BBCOR is one of the very first acronyms many encounter as new baseball players.
If you’re buying a new bat, the terms BBCOR or USSSA are two of the terms you’ll see listed in its description. The BBCOR/USSSA rating systems apply to all regulation baseball bats, and are part of their certification as competition standard bats.
The short answer: if a bat isn’t certified to either standard, then you might be looking at a cheaper knockoff that isn’t competition legal!
If you’re new to BBCOR certification standards, or just want to know more about BBCOR versus USSSA and why both are important attributes for your bat, then keep reading!
What Is BBCOR?
BBCOR stands for Batted Ball Coefficient of Restitution.
According to regulations that were accepted in January 2011 by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), all competition bats (including those used for youth, little league, and junior league baseball divisions) have to adhere to BBCOR testing standards.
Among other factors, it measures the bat’s overall performance and factors like the trampoline effect. BBCOR certified baseball bats have been adequately tested to receive the BBCOR certification mark.
If you’re buying a bat for serious competition, always take a look at the description: does it mention either BBCOR or USSSA, or have a BBCOR certified mark? It should!
BBCOR bats are preferred for both high school baseball and college baseball. This is especially important to remember if you’re a novice player in the market for new gear — make sure you’re buying standardized gear!
Cheaper bats (and some knock-offs) will not contain this BBCOR certification. Aim to buy only from reputable retailers to make sure it’s an authentic product.
What Is BBCOR Used For?
BBCOR is important because it establishes a standard for competition bats.
If you buy a BBCOR certified bat, you’re buying one that has been constructed with the best materials and tested to perform more than just adequately.
But to understand exactly why it’s so important (and what BBCOR means), here’s a direct quote from the NCAA:
“To initiate the certification process for all baseball bats that are constructed with materials other than one-piece solid wood, an interested bat manufacturer must send one of the NCAA Certification Centers written notice of its intent to request certification testing on specific models it deems appropriate for testing.”
So BBCOR bats are non-wood bats that are typically either alloy bats or composite bats.
Additionally, even though most BBCOR bats are made from composite materials, they are tested for how close they are to wood bats. It’s an important factor, not just for feel and tradition, but for momentum and swing.
BBCOR baseball bats are valuable because you know they’re legal and standardized.
BBCOR: More Details
Bats used in serious competition have to adhere to BBCOR or USSSA standards.
When tested, the certification guarantees that no player has an unfair advantage over another.
More than this, BBCOR baseball bats are also tested on the amount of trampoline effect. How much bounce does the bat afford?
Too much or too little wouldn’t be fair. That’s why the BBCOR standard exists in the first place.
What Is USSSA?
When baseball bats don’t contain the BBCOR marking, they might instead be stamped with the acronym USSSA. It’s short for the United States Specialty Sports Association, of which baseball is its primary focus.
USSSA-marked bats are for youth events, like high school baseball, and tournament baseball.
Just the same as the BBCOR certification mark, it’s something important that a player should always look for in their choice of bat. Either rating means that the bat has been adequately tested (and constructed from the best materials).
The USSSA first governed softball back in the late-sixties, but later expanded to include baseball.
BBCOR Vs. USSSA
Some bats are marked BBCOR, and some carry the USSSA stamp instead. This is one of the things many get stuck on as new or young players.
The big difference is this: BBCOR bats are preferred for smaller-scale games, and USSSA-marked bats are for youth events and tournament baseball.
This is because, at least partially, USSSA bats have a higher Bat Performance Factor (BPF) than their counterpart. In competitive situations, you can expect USSSA bats to perform better than BBCOR bats.
Caution When Buying
If you’re in the market to buy a new USSSA or BBCOR bat, consider the following warnings about a couple of common pitfalls. Especially as a new player, it’s pretty easy to type “BBCOR Bat” into Google and buy the first thing you see — but wait a second!
• Knock-offs and copies are everywhere. Buy only from reputable and trusted sports retailers to guarantee you’re getting a decent product.
Research your retailer, and go one more step to do research on your specific product.
• Authenticate. If you’ve just made a new purchase, compare it to online listings. Does it handle, feel, and look exactly the same as the authentic bat?
Authentication can also sometimes be done via serial numbers and manufacturing stamps. It’s an important step — especially if you’re making a serious upgrade!
• Don’t fall for false claims. Breaking in is required for composite baseball bats.
Composite BBCOR bats can be legally broken in, but any resources that sell altered or “shaved” baseball bats are pushing allowed regulations for competition baseball. While some shaved bats claim to be USSSA or BBCOR certified, they’re not!