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USSSA Slowpitch Softball Rules 2023 And Non Approved Bat List

By / 21 April 2023 10:17 AM

Different Size of Baseball Training Bats in Different Colors
Source : instagram

USSSA Slowpitch Softball Rules 2023 is ending the exemption on 2012 stamped bats. The rules came into effect on 1st January 2023. 

The United States Specialty Sports Association states that only 240 Stamped Bats will be allowed for tournament play. The bats are required to pass the new bat testing standard of 240 lbs for the games. Previously it had tolerated the use of 220 Stamped bats. 

However, the new rule is not applicable in the local league play as the rules may vary on regional guidelines. 

The difference between the previous and new bat standards is its compression test. Now, the new bat must go through the test's lowest permitted threshold.

From the beginning of January 2023, softball bats with the old United States Specialty Sports Association Stamp are restricted in any of its tournaments. Only the bat with a new logo will be accepted for the game. 

Rule Changes For USSSA Slowpitch Softball

2023 USSSA Slowpitch Softball Rules focuses on the playground, equipment, players, and umpires. The rulebook has revised several definitions used in the game. 

The organization has stringent measures developed over the years to maintain the game's efficacy and professionalism. It helps to make the game systematic, scandal-free and well-governed. 

Here are some rules implemented per the rule book developed by the United States Specialty Sports Association. 

Playing Field

The Sports Association has identified a softball field's official dimensions and layout. The rule book describes the baseline and pitcher's distances for adult programs. 

The detailing of home plate, the foul lines, first, second, and third bases, and the batter's and catcher's boxes are inscribed in the book. The organization also provides specific dimensions for the batter's box, catcher's box, three-foot line, and coaches' boxes. 

Official United States Specialty Sports Association and GSL Standard Playing Dimensions displaying Coaches box, Commitment Line, Scoring Plate, and Home Plate Area.
Source : usssa

However, the document also has designated rights for the directors to create special ground rules if the field is smaller than the official minimum dimensions.

Equipment Standard

The sports organization has established a set of rules to standardize the equipment. Each supply must be approved and tested one year before allowing into the game. 

It outlines several provisions and amendments in using bats and baseball, including repercussions in case of alteration. The documents published by USSSA also outline the specifications for the equipment used in softball games.

The legal adoption of shoes and mitts for fielders, catchers, pitchers, and first basemen is also made to regulate uniformity in games. The rule also indicates that  Jewelry or other hazardous items are not permitted during the game and prohibits equipment not recognized by the Speciality Sports Association. 


The definitions section has key vocabulary used in the sport. There are organized terms in alphabetical order from Altered ball or bat to Windup. 

It also includes descriptions of the physical features of the ball and bat that may have been altered. The rule also indicates that either team must request the appeal play. 

Some definitions for the four bases on the field, the base path, base on balls, the batter, batter-runner, batter's box, batting order, bench, bunt, called game, legal catch, catcher, catcher's box, chopped ball, foul ball, full count, grand slam, infield fly, intentional walk, and Windup are established to avoid confusions during the game. 

The set of definitions also helps to mitigate the conflicts and contribute to professionalism in the baseball game. Some other terms, including passed ball, pitching, rundown, sacrifice bunt, strike, tag play, and a wild pitch, are defined concisely to provide adequate knowledge of phrases used in baseball. 

The Game

The Game rules are outlined in the rule book. It discusses the toss of a coin at the start of the game, and the winning team chooses home or visitor. 

Several sections cover the decision-making process, length of a game, winner of a game, and scoring runs. The fitness of the ground for play will be determined by the home team and umpires as per the rules. 

The regulation of the game indicates the seven innings being standard unless otherwise noted. It also has set rules for the tied games and determining the winner of the game. 

Scoring runs is also a significant part of the sections in the rule book. It explains when a run cannot be scored or can be scored.

The Players and Substitutes

The rule book has the players and substitutes section. It indicates the number of players and their roles. 

A team must have at least ten players. The players include a pitcher, catcher, first baseman, second baseman, third baseman, shortstop, left fielder, center fielder, right fielder, and short fielder. 

A Dukebase pitcher pitching the ball in motion, and mitt in his other hand.
Source : instagram

In the game, substitutions are allowed. However, they must be reported to the umpires immediately. In case of injury of the player, the player must leave the game until the wound is covered or the bleeding is stopped. 

The player's re-entry is allowed once, but the substitute player cannot. The violation will result in an offense and may be protested by the offended team. 


The pitching section of the rulebook outlines the rules for pitchers in baseball. A pitcher cannot use tape or an alien object on their hand and ball.

The pitchers are permitted to use powdered resin to dry their hands. However, it must be under the supervision of the umpire. It also states that the pitcher must have one foot in contact with the rubber when pitching, and the other must be unrestricted. 

The pitcher can use more than one step with the free foot during the pitch ball delivery. While pitching, the ball must be released slowly in a definite underhanded motion and arc at least 3 feet after leaving the pitcher's hand. 

During the projectile, the ball shall not rise higher than 10 feet above the ground, and the catcher must remain within the lines of the catcher's box. 

If the pitch is not hit, catchers should immediately return it to the pitcher unless it results in an out. 


The rules for batting order and when a batter gets out are also established by USSSA. It standardizes the batting part of baseball. 

Before starting the game, the manager or team representative must present the batting order to the scorekeeper or umpire-in-chief. The Batting out of order is an appeal play by the defense. 

In illegal batting, the batter will be out. This is also applied if the batter hits the ball with an illegal or altered bat and bunts or chops the ball deliberately downward.

The provision is also applicable in case of the second strike, stepping across the plate with the pitcher in pitching position and intentionally interfering with the catcher or fielder. 

Some other cases of similar offenses are hitting a fair fly ball or line drive that an infielder intentionally drops, hitting a fly ball that is legally caught, or hitting an infield fly with runners on first and second or on first, second, and third bases with less than two out.


The rulebook decides the powers and duties of umpires in a baseball game. Umpires are responsible for enforcing the rules and assess penalties. 

The Umpire-In-Chief is responsible for but is not limited to, calling each pitch and making decisions on specific plays. Both the plate and base umpires are given the responsibility to call illegal pitches and remove players and call 'TIME.' 

The rulebook prohibits using electronic equipment on the field for Umpires. However, they may use official Livestream broadcasts. 

Besides these rules, the US Specialty Sports Association has specific rules for Ball in Play and Ball Dead and Baserunning. 

USSSA Banned Bat List 2023

USSSA banned slowpitch bat list includes custom bats, compression failed bats, and altered bats. Worn and damaged foreign substance bats are also prohibited. 

The United States Specialty Sports Association slowpitch softball bats are standard bats to make the game fair. The organization has the right to create and maintain the rules and policies for uniformity during the game.

USA Softball Non Approved Bat List and Certification Marks
Source : afcsl

Also, there are several non-approved bats by USA Softball. Some non-approved USSSA slowpitch softball bats are Quake, VIRSP3 Lady Virus, SCN1, WWSCA, and SCN1B. There are about 50 non-approved bats by USA Softball. 

USSSA Legal Bat Criteria

USSSA legal bat rules state that the minimum length should be 29 inches. The bat approved for the game must have gone through compression testing and must not be altered. 

That must be approved and tested for one year before introducing to the actual game. As per the organization, the official bat must be round in cross-section, straight in length, not exceed 34 inches long and 31 ounces in weight, and have a grip of tape or other material. 

USSSA Bat criteria defined through logo. 2014 USSSA Certification Mark and 2020 USSSA Certification Mark on Display.
Source : usssa

Any external addition to the handle or knob of a bat is an alteration and a punishable offense.

The bats now need a new 2020 USSSA Certification Mark, and the 2014 USSSA certification mark is ineligible to be used in softball games. 

The directors and officials of the organization have the full right to inspect the bat at any time. Alteration and adding an alien substance in the bat may suspend the player for up to five years. 

Comparison Between USA And USSSA bats

Difference between USA and USSSA bats is primarily the weight. The USA Baseball bats are lighter as compared to USSSA bats.

However, the wood bats are not suitable enough for the players due to their lack of durability. That's why the metal baseball bats were created to provide wood-like performance. They have appropriate swing weights and increased durability. 

On the other hand, the Specialty Sports Association Bats are rigorously tested through the compression method and have set regulations to build them. So, the authenticity and uniformity of its bats are in higher frequency than that of USA Bats. 

USSSA Bats on display in different shades.
Source : instagram

Another major difference is USA Bats has a USABat stamp of approval. At the same time, the latter has its stamp of approval.

USA bats are lightweight, making it easy for young players to develop their batting skills. However, United States Specialty Sports Association bats are heavy and are designed for high performance. 

ASA vs USSSA Slow Pitch Softball Rules

ASA vs USSSA bats difference is the performance of the bats. The ASA bats are lighter than the latter's Bats. 

ASA and the United States Specialty Sports Association are sports governing organizations continuously working to make sports fair and standard. 

ASA or USA Baseball guidelines are dedicated to baseball games only. However, the United States Specialty Sports Association is dedicated to various sports areas. 

A young baseball learning trying to keep up with game, several baseball bats in display.
Source : instagram

Both have their own set of rules, mainly in the equipment areas. The bats in baseball have different standards set by both organizations. 

ASA baseball bats are designed and tested to perform at the wood level. The bats are mostly targeted towards the 8-14 age group due to their lightweight and soft energy required to swing. 

However, United States Specialty Sports Association baseball bats are heavier and are made for the standard professional championships or game series. 

USA Baseball also has similar game rules and protest procedures compared to the United States Specialty Sports Association. 

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