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  1. #1
    Regular Member visor's Avatar
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    Default Understanding shaft stiffness/flex, and "kickpoint" or "bend profile"

    I was discussing shaft stiffness/flex and kickpoint on another thread,
    http://www.badmintoncentral.com/foru...78#post1665478
    but I thought I should start a new one specifically for it.

    So, after some reading up on "kickpoint" and "bend profile" which is more widely applied in golf shafts, I have a better understanding of how it applies to badminton rackets.

    In a nutshell, it doesn't provide more power either way whether high or low kick point, or stiff vs flex, but if you use the one that is matched to your swing then that is what will give you more power.

    It is your swing speed, acceleration, and release of your swing that ultimately determines whether it is better for you to use a high or low kick point, or flex vs stiff shaft.

    More specifically, it's all about having the racket face contact squarely with the bird being optimally timed at the point of strike for best power transfer.

    Hence, the advanced player with a fast, rapidly accelerated, delayed release (ie compact) swing will get better power from a stiff shaft with high kick point closer to the T joint. Because the swing is fast, the racket face has to move fast to contact squarely with the bird at strike.

    On the other hand, the beginner with a slower swing with no acceleration and early release (ie longer) swing will benefit from a flex shaft with low kick point closer to the handle. Of course these are just extremes and most people will fall into the spectrum between.

    If a fast swinger tries to use a flex shaft with low kickpoint, he'll overpower the shaft as the racket face will be lagging behind at point of strike, hence the bird will not be hit squarely. What the fast swinger will then consciously or subconsciously do is adapt his swing by "whipping" the racket face thru the bird so that the racket face has some more time to accelerate forward to strike the bird more squarely. However, the price he pays is that he will lose the immediacy and control of the stiffer shaft that he is used to using.


    **Also, advanced players, especially in doubles where speed and reaction is critical, will prefer stiffer balanced rackets because of lesser lag of the racket face, allowing shots to be repelled faster eg. drives, smashes, smash returns.


    **Another corollary arising out of this is that advanced players also benefit from higher tension as the stringbed is part of the racket face and shaft system. But that's another thread...



    What do you fellas think?

    Last edited by visor; 04-23-2011 at 02:12 AM.

  2. #2
    Regular Member DinkAlot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by visor View Post
    If a fast swinger tries to use a flex shaft with low kickpoint[/B], he'll overpower the shaft as the racket face will be lagging behind at point of strike, hence the bird will not be hit squarely...

    ...the price he pays is that he will lose the immediacy and control of the stiffer shaft that he is used to using.
    Good post. Oh, please don't forget the biggest price one may pay for overflexing the shaft:


  3. #3
    Moderator cobalt's Avatar
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    Apacs again. I'm surprised the handle didn't splinter as well...

    Very useful topic, Visor. This was (until now) a slightly neglected aspect of selection of a favourite weapon; lost in the excitement of dry weight, BP and string tension. Succinct explanation.

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    Regular Member allyjack110's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by visor View Post
    If a fast swinger tries to use a flex shaft with low kickpoint[/B], he'll overpower the shaft as the racket face will be lagging behind at point of strike, hence the bird will not be hit squarely. What the fast swinger will then consciously or subconsciously do is adapt his swing by "whipping" the racket face thru the bird so that the racket face has some more time to accelerate forward to strike the bird more squarely. However, the price he pays is that he will lose the immediacy and control of the stiffer shaft that he is used to using.
    I fully understand the theory that a flexible shaft can help aid those with a slower swing speed with that little extra bit of power. However, would a racket with a flexible shaft 'rob' those of power with a natuarlly quick and explosive swing? My current racket(s) of choice is the HEAD Power Helix 7000 - a slightly head heavy racket with a flexible shaft. I really like the 7000 but cannot seem to generate the same power and energy I can with stiff-rated rackets, such as my current ArcSaber 10 or my old AT700 and NS9000 X, before I sold them.
    Last edited by allyjack110; 04-23-2011 at 10:08 AM.

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    Regular Member j4ckie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by allyjack110 View Post
    I fully understand the theory that a flexible shaft can help aid those with a slower swing speed with that little extra bit of power. However, would a racket with a flexible shaft 'rob' those of power with a natuarlly quick and explosive swing? My current racket(s) of choice is the HEAD Power Helix 7000 - a slightly head heavy racket with a flexible shaft. I really like the 7000 but cannot seem to generate the same power and energy I can with stiff-rated rackets, such as my current ArcSaber 10 or my old AT700 and NS9000 X, before I sold them.
    A flexible shaft can decrease your power - the release is more diffused than with a stiff shaft, so it limits how much acceleration is actually transferred to the shuttle. The stiffer the shaft, the quicker it 'unbends', and if timed and bent properly, it'll be much more powerful than a soft shaft.

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    Moderator cobalt's Avatar
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    It all depends on what type of player you are. That is always the first consideration when choosing your weapon.

    A player with a longer swing but not significant acceleration, (beginner? intermediate?) may prefer a bit flexy (bendy?? ) shaft. The bendiness at some point of the swing will add acceleration to the momentum of the swing. The player may want, as Visor and other sages have pointed out, a racquet with a kick point more away than closer from the T-joint. That will allow the shaft to bend more easily and impart more momentum during the swing.

    So while it may be true in some cases that a flexible shaft may decrease your power, the corollary does not hold true that uh, a stiff shaft will enhance your power.

    A stiffer shaft needs more power (acceleration) to bend it in the first place. That is why it will be the choice of players who have the power, and can time the shot correctly, and can hit the bird square.

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    Moderator cobalt's Avatar
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    I need to find a new paradigm!!

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    hey guys, i have this weird dilemma and i guess it falls under here hahaha.

    okay, so i've been playing with a lot of extra stiff rackets like the Ultra Pro and NS9900. I've been doing okay with it UNTIL i tried my girlfriend's arc 9 fl.
    When i started smashing with the arc 9 fl (flex shaft) my smashes seem more solid like theres more "boom" to it. which is great! so i thought maybe i need a more flex racket
    so when i play mix with her i don't have a flexy racket to use so i use back Ultra, although i don't get that "boom" my smash seems way more solid then smashing with the arc 9 fl.
    everything else is the same for me when using both rackets, its just the smash that feels different.
    I haven't play with my Ultra pro because i haven't strung it yet but i usually get more angle from the flex racket then the stiffer but this could be due to the fact that i've recently changed my form to the correct smash form or trying too

    heres my problem?
    so what flex is suited for me? I am a fast swinger now, no more slow swinging but yet i still generate a lot of controlled smashes with the arc 9 fl but i don't get that feeling when i smash with my ultra pro which idk how to put in words, it just feels solid. does this have anything to do with the BP? i use 295 and 299 for my two Ultras.
    should i be using mid stiff then? does mid stiff provide something in the middle for both?
    sorry if i am ranting, i just read this thought about what's above lol

  9. #9
    Moderator cobalt's Avatar
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    Maybe it would help if Visor and/or Dinkalot or Jumpsmash can explain to us all how one can accurately locate the kick point...

  10. #10
    Regular Member visor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DinkAlot View Post
    Good post. Oh, please don't forget the biggest price one may pay for overflexing the shaft:

    Lol Dink!

    Of all the people, I should've remembered that you understand this topic best! Especially the strong player overpowering a flex shaft. Those poor rackets never knew what hit them.

    I know you sometimes make racket suggestions to players when you observe and analyze their swing; I think perhaps you should start to offer a "custom fitting" consultation service for that and get paid for it!
    Last edited by visor; 04-23-2011 at 04:45 PM.

  11. #11
    Regular Member visor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by allyjack110 View Post
    I fully understand the theory that a flexible shaft can help aid those with a slower swing speed with that little extra bit of power. However, would a racket with a flexible shaft 'rob' those of power with a natuarlly quick and explosive swing? My current racket(s) of choice is the HEAD Power Helix 7000 - a slightly head heavy racket with a flexible shaft. I really like the 7000 but cannot seem to generate the same power and energy I can with stiff-rated rackets, such as my current ArcSaber 10 or my old AT700 and NS9000 X, before I sold them.
    I don't think at700 or as10 are stiff; their head heaviness causes the shaft to behave like a medium flex.

    Re a fast swinger using a flex shaft as in your case, I did provide a case scenario in my op above. In order to squarely hit the bird, you will learn/have to adapt your swing, specifically to "whip" the racket with your wrist/forearm so that the racket face will accelerate squarely into the bird at strike.

  12. #12
    Regular Member visor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by j4ckie View Post
    A flexible shaft can decrease your power - the release is more diffused than with a stiff shaft, so it limits how much acceleration is actually transferred to the shuttle. The stiffer the shaft, the quicker it 'unbends', and if timed and bent properly, it'll be much more powerful than a soft shaft.
    Yes, but as I mentioned above in bold, one can adapt ones swing to whip the racket so that the racket accelerates into the bird. Of course, the price to pay is that there is more of a delay to strike because it'll take a bit more time to whip the lagging racket face forward, and this may also cause timing problems if the whipping action is not coordinated properly.

    If you get a chance to watch on YouTube, this is how LYD and JJS play with their flexy to medium stiff rackets, bs9 and bs10 respectively.

  13. #13
    Regular Member j4ckie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by visor View Post
    I don't think at700 or as10 are stiff; their head heaviness causes the shaft to behave like a medium flex.

    Re a fast swinger using a flex shaft as in your case, I did provide a case scenario in my op above. In order to squarely hit the bird, you will learn/have to adapt your swing, specifically to "whip" the racket with your wrist/forearm so that the racket face will accelerate squarely into the bird at strike.
    I think the AS10 is stiff
    Maybe not extra stiff, but still stiff - especially compared to other 'stiff' rackets like the Z-Slash.
    The soft shaft will not only cause a timing problem, but also limit the power of shots, just like soft strings limit it. Imop, the best results can be achieved if tension and racket stiffness are at a similar level, i.e. stiff rackets -> high tension; soft rackets-> low or medium tension. Soft rackets and high tension feel weird in my experience (strung up a Wilson N9 with a 30,8lbs BG65Ti and it feels wrong).
    Back to the point - if the swing is quick enough, the soft shaft will be bent backwards quite a bit and will have to travel a long way to get back to the neutral position. This movement is slower than that of a stiffer shaft which was not bent so much, but accelerates faster.

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    Regular Member j4ckie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by visor View Post
    Yes, but as I mentioned above in bold, one can adapt ones swing to whip the racket so that the racket accelerates into the bird. Of course, the price to pay is that there is more of a delay to strike because it'll take a bit more time to whip the lagging racket face forward, and this may also cause timing problems if the whipping action is not coordinated properly.

    If you get a chance to watch on YouTube, this is how LYD and JJS play with their flexy to medium stiff rackets, bs9 and bs10 respectively.
    JJS uses a SIW35 :P
    But I agree, that's a way to use those rackets even if your swing action is sufficient to use a stiffer racket. LYD plays much at the front though where the mid-stiff BS09 probably gives his drives and kills a bit more punch than a stiff racket would.

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    Regular Member visor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by j4ckie View Post
    JJS uses a SIW35 :P
    But I agree, that's a way to use those rackets even if your swing action is sufficient to use a stiffer racket. LYD plays much at the front though where the mid-stiff BS09 probably gives his drives and kills a bit more punch than a stiff racket would.
    Doh! I knew that!

    Re LYD, I've always wondered why he uses such a mid flex racket. I'm sure he can handle a stiffer shaft like mx80 or bs10 and get more speed out of his smashes and drives. Perhaps the flex helps his defense better.
    Last edited by visor; 04-23-2011 at 05:32 PM.

  16. #16
    Regular Member j4ckie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by visor View Post
    Doh! I knew that!

    Re LYD, I've always wondered why he uses such a mid flex racket. I'm sure he can handle a stiffer shaft like mx80 or bs10 and get more speed out of his smashes and drives. Perhaps the flex helps his defense better.
    We all make mistakes
    I think it's mainly because of the drives, the defense is probably powerful enough from the shuttle speed...anyway, he's promoted to use the MX80, so maybe he'll use it for real soon...

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    Regular Member visor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cobalt View Post
    It all depends on what type of player you are. That is always the first consideration when choosing your weapon.
    ......
    A stiffer shaft needs more power (acceleration) to bend it in the first place. That is why it will be the choice of players who have the power, and can time the shot correctly, and can hit the bird square.
    Which also brings up the point that we as players are (hopefully!) improving our swing, timing, technique, power, and fitness as we gain more experience playing. Plus our swing will also fluctuate to some degree depending on our energy, alertness, fitness etc when we play.

    Hence our needs will change with time and this is only good news for racket manufacturers as we are always seeking for the "newest and best" racket for us.

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