FAQ

ABOUT USA BASEBALL

GENERAL:

What is USA Baseball?
Why do USA Baseball jerseys have the American flag sewn on backward on the right sleeve?
What is an international sanction and who must have one?

EMPLOYMENT:

How can I apply for a job or an internship?

FINANCIAL:

How can I make a donation to USA Baseball?

TEAM USA

BECOME INVOLVED WITH TEAM USA:

How can I become a coach with USA Baseball?
How do I recommend a player or coach for one of USA Baseball's National Team programs?

NATIONAL TEAM SELECTION:

How are players selected for one of USA Baseball's Professional Teams?
How are players selected for the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team?
How are players selected for the USA Baseball 18U National Team?
How are players selected for the USA Baseball 15U National Team?
How are players selected for the USA Baseball 12U National Team?
How are players selected for the USA Baseball Women's National Team?

NATIONAL TEAM DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM:

What is a National Team Development Program?
How are players selected for the USA Baseball 14U, 16U and 17U National Team Development Programs?

AGE DETERMINATION:

What exactly does "age determination date" mean?
What is the difference between the domestic age determination date and the international age determination date?
What is the current international age determination date?
What is the current domestic age determination date?
Which age determination date does USA Baseball adhere to?
What are the international age determination dates for each USA Baseball program?
What was the reason for the change of the domestic determination date in baseball?
How much research and thought went into changing the domestic age determination date?
Does this change in domestic age determination mean that one age group will have to "skip" a year and move up sooner?

MISCELLANEOUS:

Does USA Baseball provide written evaluations of players who participate in National Team identification events?

USA BASEBALL NATIONAL TRAINING COMPLEX

Is there a fee to attend USA Baseball events at the National Training Complex?
Are dogs allowed inside the national Training Complex?
Are concession stands open during USA Baseball events?
Am I allowed to bring my camera inside the National Training Complex?
Does USA Baseball provide transportation at the NTC for people in need of assistance?
Is there an athletic training available during events at the National Training Complex?

USA BASEBALL BAT STANDARD

For more information and frequently asked questions about the USA Baseball Bat Standard, please visit the FAQ page at www.USABat.com

Which NMOs and other organizations are implementing this new standard?
What specific leagues and divisions will adopt USABat?
Why the change to a wood-like standard?
Why not just use wood bats?
How is the USABat standard different from the BBCOR standard used by the NCAA and NFHS?
Why is USA Baseball involved?
Who are the scientists on the USA Baseball Bat Study Committee?
Why wait until 2018?
Is safety the reason for the change?
How will I know which bat to buy?
Are wood bats still allowed?
How are USABats certified?
How does a bat decertification happen?
What does bat decertification mean?
When is a bat decertification announced?
Why not wait until the end of the season to announce a bat decertification?
What happens if my bat is decertified?
Why are certain bat lengths decertified and not others?
Does the standard impact Tee Ball?
Can I use a Tee Ball bat that does not feature the USA Baseball mark?
What is the USA Baseball Tee Ball Sticker Program?

USA BASEBALL SHOP

What are the USA Baseball Team Store hours of operation?
How may I obtain USA Baseball merchandise?

USA BASEBALL SPORT DEVELOPMENT

What is USA Baseball Sport Development?

USA BASEBALL GOLDEN SPIKES AWARD

What is the Golden Spikes Award and how can I find out more about it?

 


ABOUT USA BASEBALL

GENERAL:

Q: What is USA Baseball?

Since 1978, USA Baseball has been the national governing body for the sport of baseball. It represents the sport in the United States as a member of the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC) and internationally as a member federation of the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC).

Nearly every major national amateur baseball organization in America is united as a USA Baseball National Member Organization. As a result, USA Baseball governs more than 15.6 million amateur players in ballparks and playgrounds across the country.

As the commissioner's office for amateur baseball, USA Baseball is a resource center for its various membership group, fans, and players. USA Baseball is also responsible for promoting and developing the game of baseball on the grassroots level, both nationally and internationally.

Q: Why do USA Baseball jerseys have the American flag sewn on backward on the right sleeve?

Although the flag can be worn on either sleeve, USA Baseball traditionally wears the flag on the right sleeve, and, per military uniform regulation, the star field always faces forward. This gives the effect of the flag flying in the breeze as the athlete moves forward.

For more information, please click here.

Q: What is an international sanction and who must have one?

A sanction from USA Baseball is required whenever an amateur athlete or team chooses to play baseball outside the country or when an international team is being hosted in the United States. This sanction -- or permission -- is required as stated in the Amateur Sports Act of 1978 and is designed for the protection of the rights and status of amateur athletes who seek international experience.

USA Baseball sanctions only amateur players and teams. To protect the amateur eligibility of a team, school or player, check with USA Baseball prior to taking a group to another country, hosting an international team or allowing an amateur player to participate with or against players from other nations.

For information on obtaining a sanction (including instructions and prices), please visit USA Baseball's Sanction Application page.

EMPLOYMENT:

Q: How can I apply for a job or an internship?

All employment opportunities, including internships, will be posted on the USA Baseball Employment page. Please visit this page to receive information on the latest openings at USA Baseball and instructions on how to apply.

FINANCIAL:

Q: How can I make a donation to USA Baseball?

Fans and supporters can donate to USA Baseball, a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization, by contacting Ray Darwin, Chief Financial Officer. Thank you for your support of USA Baseball.


TEAM USA

BECOME INVOLVED WITH TEAM USA:

Q: How can I become a coach with USA Baseball?

USA Baseball is always looking for qualified coaches and educators to incorporate into its programming. The first assignment for many aspiring national team coaches lies within the amateur events that are used to either develop athletes, such as USA Baseball Camps, or to identify players for our national teams, such as the USA Baseball National Team Championships. Whether you are serving as a scout/scorekeeper at the National Team Championships, a coach in the National Team Identification Series (NTIS) or a Task Force member at the Tournament of Stars, most National Team staff members get their first taste of international competition after several assignments in the aforementioned player developmental or identification events.

National Team coaching candidates should have an extensive baseball background that includes valuable playing and coaching experience. Coaching candidates for Team USA must represent the very best in the United States both on and off the baseball field. As a staff member with USA Baseball, you will be working with elite-level athletes, the development of which is paramount to our mission in the game.

If you are interested in becoming a coach with USA Baseball, please email Play@usabaseball.com.

Q: How do I recommend a player or coach for one of USA Baseball's National Team programs?

Please send all recommendations to Play@USABaseball.com.

NATIONAL TEAM SELECTION:

Q: How are players selected for one of USA Baseball's Professional Teams (World Baseball Classic Team, etc.)?

  • Professional Team (World Baseball Classic, Pan American Games, etc.) Identification: MLB 25-, non-25- or non-40-man roster players, depending on international rules and regulations for the specific event
  • Primary Identification Events: Evaluation of current and past performances at the Minor League and Major League levels
  • Schedule: Professional Team web page
  • Contact E-mail: Eric Campbell


To find out more about the selection process for USA Baseball's Professional Teams, please click here.

Q: How are players selected for the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team?

  • Collegiate National Team Identification: Non Draft-Eligible Collegiate Baseball Players (under very certain and limited circumstances, collegiate players eligible for the MLB First-Year Player Draft may also be eligible for selection)
  • Primary Identification Events: Committee
  • Schedule: Collegiate National Team web page
  • Contact E-Mail (to nominate a player): Eric Campbell


To find out more about the selection process for the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team, please click here.

Q: How are players selected for the USA Baseball 18U National Team?

  • 2019 18U National Team Age Determination: 2001 & 2002 Birthdates
  • Primary Identification Events (location): USA Baseball NTIS (Cary, N.C.) & PDP League
  • Schedule: 18U National Team web page
  • Contact E-mail (to nominate a player): Play@USABaseball.com


To find out more about the selection process for the USA Baseball 18U National Team, please click here.

Q: How are players selected to play for the USA Baseball 15U National Team?

  • 2019 15U National Team Age Determination: 2004 & 2005 Birthdates
  • Primary Identification Events (location): USA Baseball NTIS (Cary, N.C.), 15U/16U National Team Championships (East) & 15U/16U National Team Championships (West)
  • Schedule: 15U National Team web page
  • Contact E-mail (to nominate a player): Ashley Bratcher


To find out more about the selection process for the USA Baseball 15U National Team, please click here.

Q: How are players selected to play for the USA Baseball 12U National Team?

  • 2019 12U National Team Age Determination: 2007 Birthdates
  • Primary Identification Events (location): USA Baseball 11U NTIS (Cary, N.C.), USA Baseball 12U NTIS Program (Various), USA Baseball 11U Futures Invitational (Cary, N.C.)
  • Schedule: 12U National Team web page
  • Contact E-mail (to nominate a player): Will Schworer


To find out more about the selection process for the USA Baseball 12U National Team, please click here.

Q: How are players selected for the USA Baseball Women's National Team?

  • Women's National Team Age Determination: Women (16 and older)
  • Primary Identification Events: USA Baseball Women's National Open
  • Schedule: Women's National Team web page
  • Contact E-mail (to nominate a player): Ashley Bratcher


To find out more about the selection process for the USA Baseball Women's National Team, please click here.

NATIONAL TEAM DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM:

Q: What is a National Team Development Program?

In early 2012, USA Baseball introduced the 14U and 17U National Team Development Programs (NTDP). The organization then announced the addition of a 16U NTDP in 2017. Each program will invite up to 40 athletes in the 14U, 16U and 17U age groups to a unique, approximately week-long development opportunity, wherein they will receive instruction from USA Baseball alumni and other sanctioned coaches and instructors. The group of players will participate in competitive, intrasquad games and will compete against USA Baseball National Teams, schedule permitting.

In addition to the instructional opportunity, players will showcase their skills in front of USA Baseball National Team staffs as well as the amateur and professional scouting communities. The program will also cover educational components to provide the athletes with tools that will be helpful for long term development.

Q: How are players selected for the USA Baseball 14U, 16U and 17U National Team Development Programs?

  • 2019 14U National Team Development Program Age Determination: 2005 & 2006 Birthdates
  • Primary Identification Events (location): USA Baseball NTIS (Cary, N.C.) & 14U National Team Championships (East or West)
  • Schedule: 14U National Team Development Program
  • Contact E-mail (to nominate a player): Ashley Bratcher
  • 2019 16U National Team Development Program Age Determination: 2003 Birthdates
  • Primary Identification Events (location): USA Baseball NTIS (Cary, N.C.) & 16U National Team Championships (West)
  • Schedule: 16U National Team Development Program
  • Contact E-mail (to nominate a player): Play@USABaseball.com
  • 2019 17U National Team Development Program Age Determination: 2002 & 2003 Birthdates
  • Primary Identification Events (location): USA Baseball NTIS (Cary, N.C.) & 17U National Team Championships (East or West)
  • Schedule: 17U National Team Development Program
  • Contact E-mail (to nominate a player): Play@USABaseball.com

AGE DETERMINATION:

Q: What exactly does "age determination date" mean?

The age determination date is a league or federation specified date that players must be of a certain age in order to be eligible to participate in a particular age group. There is a domestic age determination date and an international age determination date.

Q: What is the difference between the domestic age determination date and the international age determination date?

The domestic age determination date is a fixed date that regulates the eligibility of players in most organized leagues in the United States.

The international age determination date is a fixed date that regulates the eligibility of players in WBSC or COPABE sanctioned tournaments.

The domestic age determination date and the international determination date are not the same.

Q: What is the current international age determination date?

The current international age determination date states your birthday must fall on January 1 or later of a specified year to be eligible for particular age groups. The age a player reaches during the calendar year of the international competition will serve as his competition age.

(For example, if your son/daughter wants to play on the 18U National team in 2019, he/she must be 18 years old or younger during the entire calendar year. If your son/daughter would turn 19 on or before December 31 of 2019, he/she would not be eligible to participate with the 18U National Team because his/her competition age would be 19, regardless of his/her age during the time of the tournament.)

Q: What is the current domestic age determination date?

The current domestic age determination date is April 30 of the current year. The age of a baseball player as of April 30 is that player's "league age" for the season.

(For example, if your son/daughter would like to play in the 12U division of one of our USA Baseball National Member Organizations, he/she must be 12 or younger before April 30 of the current year. If your son/daughter would turn 13 on April 29, he/she would not be eligible to participate with the 12-year-old group.)

Q: Which age determination date does USA Baseball adhere to?

The USA Baseball National Teams must adhere to the rules of international governance as it pertains to age restrictions in international competition. These rules are different than the domestic age determination date for USA Baseball. The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) and COPABE use the calendar year - January 1 - to differentiate the various age groups for international play.

Q: What are the international age determination dates for each USA Baseball program?

For 2019, the international age determination date dictates:

2019 18U National Team - to be eligible, your birthday is Jan. 1, 2001, or later
2019 15U National Team - to be eligible, your birthday is Jan. 1, 2004, or later
2019 12U National Team - to be eligible, your birthday is Jan. 1, 2007 or later

Q: What was the reason for the change of the domestic determination age in baseball?

The primary reason to change the domestic determination age is so most players on a team will spend the majority of the regular season at the same chronological age as their league age. Currently, more than 95 percent of all local Little League programs start their seasons before May 1.

Under the old regulation, a baseball player who turned 13 in May, June or July of the current year would have been considered league-age 13 for that entire season. That would be the case, despite the fact that such a player likely would have played most or all of the regular season (which generally ends in June) without having actually reached his or her 13th birthday. Under the current regulation, such a player will have a league age of 12 throughout the regular season.

Q: How much research and thought went into changing the domestic age determination date?

More than four years of study went into the decision to change the domestic determination age, along with years of discussions with volunteers at the local level. Input from individuals after the initial announcement of the change also was taken into consideration.

Q: Does this change in domestic age determination mean that one age group will have to "skip" a year and move up sooner?

No, the change in domestic determination age does not mean one age group will have to skip a year. Every player in all divisions will still have the opportunity to have one full season each year at each age group. No player will be forced to "move up" any sooner than he/she would have under the old league age determination date.

MISCELLANEOUS:

Q: Does USA Baseball provide written evaluations of players who participate in National Team Identification events?

No, per USA Baseball policy all scouting information for purposes of identifying and selecting the national teams is kept private and confidential.


USA BASEBALL NATIONAL TRAINING COMPLEX

Q: Is there a fee to attend USA Baseball events at the National Training Complex?

Yes, for most USA Baseball events there is a $10 per day fee to attend an event at the National Training Complex. Tournament passes are also available for certain events; however, pricing may vary depending on the length of the event.

Q: Are dogs allowed inside the National Training Complex?

No, dogs are not allowed inside the complex with the exception of service dogs.

Q: Are concession stands open during USA Baseball events?

Concession stands or vending options are open for all USA Baseball events and outside food and drinks are prohibited at the National Training Complex.

Q: Am I allowed to bring my camera inside the National Training Complex?

Cameras with telephoto and zoom lenses are not allowed inside the complex. Cameras may be brought into the facility so long as they are not accompanied by these types of lenses.

Q: Does USA Baseball provide transportation at the NTC for people in need of assistance?

USA Baseball does not provide transportation into the complex.

Q: Is there an athletic trainer available during events at the National Training Complex?

Yes, a certified athletic trainer is onsite for all USA Baseball events.


USA BASEBALL BAT STANDARD

For more information and frequently asked questions about the USA Baseball Bat Standard, please visit the FAQ page at www.USABat.com

Q: Which NMOs and other organizations are implementing this new standard?

To date, the following organizations are participating:

Q: What specific leagues and divisions will adopt USABat?

  • AABC
    • Nolan Ryan, Pee Wee Reese, Gil Hodges, Willie Mays, Jackie Robinson, and Roberto Clemente division tournaments
  • Babe Ruth & Cal Ripken
    • Tee Ball
    • Cal Ripken Baseball
    • Babe Ruth Baseball (13-15)
  • Dixie Youth & Dixie Boys
    • Dixie Youth Baseball
    • Dixie Boys Baseball
  • Little League Baseball
    • Tee-Ball Division
    • Minor League Baseball Division
    • Little League Baseball (or the Major Division)
    • Intermediate (50/70) Division
    • Junior League Baseball Division
  • PONY Baseball
    • Shetland 6u
    • Pinto 8u
    • Mustang 10u
    • Bronco 12u
    • Pony 14u
  • NABF
    • Rookie Division 10u
    • Freshman Division 12u
    • Sophomore Division 14u
  • Dizzy Dean Baseball
    • 6-year-old division
    • 7-year-old division
    • 8-year-old division
    • 9-year-old division
    • 10-year-old division
    • 11-year-old division
    • 12-year-old division
  • Perfect Game
    • Events at ages 12u and younger

Q: Why the change to a wood-like standard?

USA Baseball's national member organizations believe that a wood-like performance standard will best provide for the long-term integrity of the game. The new standard will not have a drop-weight limit, so young players can use bats made with light-weight materials.

Q: Why not just use wood bats?

Wood is a scarce resource. Metal and composite bats also tend to be more durable and lighter weight than wood bats. USA Baseball Approved Bats (USABats) are designed to perform much like wood, where their performance is limited to the highest performing wood.

Q: How is the USABat standard different from the BBCOR standard used by the NCAA and NFHS?

Both the USA Baseball and NCAA bat performance tests are based on the coefficient of restitution from a bat-ball impact. The scale of results is different, however, since they use different test balls and test speeds. The testing difference is necessary to address the various levels of play in the respective age groups. That said, the two standards establish similar performance limits for bats.

The performance of BBCOR and USA Baseball bats are nearly identical (within about 0.005 BBCOR). The primary difference between the bats is USA Baseball bats do not have the -3 drop weight restriction. The lighter USA Baseball bats are easier to swing (particularly for developing hitters); this can result in higher batting averages, but not higher hit ball speed. The lighter USA Baseball bats will produce slightly lower hit ball speeds than the BBCOR bats. Since USA Baseball bats can be produced in a -3 drop weight, and would be nearly identical to BBCOR bats, we see no reason why BBCOR and USA Baseball's bats could not be combined in play for leagues choosing this option. However, we note that mixing BBCOR and USA Baseball bats increases the range of player ability using these bats. Rules ensuring players of comparable ability are on the field will lower the likelihood of an advanced hitter putting an inexperienced pitcher at risk. - Dr. Lloyd Smith and Dr. Alan Nathan

Q: Why is USA Baseball involved?

The national member organizations asked USA Baseball as the national governing body to take the lead in this process to establish a new standard. Many other national governing bodies set and enforce standards for the equipment in their respective sports. To that end, USA Baseball established a Bat Study Committee of leading scientists and conducted theoretical modeling, field testing and lab testing. The committee shared its findings with the national member organizations, who then endorsed the new USABat standard.

Q: Who are the scientists on the USA Baseball Bat Study Committee?

  • Alan Nathan, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Physics at the University of Illinois
  • Dan Russell, Ph.D. Professor of Acoustics at Penn State University
  • Glenn Fleisig, Ph.D. Research Director of American Sports Medicine Institute

Q: Why wait until 2018?

The implementation date of 2018 will allow bat manufacturers sufficient time to conduct the appropriate research, design, testing, manufacturing and shipping needed to get new bats into retail outlets. This date also allows the participating national member organizations adequate time to educate their memberships of the USABat standard.

Q: Is safety the reason for the change?

No. Youth baseball continues to be one of the safest of all sports for youth participants. USA Baseball and its National Member Organizations believe a wood like performance standard for non-wood bats will benefit the long-term integrity of youth baseball.

Q: How will I know which bat to buy?

All new bats that bear the USABat licensing mark will be permissible for play in the leagues and tournaments of the participating youth baseball organizations. A full list of certified bats can be found here.

Q: Are wood bats still allowed?

Yes. Solid, one-piece wood bats are approved for use under USABat with or without the USA Baseball Certification Mark. Multi-piece and composite wood bats must feature the USA Baseball Certification Mark to be approved for play.

Q: How are USABats certified?

Bats must undergo performance testing and receive a final approval from USA Baseball to receive USABat certification. A bat maker's first step in this process is to produce a bat design sample and submit it to the Washington State University (WSU) Sports Science Lab for performance testing. Submissions that pass USA Baseball's Performance Test Protocol become eligible for certification. To clarify, this means the bat has been performance tested in a controlled lab setting to confirm that it performs at a wood-like standard. The bat maker must then send a sample of the same design to USA Baseball for final approval of graphics. USA Baseball's certification gives the bat maker rights manufacture the same design for retail sale that passed testing at WSU with the graphics that were approved by USA Baseball as well as add the USA Baseball mark on the bat's handle. All approved bats are added to the USABat Approved List at USABat.com.

Q: How does a bat decertification happen?

In order for USA Baseball to ensure the integrity of the USABat standard, USA Baseball reserves the right to compliance test any bat on the USABat approved bat list at any time. Compliance tests are undertaken to ensure that production bats sold at retail meet the USABat standard and are identical to the bats submitted by the manufacturers during the initial certification process. In the event of a compliance test, select bat models are purchased at retail and tested at the Washington State University Sports Science Lab using the original certification test process. If the test reveals the bat model being sold at retail does not comply with USABat performance and design requirements, the bat is deemed noncompliant and the decertification process begins.

Q: What does bat decertification mean?

Bat decertification means that production bats being sold at retail of a previously approved USABat model are not in compliance with the USABat standard. To clarify, the USABat standard requires that bats manufactured for retail sale match the design that was initially certified by USA Baseball in both performance and design. Once a bat model has been decertified, it is no longer approved for play in leagues that have adopted USABat and subject to league rules concerning the use of illegal or unapproved bats.

Q: When is a bat decertification announced?

USA Baseball is obligated to announce a bat decertification once compliance testing has been completed and USA Baseball receives conclusive evidence that a bat model is not compliant with the USABat standard.

Q: Why not wait until the end of the season to announce a bat decertification?

Both USA Baseball and the bat manufacturer are obligated to announce a bat decertification once compliance testing has been completed and after USA Baseball has conclusive evidence that a bat model is out of compliance with the USABat standard. The use of a noncompliant bat in leagues that have adopted USABat compromises the integrity of the standard and creates an uneven playing field across youth baseball. Therefore, in order to maintain integrity with the performance metrics set by the USABat standard, noncompliant bats must be decertified and removed from play immediately.

Q: What happens if my bat is decertified?

If a previously approved USABat is decertified, the bat manufacturer is obligated to provide consumers with relief and to take any other steps necessary to make such parties whole. USA Baseball will post information on how to contact the bat manufacturer at https://usabat.com/decertified-bats/ in the event a USABat is ever decertified.

Q: Why are certain bat lengths decertified and not others?

For certified bats, each model length is typically designed and produced slightly differently than the others. Because of this, individual lengths and drops of a USABat are classified as unique designs and subject to bat certification separately. It is possible that certain bat lengths could be found to be out of compliance under the USABat standard while the remaining lengths and drops of the same model family are still design and performance compliant.

Q: Does the standard impact Tee Ball?

Yes. Under the USABat standard, certified tee ball bats will feature the USA Baseball mark and text which reads ONLY FOR USE WITH APPROVED TEE BALLS.

Q: Can I use a Tee Ball bat that does not feature the USA Baseball mark?

All Tee Ball bats must feature the USA Baseball mark and accompanying text. Tee Ball bats that were produced and/or purchased prior to the implementation of the new standard can be certified using an Approved Tee Ball Sticker via the USA Baseball Tee Ball Sticker Program.

Q: What is the USA Baseball Tee Ball Sticker Program?

The USA Baseball Tee Ball Sticker Program is an initiative designed to allow for the continued use of tee ball bats that were manufactured prior to the implementation of the new USABat standard. Through this program, parents, leagues, and coaches can place approved stickers marked with the USA Baseball logo and language which reads, ONLY FOR USE WITH APPROVED TEE BALLS on their older model tee ball bats. Stickered tee ball bats are fully compliant as approved USABat Tee Ball Bats. Stickers will be available through August 31st, 2019. All new approved tee ball bats feature a permanent USA Baseball logo and do not require an additional sticker.

More information on USABat Tee Ball Stickers and a link to order can be found here.


USA BASEBALL SHOP

Q: What are the USA Baseball Team Store (Cary, N.C.) hours of operation?

The USA Baseball Team Store does not have regularly scheduled hours of operation in the offseason but is open during all major events that take place at the National Training Complex in Cary, North Carolina.

For more information and a full calendar of USA Baseball Team Store hours, please visit USABaseballShop.com

Q: How may I obtain USA Baseball merchandise?

You can get the latest USA Baseball merchandise by stopping by the USA Baseball Team Store in Cary, North Carolina at the National Training Complex during an event or by visiting USABaseballShop.com.


USA BASEBALL SPORT DEVELOPMENT

Q: What is USA Baseball Sport Development?

The USA Baseball Sport Development team aims to grow the game of baseball through youth programs, player development, safety and educational initiatives. The Sport Development website houses all USA Baseball's development initiatives, educational resources, certifications and blog material. The website provides free online education courses and resources, development initiatives such as Hit and Run, Fun At Bat and the Prospect Development Pipeline, coach and umpire certification and the Sport Development Blog. Please see each program and initiative below for further information:

(Click on each Program's title to be sent to its webpage)

Online Educational Resources
Education is one of the fundamental building blocks of the game. As such, USA Baseball's educational resources emphasize a culture of development, safety and fun within the sport through free online training courses and programs for players, parents, coaches and umpires. Content is available in both English and Spanish.

Mobile Coach
The USA Baseball Mobile Coach App, free to all users, features practice plans, unique drills, and video tutorials to assist coaches of all levels to run competent, safe, age and skill appropriate practices for their players.

Sport Development Blog
The Sport Development Blog is home to official publications of USA Baseball focused on digging deeper into the game of baseball.

Long-Term Athlete Development Plan
USA Baseball, with support from Major League Baseball, has generated a Long-Term Athlete Development Plan (LTAD) to provide a multi-stage developmental pathway for an individual's life-long experience within the sport of baseball in the United States.

High School Baseball Manual
The high school baseball program manual has been developed to support the thousands of dedicated high school coaches around the country in their quest to provide a positive, development-based experience to their student-athletes.

Play Ball
Play Ball is a collaborative initiative between Major League Baseball and USA Baseball that highlights the many ways baseball can be played, including ways outside of traditionally organized baseball leagues and tournaments. Events hosted around the country provide an opportunity for youth to experience the game in a variety of different forms in a non-competitive environment.

Pitch Smart
Pitch Smart is a joint initiative by Major League Baseball and USA Baseball that provides a series of practical, age-appropriate guidelines to help parents, players and coaches avoid overuse injuries and foster long, healthy careers for youth pitchers.

Prospect Development Pipeline
Prospect Development Pipeline is a collaborative effort between MLB and USA Baseball that establishes an official identification and player development pathway for amateur baseball players in the United States.

Fun At Bat
Fun At Bat is an entry-level bat and ball program for kids with an emphasis on character development, functional movement, active play, and fun. The initiative stems from meticulous research on introductory youth sport programs and is supported by Major League Baseball, USA Baseball and industry professionals.

Hit and Run Baseball
Hit and Run Baseball is a joint initiative between Major League Baseball and USA Baseball that provides guidelines for fun, new ways to engage youth baseball players in formal competitive play. The program serves youth leagues, tournament providers and amateur coaches by providing game modification recommendations focused on pace of play and additional skill building opportunities for athletes that are designed to occur more frequently than traditional gameplay exposure.

Coach and Umpire Certification
Utilizing USA Baseball's educational content and achieving a certification keeps coaches current with what is happening in the modern game of baseball. It's great for overall professional growth. Whether you coach a recreational youth team or one of our National Teams, we have education for you and a certification to go along with it. All great leaders in the game are also lifelong learners, always looking for new things to implement within their programs. We can never learn or achieve too much. We are pleased to offer to Coach and Umpire Certification pathways to help you on your journey in our national pastime.

Baseball ACE
Baseball ACE is an educational program for any and all individuals who are currently coaching baseball or aspire to coach at any level of the game. Offered in partnership by USA Baseball and the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA), this program aims to create a culture of continuing education, professional development and mentorship within the baseball coaching community.

Click here to learn about these programs and initiatives.


USA BASEBALL GOLDEN SPIKES AWARD

Q: What is the Golden Spikes Award and how can I find out more about it?

Since 1978, USA Baseball has honored the top amateur baseball player in the country with the Golden Spikes Award. The award is presented in partnership with the Rod Dedeaux Foundation each year to the player who best exhibits exceptional on-field ability and exemplary sportsmanship.

For more information on the Golden Spikes Award you can visit GoldenSpikesAward.com, which is accessible from the USA Baseball home page, or you can email GSA@usabaseball.com. You can also follow @USAGoldenSpikes on Twitter and Instagram for the latest updates.