Softball governing bodies

It was eye popping! err…opening for me to find out how many softball governing bodies there are.  I never knew softball was SO popular.  Not just in the United States but all over the world.  See the map below which is published by the ISF (International Softball Federation) which shows the number of countries playing softball. If you click on it you can go to the site that shows who to contact for softball in each particular country.

ISF softball map
ISF softball map

ISF-International Softball Federation:  Is a member of the WBSC (World Baseball Softball Confederation) which is recognized by the International Olympic Committee. Even though Softball got removed from the Olympic games together with Baseball, the ISF still organizes a LOT of games internationally and sets rules for games for Women’s and Men’s fast pitch, slow pitch and modified pitch games, junior women’s and men’s fast pitch games.  I have noticed a lot of folks checking out this site from all over the world.  To be exact from about 21 countries this month and now I understand why.  I guess softball is a pretty popular sports.

Now coming back to United States, I thought there was the ASA (Amateur softball association) that controlled all the softball in the United States but that is not true.  There are SO many other governing bodies within the US.  Here is a list.

ASA (Amateur Softball Association): Called ASA/USA Softball is headquartered in Oklahoma city was founded in 1933 and is the biggest organization within the US.  ASA was named as the national governing body in the US by the United States Olympic Committee in 1978.  ASA/USA has about 15 regions with about 245,000 adults and kids enrolled in it.  Click on the map to go to the ASA website.

ASA/USA Map 2013
ASA/USA Map 2013

You notice ASA promotes Red, Blue and White in their games.  The umpires for the ASA games wear blue uniforms.

USSSA: United States Specialty Sports Association:  It was harder for me to find good information on how USSSA got started.  Even their own website doesn’t give much info.  From reading through several websites, I found that a group of frustrated softball managers founded this organization after their ideas were turned down by the National Softball Association.  They started in 1968.  They are now headquartered in Kissimmee, FL and used to be called United States Slow-pitch Softball Association but in 1998 the organization expanded into other sports and renamed themselves United States Specialty Sports Association still with the same USSSA acronym except now they are a multi-sport governing organization.  If you notice in the field, the umpires for USSSA games wear red.

NSA (National Softball Association): Okay, we are not talking about the now infamous National Security Agency here.  NSA was formed in 1982 in Lexington, KY.  They give softball teams the opportunity to qualify for state, national and world series tournaments.

USFA (United States Fast-pitch Association): USFA was founded in 1998 in Panama City, FL as a premier organization for girls only fast-pitch softball. In 2012, USFA has over 4000 sanctioned softball teams.  They have their own world series and nationals.

IFA-VTD: Independent Fastpitch Association-Virtual Tournament Director. Both IFA and VTD were involved in girls fast-pitch softball and in 2011 they merged together to form one organization.  They organize a lot of state and national tournaments also.

Triple crown sports: Their website states that Dave and his wife Annette who competed in many slow-pitch softball tournaments got tired of substandard levels and unprofessional attitude and poor communication in softball tournaments and were challenged to make it better if they could, hence the Triple crown sports was born in 1982.  They pride themselves on  being ‘Professional, Predictable and Consistent’.

PGF (Premier Girls Fastpitch) :  PGF is located in Huntington Beach, CA.  Their website states that they pride in the fact that they draw the most colleges from around the nation to showcase the talents of the players who can be recruited to play in collegiate level softball.

I am not sure if there are more organizations, there may be more that I am missing. If you are an expert in softball and think there are more than what is presented here, please drop me a line and I will include it here.

Next weekend we are playing in one of the IFA-VTD west coast world series tournaments in Stockton, CA.  Hope to see some of you there. Now that you know more about these organizations, please check them out to get more information.

These last few days have been phenomenal in the number of subscribers to this site.  Thanks for taking the time to sign up and for reading.

If you like what you read, please share it with your friends who are into softball.  I would appreciate that.

 

Softball bats

This week I wanted to learn about Softball bats because as you all know, I used to be a softball dummy.  I am getting better though 😉

How did softball evolve?  If you have read my blog of “How softball got started“, you know it was by accident, so the original softball bat was made out of a broken broom handle.  You can safely say it has come a long way since.   Look at all the fancy Softball bats that are available these days? You can spend as much money you want  in order to get the bat you want.

ASA regulates and certifies the bats that can be used in softball tournaments. In order to be certified by ASA, the bat manufacturers have to have their bats tested by a certified ASA test facility according to their performance standards.  The performance standard is based on “Batted Ball Speed” (BBS) instead of how the bat performs.  In order to keep the game safe the BBS must not exceed 98 mph.  How did they come up with this magic number? For those that are curious and/or mathematically inclined, here is an excellent article from Penn State University called “Explaining the 98-mph BBS Standard for ASA softball” by Dr. Daniel Russell.

Softball bats followed the same trend as Baseball bats.  First there was the all wooden bats, then they evolved to aluminum bats in the 1970’s, but aluminum bats did not perform as well until they started using aluminum alloys.  This is when aluminum bats started to outperform wooden bats.  It makes the famous “ping” sound when the bat hits the ball.  The composite bats were introduced in the 1980’s but they initially did not perform as well and did not make the popular ping sound.  It wasn’t until recently in the 2000’s that composite bats made of carbon fiber and fiber glass and coated with epoxy resin started producing a bigger “sweet spot”.  Sweet spot is the spot on the bat where when the ball is hit produces the best hit.  Here is again is the article titled “Acoustics of baseball bats” by Dr. Russell that explains this.

Have you ever wondered what’s inside your softball bat?  Well, you don’t have to wonder anymore.  Here is a photo I took of a softball bat that was broken by a coaches daughter when she was in high school.

Inside a composite bat
Inside a composite bat

Now, here is how composite bats are made. The following slide show is pretty cool. Thanks to the author for sharing.

ASA also has a Bat tester info here which talks about the Portable Barrel compression tester.  I hope this gives you some information on how the softball bats have evolved to its current form.

I will discuss more about how to pick a bat for your child in another topic.

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend.

 

So how is your summer going?

Exploring sea critters during a low tide
Exploring sea critters during a low tide

Hello Softball fans!!  Did you miss my posts yet? 😉

Ha..just kidding.  I know I have a long way to go before you will actually miss seeing my posts.  I have to work on my writing skills.  Language was never my best subject.  I gravitated to STEM classes.  I could really use some grammar and spelling classes though.

How is your summer going?  I haven’t disappeared from the planet yet.  Our family went on a much-needed vacation.  You know the kind that makes you put everything on hold and enjoy nature.  Yes!  We visited the New England area in the east coast as we have extended family over there.  We went on several hikes and enjoyed nature in its best and worst (bug bites) form.

We were pushed back into reality this weekend.  We are back to the crazy life here in Silicon Valley and had a 12 U tournament in Antioch and a 10 U tournament in Concord. These two cities are in the East Bay and about 15 mins from each other but had very different fields.  I will be writing more park reviews on these two parks soon.

We had to be there at 7 am this morning and guess what? 7 am again tomorrow.  That means have to get up at 4:30 am again tomorrow. We are all still jet lagged.  But such is the summer softball life.  The kids did their best but still lost a few games!

Every time we come back from a tournament, I ask my kids “So, do you still enjoy playing softball?” and so far, the answer has always been “Yes”.  So along as the answer is yes, we will be waking up early and doing the crazy drive.  I hope your summer is going well and the kids are having fun playing.  Take care and thanks for reading.