What is a BBCOR Bat?
BBCOR certified bats are being used more and more frequently, but there are still many players and parents that have questions regarding this newer standard.
Bat Club USA is determined to make finding the right bat easy, which is why we want to go over some of the questions floating around about BBCOR bats.
Bat Ball Coefficient of Restitution
BBCOR stands for Bat Ball Coefficient of Restitution. The BBCOR is a baseball bat performance standard that was created by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). The standard went into effect on January 1, 2011 and is based on the overall composition of the bat.
The need for this standard came about when manufacturers started making bats out of materials other than wood. While the overall shape, weight, and styling of these bats was similar to that of bats made from wood, they weren't able to perform the same.
The goal of the BBCOR bat standard was to create a level playing field for all players within certain age ranges.
Why was BBCOR created?
As we mentioned earlier, the BBCOR standard was created to create a level playing field for all players. Bats made from materials other than wood are much more common these days, which is why it's crucial that all bats perform consistently regardless of the materials used.
The BBCOR certification is intended to ensure that bats made from materials other than wood mimic the performance of a one-piece wood bat. They do this by factoring the amount of energy lost when the bat makes contact with the ball.
You may be wondering, does a one-piece wood bat and a bat made from other materials really hit differently? The answer is yes. Allay and composite bats have additional flexibility when the ball makes contact, transferring more energy to the ball when it springs off the bat.
Players who were using bats made from other materials were able to swing a bat at the same speed as a player using a wooden bat, but because of the materials, the ball would travel further and faster. Both aluminum bats and composite bats do not absorb as much energy as a wooden bat, thus the need for a standard.
The Trampoline Effect
This difference in performance is recognized as the "trampoline effect". The trampoline effect is the amount of bounce-back that the bat offers when the ball and bat collide. Because of the difference in materials used, varying amounts of energy were absorbed upon contact with the bat. This led to an inconsistency in distance and force, regardless of the skill level of the player.
When the standard first came into existence, the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) and the NCAA tested countless bats to determine what the ideal "trampoline effect" should be for a bat. After their extensive testing, they decided that the maximum "trampoline effect" of a BBCOR bat is .50.
To ensure this, all BBCOR certified bats will have a stamp on the barrel or tapper of the bat that says “BBCOR .50” to confirm that it is in fact BBCOR certified.
The "Why" Behind the BBCOR Standard
The BBCOR standard was implemented to ensure all bats being used were hitting consistently and performing similarly, but that wasn’t the only benefit of the standard. The consistency with bats increased safety for players during games while also helping manage the number of home runs during a game.
Ultimately, the BBCOR bat standard was created with the intentions of making non-wood bats perform as close to that of a wood bat. In doing so, the bat wasn't the cause of increased home runs and hard, fast hits - with the BBCOR bat standard, it all came down to the skills of the player.
How does a baseball bat get BBCOR certified?
The process of getting a bat BBCOR certified is no easy feat. The NCAA requires that any bat manufacturer looking for BBCOR certification sends two typical bats of every length class, weight class, and model combination for certification to NCAA Certification Centers. Once bats have been received, tests will be performed on all of the bats for certification.
Baseball bats are tested to ensure that the bat performance factor (BPF) is consistently less than .50 when the ball hits various parts of the bat. When a bat surpass this BPF, they are not certified and can be sent back to the manufacturer at the cost of the manufacturer.
These tests are performed on all bats of varying widths and lengths. Once a bat has completed the tests and is considered certified, the NCAA requires certified bats to show the BBCOR certification on the barrel or the tapper of the bat for mass production.
Any bats that do not receive the certification cannot be submitted for testing again, and any that do gain certification are stored safely at NCAA testing centers.
What makes BBCOR bats different?
The various types of testing that these bats must complete, and the standard to which they are held, is what really separates them from others. A few of the factors that separate a BBCOR bat from others are the BPF, the drop, the length and the barrel diameter.
All BBCOR bats cannot exceed a .50 BPF, as we mentioned earlier. BBCOR bats can also not exceed a length-to-weight ratio of drop three (-3). In regards to the sizing, a BBCOR bat barrel diameter must not exceed 2 ⅝ inches, and the length may not exceed 36 inches in length.
Who uses BBCOR baseball bats?
The standards of BBCOR bats are set high for a reason - these baseball bats are used by older, more competitive players. BBCOR bats are required for high school and college level teams, but it is not uncommon for players in 8th grade to start playing with a BBCOR certified bat.
If the league that you or your child plays in is not at the high school or college level, then it’s best to check the league requirements to see if a BBCOR bat is necessary, or if it’s simply a preference.
How do you know if a bat meets the BBCOR standard?
BBCOR certified bats are easy to distinguish from others, making it quick and simple to ensure the bat that you're purchasing is BBCOR certified. All BBCOR bats will be stamped with the "BBCOR Certified .50". This can be found on either the barrel of the bat or the tapper.
What are BBCOR baseball bats made of?
As we've specified early on, the BBCOR standard came to exist to set a standard for bats that were not made from wood. Bats that require BBCOR certification. are going to be made from either aluminum alloy or composite metals. At times, bats can even be made from a combination of the two.
Composite vs. Alloy
Composite BBCOR bats are made from a variety of materials including fiberglass, carbon fiber, graphite, and at times even Kevlar. Alloy BBCOR bats are a combination of various metals to create a stronger product known as aluminum alloy. The bats that are made from a mixture of the two will usually have an alloy barrel and a handle that is composite.
These materials were selected because they provided a much more durable bat. Alloy bats are a one-piece design where the barrel is often thinner and designed to have a more impressive pop.
On the other hand, composite bats are a two-piece construction bat. The structure of the composite bats makes them much lighter than other bats, which is ideal for players that are wanting to increase the speed of their hit.
Hybrid BBCOR Bats
The hybrid bat that we mentioned combines the two. These bats have an alloy barrel which allows for a barrel with more of a pop, while the composite handle offers the lightness for a faster hit. These hybrid bats are becoming more and more common as they offer the best of both worlds.
Are wood bats BBCOR standard?
All baseball bats that are solid wood are going to be BBCOR approved. That being said, any bats that are mutli-piece bats will need to be inspected to ensure that they meet the BBCOR bat requirements because of how the difference in composition will affect the trampoline effect.
What is the difference between USA and BBCOR bats?
In reality, there isn't much of a difference between BBCOR bats and USA certified bats. They perform very similarly and are designed to have similar hit speeds. The primary difference is the age range that is using the bat. BBCOR bats will be used by high school and college athletes while USA standard bats will be used for little league players and below.
Who uses USA bats vs BBCOR bats?
USA certified bats are ideal for players who are getting prepared to move into the high school level of the sport, where BBCOR baseball bats are a requirement. The similarity in performance makes the transition much easier for players.
The similarity in performance really boils down to the similarity of the bats composition. The barrel of both bats must be 2 5/8 inches. That being said, USA certified bats do not have the same requirements for weight-to-length ratio. Since there is no drop restriction on USA certified bats, bats are much lighter and easier to swing, which is why they're ideal for younger players.
What is the difference between BBCOR and BESR bats?
Ball Exit Speed Ration (BESR) is a standard measurement that was once used throughout high school and college games. As of January 2012, the BESR measurement is no longer applicable to high school or collge level games.
The BESR measurement is different from that of BBCOR in that it did not focus on the bounce-back of the baseball bat itself, but rather it focused on the speed at which the ball leaves the bat after that initial contact. BESR became a standard for all non-wood bats for the high school and college level of players. Their set requirement stating that all non-wood bats must have a maximum exit speed of 97 miles per hour.
Where BBCOR bats and BESR bats are comparable is in the composition. Both bats are required to have no more than a drop 3 length to weight ratio. They're also the exact same when it comes to length and barrel requirement; each bat can not be longer than 36 inches and has a barrel of 2 5/8 inches. Both bats are also both specific standards intended for bats made from materials other than one-piece solid wood.
All of that being considered, BESR bats are no longer a relative measurement to consider when purchasing a new bat. That is, unless you're simply looking for a bat to use recreationally.
What age is appropriate for BBCOR bats?
Players ages 14 and older are required to use a BBCOR bat when playing. All high school and college level players will be required to use a BBCOR baseball bat when playing. It is not uncommon for BBCOR bats to be used by players in the 8th grade as they prepare to transition to a high school level of the game. Not sure if you need a BBCOR bat? The best place to start is with your league's regulations.
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