Quote Originally Posted by DinkAlot View Post
Ooops, the above post posted before I finished.

For example, Panda's rough baseline using a 4U, AT900T with BG66 at 30lbs. ECP:

25% of max effort to clear baseline to baseline.
60% of max effort running to right from baseline to baseline (forehand)
75% of max effort running to left from baseline to baseline (backhand)
75% of max effort back peddling, hitting the shuttle from behind (forehand) baseline to baseline
100% of max effort hitting shuttle from behind (backhand) baseline to baseline
60% of max effort for a jump attack clear

If Panda increases the string tension by 2lbs. to 32lbs., the above numbers increase about 10% meaning, Panda would need 110% effort to do a backhand clear from baseline to baseline if behind the shuttle. So that means Panda would not be able to do it. The max is 100%, you cannot go beyond that.

So, either Panda doesn't use 32lbs. with BG66 on at AT900T or Panda avoids getting into the position of having to hit a backhand that's behind him from the baseline.

If Panda drops the tension by 2lbs. to 28lbs., the above numbers decrease by say 10%. Great right? No because it's going to be very easy for Panda to hit the shuttle out on all but the hardest shots.

So it's all about learning about yourself and the give and take, what you are willing to give up in order to gain, etc...

Finally, of course if you have a master control of your shots and know your distances to effort ratio, then string tension doesn't effect you much.
This Panda post was quite a revelation for me. First, it brought home to me the fact that all players are always modulating the power of their shots. We don't consciously think, "Oh, I need to hit this one at 25% power, but the same shot done cross court might need 60% of my power." Rather, we just make an instantaneous estimate of the effort we think is needed for each shot and execute it as best we can. The more we practice and play under pressure, the better we get at making optimal power and effort estimates.

Since we all frequently modulate our power for so many different shots, why should we try to dial in our racket and string tension such that 100% of max effort is needed for hitting the shuttle from behind (backhand) baseline to baseline? Would it not be nicer if this difficult shot only needed 80% of your power? Afterall, if we are modulating power for all our other shots, why can't we modulate for this shot as well?

The advantage of having reserve power is that your smashes, drives, and attacking clears would become all the more potent, creating more outright winners and weak returns.

The possibility of lowering my tension from 30 lbs down to 27 lbs, to obtain more power seems enticing. Sure, more modulation control would be needed, but as Panda points out, even at higher tensions quite a bit of power modulation is already needed so what's wrong with requiring just a bit more modulation for some shots?

When lowering tension to gain more power, I don't think the real problem would come from a lot more difficulty on controlling where clears land, I think the bigger issue would be losing a lot of control on drop shots. The lower tensions make drop shots a lot more "bouncy" off the racket and difficult to hit just right.

But in doubles and mixed doubles especially, drops shots aren't needed as often so it might be a worthwhile tradeoff in getting more power for other shots.

I think I might try setting up a power racket at a lower tension than I presently like to see what happens. Used in just the right game situations it could be helpful. It would also be a lot of fun when athletic friends from other sports want to try some badminton with you. Most people new to badminton have no idea how hard a shuttle can be hit. Yeah, the more I think about it, having a "sledge hammer" racket to pull out and hit rockets at my rugby and soccer buddies would be a lot of fun. People like that gain a lot more respect for badminton when they have to duck for cover.

Most likely a lower tension power racket would lower my overall game capability against good opponents. But thanks to Panda's analysis above, I am going to experiment with the concept.