- Not all bats may be used in fast-pitch softball.girl up to bat in softball game image by pixelcarpenter from Fotolia.com
Hitting is a key component of fast pitch softball, but not all bats are legal in league play. The United States Specialty Sports Association (USSSA) regulate the types of bats that can be used by players during games. These rules help protect the quality of the game.
- The official bat may not be more than 34 inches long and 2 1/4 inches in diameter at any point on the barrel. The bat must also be no more than 31 1/2 ounces in weight. All of these measurements include any tape and grip additions to the bat. It must also be straight in length and round in cross section.
- The bat may be made of wood, aluminum or other metals. Wood must be one piece or laminated from hard wood sections and bonded together so the direction of the grain is parallel to that of the bat. Bats can also be made of graphite, fiberglass or composite material. The bat can be made from different materials pieced together, but must have a closed-barrel end. The knob of the bat must be welded or mechanically attached to the bat.
- There must be a safety grip of tape or other material coming from the small end of the bat and extending no less than 10 inches and no more than 15 inches. No decals are permitted on the bat and any graphics must be permanent and not easily removed. All authorized bat manufacturers are required to mark their bats with the words "Official Softball" to declare the bat legal according to USSSA. If the stamp is illegible, the bat will still be ruled legal if it satisfies all other requirements. Umpires have the authority to deem a bat illegal if it is has noticeable dents, has been altered, or has flat spots.
Non-Wooden Bat Requirements
- All non-wooden bats have a performance standard called a bat performance factor (BPF). This must be lower than 1.20 to be cleared for use in USSSA play unless it has been marked "USSSA BPF 1.20." A list of all bats compliant, licensed and legal is kept by USSSA and made available on its website. Only bats published on this list are allowed in USSSA play.