I am pleasantly surprised. Never thought they could offer prices as competitive as Victor's. Competitive pricing will surely attract more people (including me!).
Guess it's part of Adidas' "all in" strategy... No need to earn back the money spent for capital investments right away...
They are already a big name in clothing and accessories, and what they will earn on accessories and clothing in this sport segment will more than compensate for slow equipment (racquet and shuttlecock) sales, I should think.
Hrm. That'll be interesting. Even though I live in a city of 4 million people, we only have 3 specialist badminton stores and maybe 2-3 'pro' shops. And none of those are particularly high volume or slick operations.
The overview/ review of the Adidas showcase event is as follows, overview of the evening (post one), my thoughts on it and Viktor (post two) then thoughts on the new Adidas gear that I tried or picked up (shuttles, rackets, shoes and shirts) (post three).
Thank you to Matt Richards for his event photos. Apologies some are not white balanced properly, those are mine which I haven't fixed yet after my white balance went wonky half way through. Also some of my photo's aren't in focus. Also all have been compressed to web so the quality is a low.
The evening started with me arriving and almost immediately finding myself in the position of talking to Viktor. After a brief introduction and a brief chat with a few other uni players and him I went and got changed. Then Viktor warmed up with the organiser of the event and the evening proper started. The Adidas rep, Matt introduced Viktor, his achievements and the development of the Adidas badminton gear. Adidas began developing their badminton ideas two and a half years ago for those interested.
The event was run with a lot of players on or waiting near a court. More or less everyone who was there was on court, with a few watching from the balcony in the University of Birmingham sports hall. We were all then told to pick an Adidas racket of our choice from their large selection. I chose the Adipower tour (the pro’s had all gone). Although we did swap around during the course of the evening to try others.
After the intro Viktor played a few games of three point singles against a select few players. Unfortunately (or fortunately for my dignity!) I didn’t get to play against him at that point. One player at the uni beat him over three points (2-1). Keep an eye out for the name Andy Wainwright! Then he introduced his favourite trick shot, the “Zweibler deceiver” as I named it, after this:
We then all attempted it. It wasn’t that easy for most of us club level players. The county players did a little better. Viktor was on hand coaching us though and after a bit of effort I managed to produce a somewhat weaker version than Viktor’s example.
Being coached on the art of the trick shot
After this it was a return Viktor’s smash session. Quite a lot of people got to go on court and attempt this, a high lift (not too much to the back as per Viktor’s instruction!) was performed and then he blasted it anywhere he wanted on a singles court. A few people got it back, me not included. The pressure got to me and my high serve barely reached mid-court...
Preparing to defend... Ignore my facial expression (I'm off court, guess who)
Then Viktor introduced his favourite shot, the round the head, crosscourt drop. Deception was the key here, you had to set yourself to look like you were going to smash or clear straight. Everyone had more success with this one and once again Viktor was on hand coaching us all.
Being coached by Viktor on the crosscourt round the head drop
Then it was on to trying out the rackets properly, a series of five minute games. We all sorted ourselves into groups and then hit around during a game of doubles, getting an idea of what the Adidas rackets could do. Viktor was also on court with three other players who were selected by the Adidas rep. This basically turned into a let’s try and beat Viktor-athon. Which included some outrageous trick shots which deceived Viktor. To applause from those watching and a wry grin from Viktor. But anyone who trick shotted Viktor immediately found themselves looking a bit silly a few points later…
Viktor defending a smash from a mere mortal
By pure fluke on the second to last 5 minute game I found myself playing with Viktor, against some fellow University of Birmingham B-squad players. Needless to say we won that game. I also got to see Viktor’s full power smash after my friend requested it. To quote him, it was at the rear court on Viktor’s side, then suddenly on the floor. I was however slightly nervous of injuring Viktor before the All England so made sure to avoid any possibility of collision, I still hit a few OK shots but generally didn’t play great. Oh well, it was fun I might try and get the video off my friend and post it later on at some point.
Me on court with Viktor
Then we had to give the rackets back, which is a shame as I had grown quite fond of the Adipower tour.
Then there was the Q and A session Here are a few of the questions asked and some of the answers Viktor gave. Viktor “supports” Arsenal football club, although admitted he doesn’t follow football that closely. He prefers badminton, unsurprisingly. He thinks Danish badminton is ahead of the rest of Europe because of their club system and the nurturing yet competitive nature they provide to junior players. His favourite player is/was Bao Chunlai, because he was tall like Viktor and showed him how a taller player could play singles (or I think he said that, I was swapping camera lenses at the time, apologies if I have mis-quoted). He doesn’t play any other sports but does do a fair amount of weight training to help with badminton (three times a week). Fitting school work in with badminton is incredibly hard work.
Finally there was an opportunity to have your photo taken with Viktor and get his autograph. So naturally I got him to sign my Victor MX80 case... I can already hear the groans... One person got him to sign a watermelon, which was his favourite thing to sign in the evening, after the front of a medical textbook and a law texbook.
The running of the event was very slick, down to three things, the organisation that went in beforehand by the main organiser, one of the students at the University, the Adidas rep and finally Viktor himself.
Opinions on Adidas
The Adidas rep was very friendly and didn’t force the products down our throats. He seemed confident that we would find them performing well and didn’t mind us joking around about them. It was clearly the Adidas rackets that prevented us returning Viktor’s smash The atmosphere was very friendly and all players of all abilities were made to feel welcome. From near beginner but incredibly enthusiastic to near England standard. We really got the impression that Adidas did understand badminton and weren’t just testing the water, they appear to have committed to this properly, or gone “all in” as they would say.
Opinions on Viktor
Finally and unsurprisingly the star of the show was Viktor. From the impression I got last night he is definitely a worthy successor to Peter Gade in terms of promoting the sport. He seemed happy to be on court whether it was with beginners, junior players who had began to pick up the fundamentals, the county players or people like me who aren’t exactly beginner but aren’t exactly anything decent either It was certainly a very good lesson for the juniors and adults on how to behave on court and the attitude you should have to any player, regardless of standard. Secondly was his maturity and professionalism at 19 years old. He explained how to perform the shots well and was happy to help out and answer any questions we had on technique. A lot of people left as fans of Viktor Axelsen
Last edited by Sevex; 03-06-2013 at 09:23 AM.
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For those of you still with me at this point, or those that have returned after a lengthy break here is part three.
The rackets I tried out at the event were.
I picked up a few pairs of shoes and they felt like… Shoes. Can’t really go much beyond that. I can’t even remember what they looked like as I sort of was more interested in the rest of the event.
I paid a bit more attention to the shirts. Which I would say look like the old style Yonex designs of 2006-2009 ish, before they went off on there abstract designs which I’m not fond of. They aren’t that flashy and I still prefer Victor’s current designs but they look decent and I would wear them. Unlike a lot of the current “high end” Yonex designs.
The three rackets I tried were the Adizero pro, the Adipower tour and the F500. The racket I currently use is the Meteor X80. I’m technically not good enough to make full use of the stiff shaft, but it doesn’t cause me injury and I like the feeling of it. It probably does limit me slightly though.
One note on all the rackets, everyone said they looked shorter than our normal rackets, but we didn’t get a chance to compare. Kwun, was this down to the handles being shorter creating an optical illusion, or are they actually shorter?
The Adizero pro and F500 were too head light and quick swinging for me. When I actually connected with a smash it was powerful enough but I felt a bit disconnected from the shuttle. There was more feel there with the Adizero pro than the F500 but I couldn’t get to grips with either in the short time I had with them. However my friend who like head light rackets quite enjoyed it. Personally I struggled to clear full court with either of them and all my shots were dodgy because of my timing issues. I wouldn’t use my impressions to judge the racket.
The Adipower tour on the other hand was much more like it for me. The balance was similar to the MX80. It was considerably flexier however. The flex seemed initially very flexy before becoming much stiffer. This created an interesting kick effect on smashes which I quite liked the feel of. It had plenty of power, I could get good angles when smashing. Defence was fine, slightly slower than the MX80 but a lot easier to get deep lifts from. Drops and clears were good also although I did have a slight habit of blasting it out the back on clears when I was off balance, just because I wasn’t used to the racket. The racket reminded me of an Arcsaber z-slash in terms of stiffness and general play feel. Only with a much larger sweetspot. My friend who like head light rackets hated the adipower tour, saying he felt like his hand was going to fall off from swinging it. Thus proving everyone has their own like and dislikes.
The Adidas strings were very interesting. They are experimenting with a hybrid string, which was handily on all demo rackets, which suggests they are likely to be marketing it strongly. It had two strings a 0.69mm and a 0.72mm. One of the reps said 0.72 were for the main and the 0.69mm for the crosses, but he did seem slightly unsure, probably wasn’t expecting a stringer to come and quiz him at this event!
The strings themselves seemed to have loads of power but they seemed a little slippery compared to BG80, zymax 62 or zymax 65. They were closest in feel to VS850. I haven’t used any other strings in the last three years so my comparisons to other strings will be a bit useless. They were lively and responsive though and I wouldn’t complain if I had to use them. I just prefer a bit more grip from the strings I use. Will be interested to hear other more experienced players thoughts on them.
As for the shuttles, they were very good, not sure what type they were, I forgot to look. Flight was consistent and they didn’t want to break. The Adidas rep missed a tube when he was packing up so we used them up after he had gone. After a bit of hitting around half court and a game of singles (which ended 21-19) the shuttle still looked brand new. Admittedly me and the person I was playing against don’t slice or mis-hit much but I was expecting it to look a little worse for wear. However with Kwun suggesting the price of them won’t please anyone I am not surprised they are very good!
Last edited by Sevex; 03-06-2013 at 09:22 AM.
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