff rod of ice that day. And ice doesn’t particularly have a lot of flex. The fibers in the bat froze, stiffened up, and provided zero flex that freezing day in high school. So that’s what happens when the bat is stinging in cold weather!

Vibrational Frequency

One of the common reasons it stings when you hit a baseball is due to vibrational frequencies. We have sensitive hands, prone to experience frequencies between 200-700 Hz. Meaning sometimes, when we swing the bat, it creates a vibrational frequency between 200-700 hertz, which causes a stinging sensation in our hands if it reaches around 600 hertz.

Getting Jammed On An Inside Pitch

Another common reason for the stinging sensation is when you get jammed on an inside pitch. When this happens, the ball collides with the muscles and tendons on the inner side of your hand, causing a sharp blast of stinging in the hands. The best way to avoid this is by using a batting glove with extra padding on the inner side, and getting your timing right to hit the ball in the sweet spot. 

Pulling Away From The Pitch During The Swing

Pulling your hand away from the pitch as you swing can also cause a stinging sensation. This is because you are not making contact with the ball for a long enough period of time to transfer all the energy from the ball to your bat. As a result, some of that energy gets transferred to your hands instead, causing the pain.

Taking An Inside-Out Approach

Hitting the ball with an inside-out approach can also lead to a stinging sensation. This is because when you hit the ball with an inside-out swing, the handle of the bat is more exposed than during a traditional swing. As a result, you are more likely to get jammed by an inside pitch.

Bad Swings

Finally, bad swings can also cause your hands to sting. This is because when you have a bad swing, you are more likely to make contact with the ball with the wrong part of the bat. This can cause the ball to deflect off the bat and hit your hand instead.

How Do I Stop My Hands From Hurting When Batting?

You can do a few things to reduce the stinging in your hands when hitting a baseball:

Buy a Thumb Guard

The most obvious fix is to buy the ProHitter thumb guard. It’s less than $15 on Amazon and can reduce the sting by up to 90%. When I used one of these for the first time, I felt pretty stinking dumb because I’d spent my entire life batting in the cold and feeling like I broke my hand on practically every swing. And something so cheap and so simple basically completely alleviated the sting.

The gap between your top hand and the bat is ultimately the cause of the stinging in your hands. And it’s made infinitely worse in the cold because of how the bat’s fibers freeze. So that reverberation has a whole lot less flex to it and it becomes like a rigid iron bar, capable of bringing even grown men to tears.

The added benefit is that since the thumb guard closes the gap between the top hand and the bat, it also gives you a “oneness” feeling with the bat. It’s hard to describe, but it essentially gives you this feeling like you can control the bat substantially better. Instead of the bat feeling like a tool you hold, it now feels like it’s a part of you. Which, amazingly enough, can increase your power as well since you can swing the bat harder while still maintaining control.

So do yourself a favor and get one of these Prohitter thumb guards. Something like 70% of MLB players now use them, so why shouldn’t you? Once you buy it and use it, come back here to comment on how you like it!

A Good Grip

By using a correct grip on the bat, you’ll likely experience a lesser sting. A good grip will help absorb some of the impacts and reduce the amount of force transferred to your hand.

Wearing Good Quality Batting Gloves

If you wear gloves that are too thin, they won’t do much to reduce the impact. Instead, look for gloves with extra palm and finger padding. This will help to absorb some of the shocks.

Warming Up Your Hands

Before you head to the plate, it’s a good idea to warm up your hands. You can rub them together or hold them under warm water. This will help to increase blood flow and reduce the risk of injury.

Adjusting Your Batting Stance

How you stand on the plate can also affect how much force is transferred to your hands. If you’re standing too close to the plate, you’ll have to swing harder to make contact, which can lead to more pain. Instead, try standing an inch or two back from the plate. This will give you more time to react and will help to reduce the amount of force transferred to your hands.

Take a Break

If your hands are starting to hurt, take a break. It’s essential to listen to your body and give your hands rest when they need it. Trying to tough it out will only make the problem worse.

By following these tips, you can help to reduce the amount of pain you feel when hitting a baseball. However, it’s important to remember that some pain is normal.

Conclusion

It is not uncommon for baseball players to experience a stinging sensation in their hands when hitting a baseball. We have discussed the possible reasons for this, along with tips to overcome it. However, staying positive and having fun while playing are the most important aspects of the game. After all, baseball is supposed to be enjoyable!


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  1. The reason that the bat stings your hands is simple. Not once was it said in this rambling of theories. Choke up and make sure you are squeezing the absolute poo out of the bat. If enough grip and pressure are applied to the handle of the bat. It is very unlikely you will feel any pain at all.. EVER!!!!! If you are not sqeezing that handle when you make contact the bat vibrates an it goes strait to your palms and fingers. This stinger of sorts is much more violently painful when you are using a wooden bat. Even with a tight grip and good gloves. You can’t escape the inevitable. If you hit the ball with the end of the bat or jam the ball or torch it. Snow cone it. Off the tip of the bat. No matter what you are getting the stinger of a lifetime. Zero you can do about it. For the most part a nice firm grip and good ball placement on the barrel, along with nice padded gloves. The stingers all but go away. Hope this helps everyone.