How to choose the right Badminton Racket

December 3, 2021 by Dipankar Bhattacharjee

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Here's a quick 3 min recipe for choosing the perfect badminton racket.

Before we get into the technicalities of choosing a badminton racket, it is important to realize two points:

  • Playing style technique, experience, physique, and muscular strength are different for different players. So no one can accurately advise you which racket will suit you best. With practice, experience, and some technical guidance, you yourself will be the best judge.

  • A racket replacement cannot cure poor technique. So don’t let marketers trap you into believing that the new racket is what will ‘transform’ your game. A good coach has better chances at improving your game than a particular racket.

However, in case you are a beginner at the game and need guidance, here are the most important factors that you must consider when choosing a badminton racket.

Weight

Light rackets are-

  • easy to maneuver and control
  • help in quick reflex strokes and recovery
  • easy on your wrists and shoulders, reducing the chances of injury
  • produce lesser power compared to heavier ones

Rackets of 85-90 gms are considered lightweight and recommended for beginners.

Balance 

Head or Handle heavy?
A racket with a heavier head provides higher power in the smashes. However, it also is difficult to maneuver due to the torque created by the additional weight. In contrast handle heavy rackets or even balanced rackets are easier on the wrists and recommended for beginners. Players can choose Head heavy rackets gradually as they progress and build the required muscular strength.

Shaft Flexibility

The quicker your wrist arm speed (or swing speed) is, the more you will benefit from a stiffer shaft.
A stiffer shaft bends and unbends very quickly and gives maximum power and control to players with fast swings. However, the swing speed of beginners is most likely not as swift and hence a more flexible shaft is advisable.

There are various racket shapes, stringing patterns, and materials available. But the basic principle remains:
Higher tension = More control, the smaller sweet spot
Lower tension = More power, the bigger sweet spot

Why? The strings work like a slingshot which expands (ever so slightly) when the shuttle meets the string and then contracts back in a swift manner. Lower tensions allow more expansion and higher power. On the other hand, tighter strings remain flattered – the shuttle swiftly rebounding off the racket and reacting to the swing instantly. It is easier to control the direction of the shuttle.  Playing conditions (temperature) may affect the ideal tension as higher temperatures tend to expand the string resulting in reduced racket tension. Lower tensions also afford bigger sweet spots (the area where the shuttle sinks and then propels forward). As beginners do not have a consistent swing and need to develop their hand-eye coordination, a bigger sweet spot is particularly helpful.

Playing with plastic shuttles?
Plastic shuttles do not travel as swiftly as feather ones. It means you have to put in more effort to get them to the backcourt or smash effectively. To counter this, players keep the tension 2-3 lbs lower than what they would otherwise need.

Here is what I suggest:

  • Beginner: 16lbs – 18lbs
  • Intermediate: 18lbs -20lbs
  • Advanced: 20lbs-22lbs
  • Professionals: 23lbs – 25lbs

SUMMARY
To summarize, beginners can start with a light balanced racket with a flexible shaft and lower tension. As you progress, you can choose head-heavy, stiffer rackets with higher tension as per your game and strengths.
 

Recipe = Light Balanced Racket(L) + Flexible Shaft(F) + Lower Tension(T)

 

 

 

 

Author:
Dipankar Bhattacharjee represented India in 1992 Barcelona and 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games, was Senior National Champion thrice, and was also nominated for the prestigious Arjuna Award twice for his contributions in Badminton. He now coaches in Ramsheth Thakur International Sports Complex, Ulwe, Navi Mumbai.

The above article has been reproduced from the website of Spyn sports, an online platform that helps Academy owners, Event organizers, and Facility managers to manage and grow their business.

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