Going baseball bat shopping for the first time and need clarification? Rest assured; your confusion is valid because of the variety of bats in the market, each with advanced materials, technology, grips, and pricing. But we will help you learn to discern: USA bats Vs. USSSA Vs. BBCOR.
Apart from considering the manufacturer and the construction of the baseball bat, there are other things you should also pay attention to, such as the crucial rules of your league that must be adhered to.
Baseball has plenty of rules, and every tournament demands a specific type of bat that is appropriate in weight, length, and trampoline effect but is also certified for the legality of the match.
With every option you proceed to, the number on the price tag will increase, therefore; emphasizing for you to be aware of the different bat certifications and the compliance standards of other leagues. So let’s look into USA bats Vs. USSSA Vs. BBCOR.
USA Bats Vs USSSA Vs BBCOR
To be familiar with different certifications of baseball bats: USA bats Vs. USSSA Vs. BBCOR is crucial for you to prepare and succeed in creating a memorable game of the season at the plate.
Though to choose a bat out of the three certifications USA bats Vs. USSSA Vs. BBCOR seems easy, but in reality, it is overwhelming. When considering the external features like the model, performance, color, designs, and barrel size, you must also determine whether the bat is approved for the league you play in because different age groups and associations have precise certification requirements.
Supposedly, if you are playing in the Little Leagues, then no bat other than the one with a certification of USA bats will be fitting for the tournament, as it is the only one permitted by the league. However, you can use a USSSA bat on a travel baseball game tour.
Such aspects and the conditions of a tournament make it necessary to differentiate between USA bats Vs. USSSA Vs. BBCOR.
USA Baseball is the acknowledged governing body for baseball for amateurs in the States. Members of this organization have developed their developments concerning the performance of bats made for young players, and per the specifications- any built bat must be considered and will have a USA bat certification printed on the barrel if they meet the set standards.
These standards are laid down to maintain the game’s integrity and the amateur player’s safety. Manufacturers are encouraged to develop non-wood bats that are lighter in weight to promote fair and safe competition for amateur play.
Technological advancement and enhanced materials such as composite have now permitted companies to manufacture bats akin in properties to traditional baseball bats, which have a 2 5/8 inch barrel size. As a result, most of the multi-piece wood and non-wood bats come with a USA certification that they have been tested in the labs and have been made per the standards.
All USA bats must have a certification on the barrel as long as they are of one-piece wood, which is an exception.
USA bats have their set standards and guidelines indicative of rules for bats to be made for the age groups of 10-17 years. These guidelines are meant to highlight the particular bat drop numbers, length of the bat, and restrictions on materials that must be followed.
Little League, PONY, Babe Ruth Baseball. NABF, American Amateur Baseball Congress, and Dixie Youth B are examples of divisions and leagues that have complied with the USA bat standards and adopted it as the only bat certification to be used in their tournaments.
United States Speciality Sports Association, abbreviated for USSSA, is a volunteer-run and nonprofit sports regulating body responsible for setting rules for different league games played at a youth level.
USSSA also lays down rules that must be followed for bats used in USSSA-sanctioned leagues such as the Elite World Series, Global Sports World Series, USSSA world series, and All-American Games.
USSSA bat’s governing organization aims to enhance engagement among players playing at a young level. The USSSA bats mainly cover the leagues played by players with an age range of 5 to 14 years, and it is mandated upon every player of the game in the league to be using a USSSA bat.
Though players aged between 5-14 years are required to be using a USSSA bat with BPF not exceeding 1.15, this rule does not stand for all. It has exceptions because kids have varying growth rates, and some might be stronger than their counterpart teammates, needing a bat with a superior BFP or different drop weight.
USSSA bats are used at all levels of baseball games, like youth, seniors, and travel. They are especially preferred by the USSSA league organizers, who regularly check the certification through the umpires.
One way to identify the bat required at a USSSA-organized tournament is via the age group, which identifies the bat size most appropriate for the league and the age. The organization sets out different rules covering different ages and tournaments, which must be followed at all costs, and the bat must also be stamped at the barrel with a USSSA certification.
Let’s say if you are older than 15, you must be swinging with a bat on the field that has a comparatively lower drop weight than the one used by the age group 5-14.
BBCOR, an acronym for Batted Ball Coefficient of Restitution standard, regulates the production of adult baseball bats, especially college-level and high school-level games.
The BBCOR aims to manufacture standardized non-wooden bats that act as an ideal alternative to and perform as close to the wooden bats. Therefore, BBCOR has some additional regulations set in place, such as limiting the performance of the trampoline effect to a particular scale and ensuring the safety of the players from balls at a high velocity.
The trampoline effect is the effect referring to the exiting velocity of the bat when it comes in contact with the ball. To initiate more pop during the game, BBCOR reduced their trampoline effect and kept it to a minimum and below 0.50- the set range by NFHS and NCAA.
Some rules that are part of the BBCOR rules entail manufacturing non-wood bats. For this, any material other than wood, like composite, aluminum, or a hybrid of composite and alloy, is fit for performance equal to that of a wooden bat. Additionally, the BBCOR bats must minimize the hit statistics while maximizing the player’s batting skills and keeping them guarded against any high-velocity hit balls from the bat.
Any bat designed according to the BBCOR standards and with an adequate trampoline effect will be provided with a BBCOR stamp.
USSSA Bat Qualifications:
Qualifications that a USSSA bat to be used in a USSSA organized league should fulfill the requirements of having one of the barrel sizes out of the three 2 ¼”, 2 ⅝”, or 2 ¾”. BPF at a maximum should be 1.15, not beyond it, though a lesser BPF is also acceptable.
Moreover, the minimum marked length of a USSSA bat is 29 inches, with the drop weight being -8 or -5.
BBCOR Bat Qualifications:
Every bat to gain certification of BBCOR should follow certain qualification guidelines, which will then analyze whether the bat is eligible or not to be a BBCOR bat. The barrel size for any potential BBCOR bat must not exceed 2 5/8 inches, whereas the weight, length, and drop weight difference should be 3 (-3).
However, if a bat is made for older players playing in the major league, the preferred difference between the weight, length, and drop weight should be a number equivalent to or closer to zero.
Performance – USA Bats Vs. USSSA Vs. BBCOR
To judge the performance of USA bats Vs. USSSA Vs. BBCOR, at an equal scale, will be unjust to each certification. This is because every bat has been manufactured, keeping in mind a precise level tournament it will be used in.
Nevertheless, you can still conduct a casual comparison among the three bat certifications, but before that, always remember to use the bat at a league that the organizers have regulated; otherwise, you will be disqualified.
Using a BBCOR bat at a Little League is to act to your detriment because the bat is not suitable to be handled by younger players, which can prove to be quite problematic when it comes to swinging and hitting the ball.
A rather reasonable approach at a Little League tournament will be to use a USA bat and not even USSSA because the association does not approve the certification. You can still use a USSSA bat at a USSSA-organized baseball game.
Bat performance factor (BPF) helps in dictating the extent to which a baseball bat is “live.” It is the measurement of the ball’s speed after it has been in contact with the bat compared to the ball’s speed before it had it the bat. Not only this but the BFP is also compared against the trampoline effect of the ball.
Thus, BPF is an extremely relevant factor for consideration when choosing a bat. BPF of BBCOR bats has been restricted to 0.50, where it may not increase but can decrease. However, USSSA bats, in this regard, stand to be more versatile as they have a BFP that can go to 1.15.
No matter what bat you pick out of the BBCOR, it will always have a BPF lesser than 0.50, which means that when the ball is thrown towards the bat, it will only bounce twice further at the same stationary position and will have no swing.
The exit velocity and pop of BBCOR bats are much less, making them ideal to be used during high school tournaments. With BPF, USSSA bats are taking the lead; even USA bats do not have an excellent BPF nor the same pop as USSSA.
The difference between the length and the weight of a baseball bat is known to be its drop weight. This difference is less for BBCOR bats which are -3, whereas, for USSSA bats, it is -8 and -5. Big barrels coupled with a drop weight of -8 produce more hitting power, exhibiting a greater performance on the field.
This precise factor makes USSSA bats ideal, and the best for youth baseball leagues as the children aged between 5-14 are not physically strong compared to adults and use the highly generated hitting power to their advantage, allowing them to swing their bats conveniently.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What is the difference between USA USSSA and BBCOR bats?
The difference between USA, USSSA, and BBCOR is in terms of BPF and drop weight. The set BPF for each certification makes the bat unique and eligible to be used at tournaments.
Is the USA better than BBCOR?
Considering a college or high school baseball game, BBCOR is the most suitable choice for a bat as the hitting power to swing the bat has been kept minimum. But at a Little Leagues game, the USA bat should be used.
Do USA or USSSA bats have more pop?
USSSA bats have the most pop, even more than USA bats and the reason for this is their high BPF of 1.15.
Can BBCOR bats be used in USA games?
BBCOR bats can only be used in USA games if the college or high school-level players play the game. Also, BBCOR bat’s usability depends on the USA games’ regulations.