Softball has always been one of the top five sports played by Americans. Since its conception in 1887, though, there have been a lot of changes in the rules. But to keep things uniform and accessible to everyone, a few governing entities emerged to dictate the rules of the game. ASA is just one of the many governing entities today.
If you are playing in any ASA-controlled leagues, you must abide by their rules, and that includes choosing a bat that is compliant with their standards. But what exactly are the rules here? Let’s look at the answers!
ASA Softball Bat Rules
The term ASA stands for Amateur Softball Association, and if you are playing competitively, your softball bat must meet the standards and guidelines that are set by the entity. In other words, if you want to play in USA Softball Championship Play, your softball bat must meet the ASA standards.
Now, the rules themselves are pretty clear and straightforward. It includes the basics such as the fitness of the bats, their overall size ratio and diameter, and whether it comes with the certification stamp on it. For a rookie, it might seem complicated at first, but in reality, it really isn’t.
If you are planning to buy a new, high-end softball bat though, I can understand why it might scare you. You do not want to spend a bunch of money just to find that your bat is illegal later on, right? Well, that’s where I come in.
In this article, I will give you a complete picture of ASA softball bat rules so that you know exactly what to look for when you are shopping for a new bat for yourself later on.
What is an ASA Certified Bat?
Saying that ASA certification is a big deal would be me putting things lightly. You see, USA softball is extremely picky with its certification process for softball bats. All approved bats must follow a set of guidelines in accordance with the ASA.
USA Softball takes its certification process seriously for all bats and balls. The ASA Bat and Ball Certification Program has a rigorous testing program. All of the softball bats with the USA/ASA certification stamp have undergone thorough testing to make sure it is fully legal for TSA plays.
To determine whether a bat is suitable for ASA plays, it is tested in accordance with the ASA 2000 Bat Performance Standard, which takes into account the Batted Ball Speed or BBS. This means it will consider both the swing speed of the bat and the speed of the pitch to determine whether the bat is suitable for ASA-level softball.
When you are looking for ASA-approved bats, you might sometimes come across the term USA instead of ASA. Don’t worry, both of them mean the same thing. In 2017, they changed the name from TSA to USA with a brand-new logo to go along with it.
As long as your bat has an ASA or USA certification stamp on it, the bat is legal for competitive softball. And if you do decide to take a non-ASA certified bat to your game, the official might kick you out for bad conduct. Needless to say, that is the last thing you want happening in your big game.
What Bats are ASA Approved?
As I already said, ASA guidelines are pretty strict in what bat you can or cannot use in competitive softball. The softball bat must meet certain standards if you want to use it in your upcoming big game.
For example, the bat must have all the right components, such as the knob, handle, grip, taper, barrel, and end cap. In addition, the components should be free of any dents or cracks and cannot be worn out excessively. The bat also needs to have the OFFICIAL SOFTBALL or USA Approved certification stamp on it by the manufacturer.
The length of the bat cannot exceed 34 inches, and it cannot weigh more than 38 ounces. Furthermore, the largest part of the barrel cannot be more than 2-¼ inches in diameter. It also accounts for any expansion of the material.
As for material, you can use aluminum, composite, or hybrid bats, but wooden bats are prohibited in competitive play. The bat must pass the certification mark under ASA 2000, ASA 2004, or ASA 2013. It also cannot be listed in the Non-Approved Bat List released by the ASA every few years.
How Do I Know If a Bat is ASA Approved?
If you read all the rules, then I know you must be feeling overwhelmed by now. Does this mean you need to measure the bat and jump through a bunch of hoops to make sure that it is completely legal for your play level? Well, no, there is an easy way out of it.
ASA-approved softball bats that were manufactured before 2017 would have an ASA-Approved Stamp on them. You can typically find it at the connection point of the bat’s barrel and handle. This stamp is all you need to see to know that your bat is legal for competitive games.
However, bats that were made after the name change will instead come with a “USA Softball Certified” or “USA Softball” stamp. As long as your bat comes with any one of these stamps, you should be safe against any legal actions from the officials on account of your softball bat.
ASA Approved Softball Bats List
As of today, there are literally thousands of bats that are approved by the ASA. And listing them out one by one is not exactly very practical. If you want to buy an ASA-approved softball bat, the best thing you can do is check for the certification stamp. Going through an ASA-approved softball bat list will not be very worthwhile for you when you are buying a new one.
For what it’s worth, here is a well-rounded ASA-approved bat that you might want to look into if you are on the market for a new softball bat.
ASA Non-Approved Softball Bats List
However, ASA does release a list of softball bats that are considered illegal for competitive play. And if you want to look into that out of curiosity, I completely understand. But if I were to list out the bats, I would be here all day.
So instead, I will give you an updated list of ASA Non-Approved Softball Bats List for 2022 that you can check out here. Keep in mind, though, this list is updated every few years, and the bats on this list are subject to change.
Some Parting Wisdom
If you want to become a pro and play in the big leagues, it is important to respect the rules of the game from an early stage. You would be surprised how many people try to cheat the system by going to the plate with a non-approved bat. But once they get caught, things get quite ugly.
So just don’t do it; it’s not worth your reputation and credibility as a player. If you are buying a new softball bat, make sure you glance over at the certification stamp. As I always say, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Hopefully, my complete guideline on ASA softball bat rules could clarify things for you. Good luck!