The racket is your most important badminton equipment. The type of racket you choose should match your playing ability. Here are the things to consider when it comes to choosing the most suitable racket for yourself.
All Badminton racquets can be categorized based on their balance, or where the weight of the racket is largely located. The three categories are: Head-Heavy, Even-Balance and Head-Light. Head-Heavy rackets have the mass shifted towards the head, resulting in a heavier head. Head-Light rackets have the mass shifted towards the handle, resulting in a lighter head. Even-Balance rackets, as the name suggests, have the mass distributed evenly throughout the racket.
Head-Heavy Balance Badminton Rackets
Head-Heavy badminton rackets are very popular with players who like to play a powerful game from the back of the court, providing them with extra mass in the head, which can increase the power of their clears and smashes. As these types of shots are integral to badminton rallies, players who are looking to ensure they can consistently produce lengthy clears should consider purchasing a Head-Heavy racket.
Head-Light Balance Badminton Rackets
Head-Light badminton rackets, by comparison, are more suitable for club players who play doubles far more than singles. The advantage of using a head-light racket is that the head and frame have far less mass and are therefore much easier to manipulate and swing. This is crucial when defending against opposing smashes, as you will need to react as quickly as possible to return the smash. By the same principle, Head-Light rackets are also much more desirable when playing shots at the net, particularly if you look to finish off rallies at the front of the court. If you prefer to play driving, fast and attacking badminton when playing doubles, or are a singles player who has excellent technique and swing speed, you should seriously consider a Head-Light racket.
Even Balance Badminton Rackets
Even-Balance rackets, as you may suspect, are designed to provide a middle ground between Head-Heavy and Head-Light rackets, and attempt to offer the advantages of both, giving you enough power from the back and enough control & maneuverability at the front. If you have no preference between playing at the net and playing at the back, or are unsure, then an Even-Balance racket is the best choice, as the racket will be suitable for all types of shots. The majority of regular players now carry rackets for different scenarios, so if you are looking to start playing, then an Even-Balance racket will help you develop an all-round game. Additionally, if you are a more advanced player or play singles and doubles frequently, then you may also consider purchasing an even-balance racket to give you something that will help in every scenario.
Shaft Flexibility (Flex)
Shaft flexibility is just as crucial as balance when purchasing a badminton racquet, and the correct level for you is dependent on your wrist/arm speed. Manufacturers have generally agreed upon on categorizing rackets as 'Flexible', 'Medium' and 'Stiff', though there are variations on this such as 'Medium-Stiff' and 'Extra Stiff'. Put simply, the quicker and more explosive your wrist/arm speed (often known as swing speed), the more likely you are to benefit from a stiffer shaft. The slower and smoother your wrist/arm speed, the more likely you are to benefit from a more flexible shaft. Beginners are far more likely to benefit from purchasing a racket with a flexible shaft, whereas more advanced players tend to favor stiffer shafts as advanced players have much better technique. If you are unsure about how much flex you need, then you should purchase a medium or medium-stiff flex badminton racket.
A stiffer shaft will bend and then unbend very quickly, ensuring the explosive swing-speed player has the maximum power and control possible. By comparison, a slower swing-speed player would not be able to use the advantage of a stiff shaft as the shaft would not bend or unbend enough, resulting in a loss of power.
A more flexible shaft will bend and unbend much more easily, ensuring that players will get the racket to bend and unbend to the required level. By comparison, a more explosive, fast swing-speed player using a more flexible frame would connect with the shuttle prematurely, before the shaft unbends and is still bent backwards, resulting in a loss of control and power.
What is the ideal Badminton Racket weight based on your level?
Choosing the weight of your badminton racket also depends on your individual technique and skill of play. Note that the references are of Unstrung weight of the frame only and as explained earlier, the weight and balance of the racket changes when it is strung or a grip is applied. The Unstrung weight of Badminton Rackets is usually in the given range:
|75 - 79.9 gm||80 - 84.9 gm||85 - 89.9 gm||90 - 94.9 gm||95 - 99.9 gm|
Lightweight badminton rackets are highly recommended for beginners. They should weigh between 85g to 89g (3U) as such rackets are usually easier to control.
Lightweight rackets also allow for quick stroking speeds and recovery. You will be able to deliver quick serves and switch to different strokes easily. Lightweight rackets are also easier on the wrist and shoulders, reducing the chances of injuries.
Heavier badminton rackets (>88 gm) generate more momentum and effectively transfer power and speed to the shuttle. Players with strong shoulders and refined technique of play can handle heavy rackets for their power-packed game. Few beginner rackets fall in the heavy category due to the heavier material used for keeping the cost of the racket low.
Test the tension of a racket by pressing your palm against the strings and see how far it sinks. A 1mm sunken depth of the strings is the ideal tension for most players.
One can play either with different strings or varying tensions to optimize the combination of both power and control according to your playing technique & style.
Multifilament strings are synthetic, popular and durable. These are the most commonly used string in the market. e.g. Yonex BG65 Titanium
Professional players use Natural gut which is expensive but provides the extreme ‘feel’ to the players.
- High Tension: If you are advance players & hard hitters then you should have higher tension in your badminton racquet. Players can acquire get their racquets strung at high tension of 25 lbs. or more. With this higher tension, badminton racquet will be in touch with the shuttle for a short duration of time and will transfer less power and more control to your shots.
- Lower Tension: If you are a beginner or intermediate players then you should have lower tension in your badminton racquet. Beginners should acquire their badminton racquets strung at low tension either around 18-20 lbs. or 21-23 lb. With this lower tension, badminton racquets offer more power in the shots.
There are two major factors that affect the grip of a racket, namely its type and size.
Types of badminton grips
There are two types of badminton grips - towel and synthetic.
Towel grips are softer and good for absorbing sweat. However, this makes them prone to accumulating germs and bacteria. As such, towel grips will require frequent replacement compared to synthetic grips.
On the other hand, synthetic grips are slick and less messy. However, this makes them less comfortable due to its poor sweat absorption ability.
Size of badminton grips
Most racket grips come in four sizes. Bigger grips are favored by players who prefer a tighter feel to generate more power. On the other hand, players that like to employ the use of deception in their games will prefer smaller grips as it allows for better maneuverability.