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Thread: What are the levels of fastpitch softball?

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    Checking out the clubhouse blighdog's Avatar
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    Default What are the levels of fastpitch softball?

    My daughter plays 12u mostly usssa tournaments. What is the difference between asa, njbl and the others? her travel team is made up of girls from all around our area. Is it a competition level or just different governing rules. In what order? What is the difference between njbl leagues and usssa?
    Last edited by blighdog; 12-20-2011 at 08:25 AM.

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    I eat, sleep and breathe softball starsnuffer's Avatar
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    It's very regional, so it depends on where you live.

    In one area, ASA might have the best teams playing in its tournaments, in another, USSSA might, and so on. It really depends on where you live and how far the team travels. At the very top (18 gold) it seems the ASA has the most tournaments with the best teams, but they are getting stiff competition from the Premier league on the west coast, with many teams opting to forgo ASA nationals to go to Premier instead.

    The various alphabet soups are just governing bodies. There is no hierarchy of teams good to bad. A team does not need to achieve anything to play in a higher classification, they just need to sign up.

    -W

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    Softball Junkie crystlemc's Avatar
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    In our area, the top teams play mostly ASA, then NSA. USSSA is generally the low man on the totem pole.

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    Certified softball maniac MsDinosaur's Avatar
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    DD's team last year (10UB) played mostly ASA with a few USSSA tournaments. Her team this year (12UB) plays mostly USSSA with a few ASA tournaments.

    As far as I can tell, there's decent competition in both. In fact, I've seen a lot of the same teams so I think many in our area may play either, depending on which tourneys fit best into their schedules. Perhaps there's a greater difference at the A level; which I'll learn about if and when we try to make the jump.

    Looking forward, what I'm most unhappy about is the change in bat rules coming up in 2013 for U-trip. That's going to be a serious negative. I don't want all of DD's bats to suddenly become only practice bats. Maybe we can switch to ASA only or buy a small selection of team bats to get us through the USSSA tournaments.
    Last edited by MsDinosaur; 12-20-2011 at 04:25 PM.

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    I'm a fan CoachAl's Avatar
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    MsDinosaur,
    Our area in KC is pretty unique. USSSA has become more popular in recent years due to Midwest Sports Productions affiliation with them. IMO, their tournaments are now better than KC ASA and the officiating is way better as well. Outside of KC's area of influence, ASA rules as far as fastpitch softball goes and USSSA becomes the stepchild in many areas. In KS (outside of the KC and Topeka areas, NAFA even has a pretty good hold on softball).

    I do agree that USSSA C has become very competitive in our area. In fact there are few teams that play ASA B and USSSA C. Both orgs could do a better job of making sure teams are playing at the appropriate levels (more like what is done for baseball). All Stars (as far as I know) is only used for teams playing in USSSA sanctioned leagues, primarily rec.

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    Certified softball maniac MsDinosaur's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CoachAl View Post
    Both orgs could do a better job of making sure teams are playing at the appropriate levels (more like what is done for baseball). All Stars (as far as I know) is only used for teams playing in USSSA sanctioned leagues, primarily rec.
    That's definitely true, though I think the majority of coaches do a pretty good job of looking at their team and guessing what level will be appropriate. IMO that's what makes the exceptions memorable.

    I remember DD coming up against a very talented team this fall in B level ball. DD's team actually played a pretty close game against them, but they just demolished most of the teams they met. Then they moved (or were forced to move?) to 12A and won a Fall State tournament at that level. I guess maybe their coaches hadn't realized how good they were, but B wasn't a challenge for them at all. Then there was a team last year that played B and got beaten up each and every game (as far as I know). It's terrible to say, but I was always pleased to see them as an opponent because it meant DD's team was going to get a better seeding going into the brackets. They eventually decided they needed to drop to C.

    I know all the alphabet organizations are snowed under with work, but I wish they could spare someone to look at the score differentials early in each season and contact coaches to 'suggest' a change in level. Both teams did end up switching, but IMO those girls would have had better and more helpful seasons if it had happened right away.

    On the officiating: I've seen all kinds; looking back, it does seem like it was generally better this fall. I had figured perhaps the move from 10U to 12U had bumped us up a bit...or maybe I'm not as crazed as I used to be. I remember a pair of college-age women who officiated a game we had at Hidden Valley who were absolutely great--that would have been ASA and 10U, but I can remember some terrible times from last year too.
    Last edited by MsDinosaur; 12-20-2011 at 08:15 PM.

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    I can talk softball all day Rambler34's Avatar
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    Here in Alabama at the younger ages USFA has the biggest tournaments and the best competition. As girls get older ASA becomes more important as teams start trying to qualify for nationals. My DD plays 8U for the largest organization in the state and we will play mostly USFA. Once we reach 10U it will change some as we are required to attempt to qualify for ASA nationals so we will work a couple of qualifiers in. All of our teams are required to play "A" class so the first year in an age group can be rough.

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