High school baseball bats come in various sizes, weights, and styles. Some are wooden, and others are a combination of aluminum and composite material. With so many options, it is hard to choose the right one.
Here is what you need to know about official regulations for high school baseball bats.
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The Standard for High School Baseball Bats Explained
Baseball bats for high school athletes must meet official standards. The National Federation of State High School Associations has some requirements to follow. They have chosen to use the BBCOR test for regulating bats.
BBCOR stands for Ball Bat Coefficient of Restitution. For a baseball bat to receive the stamp of approval, it must go through testing and meet the required benchmarks.
The BBCOR measures energy loss when the bat comes in contact with the ball. According to the NFHS, 0.50 is the maximum allowed value a bat can achieve. This number is slightly higher than what a wooden bat can do.
For a bat to get a BBCOR certification, it must not have a barrel wider than 2 ⅝.” The length to weight ration cannot be greater than -3, and the bat cannot be longer than 36.”
You can watch this video about BBCOR standards to get a better idea of the requirements a high school baseball bat should meet.
What Are BBCOR Bats Made Of?
One-piece wooden bats meet BBCOR requirements, but not all bats have a certification stamp on them. Note that two-piece bats might not meet these requirements and you will have to look for a certification stamp.
Other certified bats use a mixture of aluminum alloy and composite materials. Composite materials include carbon fiber, graphite, fiberglass, and sometimes Kevlar.
Why Do High School Baseball Bats Need a Standard?
Before the BBCOR standard, high school baseball leagues used the BESR. The BESR stands for Ball Exit Speed Ratio. This standard measured the speed of a ball as it came off the bat.
Officials were noticing a high number of home runs and increased offensive performance before implementing the BBCOR requirements. The pitcher’s safety was also put into question because of the higher speeds when the ball came off the bat. Essentially, the ball could come off the bat at speeds much higher than when pitched.
The BBCOR developed a new set of standards to keep players safe and to make the game fair and competitive.
What Are the Rules for High School Baseball Bats?
High school baseball players follow the guidelines of the NFHA and NCAA when choosing the correct bat. Both associations agree that high school baseball bats must be BBCOR approved and have the stamp of approval on the bat.
All bats that are not wooden will have a silk screened mark on them. The mark shows coaches and umpires that the player’s bat meets official requirements and went through a testing process.
Beyond BBCOR standards, there are other rules to follow. Players can’t use two-piece bats, unless the bat has a composite barrel and an aluminum handle. Two-piece bats usually have a small bump where the barrel overlays the handle, making them unacceptable to use.
Altering the knob of a bat is illegal, and players cannot cover the end of a bat with tape. Wooden bats are acceptable for practice, but not recommended for games.
High school baseball bats should have a smooth cylindrical shape from the cap to the knob.
How Do Athletes Know They Are Using the Correct Baseball Bat?
Athletes will know they are using the correct bat because it will have a stamp. This stamp can be found right above the handle or on the taper of the bat. Most wooden bats will not have this stamp because the point of BBCOR certification is to make non-wooden bats perform like a wood bat.
The only exception to the rule regarding the stamp on wooden bats is for bamboo ones. If a player has a bat made of bamboo, they won’t be able to use it in a high school game unless the bat has an official certification stamp.
Where Does Bat Testing Take Place?
Washington State University’s Sports Science Lab handles the testing process for the NCAA and NFHA. The lab has developed groundbreaking testing methods to assess bat and ball performance.
You can find out more about the testing process on the official website of the Sports Science Lab, as well as a database of approved bats. Looking up a product in this database is a quick and easy way to make sure your child is using a bat that meets official requirements.
Baseball bats are a significant piece of equipment in the game of baseball. High school athletes and their families will find that even the bat has standards to meet. Look for the BBCOR stamp of approval when shopping for new gear.
Choosing the right bat can be difficult due to the wide range of products available. You can narrow down your selection by looking for the BBCOR stamp or opting for a one-piece wooden bat that automatically meets official guidelines.