Can You Use Wood Bats in High School? Find Out The Truth!
Parents of high school baseball hitters are faced with tons of choices when it comes to purchasing gear for their kids.
This is especially true when it comes to the most important piece of equipment – a bat.
Besides trying to find the best possible bat that also fits their budget, there is also a matter of which bats are even allowed to be used in high school baseball.
With pros using wooden bats, a lot of people think that these bats can be used at any level of baseball.
However, the authorities that govern the high school leagues have certain rules that prescribe which bats are allowed and which are not.
All this can feel a bit overwhelming for those who are less experienced in high school baseball matters.
Below, you’ll find the answer to ‘can you use wood bats in high school’ and what standards are applied to high school baseball.
So, let’s dive in!
Table of Contents
Can You Use Wood Bats in High School?
The short answer is yes, you can use wood bats in high school baseball.
However, seeing a wooden bat at a high school baseball game is extremely rare.
The NFHS (National Federation of State High School Associations) has no regulation concerning the use of wood bats.
This means that the decision on whether the wood bats are legal is left to the individual schools and states.
However, the NFHS implements the BBCOR standard in all high school competitions.
The standard applies to the non-wooden bats and its objective is to have the metal (aluminum) bats provide a more wood-like performance.
This means that they have to be designed in a way that decreases the speed of the ball off the bat by reducing the trampoline effect.
Every metal bat used in high school has to be BBCOR certified. Wooden bats, on the other hand, don’t need the BBCOR stamp.
Would Switching to Wood Bats Benefit High School Baseball?
As the whole point of BBCOR standard is to make metal bats perform similar to those made of wood, it’s logical to ask why not simply switch to wooden bats and make them the default bat for high school competitions.
This is the proposal that can often be heard in baseball circles but there are several factors that put the potential benefits of this decision in doubt.
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First of all, BBCOR metal bats are more durable than wooden ones. This means that they won’t break easily on inside pitches and will last much longer.
However, the technology used to manufacture them makes them more expensive than wood bats.
On average, an aluminum bat costs upwards of $300, while you can get a decent wooden bat for as low as $50.
Nevertheless, because they break more easily, high school hitters can go through as many as 10 wooden bats per season.
On the other hand, one aluminum bat is usually more than enough for the whole season.
So, in the long term, BBCOR metal bats are easier on the budget. This is a pretty important factor for both schools and players’ parents.
Another thing to consider when we talk about switching to wood bats in high school is safety.
As wooden bats break more often, there’s more risk of players and fans in the stands getting hurt.
The wood shards can fly very far and pose a danger to everyone on the field.
As far as the risk of getting hurt by the ball on the line drive, that’s one of the main reasons for introducing the BBCOR standard which makes sure that balls off the bat don’t reach dangerous speeds.
Better Control of the Bat for Young Players
One of the advantages of metal bats, when compared to wood, is the larger sweet spot.
This may not mean much to the pros, but it helps inexperienced high school players hit the ball better, with more precision and speed.
In addition, aluminum bats are lighter than the ones made of wood.
This allows young players, who are not yet at the peak of physical power, to swing more easily and faster.
If high school baseball were to switch to wood bats, there would be a learning curve and it would certainly take some time for players to get used to the new bats.
Why does MLB Use Wooden Bats?
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The first reason why MLB uses wooden bats is safety. Highly-skilled MLB hitters routinely hit balls that fly over 100 mph.
If they were to use aluminum bats that provide even more ball velocity, they would put their fellow players and fans at serious risk of injury.
Also, there’s a matter of skill. Metal bats have a larger sweet spot and make hitting the ball correctly easier.
On the other hand, wood bats reward more skilled players who can react better and hit the baseball properly, even with the smaller sweet spot.
This also ensures that hitters don’t have an unfair advantage over pitchers.
Finally, there’s the tradition.
As we know, baseball is a game that cares a lot about its tradition, and part of that is the use of wood bats.
Any attempt to introduce metal bats would certainly be met with ferocious opposition from players, experts, and fans.
Can You Use a Bamboo Bat in High School Baseball?
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While they’re made of a specific type of wood, bamboo bats are not considered wooden bats in the eyes of governing bodies of high school baseball.
Because of the way they’re manufactured, they fall into the composite category. However, this doesn’t mean that they’re illegal.
As long as they comply with the BBCOR standard, bamboo bats can be used in high school baseball games.
Still, you will rarely see them in real games and they’re mostly used for batting practices.
High school baseball is a crucial stage in the career of every baseball player.
So, besides winning games and trophies, high school game also has players’ development as the priority.
Proper player development and safety of everyone involved are the reason for most rules prescribed by sport’s governing bodies, including those that concern bat use.
As I explained, NFHS has the BBCOR standard that regulates which bats can be used for high school games.
However, wooden bats are not the subject of these standards and can be used freely in high school leagues.
But, due to economic, safety, and developmental reasons, they are a rarity at this level of competition.