If you are unsure as to which racket to buy – whether you have just started playing badminton or you play regularly and just want a new racket – then you have come to the right place. Here is a step by step guide to help you!
You will need to consider:
1. Which brands are available to you.
2. If the racket is suitable for your playing level/style.
3. The price.
4. The weight of the racket.
5. The balance of the racket.
6. The flex in the shaft.
7. What grip size you need.
2. Your Playing Level/Style
If you have been playing badminton for some time and feel you have a firm grasp of the game, you might want to consider these questions when choosing a racket:
· How good am I as a player? Is it necessary for me to buy a really expensive racket when I could go for a mid-range priced one instead?
· What is my playing style? Am I more of a power player or more of a defensive player? Or an all-rounder?
· Am I more of a doubles or singles player?
3. The Price
A badminton player will be thinking what is my budget?
You will find badminton rackets will vary in price massively. They can range from £25.00 ($32.82) up to £160 ($210).
In my opinion, the higher level player you are the more expensive racket you need.
4.The Weight of the Racket
Badminton rackets will vary in weight. There is no set ideal weight as it depends on the player. A heavier racket will usually give players more power and enable them to hit their shots harder. However, they risk having less control in their shots and might find it more difficult to get their racket in tight positions when under pressure.
If you are a more defensive player or you are more of a ‘front court player’ when playing doubles, I would recommend that you use a lighter racket. If you are more of a ‘rear court player’ or more of a singles player, then a heavier racket might be more suitable for you as it will give you more time to play your shots.
I am more of a front court player in doubles, I am not that powerful and not that strong physically. Nevertheless, I possess a reasonable defence, decent net play and can play a good range of shots. With this in mind, I use the Victor Light Fighter 7000 as my racket of choice.
When you buy a racket online the weight of the racket will be clearly displayed.
When you buy a Li Ning or Yonex racket here are the weight categories:
|72g – 80g||W1|
|81g – 84g||W2|
|85g – 89g||W3|
5. The Balance
In its simplest terms, the balance of the racket refers to how heavy the racket head is in comparison to the handle of the racket. In terms of balance the racket is either head heavy, even balance or head light.
- With a heavier racket head, it will give you more power.
- Defensive shots and blocks will be more difficult to control.
- Performing quick overhead shots such as stick smashes will be harder to do.
My racket the Victor Light Fighter 7000 is an even balanced racket.
- With an even balance in weight between the head and the rest of the racket this will give you some power but at the same time you should have control in playing your defensive shots.
- It should give you a good all-round game but you may find yourself struggling to excel in power and soft and ‘control’ type shots due to the racket being even balanced.
- This will give a player a lot of control at the net and they should find it easy to intercept opponents’ shots due to the light racket head.
- You should be able to play quick stick smashes.
- A player may struggle to generate a lot of power.
6. The Flexbility/Stiffness
In the shaft of the racket there are varying levels of stiffness. It is best to compare the stiffness of a racket to the stiffness of the sorts of rulers you use at school: a flexible racket is like a bendy, plastic ruler and a stiff racket is similar to a stiff wooden ruler.
Below are listed the different levels of stiffness, ranging from the most flexible to least flexible:
· Hi flex.
· Medium flex.
· Medium stiff.
· Extra stiff.
What can you expect from a Stiff Racket?
· As there will be little flex or bend in the shaft, there will be little or no repulsion from the strings of the racket to the shuttlecock.
· You can expect higher shot accuracy as shots will be ‘cleaner’ and less distorted.
· As there is less repulsion from the strings you can hit shots more quickly and thus make your shots more deceptive.
· A stiff racket is more suited to experienced players who have good technique as there will be less ‘whip’ with the stiff shaft.
What can you expect from a Flexible Racket?
· As there will more flex or bend in the shaft, there will be more repulsion from the string bed of the racket, thereby giving you more power.
· More power will be generated from the racket, which will suit more beginner/intermediate players, who do not have the correct technique yet.
· With the higher levels of repulsion off the strings it will be harder to judge the pace and trajectory of your drop shots and lifts. Shot accuracy will not be as good.
· Flexible rackets will make defending easier as there will less swing needed for quick reaction defensive shots.
7. The Grip Sizes
At the base of the racket will be the grip where you hold the racket. There are different grip sizes for you to choose from. I prefer a very small grip – I don’t know why – I just always have done!
If you feel that your grip is too small you can purchase grips to wrap over it to make it bigger.
A smaller grip size will allow to use your wrist and finger power more when playing your shots. However, a smaller grip can make you more likely to be a victim of tennis elbow.
Victor and Yonex have the follow grip size categories to consider:
|G1||4 inches/ 10.16 cm|
|G2||3.75 inches/ 9.5cm|
|G3||3.5 inches/ 8.9cm|
|G4||3.25 inches/ 8.25cm|
|G5||3 inches/ 7.62cm|
|G6||2.75 inches/ 6.9cm|
To summarise, do not regard the advice given in this guide as absolutely fundamental to the choice you make when selecting what badminton racket to buy. Use these steps as guidelines that you can refer back to when you are looking at the weight, balance, shaft stiffness etc of the racket.
As I mentioned earlier in the article, if you are just starting out in badminton then choosing the right racket is not that important. What is more important is learning the correct technique and getting more experience by playing regularly. You will then gradually learn what badminton racket is ideal for you.
There is no perfect racket that everyone can use and how good a racket will be will depend on the player. Do not be afraid to try out different rackets and see what you like.
I hope you found this article helpful!