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A Look at Important Rules Changes for 2022

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After a year of very few rule changes due to the COVID-19 disruption of entire seasons, the governing bodies of youth sports in America are making up for lost time with a number of changes for the 2022 season. Our thanks to Marty Maciaszek, director of communications and the Team Dealer Division of the National Sporting Goods Association (NSGA), for compiling a comprehensive look at the changes impacting the team business next year.

USA Softball

USA softball made a rule change where any items added to the bat grip, such as a “choke-up” device, no longer must be securely attached with tape. The previous rule required these items to be taped to the grip.

USA Softball also came up with a common spec for the 12-inch fast pitch ball that will be in full effect in 2024. USA Softball worked with NCAA and NFHS on this new, common specification: The 12-inch fast pitch ball will have the following specifications: Size: 11 – 12¼ inches, Weight: 6.50 ounces–7.00 ounces, Compression: 275.0 pounds– 375.0 pounds, COR: .470 Max, and Dynamic Stiffness: 7500 pounds maximum.

USA Lacrosse

For high school boys only starting in 2022, the home team must wear a white Jersey and the visiting team must wear a non-white jersey.

For high school girls’ goalies, the requirement of wearing shin guards was eliminated.

The rule requiring boys’ field players to wear shoulder pads designed for lacrosse that meet NOCSAE standard ND200 goes into effect January 1, 2022.

USA Gymnastics

Athletes participating in the USA Gymnastics' Women's Artistic Development Program will be permitted to wear bike shorts with their leotards in competition. This change provides another option as athletes could previously wear leotards or full-length unitards. Similarly, non-elite athletes competing domestically within USAG's acrobatic gymnastics program will also be able to wear bike shorts in competition.

USA Hockey

USA Hockey recommends that players wear a neck laceration protector and choose a design that covers as much of the neck area as possible. While the neck laceration protector is only recommended, adding that language to the rule book may generate more inquiries regarding products on the market.

AAU Hockey

Adult inline AAU hockey players will be required to wear face protection either with a cage, full shield or half-shield.

PONY Baseball

PONY Baseball changed a rule that bats manufactured specifically for use in T-ball shall not be used when the ball is pitched by a player, coach or pitching machine, unless using a Level 5 or less safety ball. Coach pitch bats will only be used in coach pitch using a Level 5 or less safety ball. The penalty is removal of the bat only.

PONY Softball

All exposed jewelry such as stud earrings, piercings, non-metal bracelets, necklaces, hair beads and metal hairbands are now legal. This includes medical alert bracelets and necklaces. Hoop earrings and metal bracelets are not allowed.

Dixie Youth Baseball

T-ball bats will be stamped with the USA Baseball Mark and the language “Only for use with approved tee balls.” Bats stamped for T-ball play can only be used with low compression balls due to the manufacturing standards for these bats. Any bat stamped for T-ball play cannot be used in games played using a regular baseball that is pitched to the batter in any division of Dixie Youth Baseball.

National Amateur Baseball Federation

The NABF patch will no longer be required on the jersey.

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Dec 2, 2021

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