So you’re shopping through a ton of softball bats, and they might not even be for you. They might be for your kid or even for your grandkid, and you know you can’t just give any old bat, even as a present. There are rules and regulations associated with these bats. You might be drawn to the claims of the manufacturer, only to find out that the bat you loved and wanted to gift was not allowed in the league of the player you were going to give it to in the first place.
Let’s narrow down this situation a little bit and set some ground rules. There are a lot of organizations out there that specify the rules for gameplay, as well as the regulations associated with equipment such as bats. Rather than telling you what all of the different rules and regulations are to the letter of the law, we’ll give you a quick snapshot into how to identify a USSSA softball bat. It’s actually easier than you think.
The USSSA, or the United States Specialty Sports Association, is the governing body that sets the regulations that we are going to address in this article. Here’s what it breaks down to.
For a bat to be a USSSA certified softball bat, it needs to meet the ASA’s 98 mph certification and have a Bat Performance Factor (BPF) of 1.2. Now we just need some more information on what this means.
The ASA’s 98 mph certification is linked to the BPF, or bat performance factor. This certification means that the BPF will be determined according to the criteria set forth by the ASA standard of a 98 mph pitch, which is also called the Batted-Ball Speed, or BBS. For the BPF to be measured, it must be done at a Batted-Ball Speed of 98 mph, which is the standard.
This is where it becomes important to understand BPF or bat performance factor. What BPF is, to make things as simple as possible, is a measurement of how much “extra” rebound a bat produces when striking a ball, as compared to the ball being thrown (with equivalent power) at a flat wall and then being allowed to bounce off of it. For a real-life example, use the BPF of 1.2, which is the standard for USSSA softball bats. This means that a ball contacting a bat with a BPF of 1.2 will rebound off of the bat at 1.2 times the rebound of a flat wall, or with 20% more power.
That’s really all there is to it, but there’s an easier way. Most if not all USSSA slowpitch softball bats – and fastpitch softball bats come with their own certifications advertised by the manufacturer, so really all you need to know is the governing body of the league and then you can buy a bat that’s certified for that.
To make it even easier on yourself, just shop at HB Sports at HeadbangerSports.com. They sell fastpitch and slow-pitch softball bats approved for a wide range of leagues, including the USSSA, that are great for all different skill sets. Whether you’re shopping for a power hitter who will thrive with a full ounce end load of swing weight or a precision hitter who wants a weight balanced bat with a smaller sweet spot, you’ll find it right there.