In the process of looking for the best softball bat, you will notice ASA, USSSA, NSA, ISF and ISA Approved. These letters stand for the governing bodies in softball. They certify a softball bat according to a specific play and league.
They identify which bat is acceptable for play in a tournament. These tournaments are governed by the association. There are at least 20 governing bodies surrounding softball.
However, there are five major bodies. These are the following:
- ASA or Amateur Softball Association
- USSSA or the United States Specially Sports Association
- ISA or the Independent Softball Association.
We also have NSA or National Softball Association and the ISF or the International Softball Federation. Although these governing bodies are following same rules and softball guide, each of them is separate from the others. You must comply to the specific set of rules by these governing bodies based on your tournament or league to play.
How these Associations Differs?
Regardless of the league you are playing, there are specific rules to follow. The governing bodies have similarities and differences from each other. However, they all promote fair, consistent and safe play.
- You will be interested to know that these associations differ in certifying softball bats.
- The NSA and USSSA also certify bats and test them. These associations are using the test developed by a physics professor in New York, name Dr Brant. The test measures the ball acceleration off the bat.
- The USSSA has implemented development to enhance the slowpitch softball. They implemented longer fence, 65-foot bases paths and make use of smaller batter’s box.
- Today, USSSA is also overseeing fast pitch softball, golf, basketball and baseball. It is now a multi-sport governing body.
- The ISF organizes women’s world championship competitions. They are also responsible in governing junior women and men’s fast pitch and coed slow pitch. The association also authorizes regional championships.
- The NSA also organizes systematic league. This is where recreation departments and parks can send softball teams. They sanctioned leagues and other qualifying tournaments.
- ASA governs the tournaments in the United States. They also sponsor the annual sectional and World Series championships.
- The highest governing body in Softball is the World Baseball Softball Confederation. The WBSC regulates the play of over 110 countries. Before, it was the ISF who filled this role.
Every softball bats to use should meet your leagues rules. This is very crucial to avoid future problems. Different leagues require different certification stamp. They imposed specifications of bats to use so make sure to check your league’s listing.
Illegal Softball Bats and other Regulations
There are plenty of softball bats to choose from however, several bats are banned. This is due to performance enhancement. The ASA determined these bats to be illegal.
- Some bats have an unfair advantage and might even harm other players.
- The ASA will still approve these regulations. This is despite the Major League Softball and its variations have specific regulations
- Some bats may be “doctored”. These bats are either end-loaded or has an additional weight at the end. Others are painted or shaved.
- Shaved bats specifically have thinner walls to improve its elasticity.
- Painted bats are done because they purchased illegal bats in the first place. These bats may impose hazard and danger to the opposing team.
- These doctored bats are illegal and banned from leagues. However, many are still using them.
These governing bodies have also imposed rules in other aspects of softball. These include softball glove, uniforms, softballs and game play. You will get to learn more about softball’s rules and guidelines. Continue reading as you progress in playing this popular sport.
Thanks for these governing bodies. Now, organizing softball leagues and tournaments worldwide is possible. These associations helped in solidifying the game. They made it a legitimate sport that we enjoy today.