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  1. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by pcll99 View Post
    for really old ones (eg, for more 2 years), the rubber sole had hardened. There is not much you can do to save them.
    Oh no when I say old shoes I mean ones that I've used for a few months and basically lost their grip

  2. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boggieeiggob View Post
    Oh no when I say old shoes I mean ones that I've used for a few months and basically lost their grip
    Ok, you should do wash them with soap and rub them against PVC door mat.

    You should not wear your badminton shoes outdoor.

  3. #37
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    Hey i want to guide me what racket should i choose between arc fb arc zslash...see i ve aggressive player style but this week i understood that smash is not the only effective hit in badminton so...i m trying to change my style of game,but this doesn t mean that it is not an advantange to be a heavy smasher.My point is i want to use more technic and less smashes but when it comes the time to smah,use this benefit.

  4. #38
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    Good post. organized and well thought through.
    I have a query about which is the better racket between
    1. Muscle power 700
    2. Voltric 3
    3. Nanospeed 33, 66
    4. Arc Saber 001

    My game is mostly smashing and baseline shots and also drop shots close to the net from the last box or far back of the court.

    Also, are there any cheaper alternatives to any of these?

    I'm based in NY, USA - where badminton is a very niche sport - which only asian people know about.
    Any help and advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

  5. #39
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    They're both very fast racquets but I find that z slash feels smoother when you play shots. I would personally say z slash because it lends power to you on smashes but it's not a slow racquet when it comes to defence either and because it's even, it fairs well at drives and drops. The arc fb is the same except because of the lack of weight, and hence momentum, to generate power, some people might find it hard to compensate for the missing power. But really, if your technique is good enough and your swing speed is fast enough (if you struggle with that I recommend using a training racquet, which ranges from 140g-180g) then that shouldn't be a problem

  6. #40
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    Errr... I don't know much about the lower end and not much at all about muscle power in general (I didn't even know MP700 existed <_>') but based on the series listed, I think either Arcsaber001 or Nanospeed (don't know which one, sorry) will be your best bet because Arcsaber is considered an all-rounder racquet so it will help you everywhere and nanospeed you generally just get a very fast response so good swing speed in overhead shots and the precision for net shots. But in terms of smashing, it's all down to practice really. I have two friends; 1 uses Arc10 and the other NS9900 and they can both smash just as hard as each other even though theoretically ns9900 is supposed to be a bit weaker in smashes than arc10

  7. #41
    Regular Member chris-ccc's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Badminton Central Guide to choosing Badminton Equipment

    Quote Originally Posted by kwun View Post
    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.

    String

    Recommended tensions: beginners: 19-20lbs . intermediate players: 21-24lbs. advance players: 25+ lbs.
    .
    I like what kwun has posted in this thread (in the opening post- Post #1).

    As one of BC's professional coach, I would like to comment on the string tension (as kwun has informed us).

    IMHO, most of our BCers have often over-rated our skill-levels; And therefore, choosing higher tensions for our strings.

    I would suggest that BCers to try the medium string tension first (which is ranging from 21 to 24 lbs). Only when we can hit consistently from our strings' sweet-spot (centre of the string-bed), then we can move up to higher string tensions.

    If we are consistently hitting missing the sweet-spot, then it's best to move down to the lower string tensions (ranging from 18 to 20 lbs).
    .
    Last edited by chris-ccc; 07-16-2013 at 05:02 AM.

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    I second that Chris!!

    After taking 15 years off badminton, I've started to play again this season. I was surprised how much tensions had increased while I was away. Both for top players and club-level players.

    I understand that the rackets can take much more punishment now than 15-20 years ago, where everything above 10kg would put the racket at risk (of course depending on the racket quality and state). But I also see a tendency among non-top-level players that higher tensions is the way to go.

    It's more or less the same that was going on with golf shafts 10-15 years ago. People opted for too stiff shafts because that was what all the pros were using. (I used to be an assistent golf pro).

    Now, when I rebooted my badminton life, I went and bought a VT70 racket (from a shop in Denmark that caters for a very high percentage of the top players in Copenhagen), and the stringer was surprised that I asked for no more than 11,5 kg. (I initially asked for 10,5 which was my old tension, but he suggested that most VT70 users was going for 12 kg, and that he himself played at 13 kg.). We settled at 11,5 kg. for me to test (he actually borrowed me a LiNing N90 strung at 13 kg. to try out, before deciding - I found it too hard, due to having more mishits than I used to, after 15 years off.

    Now, I see lower level club players at my club, and juniors as well, going for tensions above 10kg, and I really cannot see how on earth that would help them at all. They'll just get worse off in a lot of situations, and in very few situations they will benefit, but due to their level these benefits are not that big (added control on some shots is not worth too much, if you don't hit the shuttle very consistently to begin with).

    I think this is due to two things:
    One is hype. Hard is better. All good players go for hard tensions, if you yield a racket with a hard tension, you send the message "I'm good".
    The other reason is self-deception. Coming mostly from the sounds of the strings/racket, when hitting it dead center. We know that a hard strung racket sounds better when hit with a crisp shot. And that will trick people into feeling that the shot is harder and/or more precise. By generating the same sound as the pro's (or something more close to it anyway), you think you're hitting the shuttle better. Even though you don't get more speed! Then if you hit 40% of your shots bang on with a hard tensioned racket, you remember those hits, instead of maybe getting 60% good shots from a lesser tensioned string, that doesn't ring a bell or sound like thunder when you hit it. People would often opt for the few good shots, rather than the more consistent but less convincing sounding shots, telling themselves that they "can manage" this tension.

    It's their problem really. I'll just have an easier time beating them. But I don't understand why it has come to this for so many players. In badminton people don't seek advice from a coach or pro on equipment as they do in golf. Maybe that's the reason.

    PS: I used to play at a high level, and I was also a paid coach myself 20 years ago. So I can still move the shuttle decent around the court. I play only feathers, and my comments are only aimed at feather players (I think for plastic you should go even less tension). I'm currently playing bg-80 string, so that's my reference.

  9. #43
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    Sorry for replying to such an old post, I didn't notice the thread was inactive... :-)

  10. #44
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    A good resurrection though.

    Like you, I too love to play against players who play with tensions higher than they can handle. Makes my life so much easier.

  11. #45
    Administrator kwun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FeatherBlaster View Post
    Sorry for replying to such an old post, I didn't notice the thread was inactive... :-)
    late is not a problem. i enjoyed reading your post and your viewpoint and experience. which i totally agree.

  12. #46
    Regular Member Cycril's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FeatherBlaster View Post
    I second that Chris!!

    After taking 15 years off badminton, I've started to play again this season. I was surprised how much tensions had increased while I was away. Both for top players and club-level players.

    I understand that the rackets can take much more punishment now than 15-20 years ago, where everything above 10kg would put the racket at risk (of course depending on the racket quality and state). But I also see a tendency among non-top-level players that higher tensions is the way to go.

    It's more or less the same that was going on with golf shafts 10-15 years ago. People opted for too stiff shafts because that was what all the pros were using. (I used to be an assistent golf pro).

    Now, when I rebooted my badminton life, I went and bought a VT70 racket (from a shop in Denmark that caters for a very high percentage of the top players in Copenhagen), and the stringer was surprised that I asked for no more than 11,5 kg. (I initially asked for 10,5 which was my old tension, but he suggested that most VT70 users was going for 12 kg, and that he himself played at 13 kg.). We settled at 11,5 kg. for me to test (he actually borrowed me a LiNing N90 strung at 13 kg. to try out, before deciding - I found it too hard, due to having more mishits than I used to, after 15 years off.

    Now, I see lower level club players at my club, and juniors as well, going for tensions above 10kg, and I really cannot see how on earth that would help them at all. They'll just get worse off in a lot of situations, and in very few situations they will benefit, but due to their level these benefits are not that big (added control on some shots is not worth too much, if you don't hit the shuttle very consistently to begin with).

    I think this is due to two things:
    One is hype. Hard is better. All good players go for hard tensions, if you yield a racket with a hard tension, you send the message "I'm good".
    The other reason is self-deception. Coming mostly from the sounds of the strings/racket, when hitting it dead center. We know that a hard strung racket sounds better when hit with a crisp shot. And that will trick people into feeling that the shot is harder and/or more precise. By generating the same sound as the pro's (or something more close to it anyway), you think you're hitting the shuttle better. Even though you don't get more speed! Then if you hit 40% of your shots bang on with a hard tensioned racket, you remember those hits, instead of maybe getting 60% good shots from a lesser tensioned string, that doesn't ring a bell or sound like thunder when you hit it. People would often opt for the few good shots, rather than the more consistent but less convincing sounding shots, telling themselves that they "can manage" this tension.

    It's their problem really. I'll just have an easier time beating them. But I don't understand why it has come to this for so many players. In badminton people don't seek advice from a coach or pro on equipment as they do in golf. Maybe that's the reason.

    PS: I used to play at a high level, and I was also a paid coach myself 20 years ago. So I can still move the shuttle decent around the court. I play only feathers, and my comments are only aimed at feather players (I think for plastic you should go even less tension). I'm currently playing bg-80 string, so that's my reference.
    Well said. Big thumbs up from me. Salute! That should sums up why people keep asking me : your shots sounds dull, but why you can still make a nice clear out of it? 23 x 25lbs with durakill 66.

  13. #47
    Regular Member visor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by crawshaws View Post
    Thank you Kwun and other contributors. Many people ask me for guidance to help them select a racquet so I've compiled this essay. As Kwun points out, there are probably more important pieces of kit in your bag (your shoes, for example), but racquet selection is certainly a high cost and confusing decision. There are lots of differing views on how different racquet design features may affect your game. A search of the web will inundate you with information, but unfortunately much of it is inconsistent and some of it is just downright nonsense. The racquet manufacturers themselves aren’t much help – their sales information is very heavy on fancy pseudo-science and very light on facts. So I’ve collected information (some from badminton central), done some engineering calculations, some thought experiments and some actual experiments and I have come up with this guide. This is not a guide to picking one manufacturer over another, or one racquet model over another; it is intended to arm you with knowledge of how a number of key racquet design features might affect your game. The design features I’ve chosen to address are: weight, balance, frame materials, frame stiffness, string selection, string tension, grip size, racquet length, head size and “other” racquet design features. I can’t claim to have all the answers and I’m hoping this essay will generate a healthy debate! So, on that note, I’ll start with the most contentious and most confusing design characteristic:


    Weight

    Yonex (and most other racquet manufacturers) use this scale to specify the weights of their racquet models:
    1U – 95-100g
    2U – 90-94.9g
    3U – 85-89.9g
    4U – 80-84.9g
    5U – 75-79.9g
    These weights are for a racquet with a standard supplied grip and no string. Note: many players add aftermarket grips…and all players add strings!
    Most of us play with 3U or 4U racquets (Yonex Arcsabre’s, Nanospeeds, Armortecs…).

    The lighter the racquet, the more maneuverable it is and the easier it is for the player to accelerate it in the swing (all other things being equal).
    A heavier racquet will be more stable on impact (giving better control/accuracy) and transmit less shock to the player than a lighter racquet (all other things being equal).
    A heavier racquet will also transfer energy more effectively to the bird. This would be rather significant if birds were heavy, but the bird actually weighs just 5 grams so the racquet is between 15-20 times heavier than the bird. Small differences in the racquet weight will have a relatively small effect on energy transfer.
    Conventional wisdom says that heavier is better for power, but it clearly isn’t as straightforward as that or we’d all be playing with huge heavy racquets. Clearly, the power a racquet generates depends on a combination of its weight and how fast the player can swing it. Will a lighter racquet that is swung fast generate the same or more power than a heavier racquet that’s swung more slowly? I’m not sure. There may be an optimum weight/balance for a particular player’s physical attributes. More on this, after I’ve discussed the sister characteristic to weight…



    Balance

    Aside from the weight of a racquet, the balance of the racquet (where the weight is positioned in the racquet) is also very important. How heavy a racquet feels in the swing will depend less on its weight than where the weight is balanced.
    Nerd alert! Rotational inertia is proportional to moment of inertia, which is itself proportional to the square of the distance of the center of inertia from the pivot center. What this means is: If your 85 gram racquet balances at 28 cm from the handle end, it will require about the same force to accelerate it as a 75 gram racquet that balances at 30 cm from the racquet end. In this example, the 85 gram racquet is 13% heavier than the 75 gram racquet, but will “feel” very similar in the swing.

    So where does that leave us? Do you want a lighter or heavier racquet and should it be head-light, head-heavy or evenly balanced? Well, most experts seem to suggest:
    Head-light racquets are very maneuverable for quick rallies but they are designed for players who provide their own power - players that have good shot production and generate high racquet head speed.
    Head-heavy racquets are less maneuverable, but may provide more control (the head moves less on impact) and the head will transfer more power to the bird. Heavy racquets also reduce shock transferred to the wrist and elbow, which some players appreciate.
    Aside from your own specific shot production abilities, you should also consider the use to which you put the racquet. Level doubles (e.g. men’s doubles) is mostly about quick shots and hard smashes, singles (and to some extent mixed doubles) is more about control (hitting all four corners of the court).
    The best way to select the right weight and balance is to try lots of racquets and find one you like. If that’s not an option, or you can’t decide, buy a medium weight (~85 gram) racquet with a medium balance.

    It is interesting to note, however, that racquet weights have gone inexorably down as materials technology has made this possible. Note: the material used in the racquet handle (wood) has changed little over the years so racquets have also become more head-light. My theory is that lighter racquets are fundamentally better than heavier racquets. Controversial for sure, but here is my “trend analysis” thinking: I was playing in the early 1970’s with the same 125 gram racquet that the world champion used, we could have been playing with the new (at the time) 115 gram racquets just coming onto the market, but we convinced ourselves that these new racquets were just too light. By the early 1980’s I was now playing with the same 115 gram racquet that the world champion used, we could have been playing with the new (at the time) 105 gram racquets just coming onto the market, but we convinced ourselves that these new racquets were just too light. By the early 1990’s I was now playing with the same 105 gram racquet that the world champion used, we could have been playing with the new (at the time) 95 gram racquets just coming onto the market, but we convinced ourselves that these new racquets were just too light. By the early 2000’s I was now playing with the same 95 gram racquet that the world champion used, we could have been playing with the new (at the time) 85 gram racquets just coming onto the market, but we convinced ourselves that these new racquets were just too light. OK, you get the picture, most of us are now playing with 85 gram racquets and most of us say that the new generation of 75 gram racquets are just too light! Well, I don’t agree. I love my Black Knight Superlight (75 grams) and I predict that in a few years most of us will be playing with 75 gram racquets (and a few early adopters will be using 65 gram racquets). Whatever the science says, the trend is hard to argue against – in general, lighter is better!

    Frame Materials

    Much is made in the manufacturer’s sales brochures about the materials they use. Graphite, titanium, ultra-high modulus nanotubes and many more colorful descriptions feature heavily. These materials do indeed contribute to the performance of a racquet; however, it is the particular characteristics we are looking for, not the material. Most good quality modern racquets (and all seven of the racquets in my bag!) are one-piece (no separate “T-piece”), carbon composite construction. Carbon composite has remarkable strength-to-weight and stiffness-to-weight characteristics which make it ideal for racquet construction. Carbon composite is also known by other names such as: carbon fiber, graphite fiber, carbon fiber reinforced polymer/plastic…and in a modified form as carbon graphite fullerene stacked nanotubes etc. The problem with carbon composite is that it has lower fracture toughness than the metallic alternatives. The old aluminum, titanium and steel racquets could withstand a hearty beating, but as many players have discovered, one sharp clash of carbon composite racquets and your $200 weapon is heading to the trash!
    As an engineer, I think it is pretty cool that the badminton community is a “first adopter” of cutting edge materials technology, but much of it is marketing over substance. Whether the racquet uses carbon fullerene nanotubes (a truly exciting development in polymer science) or aluminum doesn’t matter a jot; what’s important is how the racquet performs. I recommend that you do not base your racquet selection decisions on the materials, rather select your racquet based on its weight, balance, stiffness, durability and other key performance characteristics. If you follow this advice, I suspect you’ll end up with a one-piece carbon composite racquet….and if fragility is a major concern, you’ll buy a $50 model rather than a $200 model!

    Frame Stiffness

    The amount a frame deflects during shuttle contact directly affects its power potential. A stiffer racquet bends less, thus depleting less energy from the bird. A common myth among players is that a flexible racquet, that bends back more, returns more power to the bird due to a catapult-effect; I doubt this very much. During a normal stroke, the racquet accelerates all the way to the bird so any flexure in the racquet will store the players swing energy, and since the bird remains on the strings for a small fraction of a second, the stored energy will only be recovered after the bird has left the strings and the player is in their follow-through. I believe that under most circumstances, a racquet frame doesn’t “return” energy to the bird, it absorbs energy - either more or less, depending on stiffness. I suppose it may be possible, with some strokes, for the racquet to be decelerating at it hits the bird, in which case the energy stored in the shaft may be returned and contribute to the power of the shot…but it would be a rather strange shot and I can’t image that it would generate as much power as accelerating all the way to the bird (shoulder-arm-pronation-fingers). So I’m convinced that stiffer racquets don’t absorb as much swing energy resulting in less power drain than a flexible racquet. Stiffer racquets result in more power. Nerd alert: there is an argument that centrifugal and torsional acceleration stiffening diminishes the racquet’s effective flexibility during the stroke, but the principle still holds: stiffer frame = less loss of power during impact.
    By deflecting less during impact, stiffer racquets should also give better control (accuracy), particularly on power shots (smashes, clears, drives) and when the bird hits the strings off-center.
    Frame stiffness doesn’t only affect power and control though. “Feel” and comfort are also at stake. Some players find that stiff racquet don’t provide as much “feel” on touch shots and stiffer racquets may be less comfortable than more flexible racquets - a very stiff frame will transmit more impact shock to the wrist, elbow and shoulder than a more flexible frame.

    Length

    Adult racquets are available in lengths ranging from 66 to 68 cm (the legal limit). Older and less expensive racquets are 66 cm long, modern more expensive racquets are 67.5cm long and a few are the maximum 68 cm. A longer racquet provides slightly more reach and slightly more leverage and therefore slightly more power (all other things being equal). Of course, all other things are often not equal – longer racquets need to be lighter to avoid them feeling too head-heavy in the swing.

    String Selection

    The string manufacturer’s sales information is as loaded with fancy pseudo-science as the racquet manufacturer’s brochures. I’ve studied these string brochures. They outline the Repulsion Power, Durability, Shock Absorption, Control, Feel, Speed, Wind Resistance and even the quality of the Hitting Sound! There are even attempts to show the relative merits of each string model on a particular player’s game…but I just don’t buy it. The material/composition of a string will affect its properties, but I don’t believe that these properties will trade off in as neat a way as the manufacturers claim. Why would a string with high repulsive properties (bounce) be necessarily bad for control (accuracy)? It’s also not at all obvious to me why a “hard hitter” would want a high repulsion string to the detriment of control. I can see how thinner gauge and rougher micro texture string would result in reduced durability (compared to thicker gauge, smoother string), but I suspect that the many variations in string materials/construction are second order effects compared to string tension. Here’s how I think of it…two piano wires are made from the same extremely stiff material (steel) and they produce a totally different response (musical note) as they are tuned. In fact, it would be possible to loosen one of these piano wires until it was quite useless (incapable of resonating) and tighten one until it was quite useless (it resonates above the range of human hearing)…all without altering the string material or composition. String tension is more important than string material. Of course, nobody makes money out of “string tension” (stringers charge the same whatever you ask for!) so we find ourselves distracted by a discussion of string materials, composition, manufacturers and models.
    For this reason, I’m not going to get into this subject very deeply here. If you want to investigate what Yonex claims for its many string models, go to: http://www.yonex.com/badminton/webcatalog2011/#page=31
    I suggest that the most important aspect of string selection is consistency (use the same string across all the racquets in your bag) and durability (to minimize how often you’re without your favorite racquet!).

    String Tension

    Racquet string tension can have a profound effect on the performance of a racquet and it is important to understand the basic trade-offs between power and control in relation to string tension.
    The racquet manufacturers recommend various string tensions, but most fall into the range 18 to 26 lbs (8 to 12 kg). For beginner and intermediate players, string tensions of 18 to 22 lbs are recommended; advanced players may use 22 to 26 lbs. Professional players may exceed these upper limits, but when we talk about low or high tension, it makes sense to confine ourselves within the range 18 to 26 lbs (not least because exceeding the limits may invalidate manufacturer warranties).
    The higher the tension on the frame the more fragile the string and string breakage becomes more likely. High string tension will also increase the stresses on the frame and may possibly make the frame more susceptible to failure (due to shuttle or partner racquet impact).
    Within the recommended tension range, the maxim is: lower tension gives more power and higher tension gives more control.
    The key to understanding the reason that lower string tensions yield more power is to compare the energy return offered by the strings to that offered by the bird. If you drop a bird to the floor, as the bird hits the concrete, part of the cork compresses and stores energy, which is then released as the bird uncompresses. If all of that energy were stored and released with perfect efficiency, the bird would bounce right back to close to the height it was dropped from (exactly that height in a vacuum). But in fact the bird dissipates a very high percentage of its energy and bounces just a few inches. The strings, however, are designed to return the energy they absorb. In fact, they return around 90% of the energy to the bird (I did some experiments!). When a bird collides with strings, both deform to some extent. The more the strings store the energy of the collision by deforming like a trampoline, the less the bird stores energy by deforming. To get the most energy return out of the collision, we want the strings to store as much of the total energy as possible, because they will give back 90% of it, whereas if the strings were as hard as concrete most of the energy stored in the bird will be wasted. Looser strings deform more easily, thus storing more of the energy of the collision and minimizing the amount wasted in the cork of the bird.
    At this point, looser strings sound ideal, so why do looser strings cause a loss of control?
    As the looser string bed compresses more, the bird stays on the strings longer, during which time any tiny changes in your racquet position can change the path of the bird. Any unintended movement that occurs, especially when an off-center hit exerts a turning force on the racquet head, will result in a less accurate shot. If you don't hit particularly hard or close to the lines and thus don't need especially precise control, looser strings make sense. If you have power to spare and hit close to the lines, tighter strings are probably your better choice. Professional players use very high string tension!
    By absorbing and returning energy to the bird more efficiently, looser strings will also reduce the impact shock transmitted through the racquet and into your body.
    One last issue with string tension. Some players choose to string their racquets with asymmetric tension, i.e. with more (~1 or 2 lb more) tension in the short cross strings than the long main strings. Despite having different lengths, the tension carried by the string is the same along its entire length, whether short or long. I haven’t really been able to convince myself of the merits of asymmetric stringing tension, but Yonex does recommend 1 or 2 lbs more on the crosses, so that’s how I string my racquets.
    Another complication is that not all stringing machines deliver the same end result. My advice is to find a stringer you trust and over time find the tension that suits your game (my stringer is Poppy and I use BG65 at 20 lbs on the mains and 21 lbs on the crosses).

    Head Size

    For reasons similar to the lower string tension providing more power, a larger head will provide more power than a smaller head (all other things being equal). A larger head also offers a larger hitting area and sweetspot, providing more forgiveness on off-center hits. Some expert players prefer a smaller head (they may claim less air resistance or better “feel”) but I endorse the large headed racquets (the Yonex “Isometric” shape or even the slightly larger Black Knight head works for me). Interestingly, while most racquets are at or close to the maximum length allowed in the Laws of badminton, no racquets currently on the market are as wide as the regulations allow (23 cm). Based on a similar trend analysis argument as the “lighter is better” justification (and notwithstanding one or two notable trend-bucking models like the Z-Slash) I suspect we’ll see larger headed racquets becoming more prevalent as materials technology makes this possible.

    Grip

    The grip may seem like a minor matter, but it is where the player interfaces with the racquet and for me, it is a very important factor impacting my appreciation (or not) of a racquet!
    Grip diameters are designated with a “G” number: G1, G2, G3, G4 & G5. The problem is, manufacturers aren’t consistent in how they relate these designations to actual grip size! The circumference of Yonex racquets handles (with the standard leather grip) are:
    Yonex G2 - 4.00 inches (i.e. large grip)
    Yonex G3 - 3.75 inches
    Yonex G4 - 3.50 inches
    Yonex G5 - 3.25 inches (i.e. small grip)

    Other manufacturers inverse this designation (i.e. G5 is large and G1 is small)
    In the US, most racquets are sold with a small grip; players desiring a larger grip are effectively forced to add aftermarket overgrips to increase the grip size.
    Grip size is a matter for individual playing style, but I have noticed that expert young players tend to use small grips, which they hold extremely lightly and generate a lot of power with their fingers, yet many older players gravitate towards thicker grips and use less finger power. I’m not sure if this is a result of bad technique, bad habits or a physiological result of getting old!
    There is also some anecdotal evidence suggesting that changing grip size (either from large to small OR small to large) can help alleviate a bout of “tennis elbow”.
    There are countless different aftermarket grips available with differing textures, sweat absorbency and comfort. I suggest you pick the grip you like and then make sure all your racquets are prepared the same way.
    There is also a trend on modern racquets to have longer handles (that is, the handle extends further up the shaft towards the head). These longer handles facilitate the player “choking” down the racquet length for certain shots (e.g. the serve and net kills).

    “Other” racquet design features

    The racquet manufacturers have countless other frame design features they claim will give you an edge. Lower cross section frame profiles may be plausible (reducing air resistance), but many of these features range from dubious to just plain silly (“tuned” head weights to enhance the sound of shuttle impact…hmmm). I wouldn’t base a racquet selection on any such features.

    Conclusion

    One final point: If you are at all serious about playing competitively, you should have more than one racquet – same or similar model, same grip and same string tension. The worst situation is to be in the third game of a tournament match, break a string/frame and then have to borrow a racquet (different weight, grip, tension…).
    Whoa... Excellent post! @crawshaws

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    Thumbs up One of the best informative posts ever made at BadmintonCentral

    Quote Originally Posted by visor View Post
    Whoa... Excellent post! @crawshaws
    .
    Yes indeed; It is one of the best informative posts ever made at BadmintonCentral.

    Hope that more BCers could get the opportunity to read it.
    .

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    In another thread, one poster said 24lbs was a low tension! When I pointed out 24lbs is not low, I think there was some disbelief.

    24lbs would have been regarded as high tension back in the 90's. It was Park Joo Bong who requested racquets at 30lbs tension in those days - blame him! (got this story from the stringing team that did his racquets in HK)

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    Quote Originally Posted by crawshaws View Post
    Thank you Kwun and other contributors. Many people ask me for guidance to help them select a racquet so I've compiled this essay. As Kwun points out, there are probably more important pieces of kit in your bag (your shoes, for example), but racquet selection is certainly a high cost and confusing decision. There are lots of differing views on how different racquet design features may affect your game. A search of the web will inundate you with information, but unfortunately much of it is inconsistent and some of it is just downright nonsense. The racquet manufacturers themselves aren’t much help – their sales information is very heavy on fancy pseudo-science and very light on facts. So I’ve collected information (some from badminton central), done some engineering calculations, some thought experiments and some actual experiments and I have come up with this guide. This is not a guide to picking one manufacturer over another, or one racquet model over another; it is intended to arm you with knowledge of how a number of key racquet design features might affect your game. The design features I’ve chosen to address are: weight, balance, frame materials, frame stiffness, string selection, string tension, grip size, racquet length, head size and “other” racquet design features. I can’t claim to have all the answers and I’m hoping this essay will generate a healthy debate! So, on that note, I’ll start with the most contentious and most confusing design characteristic:


    Weight

    Yonex (and most other racquet manufacturers) use this scale to specify the weights of their racquet models:
    1U – 95-100g
    2U – 90-94.9g
    3U – 85-89.9g
    4U – 80-84.9g
    5U – 75-79.9g
    These weights are for a racquet with a standard supplied grip and no string. Note: many players add aftermarket grips…and all players add strings!
    Most of us play with 3U or 4U racquets (Yonex Arcsabre’s, Nanospeeds, Armortecs…).

    The lighter the racquet, the more maneuverable it is and the easier it is for the player to accelerate it in the swing (all other things being equal).
    A heavier racquet will be more stable on impact (giving better control/accuracy) and transmit less shock to the player than a lighter racquet (all other things being equal).
    A heavier racquet will also transfer energy more effectively to the bird. This would be rather significant if birds were heavy, but the bird actually weighs just 5 grams so the racquet is between 15-20 times heavier than the bird. Small differences in the racquet weight will have a relatively small effect on energy transfer.
    Conventional wisdom says that heavier is better for power, but it clearly isn’t as straightforward as that or we’d all be playing with huge heavy racquets. Clearly, the power a racquet generates depends on a combination of its weight and how fast the player can swing it. Will a lighter racquet that is swung fast generate the same or more power than a heavier racquet that’s swung more slowly? I’m not sure. There may be an optimum weight/balance for a particular player’s physical attributes. More on this, after I’ve discussed the sister characteristic to weight…



    Balance

    Aside from the weight of a racquet, the balance of the racquet (where the weight is positioned in the racquet) is also very important. How heavy a racquet feels in the swing will depend less on its weight than where the weight is balanced.
    Nerd alert! Rotational inertia is proportional to moment of inertia, which is itself proportional to the square of the distance of the center of inertia from the pivot center. What this means is: If your 85 gram racquet balances at 28 cm from the handle end, it will require about the same force to accelerate it as a 75 gram racquet that balances at 30 cm from the racquet end. In this example, the 85 gram racquet is 13% heavier than the 75 gram racquet, but will “feel” very similar in the swing.

    So where does that leave us? Do you want a lighter or heavier racquet and should it be head-light, head-heavy or evenly balanced? Well, most experts seem to suggest:
    Head-light racquets are very maneuverable for quick rallies but they are designed for players who provide their own power - players that have good shot production and generate high racquet head speed.
    Head-heavy racquets are less maneuverable, but may provide more control (the head moves less on impact) and the head will transfer more power to the bird. Heavy racquets also reduce shock transferred to the wrist and elbow, which some players appreciate.
    Aside from your own specific shot production abilities, you should also consider the use to which you put the racquet. Level doubles (e.g. men’s doubles) is mostly about quick shots and hard smashes, singles (and to some extent mixed doubles) is more about control (hitting all four corners of the court).
    The best way to select the right weight and balance is to try lots of racquets and find one you like. If that’s not an option, or you can’t decide, buy a medium weight (~85 gram) racquet with a medium balance.

    It is interesting to note, however, that racquet weights have gone inexorably down as materials technology has made this possible. Note: the material used in the racquet handle (wood) has changed little over the years so racquets have also become more head-light. My theory is that lighter racquets are fundamentally better than heavier racquets. Controversial for sure, but here is my “trend analysis” thinking: I was playing in the early 1970’s with the same 125 gram racquet that the world champion used, we could have been playing with the new (at the time) 115 gram racquets just coming onto the market, but we convinced ourselves that these new racquets were just too light. By the early 1980’s I was now playing with the same 115 gram racquet that the world champion used, we could have been playing with the new (at the time) 105 gram racquets just coming onto the market, but we convinced ourselves that these new racquets were just too light. By the early 1990’s I was now playing with the same 105 gram racquet that the world champion used, we could have been playing with the new (at the time) 95 gram racquets just coming onto the market, but we convinced ourselves that these new racquets were just too light. By the early 2000’s I was now playing with the same 95 gram racquet that the world champion used, we could have been playing with the new (at the time) 85 gram racquets just coming onto the market, but we convinced ourselves that these new racquets were just too light. OK, you get the picture, most of us are now playing with 85 gram racquets and most of us say that the new generation of 75 gram racquets are just too light! Well, I don’t agree. I love my Black Knight Superlight (75 grams) and I predict that in a few years most of us will be playing with 75 gram racquets (and a few early adopters will be using 65 gram racquets). Whatever the science says, the trend is hard to argue against – in general, lighter is better!

    Frame Materials

    Much is made in the manufacturer’s sales brochures about the materials they use. Graphite, titanium, ultra-high modulus nanotubes and many more colorful descriptions feature heavily. These materials do indeed contribute to the performance of a racquet; however, it is the particular characteristics we are looking for, not the material. Most good quality modern racquets (and all seven of the racquets in my bag!) are one-piece (no separate “T-piece”), carbon composite construction. Carbon composite has remarkable strength-to-weight and stiffness-to-weight characteristics which make it ideal for racquet construction. Carbon composite is also known by other names such as: carbon fiber, graphite fiber, carbon fiber reinforced polymer/plastic…and in a modified form as carbon graphite fullerene stacked nanotubes etc. The problem with carbon composite is that it has lower fracture toughness than the metallic alternatives. The old aluminum, titanium and steel racquets could withstand a hearty beating, but as many players have discovered, one sharp clash of carbon composite racquets and your $200 weapon is heading to the trash!
    As an engineer, I think it is pretty cool that the badminton community is a “first adopter” of cutting edge materials technology, but much of it is marketing over substance. Whether the racquet uses carbon fullerene nanotubes (a truly exciting development in polymer science) or aluminum doesn’t matter a jot; what’s important is how the racquet performs. I recommend that you do not base your racquet selection decisions on the materials, rather select your racquet based on its weight, balance, stiffness, durability and other key performance characteristics. If you follow this advice, I suspect you’ll end up with a one-piece carbon composite racquet….and if fragility is a major concern, you’ll buy a $50 model rather than a $200 model!

    Frame Stiffness

    The amount a frame deflects during shuttle contact directly affects its power potential. A stiffer racquet bends less, thus depleting less energy from the bird. A common myth among players is that a flexible racquet, that bends back more, returns more power to the bird due to a catapult-effect; I doubt this very much. During a normal stroke, the racquet accelerates all the way to the bird so any flexure in the racquet will store the players swing energy, and since the bird remains on the strings for a small fraction of a second, the stored energy will only be recovered after the bird has left the strings and the player is in their follow-through. I believe that under most circumstances, a racquet frame doesn’t “return” energy to the bird, it absorbs energy - either more or less, depending on stiffness. I suppose it may be possible, with some strokes, for the racquet to be decelerating at it hits the bird, in which case the energy stored in the shaft may be returned and contribute to the power of the shot…but it would be a rather strange shot and I can’t image that it would generate as much power as accelerating all the way to the bird (shoulder-arm-pronation-fingers). So I’m convinced that stiffer racquets don’t absorb as much swing energy resulting in less power drain than a flexible racquet. Stiffer racquets result in more power. Nerd alert: there is an argument that centrifugal and torsional acceleration stiffening diminishes the racquet’s effective flexibility during the stroke, but the principle still holds: stiffer frame = less loss of power during impact.
    By deflecting less during impact, stiffer racquets should also give better control (accuracy), particularly on power shots (smashes, clears, drives) and when the bird hits the strings off-center.
    Frame stiffness doesn’t only affect power and control though. “Feel” and comfort are also at stake. Some players find that stiff racquet don’t provide as much “feel” on touch shots and stiffer racquets may be less comfortable than more flexible racquets - a very stiff frame will transmit more impact shock to the wrist, elbow and shoulder than a more flexible frame.

    Length

    Adult racquets are available in lengths ranging from 66 to 68 cm (the legal limit). Older and less expensive racquets are 66 cm long, modern more expensive racquets are 67.5cm long and a few are the maximum 68 cm. A longer racquet provides slightly more reach and slightly more leverage and therefore slightly more power (all other things being equal). Of course, all other things are often not equal – longer racquets need to be lighter to avoid them feeling too head-heavy in the swing.

    String Selection

    The string manufacturer’s sales information is as loaded with fancy pseudo-science as the racquet manufacturer’s brochures. I’ve studied these string brochures. They outline the Repulsion Power, Durability, Shock Absorption, Control, Feel, Speed, Wind Resistance and even the quality of the Hitting Sound! There are even attempts to show the relative merits of each string model on a particular player’s game…but I just don’t buy it. The material/composition of a string will affect its properties, but I don’t believe that these properties will trade off in as neat a way as the manufacturers claim. Why would a string with high repulsive properties (bounce) be necessarily bad for control (accuracy)? It’s also not at all obvious to me why a “hard hitter” would want a high repulsion string to the detriment of control. I can see how thinner gauge and rougher micro texture string would result in reduced durability (compared to thicker gauge, smoother string), but I suspect that the many variations in string materials/construction are second order effects compared to string tension. Here’s how I think of it…two piano wires are made from the same extremely stiff material (steel) and they produce a totally different response (musical note) as they are tuned. In fact, it would be possible to loosen one of these piano wires until it was quite useless (incapable of resonating) and tighten one until it was quite useless (it resonates above the range of human hearing)…all without altering the string material or composition. String tension is more important than string material. Of course, nobody makes money out of “string tension” (stringers charge the same whatever you ask for!) so we find ourselves distracted by a discussion of string materials, composition, manufacturers and models.
    For this reason, I’m not going to get into this subject very deeply here. If you want to investigate what Yonex claims for its many string models, go to: http://www.yonex.com/badminton/webcatalog2011/#page=31
    I suggest that the most important aspect of string selection is consistency (use the same string across all the racquets in your bag) and durability (to minimize how often you’re without your favorite racquet!).

    String Tension

    Racquet string tension can have a profound effect on the performance of a racquet and it is important to understand the basic trade-offs between power and control in relation to string tension.
    The racquet manufacturers recommend various string tensions, but most fall into the range 18 to 26 lbs (8 to 12 kg). For beginner and intermediate players, string tensions of 18 to 22 lbs are recommended; advanced players may use 22 to 26 lbs. Professional players may exceed these upper limits, but when we talk about low or high tension, it makes sense to confine ourselves within the range 18 to 26 lbs (not least because exceeding the limits may invalidate manufacturer warranties).
    The higher the tension on the frame the more fragile the string and string breakage becomes more likely. High string tension will also increase the stresses on the frame and may possibly make the frame more susceptible to failure (due to shuttle or partner racquet impact).
    Within the recommended tension range, the maxim is: lower tension gives more power and higher tension gives more control.
    The key to understanding the reason that lower string tensions yield more power is to compare the energy return offered by the strings to that offered by the bird. If you drop a bird to the floor, as the bird hits the concrete, part of the cork compresses and stores energy, which is then released as the bird uncompresses. If all of that energy were stored and released with perfect efficiency, the bird would bounce right back to close to the height it was dropped from (exactly that height in a vacuum). But in fact the bird dissipates a very high percentage of its energy and bounces just a few inches. The strings, however, are designed to return the energy they absorb. In fact, they return around 90% of the energy to the bird (I did some experiments!). When a bird collides with strings, both deform to some extent. The more the strings store the energy of the collision by deforming like a trampoline, the less the bird stores energy by deforming. To get the most energy return out of the collision, we want the strings to store as much of the total energy as possible, because they will give back 90% of it, whereas if the strings were as hard as concrete most of the energy stored in the bird will be wasted. Looser strings deform more easily, thus storing more of the energy of the collision and minimizing the amount wasted in the cork of the bird.
    At this point, looser strings sound ideal, so why do looser strings cause a loss of control?
    As the looser string bed compresses more, the bird stays on the strings longer, during which time any tiny changes in your racquet position can change the path of the bird. Any unintended movement that occurs, especially when an off-center hit exerts a turning force on the racquet head, will result in a less accurate shot. If you don't hit particularly hard or close to the lines and thus don't need especially precise control, looser strings make sense. If you have power to spare and hit close to the lines, tighter strings are probably your better choice. Professional players use very high string tension!
    By absorbing and returning energy to the bird more efficiently, looser strings will also reduce the impact shock transmitted through the racquet and into your body.
    One last issue with string tension. Some players choose to string their racquets with asymmetric tension, i.e. with more (~1 or 2 lb more) tension in the short cross strings than the long main strings. Despite having different lengths, the tension carried by the string is the same along its entire length, whether short or long. I haven’t really been able to convince myself of the merits of asymmetric stringing tension, but Yonex does recommend 1 or 2 lbs more on the crosses, so that’s how I string my racquets.
    Another complication is that not all stringing machines deliver the same end result. My advice is to find a stringer you trust and over time find the tension that suits your game (my stringer is Poppy and I use BG65 at 20 lbs on the mains and 21 lbs on the crosses).

    Head Size

    For reasons similar to the lower string tension providing more power, a larger head will provide more power than a smaller head (all other things being equal). A larger head also offers a larger hitting area and sweetspot, providing more forgiveness on off-center hits. Some expert players prefer a smaller head (they may claim less air resistance or better “feel”) but I endorse the large headed racquets (the Yonex “Isometric” shape or even the slightly larger Black Knight head works for me). Interestingly, while most racquets are at or close to the maximum length allowed in the Laws of badminton, no racquets currently on the market are as wide as the regulations allow (23 cm). Based on a similar trend analysis argument as the “lighter is better” justification (and notwithstanding one or two notable trend-bucking models like the Z-Slash) I suspect we’ll see larger headed racquets becoming more prevalent as materials technology makes this possible.

    Grip

    The grip may seem like a minor matter, but it is where the player interfaces with the racquet and for me, it is a very important factor impacting my appreciation (or not) of a racquet!
    Grip diameters are designated with a “G” number: G1, G2, G3, G4 & G5. The problem is, manufacturers aren’t consistent in how they relate these designations to actual grip size! The circumference of Yonex racquets handles (with the standard leather grip) are:
    Yonex G2 - 4.00 inches (i.e. large grip)
    Yonex G3 - 3.75 inches
    Yonex G4 - 3.50 inches
    Yonex G5 - 3.25 inches (i.e. small grip)

    Other manufacturers inverse this designation (i.e. G5 is large and G1 is small)
    In the US, most racquets are sold with a small grip; players desiring a larger grip are effectively forced to add aftermarket overgrips to increase the grip size.
    Grip size is a matter for individual playing style, but I have noticed that expert young players tend to use small grips, which they hold extremely lightly and generate a lot of power with their fingers, yet many older players gravitate towards thicker grips and use less finger power. I’m not sure if this is a result of bad technique, bad habits or a physiological result of getting old!
    There is also some anecdotal evidence suggesting that changing grip size (either from large to small OR small to large) can help alleviate a bout of “tennis elbow”.
    There are countless different aftermarket grips available with differing textures, sweat absorbency and comfort. I suggest you pick the grip you like and then make sure all your racquets are prepared the same way.
    There is also a trend on modern racquets to have longer handles (that is, the handle extends further up the shaft towards the head). These longer handles facilitate the player “choking” down the racquet length for certain shots (e.g. the serve and net kills).

    “Other” racquet design features

    The racquet manufacturers have countless other frame design features they claim will give you an edge. Lower cross section frame profiles may be plausible (reducing air resistance), but many of these features range from dubious to just plain silly (“tuned” head weights to enhance the sound of shuttle impact…hmmm). I wouldn’t base a racquet selection on any such features.

    Conclusion

    One final point: If you are at all serious about playing competitively, you should have more than one racquet – same or similar model, same grip and same string tension. The worst situation is to be in the third game of a tournament match, break a string/frame and then have to borrow a racquet (different weight, grip, tension…).
    should be sticky!!!

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    Not going to quote crawshaw's post but I agree that it's awesome!

    Non-judgmental and doesn't shout down at beginners wanting answers to basic questions.

    Definitely should sticky this!

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