If we’re talking pure ability and physical comparisons between USA baseball bats and USSSA baseball bats, the discussion would end here. We can sum up the discussion right here and now with the fact that a USSSA baseball bat is sturdier, heavier, and has far more impact than a USA bat.
It’s also important to understand that USA made the changes to “maintain the integrity” of the game. In other words, they want youth players to focus on fundamentals rather than hitting strength.
From that perspective, it may seem that a USA baseball bat would surpass a USSSA bat.
Of course, it goes far deeper, with two governing bodies and standards and rules about when and where USA or USSSA baseball bats can be used. All this is to say that there are a lot more comparisons to make and by the time you reach the end of this article, we hope you’ll understand the intricacies of USA vs. USSSA bat rules.
What Are The Physical Differences Between USA And USSSA Bats?
The first thing to understand is that these youth baseball bats — governed by the USA and USSSA — fall below the NCAA, so none of this is comparable with what is used in collegiate, semi-pro, or professional baseball.
Performance-wise, there’s little competition between USA and USSSA bats. New USA bat rules were introduced in 2018 to reach a standard where youth league bats performed similarly to wooden bats; this changed the dynamic of the bat, lightening the swing weight and thus improving swing speed for younger players.
This adjustment to make USA non-wood bats perform similarly to a wood bat has been said to increase players’ attention to technique and detail. It was judged that learning the fundamentals was much more important than the actual performance of the bat.
USSSA baseball bats, on the other hand, maintain a performance that is termed 1.15bpf or (bat performance factor).
The new USA bat standard only applies to age groups between 8 and 14. For now, the new USA bat standards maintain differences between USA and USSSA models that give USA bats a competitive disadvantage.
- USSSA bats are heavier than their USA counterparts
- 1.15bpf USSSA bats are 10%-15% better than USA in terms of performance
- USSSA bats focus on optimized hitting strength
- A baseball’s “exit speed” is slower off of a USA bat versus a USSSA bat
- USA bats extend only to ages 8–14 while USSSA bats extend to all ages
In terms of physicality, USA baseball bats are outmatched and fortunately, the two will never see each other in competition because each standard applies to its own league and tournament play.
How To Know The Difference Between The Two?
Both a USA bat and USSSA bat have logos to look for that will be stamped somewhere on the barrel of the baseball bat. It’s important to look for the stamp to know you’re buying baseball bats from an approved USSSA bat manufacturer.
Of course, the same principle applies to USA bats. Typically, you will find the USA baseball stamp on the barrel of the bat.
To know that you’re buying a bat from an approved USSSA bat manufacturer, look for a “1.15 BPF” USSSA stamp indicating that the bat conforms to “BPF 1.15” or “.50 BBCOR” because it may not simply have a USSSA stamp.
If you ever end up with a baseball bat in your possession with a maximum barrel diameter that’s wider than 2.75”, then it doesn’t conform to USSSA baseball bat standards and is not certified or allowed in USSSA baseball tournaments. The USSSA play allows wider barrel bats, limiting the composite or wood bat barrel diameter to 2.75 inches.
What Are USA and USSSA?
USA Baseball and the United States Specialty Sports Association, or USSSA, are baseball organizations that are similar in purpose and function. The two bodies are independent of one another, but they’re both governing bodies for youth baseball and youth bats.
USA is the governing body for youth baseball whose umbrella extends over most amateur baseball organizations. That means that roughly 16 million baseball players fall under the influence of USA regulations and standards.
USSSA is a pure volunteer governing body association that is completely nonprofit. They are based out of Viera, Florida, and govern 13 sports organizations both in and out of the United States.
They have gained almost 14 million members since forming in 1968. USSSA holds the Global Sports World Series for players aged 7–14.
USA, being the larger governing body of the two, dominates youth sports baseball. As such, there are far more tournaments and league play that fall under the USA baseball guidelines, such as the USA baseball bat standard of lighter bat regulations set forth in 2018.
Which Leagues Fall Under USA or USSSA?
If you’re looking to sign up and need to know which baseball bat to purchase, it’s important to know which organization your local youth league falls under.
- AABC (American Amateur Baseball Congress)
- PONY Baseball (Protect Our Nation’s Youth)
- Dixie Youth Baseball (Covers 4-year-olds up to 12-year-olds)
- Dixie Boys (Covers 13-year-olds to 14-year-olds)
- Babe Ruth Baseball (International youth baseball and softball league)
- Cal Ripken Baseball Dixie (A division that falls under Babe Ruth baseball)
- Little League Baseball (World’s largest organized youth program)
- Tournament-level play
- Travel ball
- Other sports
As aforementioned, USA is much larger than USSSA, so there are many more leagues playing baseball under its direction. If it’s league play, you can bet that it will probably fall under USA.
Now that you understand the primary differences between the two organizations and the baseball bat standards behind them, it’s easy to understand that neither outdoes the other because both have an advantage for their respective organizations.
In terms of physical performance, USSSA bat standards are hard to beat; however, if you’re looking for standards that improve the fundamentals of batting, the USA bat standard makes them the better choice.
Frequently Asked Questions – USA vs USSSA Bats
Are USA and USSSA competing organizations?
No, neither are competitive with each other as each has their own organizations and members that fall under their rules and standards.
Do USA or USSSA changes in rules or guidelines affect each other?
Not at all. USA standards affect the leagues that constitute the 8–14 age group, while USSSA standards generally extend to USSSA baseball tournaments and travel teams only.
Can USA bats be used in USSSA play?
USSSA bat standards do not apply to baseball tournaments organized by USA and, similarly, baseball bats approved by USA cannot be used in USSSA league baseball.
Why do the USA and USSSA rules differ?
USA believes in maintaining lighter weight bats so that young players can concentrate on building the proper fundamentals. USSSA standards for bats offer a better performance advantage.
Does USA have different guidelines for different groups?
Yes, USA has specific guidelines laid out for each age group — 10U through 17U — and also for the Women’s National Team.