High School Baseball Changing To Wood Bats?…

High_School_Wood_BatsHigh School Baseball going back to wood bats has been a strong topic for the past 6 years. Ball park safety is a large part of the reasoning for a transition back to the roots of baseball. By using wood bats in high school and college, the plan is to reduce the amount of injuries and fatalities related to the excessive speeds produced when a ball is hit by an aluminum bat. It can be very frightening in the field of play, a ball hit off an aluminum bat can exceed over 100 mph. I read an article in the USA Today, about an American Legion team in Montana who switched to wood bats after a pitcher of theirs received a fatal blow to the head from a line drive. A very tragic story, some of you may have heard of similar incidents. Players are dying in a kids game, something needs to change and changed fast.

Starting this year for the 2012 baseball season BBCOR (which stands for Bat-Ball Coefficient of Restitution) bat are in effect. BBCOR bats not only measures the ball exit speed, it measures the “bounciness” factor. The old BESR bats did not measure the compression of the aluminum bats, it only measured the ball exit speed of the bat. Old aluminum bats had a lot of flex in the aluminum walls of the bat, allowing less compression to the baseball. Making the baseball soak up more energy sent out towards the pitcher. New BBCOR bats help disperse the energy when the bat and ball meet. Making them more safe in game play.

Being a former high school and collegiate player, a lot of the time I was stuck with aluminum. I hoped that someday I’d be back to swinging wood. I’d get up to the plate sometimes and thought about bringing up a wood bat instead. So what is in the way of changing back to wood bats across the United States? Pay attention, its happening right now. Things take time, but the movement is growing. Kids love to swing with wood, they want nothing more than swinging what the professionals swing. To those buying the baseball bats, would the amount of broken wood bats exceed the cost of buying an aluminum bat every year? I know it depends on player to player, skill level and age group. If I was buying for a young ball player that is still growing, I’d be coming out ahead with wood bat prices year over year. I personally have used wooden bats throughout my whole life and I have only broken a handful of bats in my time.

It is a relative fact, offense numbers (hits, homers, etc.) should decrease at first, in the early stage of this transition. Once everyone learns how to play with wood things will begin to normalize. People worry that the games will get boring and lose interest from the fans. Some even think that will hurt their kids chance of being recruited by scouts…I believe in training youth players to swing with wood as soon as they are old enough to swing a bat, they will gain better mechanics and swing with more confidence. Most of all swinging with wood prepares players for the highest stage, and who wouldn’t want that? Rather than making the switch at a later point in their career. I highly recommend training kids with wood bats, this will help prevent players from fizzling out after he/she changes to wood in the farm system.

American Legion Baseball follows the bat regulations of the NCAA, it’s up to individual states to vote to switch back to wood. The following list are states and their respective league that have switched back to wood bats as far as I know today. There may be other teams that have switched independently, is so lets hear who you are, or correct me if I am wrong with any of these. The newest one to join this list is New Mexico, which noted this year to make the switch. Great job and have fun!

Connecticut American Legion Baseball
Louisiana American Legion Baseball
New York City High School Baseball
North Dakota High School and American Legion Baseball
New Mexico High School Baseball
Rhode Island American Legion Baseball
Pennsylvania American Legion Baseball in 2013

I know there are a lot of baseball minds out there. I would like to hear from you, what are your thoughts? I would like to hear both sides. Who wants to switch back to wood, who doesn’t?

– Matt Ingle


  1. I like the use of Wood for players, gives them the feel of swinging like the professionals. I have been coaching for 20+ year, I believe learning how to hit with a true sweet spot will make a player more of a true hitter than aluminum. Aluminum bats can be hit anywhere on its surface and the ball will travel between 0-60+ feet; wherein the softness of wood would not allow this.

    Coach Green

  2. Hey Coach Green! Growing up I used a wood bat only in practice. I believe it helped out my average and gap hitting abilities. Once I made it to all wood bats leagues, it was an easy transition. Going back to college alumni games were fun, it was home run city! If you ever need a wood bat manufacturer shoot me an email.


  3. duraplay sports says:

    Love this blog, great information. keep it up!

  4. Pa. Legion going to wood in 2013. If the NCAA and NFHS made all this fuss about bat speed needing to be lowered and then the bat amnufactures go out and produce a bat that acts almost like wood, then why change now? The NCAA is not switching because the BBCOR acts like wood, so why should anyone else change now. Don’t give me cost, top line metal $299-$350, cost of good wood $65-$85 then times that by 6 bats, I see no savings, oh wait the metal bat will last at least 2 years the wood bat cost were just for 1 year, so metal would be cheaper in long run.

  5. Good Point Coach M, I believe safety is the main issue. Plus now days kids and coaches know they need to swing wood bats when ever they can to become a better hitter. Some do think it will be cheaper, but all of these options are considered. Personally when I was a kid all I wanted to do was swing with wood, I used it every day for practice. But one side that people do not think about, if we do switch over to all wood bats, the quality of product will be thinned out across the United States. Possibly meaning more breaks like you mentioned. Changing the bat rules in years past is also upsetting to the parents that spend the money on these bats, only for them to be used for 3 months of the season. We will see what happens, but the trend looks like it’s going back to wood. Thank you for your comment!

  6. Melvin Varela says:

    My grandson is 13 and plays baseball in high school. I made him a baseball bat from ash which is 33 inches long, 2 5/8 diameter at the barrel and wights 31 oz. making it a -1 wood bat. He loves using the bat at school, but the coach told him yesterday that he could not use it anymore because it did not have the certification tag on it. Do I need to certify an ash wooden bat for high school in New Mexico. Also, if I do have to get it certified, where do I get this done. Thank you for any help I can get from you. Melvin

    • Hi Melvin, thank you for you comment. You are fine to make a wood bat, please read below.

      I took this information off the http://www.thebaseballbat.com/2012-bat-rules.html

      EFFECTIVE January 1, 2012, 15U and Above Division of Play (15U – 18U scholastic divisions). All bats for scholastic divisions 15U – 18U must conform to the NFHS (National Federation of High School Association) bat limitations including a length to weight ratio no greater than negative three (-3) ounces. These bats must be made by an approved USSSA licensed manufacturer AND
      i) Must be NHSF approved with the appropriate BBCOR certification mark, OR
      ii) Be a Wood Bat.
      The new USSSA mark can be found in the Baseball Tab of the USSSA Website.
      7.01.C.D. Small Barrel Bats (Diameter no more than 2¼”)
      EFFECTIVE for the calendar years 2012 and 2013. Only those Small Barrel bats made by approved USSSA licensed manufacturers that are either:
      i) Wood, OR
      ii) Made with the old USSSA mark, OR
      iii) Have the New USSSA Mark will be allowed in USSSA play.
      This includes Tee Ball bats that are longer than 23 inches. 23 inch and shorter. Small Barrel Tee Ball bats from approved USSSA licensed manufacturers will continue to be allowed in 2012 and 2013 without the Old or New USSSA Mark.
      The Old mark is simply the words “USSSA 1.15 BPF”, all together in one spot on the bat. The new USSSA mark can be found in the Baseball Tab of the USSSA Website. EFFECTIVE for the calendar years 2014, only those Small Barrel bats made by approved USSSA licensed manufacturers that are either:
      i) Wood, OR
      ii) Made with the New USSSA Mark will be allowed in USSSA play.
      This includes all Tee Ball bats that are longer than 23 inches. 23 inch and shorter Small Barrel Tee Ball bats from approved USSSA licensed manufacturers will continue to be allowed in 2014 without the New USSSA Mark.

      2012 High School Baseball Bat Rules
      Effective January 1, 2012 all high school aluminum, composite and 2-piece (aluminum/composite) -3 bats must meet BBCOR certification standards and display a BBCOR logo.

      For 2012 only composite and aluminum bats that meet the new Batted Ball Coefficient of Restitution (BBCOR) performance standard will be allowed in high school competition under the National Federation of State High School (NFHS) Association rules. BESR-ABI bats will not be allowed in competition for 2012 under NFHS rules.

      Note: South Dakota, New Mexico and NYC all require the use of wood bats at the high school level.

      This basically states that if you have a pure wood bat you do not need a certification mark. If it is a composite wood bat you will need certification.

  7. My son started playing CT American Legion baseball this season and loves hitting with the Annex X10. So much so that he is thinking of asking his HS coach if it is OK to use for CIAC High School baseball as a Sophomore in 2014. He actually feels that he is driving the ball deeper with wood and the latest BBCOR bats are dead. I am not sure one way or the other but if he thinks so, I am not to argue. I will say that he is getting a bunch more extra base hits and ground rule doubles.

    As a guy who held onto my wooden bats while everyone was going to Aluminum as a young player myself years ago, I love watching him hit with wood and it also makes for a great game to watch this season during CT American Legion play.

    • Hi Dave that is great to hear!I have heard a lot of reviews in regards to BBCOR bats, a lot of coaches and players would like to start swinging wood full time. Thank you for your comment, and let us know if you ever need any more quality wood bats. Let us know if his coach lets him use it in season.

      Take Care,

      – Matt

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