02-28-2005, 05:01 PM #1
Badminton Central Guide to choosing Badminton Equipment
Badminton Central Guide to choosing Badminton Equipment
I have wanted to write a guide on what equipment badminton should focus on. By nature, badminton requires the player to have a few pieces of equipment to engage in the sports, items such as a racket and a shuttlecock are a must for a badminton player. However, often I see many player places the wrong focus on how they spend their money on equipment. A smart badminton player will spend money effectively to maximize their badminton playing experience.
However, before I start, I would like to point out that no badminton equipment can replace proper badminton skills. If you think you can spend US$200 on a racket and you can instantly play better, you are 105% wrong. A good set of equipment can only bring out the potential of a player with good skills. No equipment can fix your bad skills. Instead, I recommend you spend your money on some good coaching lessons. It will make much more difference in your badminton game than a shiny new racket.
I chose to list the equipment in decreasing order of important, in other words, I reckon that the badminton shoes is the most important equipment that a badminton player has, while their clothing is the least important.
Contrary to popular belief, a good set of badminton shoes are the most important piece of equipment a badminton player can have. Badminton players move around the badminton court at an amazing pace, dashes and changes directions on every stroke of the rally, twisting and turning and lunging. All these movements are supported and made possible by the biggest unsung hero, the badminton shoes.
Badminton shoes are designed for badminton movements; a thin but well supported sole with good lateral support keep the player’s feet close to the ground, this allows for fast and ankle bending directional changes with lower chance of injury; light weight for faster feet movement; surface hugging gummy soles to grip the indoor surface without slipping.
The amount of torture we subject our lower body to can clearly be seen in people’s badminton shoes. A good pair of badminton shoes used by a decent player sometimes last only 3-6 months. At the end of its short life, you will find soles that are worn to the inner support, insoles that are worn through, strong upper leather that gave up and split due to the immense force exerted at it.
Pick your badminton shoes with care, make sure you choose the pair that fits the shape of your feet and thus the most comfortable.
And whatever you do, do not wear running shoes or any other thick soled shoes. They keep your feet too high up in the ground and all it will take is one deep lunge to have your ankle sprained. From then on, you will be in excruciating pain for days and the injury will affect your badminton game for years to come.
Good badminton shoes brands include Asics, Hi-Tec, Mizuno, and Yonex. Other smaller brands are starting to catching up as well.
The number two unsung hero of the badminton equipment is the badminton string. Afterall, it is the string that is in contact with the shuttle on every stroke. How the string interacts with the shuttle is crucial to the feel of each stroke. Depending on your skill level and the style of your game, you should pick a string and tension that is suitable for your game. String manufacturers usually have ratings of different string characteristics at the back of the string package. Pick the items that are most important for your game.
String tension affects the playability of the string as much as the string itself. The general rule of thumb is that the harder you can hit, the tighter your tension can be. A higher tension rewards a hard hitting while robs power from a light hitter. On the opposite end, a lower tensioned string helps light hitter with a better timed trampoline effect.
There is always the temptation to go higher in tension, but this is a case of bigger is not always better. Higher tension does not give you more power as mentioned above, beginners should always start with lower tension of around 20lbs, adjust it to 22-23lbs when you progress to intermediate and only go up to 25+lbs if you are gain more power in your technique. Using the inappropriate high tension will make the racket unresponsive, decreased power, and will easily cause injury.
Good brands for badminton strings are: Ashaway, Gosen, Mizuno, Yonex.
Recommended tensions: beginners: 19-20lbs . intermediate players: 21-24lbs. advance players: 25+ lbs.
The number three unsung hero of badminton equipment is the badminton grip. Similar to the string being the interface to the shuttle, the grip is the interface to the badminton player’s finger and hand. The game of badminton comprises of many very delicate movements and fine control from the player’s finger and wrist. A proper grip ensure that there is proper actuation and feedback to and from the racket.
Three major factors affects the characteristics of the grip: type, size and tackiness.
Badminton grips falls into two different type, towel and synthetic. The choice of which are personal preference. Towel grip are softer, provides good sweat absorption, but at the same time, is more prone to germ accumulation and needs to be changed often. Synthetic grips are less messy and less prone to accumulation of germs, however, they are not as good as towel grips when it comes to sweat absorption.
The proper grip size to use depends greatly on the player. Obviously a player with larger hands will prefer a larger grip and vice versa. It is often tempting to use a large grip, a large grip gives the false feeling that the racket is lighter and more maneuverable. However, one must again understand that badminton is comprised of subtle, agile and delicate movements in the fingers and wrist, a smaller (but not too small) grip will allow for higher agility and maneuverability of the racket.
Often times badminton players give the racket the most emphasis. If you go into badmintoncentral.com and you will find that most of the discussion centers on the racket. While the racket is certainly an important equipment, the importance of which is often overrated, and that is the reason why I put the Racket almost next to last in our recommendation list.
The badminton racket is the middleman when transferring force from the player to the shuttle, sitting right between the grip and the string. A badminton racket can be categorized by a few characteristics: shape, stiffness, weight, balance.
Virtually all badminton rackets are made of carbon fiber or graphite. Some manufacturers choose to put in extra ingredients into the racket material like titanium or recently nanocarbon. I want to emphasis that they are only addictives, the 99% of the racket is still graphite and the extra benefits of the additives are very marginal.
Badminton rackets comes in two major head shapes: Isometric/square and Oval. Oval is the traditional racket shape, it is a slightly bottom heavy oval, almost the shape of an egg. Oval rackets in general have a small but more concentrated sweet spot. Oval fans like the concentration of power around the sweetspot of the racket. The shape is the Isometric or square which became more popular after the early 1990’s. The Isometric head has a wider and more squared top half of the racket head. The advantage of the isometric is an enlarged sweetspot which give off-centered hit a better response.
The effective stiffness of a badminton racket is similar to the effective of string tension. So I will refer you back to that section. A stiffer racket has the similar effect as a higher tensioned string, while a flexible racket is similar to the lower tension string.
Rackets comes in different weights. Normally the racket alone weighs between 80-95g. Different manufacturers have different rating system, the most popular of which is Yonex’s U system, U = 95-100g, 2U = 90-94g, 3U = 85-89g, 4U = 80-84g. a racket’s weight determines how fast one can swing a racket, the lighter a racket, the faster one can swing it with the same force. In general, a lighter racket is more maneuverable than a heavy one. However, before everybody goes out and buy the lightest racket, I also want to point out that lighter isn’t always better. A light racket is less stable than a heavier racket, more force is necessary to keep its path, furthermore, a heavier racket has a larger momentum and thus more effective in transferring its speed and power to the shuttle.
The final racket characteristic is the balance of the racket. Head balanced racket is becoming more popular recently. Head balanced rackets have more mass near the head of the racket. A head balanced racket is more stable and have higher angular momentum when swung. On the contrary, a even balanced racket is more maneuverable.
As you can see, none of the different properties of the above characteristics are strictly better than other. Some players prefers slightly heavier rackets, some prefer slightly lighter, some like even balanced, some like head balanced. What I want to point out is that ultimately, it is a person’s skill level and style that determines what racket is suitable, go try them out if you can to see what fits.
Badminton clothing is quite simple to choose. Aside from one personal fashion preference, badminton clothing is better kept light and unrestrictive. Shirts needs to be slightly loose and comfortable to allow for arm and body movements. Badminton is a game of sweat, very often we see a badminton player walks out of the court like he just came out of a shower. As it is always uncomfortable to have sweat stuck to one’s skin, sweat absorption and dissipation is thus important. There are many fancy sweat-wicking clothing out there, but from my personal experience, a good cotton t-shirt works well in most situation. If one gets really wet during a game, they are cheap enough so you can have a few spares ones to change into.
Shorts are the preference for most badminton players. Again, choose something that is light and not restrictive to movement, jumps and lunges are done often in badminton.
Again, clothing is mostly personal fashion preference, as long as the clothing allows for the extreme movements in badminton, it is usually quite ok.
I have mentioned it once and I will do it again here, while equipment is essential in badminton, the most important factor in badminton is still one’s badminton skills. Equipment will only have marginal effect on one’s game.
03-01-2005, 05:48 PM #2
this is a good post.
String tension is a key factor for the beginners.
Do not put high tension expecting better results. Higher tension only means lesser power, and more precision.
When you are a beginner, the power is lacking and so is the timing, thus a loose string helps in hitting the shuttle farther and crisp (not more than 20 lbs).
As you get more advanced, you want your drops to be more precise, and your smashes to be more precise (on the line ), then the higher string tension helps.
Boggieeiggob liked this post
03-16-2005, 09:07 AM #3
Just wondering, since we have this thread as a sticky why not remove the sticky "How to ask the ultimate equipment question" thread ?
Just a thought..
08-05-2005, 12:36 PM #4
Need racket/string advice
I'm an average tennis player, age 45, who switched to badminton 7 months ago. My strength and style are still much more in my arm than my wrist, though I am trying to improve the latter. My arm strength/speed are average. My court speed is above average (I used to be a sprinter). I'm 6 foot, 2 inches and have a good reach, especially on overhead shots.
I play 2-3 times a week, usually doubles, using a nylon birdie. I consider myself an intermediate player who will never be an advanced player due to lack of time/skill. Nevertheless, I do want to constantly improve my game.
My game is equally balanced between offense and defense. I want to be able to dig out smashes, do drop shots, do smashes, and hit deep shots (base line to base line).
I need advice on the best type of racket/strings/string tension I should use.
08-21-2005, 03:39 AM #5
I agree with Kwun on almost every aspect, except one thing: racket (shaft) stiffness.
Racket stiffness does not behave similar to string tension. In fact, it behaves the opposite of string tension.
String: the higher the tension, the less power it will produce but produce better control. The lower the tension, the more power it will produce but give less control.
Shaft Stiffness: The stiffer the shaft, the more power it will produce and give less control. The more flexible shaft will give less power and more control.
For example: Carbonex 20 Power (Cab 22) -> v.stiff shaft thus more power.
Thanks, please advise if I am mistaken.
10-02-2005, 12:13 AM #6Originally Posted by sennahojw
11-13-2006, 08:16 PM #7
What safety aspects must be considered in all of these areas ?
e.g Running shoes could cause a sprained ankle with one great lunge ...
12-31-2006, 09:33 AM #8
Hi to all, i'm a school team player-3rd singles. i can hit the shuttle full court, but i find it hard to do the same when i'm in an wierd position(overhead stroke)... So is it better to improve my power and strength by training my wrist or arm? Cause i have gone to the gym a few times and noticed no change in neither power nor strength...
12-31-2006, 11:49 AM #9Originally Posted by danielchua2
12-31-2006, 07:33 PM #10
this part of the thread will be moved by moderators later, but one question, if you are a school team member, surely your coach can tell you how to improve... he's probably a more reliable source of info than the internet, plus, he can actually witness your stroke...
02-08-2007, 02:46 PM #11
After reading Kwun's article about badminton equipment recommendations, I couldn't agree more about what is the most important factor about playing badminton. It is not by owning an expensive racket nor having the most expensive badminton shoes. I believe it has to do with the player's attitude towards the badminton game. Someone told me that different racket is made for different level of player - Advance to beginner. Not that I didn't agree with his view; however, I think a good material racket do make some difference for a player. I have been searching through the internet looking what is the best racket available in the market and come to this conclusion. To me there is no such thing as to what type of racket for different level of player. What I found out is that all expensive rackets in the market are made of high tech and HM modulus G. The materials by itself are expensive; therefore, the rackets are sold expensively. The bottom line is how much money are you willing to pay? I had my Yonex Carbonex 8 long time ago when it was the racket of the year. Chinese national players used it to win the international games. Now it is a beginner's racket, so how do you account for that? One incident happened to me before was that I didn't believe an expensive racket will make any different in the game. I used my carbonex 8 while the opponents are using high end rackets. They kept hitting high deep end overhead shots and I have to return the same but... almost lost my arm. My racket can only go to max. is 16lbs. strung. You can imagine the muscule I have to use in order to play that game and of course I lost. Then I went and brought my yonex mp66 and play with them again... gosh! what a difference in the game and I won. My recomendation in buying a racket is how much you can afford and get the racket for its best value. There are too many combinations to consider if you start thinking about how stiff or what type of string you need and how many lbs to strung. To me I just go to buy the top model so that I don't have to worry about thinking that I should have brought the best when you get a lower end racket. Right now all my rackets are strung at 23 lbs. Someone says to me - thats heavy!!! ha..haaa....
02-26-2007, 04:36 AM #12
I found Kwun's article very helpful especially since I'm on a tight budget.
I broke my primary racket recently - a Prince Classic Tour 01 - so I went online to check out racket reviews and tips. After reading Kwun's article, I seriously considered spending less on the racket and more on strings. Yonex seems to be redistributing older model rackets at very cheap prices to compete with the other manufacturers. I was considering a carbonex7 that could be strung up to 28 lbs. being sold at a bit more than $30 US. But I found a Yonex Isometric-80 since I think adjusting to an oval racket head (the carbonex 7) is pretty risky since I got used to the bigger sweet spot. I strung it at 24 lbs. with BG-80 string. Oh it's also 2U, a bit heavier than what I'm used to.
Results? I got used to my new racket within my first session with it and enjoyed the greater repulsion of the strings. My game play has improved but more because of my emphasis on footwork and endurance. As for clears and smashes, I enjoy the reduced shock/vibration (due to the racket) and increased power (because of the strings). But these actually give marginal improvement compared to concentrating on improving gameplay.
Kwun, thanks for these tips!
03-28-2007, 10:45 AM #13
Great shed of light ! Kwun , thanks !
06-17-2007, 05:19 PM #14
I don't agree about the shaft being the same as string tension. A stiff shaft is better for people with compact swings, while flexible shafts are best for long swings. This is because they will unflex at the right time, and deliver optimum motion transfer to the shuttle.
06-17-2007, 05:23 PM #15
if ur good and have a proper swing everyone has same length swing this is not like tennis.
06-17-2007, 05:27 PM #16
I really don't follow you, martin. If you're "decent," there are two types of swings you can do. For deception and energy conservation, a "whipping" action (made famous in Canada by Dominic Soong) is often used. Other people use the full swing by starting with their elbow bent behind them. By the way, I don't play tennis.
04-04-2008, 01:29 AM #17
I learned alot from this post made by kwun,
When i was playing badminton, i was see that i do not have alot of that power when giving a shot to oppt. and after reading this post, i found out is that my tension is wrong, as now my tension for my racket is 25, and i just started playing badminton not long ago.
So i can see that Higher Tension don't mean better play in any ways after reading this post.
So, Thank you very much Kwun for posting this post!
Hope to learn more from BC
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