Is Your Hitter Afraid of Stingers? Use This Hitting Drill To Overcome Fear of Hand Sting in Baseball and Softball


It can be difficult to help hitters overcome the fear of hand sting when hitting a baseball or softball. This drill can help.

When she was 11 years old, my daughter experienced hand sting in a few different games.  She began to really back off the ball.  When she was hitting in games, you could tell she was afraid.

And worst part about that is when you aren’t swinging with conviction, it makes you MORE likely to experience another stinger.  So the fear can easily get worse and worse with repeated bad experiences.

After this went on for a few weeks, me and her together developed the drill below.  It helped her build up the confidence she needed, and finally her fear became a thing of the past.

What is Hand Sting?

Every baseball or softball player, at some point, has experienced the sharp, stinging sensation that shoots through the hands after hitting a ball. This phenomenon, commonly known as hand sting, occurs when the ball makes contact with the bat in a manner that causes vibrations to travel down the bat and into the hitter’s hands. It’s a feeling that can range from mildly annoying to downright painful, making it a significant nuisance for players at all levels.

What Causes Hand Sting?

Hand sting primarily results from hitting the ball with the wrong part of the bat, often outside the sweet spot.

The sweet spot is the area on the bat where the impact feels the smoothest and produces the best results.

Striking the ball too close to the handle or the end of the bat can cause significant vibrations, leading to that unpleasant stinging sensation.

The Impact of Hand Sting

The immediate effect of hand sting is physical discomfort, but the repercussions extend beyond just the momentary pain.

Players may develop a fear of hitting, leading to hesitation at the plate, which can severely impact their performance.

Over time, repeated exposure to hand sting can also lead to hand and wrist injuries, making it more than just a minor inconvenience.

For young players, in particular, this can be especially disheartening, affecting their confidence and enjoyment of the game.

Addressing and Fixing Hand Sting

Fortunately, there are several strategies to minimize or prevent hand sting:

  • Proper Equipment: Using a bat with the correct length and weight for the player can reduce the chances of hitting the ball with the wrong part of the bat.
  • Quality Batting Gloves: Investing in high-quality batting gloves can help absorb some of the vibrations, lessening the sting felt by the player.
  • Technique Adjustment: Working with a coach to refine hitting technique can ensure that players consistently hit the ball with the bat’s sweet spot.
  • Use of Vibration Dampening Grips: Some bats come equipped with or can be fitted with grips designed to reduce vibration, effectively decreasing the likelihood of hand sting.

Drill to Help Overcome Fear of Hand Sting

The Drill:  Alternating Soft and Hard Ball Front Toss

Why it Works:  Due to fear of hand sting, young hitters often hold back when hitting hard balls.  This easily becomes a vicious cycle, because half-hearted swings actually increase the chances they’ll experience another stinger. 

Often, the hitter doesn’t even realize they are backing off in fear, because they’re too distracted by the fear itself.

Using an alternative training ball eliminates the fear and free the hitter up to work on swinging hard, and improving other mechanics.  Then the goal is to work the hard ball into practice while keeping the same intensity of swing.

How to Do the Drill

Setup for Front Toss (see equipment recommendations below if you need an L screen)

🟠  Step 1 – Using a softer training ball… such as Safety Baseball, Smushball or Tanner Airflow Ball… 10 swings

🟠  Step 2 – Tell your hitter that you’re going to start mixing in regular baseballs or softballs, but they won’t know when.  *It’s important that these are full speed swings.*

🟠  Step 3 – Now take 5 Swings with a regular baseball or softball.  Encourage your hitter to take the same hack.  (If they back off, change to alternating the soft and hard baseball every other throw)

Baseballs to eliminate hand sting; best training ball for practicing at home.

Training balls to eliminate hand sting:

  1. Foam Baseball / Click here to visit Amazon
    Smush Balls
  2. Soft Rubber, Limited Flight Airflow Ball
  3. Safety Baseballs – Looks and feels like a regular baseball, only with a softer foam inner core

Protective Screen

When doing front toss with hard balls, it’s important to protect the thrower with an L or I screen, like these portable ones:

For parents and coaches, watching a player struggle with hand sting is equally frustrating. It’s challenging to see young athletes in pain, knowing it’s affecting their love for the game and their performance on the field. The emotional toll it takes on both the player and their support system is significant, underscoring the need for effective solutions.

Implementing these solutions requires patience and persistence, but the payoff is worth it. Not only can it reduce the physical discomfort associated with hand sting, but it can also help players regain their confidence at the plate, ensuring that they continue to enjoy and succeed in baseball or softball.

Hand sting is a common hurdle for baseball and softball players, but with the right approach, it can be overcome. By understanding what causes it and how to address it, players, parents, and coaches can work together to ensure that this frustrating aspect of the game doesn’t dampen the passion and enjoyment that comes with playing the sport.

About Author

Avatar für Doug Bernier

Doug Bernier, founder of Pro Baseball, debuted in the Major Leagues in 2008 with the Colorado Rockies, and has played professional baseball for 5 organizations (CO Rockies, NY Yankees, PIT Pirates, MN Twins, & TX Rangers) over the past 16 years. He has Major League time at every infield position, and has played every position on the field professionally except for catcher. (You should click to watch this great defensive play by Bernier) Where is he now? After 16 years of playing professionally, Doug retired and took a position as a Major League scout with the Colorado Rockies for 2 years. Currently Doug is the Data and Game Planning Coordinator with the Colorado Rockies


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