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USA Baseball, the national governing body for the sport of baseball in the U.S., in conjunction with participating national member organizations has adopted a new method for measuring bat performance in the testing of youth bats. Informed by the research of leading scientists on the USA Baseball Bat Study Committee, and supported by its National Member Organizations, — including the American Amateur Baseball Congress (AABC), Babe Ruth Baseball/Cal Ripken Baseball, Dixie Youth Baseball & Dixie Boys Baseball, Little League Baseball and PONY Baseball — USA Baseball has concluded that recent advancements in science, engineering, technology, and the materials available to fabricate non-wood bats, now allow the manufacturers to construct youth bats that can perform at a wood-like level through the entire range of lengths and weights of youth bats.

The new USA Baseball bat standard (USABat), which applies to bats that are classified below the NCAA and NFHS level of play, will be implemented on January 1, 2018, allowing the bat manufacturers sufficient time to bring these bats to the marketplace.

Similar to the NCAA and NFHS BBCOR standard, which helped to eliminate discrepancies with different length bats and thus provide a more direct measure of bat performance, the USA Baseball bat standard will allow youth baseball organizations in the United States to reach their goal of establishing a wood-like standard, a standard that will provide for the long-term integrity of the game.


Which NMOs and other organizations are implementing this new standard?

To date, the following organizations are participating
AABC
Babe Ruth Baseball/Cal Ripken Baseball
Dixie Youth Baseball
Dixie Boys Baseball
Little League Baseball 
PONY Baseball
NABF
Dizzy Dean Baseball
Perfect Game

What specific leagues and divisions will adopt USABat?

  • AABC
    • Nolan Ryan, Pee Wee Reese, Gil Hodges, Willie Mays, Jackie Robinson, and Roberto Clemente division tournaments
  • Babe Ruth & Cal Ripken
    • Tee Ball
    • Cal Ripken Baseball
    • Babe Ruth Baseball (13-15)
  • Dixie Youth & Dixie Boys 
    • Dixie Youth Baseball
    • Dixie Boys Baseball
  • Little League Baseball
    • Tee-Ball Division
    • Minor League Baseball Division
    • Little League Baseball (or the Major Division)
    • Intermediate (50/70) Division
    • Junior League Baseball Division
  • PONY Baseball
    • Shetland 6u
    • Pinto 8u
    • Mustang 10u
    • Bronco 12u
    • Pony 14u
  • NABF
    • Rookie Division 10u
    • Freshman Division 12u
    • Sophomore Division 14u
  • Dizzy Dean Baseball
    • 6 year old division
    • 7 year old division
    • 8 year old division
    • 9 year old division
    • 10 year old division
    • 11 year old division
    • 12 year old division
  • Perfect Game
    • Events at ages 12u and younger

Why the change to a wood-like standard?

USA Baseball’s national member organizations believe that a wood-like performance standard will best provide for the long-term integrity of the game. The new standard will not have a drop-weight limit, so young players can use bats made with light-weight materials.

Why not just use wood bats?

Wood is a scarce resource. The new bats will be designed to perform much like wood, where its performance will be limited to the highest performing wood.

How is the USABat standard different from the BBCOR standard used by the NCAA and NFHS?

Both the USA Baseball and NCAA bat performance tests are based on the coefficient of restitution from a bat-ball impact. The scale of results is different, however, since they use different test balls and test speeds. The testing difference is necessary to address the various levels of play in the respective age groups.

Why is USA Baseball involved?

The national member organizations asked USA Baseball as the national governing body to take the lead in this process to establish a new standard. Many other national governing bodies set and enforce standards for the equipment in their respective sports. To that end, USA Baseball established a Bat Study Committee of leading scientists and conducted theoretical modeling, field testing and lab testing. The committee shared its findings with the national member organizations, who then endorsed the new USABat standard.

Who were the scientists on the USA Baseball Bat Study Committee?

  • Alan Nathan, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Physics at the University of Illinois
  • Dan Russell, Ph.D. Professor of Acoustics at Penn State University
  • Glenn Fleisig, Ph.D. Research Director of American Sports Medicine Institute

Why wait until 2018?

The implementation date of 2018 will allow bat manufacturers sufficient time to conduct the appropriate research, design, testing, manufacturing and shipping needed to get new bats into retail outlets. This date also allows the participating national member organizations adequate time to educate their memberships of the USABat standard.

Is my current bat good for league play?

Yes. Current league-approved bats can be used through December 31, 2017.

Is safety the reason for the change?

No. Youth baseball continues to be one of the safest of all sports for youth participants.

How will I know which bat to buy?

All new bats that bear the USABat licensing mark will be permissible for play in the leagues and tournaments of the participating youth baseball organizations. A full list of certified bats can be found here.

Are wood bats still allowed?

Yes. Solid, one piece wood bats are approved for use under USABat with or without the USA Baseball Certification Mark. Multi-piece and composite wood bats must feature the USA Baseball Certification Mark to be approved for play.

Does the standard impact Tee Ball?

Yes. Under the USABat standard, certified tee ball bats will feature the USA Baseball mark and text which reads ONLY FOR USE WITH APPROVED TEE BALLS.

Can I use a Tee Ball bat that does not feature the USA Baseball mark?

All Tee Ball bats must feature the USA Baseball mark and accompanying text. Tee Ball bats that were produced and/or purchased prior to the implementation of the new standard can be certified using an Approved Tee Ball Sticker via the USA Baseball Tee Ball Sticker Program.

What is the USA Baseball Tee Ball Sticker Program?

The USA Baseball Tee Ball Sticker Program is an initiative designed to allow for the continued use of tee ball bats that were manufactured prior to the implementation of the new USABat standard. Through this program, parents, leagues, and coaches can purchase approved stickers marked with the USA Baseball logo and language which reads: ONLY FOR USE WITH APPROVED TEE BALLS.

Tee Ball Stickers can be ordered via USABaseballShop.com

Tee ball stickers will be available for purchase while supplies last.  Regardless of supplies, no sales will happen after May 31, 2018.

 

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