EQUIPMENTS

Aluminum

Like steel racquets, aluminum racquets are strong and they don’t break easily, but they are lighter than steel racquets. Usually, this type of racquets is for leisure use, and aluminum racquets are not intended to be re-strung. Both steel and aluminum racquets are relatively inexpensive.

Carbon (Carbon Graphite)

Depending on manufacturers’ brands, the carbon racquets usually cost around $50 Cdn and up. They are commonly seen at competitions. This type of racquets is more flexible than steel or aluminum, resulting in the ability to generate higher repulsion. Carbon racquets are lighter than steel/aluminum racquets, and many of carbon racquets weigh less than 90 grams. Thanks to its lightness, it has a very good maneuverability.

Titanium

This material is used partly in carbon racquet frames. Combining carbon with titanium results in better control and aggressive shots production due to its higher repulsion. Nowadays, most racquets designed for competitive play use titanium in their frames.

Balance

Badminton is a very technical sport, and equipment, particularly racquets, is crucial for the player performance. Since the introduction of modern Badminton game in the mid-19 th century, Badminton racquets significantly evolved with many changes and improvements with new materials happened in the recent years.

Material
Steel

It is mainly used for toy racquets. Steel racquet is strong but heavy, and the shot feeling is hard with these racquets, so they are not intended for competitive players. In most cases, they become disposable when strings are broken.

The letter “U” is used to describe the weight of a racquet. The larger the number is, the lighter the racquet is as shown below.

Symbol
5U 4U 3U 2U
Weight
75-80 grams 80-85 grams 85-90 grams 90-95 grams

 

 

Although it looks very little difference in weight, one can actually feel quite a difference when swinging the racquets belonging to different weight categories.  Generally speaking, lighter racquets are easy to maneuver and especially good for playing delicate shots at the net.  On the other hand, with heavier racquets it is easier to produce more power on shots.

Head Light

The balance point is close to the handle (grip). Even if an overall weight of a racquet is heavy, it does not feel much when a player uses a head light racquet. This type of racquet is ideal for players who play a lot at the net in doubles. It is faster to position the head light racquet ready for a next shot than racquets with other balance types (explained below).

Head Heavy

The balance point is more towards top part (head) of a racquet. This type can generate more power thanks to centrifugal force and its own gravity even if an overall weight of a racquet is light. Its principle is the same as that of a hammer.

Even

The characteristics of an even balanced racquet are mixture of head light and head heavy racquet types. It is usually recommended for all-round players.

One can find the following displays on racquets:  “4UG5” or “3U4” or similar.  The last number, in these examples “5” and “4” respectively, shows the grip size.  The larger the number is, the smaller the grip size is.  Common grip size numbers are “4”, “5”, or “6”.  Smaller grips can be made thicker by applying an overgrip on the existing grip.  The table below shows the difference in characteristics.

Small Grip Size

Ideal for small hands; good maneuverability; easy to do grip change (forehand/backhand); good for playing delicate shots

Large Grip Size

Ideal for large hands; easy to generate power; good for playing aggressive shots (smash)

Grip Size
Weight

Manufacturer’s recommended string tension is typically displayed on most racquets.  For players who don’t know the specific tension they like to use, it is a good idea to start with a middle tension of the recommended range.  Tensions are expressed in pounds (lbs); the smaller the number is, the looser the strings are.  The tension ranges are from around 16 lbs (for novices) to over 30 lbs (professional level).  Commonly, the looser the string tension is, the easier it is to generate longer distance shot.  It is similar to the principle of a trampoline.  Also, as a shuttle stays longer on the strings, the looser tension provides a better control.  In contrast, the tighter the string tension is, the smaller the sweet spot is.  This means that one has to have a good technique and experience to hit right on the sweet spot to accurately control the shots and aim on targets.  With a tighter strung racquet, the shuttle leaves strings quicker, and initial shuttle speed is higher than in the case of looser string tension.  Players who have power and faster head speed (swing speed) can hit fast and aggressive smash with tighter string tension.

Lastly, string tension decreases with time.  It is said that the string starts losing its elasticity from the moment a racquet is strung.  Therefore, it is recommended that the string should be changed even if it doesn’t break.  How often to replace the string typically depends on how much it is played; the more playing time, the more frequent changes of the string is needed.

 

Racquets

Shuttlecock

A shuttlecock is used for a sport of Badminton.  It is also called a “shuttle”, a “bird” or a “birdie”.  There are two kinds of shuttlecocks: feather shuttlecock and nylon one as an alternative.  Feather shuttles are made of waterfowls: goose, duck or a combination of both.

While feather shuttles are used at many tournaments and used by competitive players, nylon shuttles are seen more at recreational and leisure scene as they are less expensive and last longer than the feather shuttles.

Feather shuttlecocks are described in detail below.

 

Feather
String Tension
Specifications

A shuttle is made with 16 feathers, and each feather has to be between 62 and 70 millimetres long.  All feathers in one shuttle have to have the same length and are arranged to form a cone like structure with their ends’ shape of a diameter of between 58 and 68 millimetres.  The base of a shuttle, where feathers are attached, has a diameter of between 25 and 28 millimetres and has a round bottom.  The weight of a shuttle is between 4.74 and 5.50 grams.

Goose or Duck

Generally, official tournaments/competitions use shuttles made of goose feathers as they are more durable than those made of duck feathers.  On the other hand, duck feather shuttles are often used for practices as they are less expensive than duck feather shuttles.

Cork

A part, which is the base of a shuttlecock, is called “cork”.  Its materials fall into one of three types: natural cork, artificial cork, or compressed cork.  Natural corks are the most expensive.  Also, corks can be solid or composite (in two to three layers) with the solid ones being more expensive.  In general, 100% solid natural cork offers the best hitting feeling on impact.

 

Speed Number

Generally, the better the quality of feather shuttlecocks is, the higher the price is.  It usually comes in a tube case of a dozen shuttles at a price for that can vary significantly (ranging between approximately $15~$50 Cdn).  Beginners may want to buy lower priced feather shuttles to start with due to a higher chance of a mishit, which often damages to feathers of the shuttle.  When the feather(s) of a shuttle breaks or comes off or when the shuttle doesn’t fly straight or rotates abnormally, it is better to be replaced.  Although feather shuttles aren’t cost-effective, using them should be considered as an investment for your game!

 

The speed of a shuttle is influenced mostly by temperature and altitude.  The higher the temperature is, the faster the shuttle travels.  Also the higher the altitude is, the faster the shuttle flies.  The shuttle speed is indicated as a number on the shuttle tube and/or its lid, and each manufacture uses its own series of numbers.  The table below compares their classification.

 

Speed Number
Shuttle Speed
Temperature
Altitude

1 or 75

Slow

33 C° and more

highland

2 or 76

Medium Slow

27 C°~33 C°

 

3 or 77

Medium

22 C°~28 C°

most sea level

4 or 78

Medium Fast

17 C°~23 C°

 

5 or 79

Fast

12 C°~18 C°

below sea level

6 or 80

Very Fast

7 C°~13 C°

 

 

Handling Shuttles
Taking in and out

When shuttles are taken from a shuttle tube and are stored back to a tube, one should do so only in one direction with the cork part always goes first.  The shuttle orientation is usually indicated on the shuttle tube.  Because shuttles are delicate and easy to break, they may get deformed/damaged if inserted in a wrong way.

Storage

When not in use, shuttles should be stored in a tube standing with the cork side down; otherwise, shuttles can get deformed.  Lids should be tightly inserted to avoid that shuttles dry out.  Dried feather is easy to break.

 

Shuttlecocks which are bought for one specific season (summer, winter, etc.) should be used up by the end of that season.  The shuttles left to the next year become less durable as they lose moisture over time.

Price

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