In softball, there are a number of league associations, such as the National Softball Association (NSA), Senior Softball- USA (SSUSA), Independent Softball Association (ISA), and International Softball Federation (ISF), and more. Among them, United States Specialty Sports Association (USSSA) and Amateur Softball Association (ASA) are the major leagues.
Note: The Amateur Softball Association (ASA) has undergone a rebrand and is currently called USA Softball (USAS). For the sake of this article, I’ll keep calling it ASA.
Moving on – each of these leagues has its own set of standards and specifications. The reason behind this is to ensure that everyone has a fair chance in the game and that no one gets an added advantage.
They also ensure the safety of the players. For example, the titanium bats were banned since the players could hit the ball back at a speed that’s 10 mph faster than a regular bat. This raised a lot of safety concerns, and hence, they were banned.
There are more differences, though. That’s where I come in. I’m going to discuss all the details of both USSSA and ASA softball bats – the rules, limitations, everything! Plus, by the end, I’ll also give you a couple of suggestions.
Quick Overview Of USSSA vs ASA Softball bats
|Barrel Length||34-inches max||34-inches max|
|Average Exit Velocity||44.75MPH||41.38MPH|
|Ban Period||2-5 years||2-5 years|
|BPF Rating||100 MPH||98 MPH|
What Is the Difference Between ASA And USSSA Softball Bat?
ASA (American Softball Association)
It is one of the strictly regulated softball leagues. All the ASA-approved bats must have a batted speed of 98mph. In the year 2013, they introduced a new certification stamp. The bats that bore the new stamp could hit 0.52 COR 300 Compression softballs. And, bats with stamps from 2000 and 2004 were declared illegal.
All ASA bats’ barrel diameter should be 2 1/4 inches. The length should not exceed 34-inches, and the weight should be under 38 ounces. There shouldn’t be any type of wrappings, attachments, or devices attached to the softball bat.
In addition, there are strict penalties against these guidelines. If an altered slow pitch softball bat is used in ASA Sanctioned events shall be banned for 2 to 5 years from any of the games organized by the league. And, it will not be returnable to the company under Manufacturer Warranties.
USSSA (United States Specialty Sports Associations)
In 2013, the association introduced a new thumbprint stamp upon revising its testing standards. So, any bat carrying a USSSA stamp that is older will not be approved by any of the league-sanctioned games.
In USSSA, the maximum length for a softball bat, for both slowpitch and fastpitch, is 34inches. And the widest barrel diameter must be 2 1/4 inches. This rule adheres strictly to bats that have the BPF ratings of 1.15, 1.2, and 1.21. As for the weight, it cannot exceed 31 ounces.
Also, USSSA has the same bylaws in terms of the usage of altered bats. The users will be banned for 2 to 5 years from any of the league’s sanctioned events. And, of course, any bat that is sustaining heavy damages, is roughed up, or is dented will not be allowed in the tournaments.
Can You Use ASA Bats in USSSA Softball?
No. Bats that have a USSSA stamp can be used in the league games. There are bats with both stamps. So, if you get one of the double-stamped bats, you can use it.
Can You Use USSSA Bats in ASA Softball?
No. An ASA bat is legal for ASA sanctioned games. While ASA approves bats that have a batted speed of 98mph, USSSA approves for a much higher batted speed, above 100 mph, so they can’t be used in ASA leagues. Also, USSSA bats have a BPF of 1.20 while ASA approves for 1.15.
Again, the same thing goes here as well. There are bats with multiple stamps. So, you can use them if you want to.
Are USSSA Bats Better Than ASA?
Yes. Any USSSA stamped bat will outperform an ASA bat by a margin of 5 to 10 percent, both in terms of exit speed and distance covered.
Recommended USSSA and ASA Softball Bats?
Here I’ve highlighted two of my favorite USSSA bats. These bats are some of the best softball bats that you’ll come across. You’ll know what I’m talking about once you use them.
Rawlings Mantra Fastpitch Softball Bat (Combo Bat – USSSA + ASA)
If you want the crème de la crème of bats, then the Rawlings Mantra Fastpitch bat could be the one. It is definitely one of a kind and is among the list of some of the best softball bats out there. This bat, in particular, is designed to enhance the player’s control over the bat and hit it with power.
The Mantra is perfect for players who are in high school or in college. It is a two-piece bat with a cool light blue and white pattern. Personally, I’m not a big fan of light colors, but this one is quite an eye-catching one.
The bat is available in a wide range of lengths. Starting from 24inches, you can find a bat of every size going up to 34inches. So, you can get a bat for a 5-year-old, a 17-year-old, or even an older one from the same series.
I wouldn’t exactly recommend this bat for a 5-year-old. And here’s the reason why the bat is worth about $400, which can break your bank. But, for a teenager, sure, if you can afford it, then this bat would be a great choice.
The texture is made out of composite material. So, it is made out of layered carbon fiber that minimizes the sting from any errant hits. They are lightweight and can be stretched out longer than any other type of bat without having any negative impact on the swing weight.
The barrel is designed with multi-step barrel technology. It has a 3-step inner barrel design that specifically optimizes the performance of the bat. It distributes the weight across the entire length of the barrel for it to have a faster and more powerful connection through the swing zone.
Here’s another unique feature of the barrel. The outer layer is 15 percent thinner than the inner layer. This gives the barrel an unreal trampoline effect along with the most satisfying pop on contact.
The F2 collar system between the two pieces gets rid of the barrel drag. And it reduces the vibrational kickback from the contact. This makes the feel of contact smooth and comfortable. The Ultra-Light end cap also gives a superior feel to it. Moreover, the lizard skin grip allows you to grab onto the bat comfortably. It also provides you with maximum tack and reduces the sting on contact.
Coming to the fact that sets this series apart from the rest is the blast motion sensor. The Mantra is the first of its kind to have this type of technology incorporated into it and get its approval for game use. The sensor can be easily inserted into the knob. It is constructed in such a way that the sensor can seamlessly fit into it.
What the sensor does, is that it can give you real-time feedback and analytics of your performance on the field. So, you can target all the problematic areas, whether it is in your stance or swing, and correct them accordingly. Also, it doesn’t disrupt the swing weight or the hand feel.
There is a downside to it. The sensor is sold separately. Without it, the bat will function as a regular bat. Apart from that, the bat is approved by USSSA, NSA, ASA, ISF, ISA, and all other associations that use 98mph w/ABI.
Miken DC 41 Slowpitch Softball Bat
The Miken 2021 DC 41 is a slow pitch softball bat. It is a special edition Miken DC41 Supermax ASA Maxload bat and designed for adults. Although it is mostly used for leisurely games and matches, you can also use it in competitive ones as well.
The specialty of this bat is that it maximizes the bat’s speed and the hitting distance. So, every time you hit, the ball will go flying deep into the zone. The body of the bat features the classic black and white print with a red knob.
The barrel is 2.25 inches in diameter, and the length is 14 inches. It has an end-load of 1ounce. The material that it is made out of is composite. And the overall bat length is 34 inches. As for the overall bat weight, you can choose between 26 ounces and 28 ounces.
All the above aspects are pretty standard but what’s interesting about this bat is the F2P Barrel flex technology used to design it. This technology gives the bat increased flex. If you are a contact hitter, this is exactly what you need. The additional flex, along with the 1-ounce supermax end load, creates more bat speed, and this will allow you to hit the ball further into the deep zone.
Coupled with the flex technology, the revolutionary 100 COMP composite fibers add more elasticity to the bat. You will be able to control the bat better. Normally, many players find it difficult to maneuver the swing weight, especially when the bat is an end-loaded one.
Next, the fibers simply don’t add elasticity, but it also makes the bat more durable. So, if a player is wielding this bat, they can control it easily, have increased swing speed, and they don’t have to worry about any dents or cracks that can occur during the game.
The grip size is 10mm, and a non-insulating leather covers the handle. If you are wondering about the price tag, then yes, the cost is a bit on the higher end. It is priced between $280 and $290. As I mentioned, this bat is used for both recreational and competitive games. If you just play occasionally, then you can go for another series that’s a lot more budget-friendly.
The Miken 2021 DC41 is only certified for all the ASA leagues. So, you won’t be able to use this bat for any other league tournaments.
One of the first steps that you need to do is ask your coach about the bat certifications before you go ahead and buy one. The leagues constantly update their rules and regulations, so your best source of information would be either your coach or the league.
All the bats that are genuinely certified receive their certification stamp. And another thing, sometimes, as the leagues update their rules, they may discard the bats that were previously certified by them. So, make sure you double-check!
And if you are wondering what type of bat you should get, you can always go for the ones that I have suggested above. Or, you can do your own research and find a softball bat that’s perfect for you. There are tons of models that perform well and are economical. I hope this article helps. Cheers.