How to Choose a Badminton Racket and Shuttlecock For Your Level of Play

Tags: Beginner   Xiao Jie   Zhao Jianhua   Complete Badminton Training  

Coaches Zhao Jianhua and Xiao Jie teams up to wrap up the final episode of the Complete Badminton Training video series. In this episode, they discuss how to evaluate the quality of a shuttlecock and how to select a badminton racket that fits your style and level of play.

How To Select Badminton Shuttlecock

Coach Xiao Jie points out that a badminton shuttle's speed is directly related to its weight. A heavier badminton shuttlecock will travel faster, while a lighter shuttlecock will travel slower. Different brands of badminton shuttles may have some labeling that correlates to its weight and speed.

Coach Zhao Jianhua rates the quality of a badminton shuttlecock by serving it as hard as possible, while standing at the baseline. If the shuttlecock lands between the doubles service line, then it is of suitable quality.

Feathered shuttles are made of either goose feather or duck feather. Goose feather shuttles are better in quality, while duck feather shuttles are cheaper. Looking at the shuttlecock from the exterior, the feathers should be identical and evenly spaced, giving it stable flight.

Coach Zhao Jianhua points out that no matter how good the quality of the badminton shuttlecock is, how long a shuttlecock lasts depend on the player's skill level. Beginning badminton players tend to hit the feathers more often, which means the shuttlecock gets worn out much faster. Therefore, badminton beginners do not need to use the best most expensive shuttles.

How To Select Badminton Racket

Coach Zhao Jianhua has an attacking style of play, so he likes badminton rackets that are head-heavy, because it makes smashing more effective and comfortable. Every badminton racket has a center balance point. If the balance point is towards the grip, it is good for defensive play because the racket will feel lighter and easier to maneuver. Likewise, if the balance point is towards the head, it is more suitable for offensive play.

Badminton rackets have a certain level of flexibility. The flex is dictated by the shaft of the badminton racket. You can test the flex by holding the racket at both ends-the head of the racket and the grip end of the racket-and try to bend it slightly. A flex that is more stiff means that there will be more direct translation of power from the arm to the racket. A stiff flex is recommended for high level players only. A more flexible badminton racket is suitable for many types of shots. However, for short stroke shots like smashes and drives, a lot of power may be wasted.

For badminton beginners, Coach Zhao Jianhua doesn't think that the flex is a very crucial attribute of the badminton racket. He recommends that beginners start with a more flexible badminton racket, because beginners often lack power. The flexibility allows one to borrow power from the bending of the shaft when hitting.

Badminton strings are strung on to the head of the badminton racket with a certain tension. Tension is measured in pounds (lbs). Coach Xiao Jie usually has her racket strung at 22 to 23lbs, while Coach Zhao Jianhua strung his racket at 28 to 29lbs, which is considered very tight. At high tension, the sound of impact with the shuttle will be very crisp, which is an indicator of a well executed swing. The disadvantage of a high tension racket is that control is difficult and less forgiving. A high tension racket is only recommended if you have excellent form and technique. Without good technique, you may also feel that it's hard to generate power. For beginners, a 24lb or less tension should be ideal.

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