Softball has been one of America’s most popular sports since its introduction in 1887. It is a sport enjoyed by most people and is one of the few sports that still has both men’s and women’s leagues. The sport has three variations: fast-pitch, slow-pitch, and modified pitch. Over the years, certain developments have taken place to maintain the sport’s integrity and fairness. One such development is the institution of regulating or governing bodies for the sport. Two of the most influential governing bodies are ASA/USA and USSSA.
What is the ASA/USA?
The American Softball Association (ASA) was founded in 1933 in Oklahoma, to help standardize softball regulations. ASA/USA now has two primary divisions: adult and youth programs. There are 87 local organizations with over 245,000 teams and over 3.5 million participants across these two programs. On January 1st, 2017, USA Softball (another softball regulatory agency) and the ASA merged to become USA Softball. USA Softball is presently the National Regulating Body (NGB) of Softball and the sport’s most prominent governing body.
Who is the USSSA?
The United States Specialty Sports Association (USSSA) was established in the spring of 1968 as the United States Slow-pitch Softball Association. Over the decades, the USSSA has expanded from a few thousand slow-pitch softball players to over 3.7 million participants in 13 major sports. In total, USSSA sanctions teams and individuals in 38 different sports. Slow-pitch softball, baseball, fast-pitch softball, and basketball players account for around 90% of USSSA membership.
Understanding ASA or USSSA softball rules may look overwhelming, but they are broadly similar with only a few significant differences. Some of the critical differences lie in the bat and ball specifications required by each governing body.
USSSA VS ASA Bat Regulations
USSSA bats typically have the following specifications:
- A length of 34 inches
- The knob located at the edge of the bat’s handle must not be more than 2 1/4 inches in diameter at its longest part
- Batted-ball speed of 100mph+
- Bat performance factor (BPF) of 1.20
- A weight of no more than 31 ounces, including the tape or grip addition to the bat
When looking for a USSSA-certified bat, go for a top-rated USSSA bat with top reviews.
ASA bat specifications include:
- Barrel diameter of 2 1/4 inches
- A length of no more than 34 inches
- A weight of no more than 38 ounces
- No wrappings, attachments, or accessories affixed
- Batted-ball speed of 98mph
- Bat Performance Factor (BPF) of 1.15, 1.20, or 1.21
For an in-depth guide to selecting the best slow-pitch softball bats, read our USSSA and ASA Bat Guide.
Differences between USSSA and ASA/USA Bats
The major difference between ASA and USSSA bats is the performance factor. Compared to ASA bats, USSSA bats are geared toward making players more effective in the game.
Furthermore, ASA bats are typically lesser in weight and provide junior players with an easy swing and striking experience, thereby lessening striking power. USSSA bats, on the other hand, are intended to maximize performance and boost striking power.
Slowpitch – USSSA VS ASA Ball Differences
Another difference in ASA and USSSA rules lies in the specification variations for slow pitch balls used by both bodies.
- 12-inch red-stitched
- Have a yellow optic cover
- Weigh 6.250 ounces or over
- Have a Coefficient of Restitution (COR) of 0.520 or under
- A compression of 300.0 lbs. or under, and dynamic stiffness of 5500.0 pounds
Main Takeaway: An ASA ball comes off the bat slower and doesn’t go as far
For USSSA, there are:
- 12-inch Classic M balls
- Optic yellow cover
- COR of 40 or less
- Lettering and logo in blue color
- Compression of not more than 325 pounds
Main Takeaway: A USSSA ball comes off the faster and goes further
Everything you need to know about USSSA and ASA/USA Rules and Gear
Knowing the rules and regulations for gameplay and equipment in both USSSA and ASA/USA leagues is vital information for every softball player. Failure to comply with these regulations in leagues or tournaments may lead to eviction or disqualification. Thankfully with guides and reviews like Pine Tar Press, you’ll be equipped with everything you need to know. You’ll be swinging for the fences in no time!