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A sweet spot is a place, often numerical as opposed to physical, where a combination of factors suggest a particularly suitable solution. In the context of a racquet, bat or similar sporting instrument, sweet spot is often believed to be the same as the center of percussion.

Contents

Sporting origin

The term originally referred to various pieces of sporting equipment, notably cricket and baseball bats and tennis racquets. When hitting the ball, the bat (for instance) will rebound, but there is a location along the bat where this force is completely balanced out by turning force of the bat. If the ball is hit closer to the end of the bat, the grip of the bat will try to rotate forward out of the batter's hands, whereas if the ball hits it closer to the handle, the bat's tip will try to rotate forward and drive the bat into the batter's hands. There is a small "sweet spot" where these two tendencies cancel out. The "sweet spot" location on a given baseball bat varies however it is approximately 6-1/2" from the end of the barrel.

Although the sweet spot gives a powerful and clean hit, peak ball speed occurs nearer the tip of the bat where the bat is travelling at greater speed.

Non-sporting use

The term is now used in other fields to indicate any solution where competing factors produce a favoured outcome between extremes.

For instance, in bridge-building short gaps can be covered by a cantilever bridge, while deep gorges can be served only by a suspension bridge. In between these two extremes are gaps where the materials needed to construct an arch (for instance) would be about equal to the expense of the cabling needed for a suspension design. This is the "sweet spot" for the cable-stayed bridge that reduces the cabling and the materials.

Audiophiles and recording engineers may refer to a "sweet spot" as the focal point between two speakers where an individual is fully capable of hearing the stereo audio mix the way it was intended to be heard by the mixer. Sound engineers also refer to the "sweet spot" of any noise-producing body that may be captured with a microphone. Every individual instrument has its own sweet spot, the perfect location to place the microphone(s) to get the best sound.

See also

A metaphysical description of the Sweetspot derived from Robert Pirsig's Metaphysics of Quality by Mark Maxwell, a philosophy post-graduate from the University of Liverpool, UK[1]

References

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