How To Choose A Badminton Racket
All badminton rackets have a string area, frame, throat, shaft and handle (as pictured on the left). The overall length can not exceed 680mm and the width can not exceed 230 mm.
High performance badminton rackets are composed of carbon fiber composite (graphite reinforced plastic). This gives the racket great strength to weight ratio, stiffness and excellent kinetic energy transfer.
The 3 main factors that determine to overall performance of the racket are the Balance, Shaft Flexibility and Weight.
Badminton racquets can be classified according to their balance or the location where weight is heavily concentrated in a racket. The three levels of classifications are Head-Light, Head-Heavy and Even-Balance. Rackets that are categorized as Head-Heavy have a heavier head due to the fact that their weight is mostly concentrated on the head area. Head-Light rackets have a lighter head because a majority of the weight is shifted towards the handle area. The weight in Even-Balance rackets is evenly distributed on the entire racket.
Head Heavy Balance Badminton Rackets:
Players who like playing a powerful game from the back area of the court prefer Head-Heavy badminton rackets. This racket offers them with extra weight in the head which increases the shot power for smashes and clears. These two types of shots are crucial in badminton rallies. Therefore, single players and double players who are interested in consistently producing lengthy clears should consider acquiring a Head-Heavy racket.
Head Light Balance Badminton Rackets:
A majority of club players prefer Head-Light badminton rackets, just like a game of doubles is more popular than a singles game. The head and the frames of Head-Light rackets have less weight. Therefore, they are much easier to swing or manipulate. This is crucial when defending smashes from opponents, since a player is required to act as fast as possible to return smashes for opponents. Similarly, Head-Light rackets are usually preferred when playing shots at the net, especially if a player wants to finish off rallies at the front area of the court. Head-Light rackets are recommended for players who like to engage in quick and attacking badminton games in doubles matches or for single players who boost of excellent techniques and swing speed.
Even Balance Badminton Rackets:
These types of rackets provide a middle ground solution for Head-Heavy and Head-Light rackets. They try to provide the advantages of both, providing a player with enough power and control from the back as well as maneuverability at the front. Even-Balance rackets is recommended for players who have no preference or are unsure of playing at the back or playing at the net since this racket is suitable for all sorts of shots. Most players carry different rackets for different scenarios. For those planning to start playing, an Even-Balance racket can be helpful in involving and engaging oneself in an all-round game. Players who regularly play singles and doubles may consider acquiring Even-Balance rackets to be used in playing in different scenarios.
Just like balance, shaft flexibility is also an important aspect to consider when buying a badminton racket. The correct level depends on the player’s wrist/arm speed. Racket manufacturers have come up with guidelines that categorize rackets as Flexible, Medium or Stiff. There also exists other categories such as Medium-Stiff and Extra-Stiff. In simple terms, the faster and more explosive a player’s wrist/arm speed is, the more likely a stiffer shaft is likely to serve them. A more flexible shaft is likely to benefit players with slower and smoother swing speed. A flexible shaft can offer great benefits for beginner players, whereas more advanced players mostly prefer stiffer shifts as they sharpen their techniques.
Stiff shafts are capable of bending and unbending easily. This ensures that a fast swing speed player is provided with as much power and control as possible. On the contrary, a slow swing-speed player is not likely to fully utilize the benefits of a stiff shaft. This is due to the fact that the shaft would not bend and unbend accordingly thus resulting to the loss of power.
Shafts that are flexible can bend and unbend easily. This ensures that the racket bends and unbends to the desired level when playing. On the other hand, a player with a more explosive and fast swing speed, playing with a more flexible racket would most likely make premature contact with the shuttle even before the shaft unbends. This results to a loss of power and control.
Badminton Racket Specifications:
The weight of a racket is indicated by a “U”. The smaller the number, (U), the heavier the weight. For instance, 3U which is equivalent to 85-89g is heavier than 4U which is equivalent to 80-84g.
The size of the grip is indicated by a “G”. The smaller the number, (G), the larger the handle size. Yonex racket brands come in G3 as standard. Victor racket brands on the other hand come in G4 as standard.
The racket tension is indicated by “x lb to y lb”; the smallest to the greatest stringing tension recommended.