We have another guest post for you from a fellow badminton enthusiast Mayank Pachwari. He has been playing badminton for the last 3 years and hails from India. Check out more of his content at his blog here: badmintonracketz.
Badminton, also known as ‘Poona’, originated in India. It got its name Poona from the town of Pune, where the game was invented in the year 1860. From then, badminton has seen a lot of changes since the British officially adopted the sport in the 1860s. So far, the racket and even the strings have changed their shapes and sizes to gain more speed and power in the game. As we all know, the ‘strings’ are the only source of contact between the racket and the shuttle.
You might have even noticed that the stringing on modern badminton rackets is done in both a horizontal as well as a vertical way, while different kinds of badminton strings are available on the market. Racket strings in the early times were made much differently, which I will explain to you below.
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History of Badminton Strings
It is said that badminton was brought to Europe in the 1500s by the Spanish Conquerors, where Aztecs (Mesoamerican culture that thrived in central Mexico) used to play the game. During that period, badminton strings were made from natural materials like animal gut (organs inside animals such as the stomach or intestines) or silk.
Synthetic fiber (fibers which are manmade and are obtained from chemical resources) came into existence when DuPont developed nylon to compensate the shortage of rubber, which was brought on by World War II. With monofilament construction, a single fiber of synthetic fiber is made by mixing and melting different polymers. The first nylon badminton string that was made was strong, but not entirely durable as they tended to stretch over time.
In 1949, Ashaway introduced the first multifilament nylon strings, which was known as Multi-Ply and Pro-Fected. These strings were much more effective than those made by animal gut, as it gave more control and response over the shuttle.
In the 1960’s and 1970’s, Ashaway worked on these multifilament strings and made them thinner, stronger, and more responsive. And in the late 1980’s and 1990’s, Ashaway brushed up the multifilament technique in the badminton rackets which let Ashaway gain more popularity due to the improved technology and durability in their strings.
If we talk about the Yonex and Victor brands, clearly they didn’t struggle a lot regarding their products. I don’t have much knowledge about these two, but I can share what I do know.
Victor, which stands for Victor Rackets Industrial Corporation, is a Taiwanese sporting equipment manufacturing company. It makes some of the finest badminton rackets, as well as high quality strings which are produced and manufactured worldwide. The products of Victor are approved by the Badminton World Federation (BWF).
The founder of Victor is Chen Den Li, who founded the brand in 1968. In the beginning, Victor started with manufacturing badminton shuttles. In 1992, Victor opened its production house in Nanjing, China. It also expanded its distribution to Europe after Guido Schmidt began distribution of Victor as the trademark rights holder for the continent.
Now, if we talk about Yonex, it is a Japanese company which manufactures sporting equipment, such as rackets shuttles, balls, racket strings, etc. This company was founded by Minoru Yoneyama in 1946, where it originally manufactured wooden floats for fishing nets.
In 1957, Yonex began to make badminton rackets for the other big brands, and eventually launched its own racket in 1961, which was exported worldwide. The company slowly kept on building itself and its products. In 1969, Yoneyama designed the first aluminum racket and it kept going with its production. In 1992, Yonex designed and launched the “Isometric 500″, which was one of the best badminton rackets for its time.
From there, Yonex continued to design and manufacture many of the top badminton rackets and strings in the market, with many unique features.
Key Badminton String Properties/Qualities
While chatting with an older badminton player, I asked him to share his experience about earlier badminton rackets strung with natural strings. He shared that those strings gave players more control and feel of the shuttle, but cannot be found easily in the market nowadays. Moreover, natural strings are cheaper than the synthetic fiber strings on the market.
Over time, the stringing techniques have also evolved from natural to synthetic strings. Today, modern players often choose to play with synthetic strings because many top brands and manufacturers have entered the market with top quality products. Prior to launching these products to market, they undergo extensive research and development and equip their strings with advanced and hi-tech features which attract players to purchase these products.
If we are talking about which technologies make synthetic strings a prime product for players, consider the following:
- Stability – synthetic fibers remain stable and in tact while hitting a shuttle, while also providing speed and power.
- Durability – while strings are fragile in nature, synthetic strings are made to be more durable and effective.
The strings in ancient times, as well as in modern day, were strung vertically first and then horizontally. The horizontal strings are known as crosses, while the vertical strings are known as mains. Due to the shape of the racket head, there arre more crosses than there are mains. Here are some common stringing facts:
- Sometimes the crosses were strung 2 lbs higher to correct the shape of the racket.
- While stringing, vertical strings are strung first, which twist the frame of the badminton racket as the strings pull the frame vertically.
- Horizontal strings are strung after the vertical mains. These are weaved in and out of the mains, which applies stress on both the mains and the frame.
How Were Earlier Rackets Strung?
- Strings were first measured before being strung on a racket, depending on the manufacturer’s specifications.
- All the unwanted kinks were removed from the strings to straighten them out. This helped avoid the mess created during the stringing process.
- All remaining string pieces were removed from the racket frame to remove blockage for the new strings.
- The stringer will then set the tension rating on the stringing machine. Sometimes a stringer may even string a racket with their bare hands.
- The starting point for stringing will be located and the racket mounted.
- After the strining process is completed, early stringers would tie a knot to ensure prevent the strings from loosening up.
- After the main strings were completed, the cross strings would be strung in a similar way.
Kinds of Badminton Strings
There are 3 basic kinds of badminton strings:
- Control Strings
- Power Strings
- Durability Strings
Control strings are designed with a more textured finish, which provides players with better control and accuracy while hitting a shuttle. The rougher coat of the racket strings helps in gripping the shuttle, enabling the player to control the spin and even slice the shuttle.
Top Control Strings
- YONEX BG80
- YONEX Nanogy BG99
- BABOLAT iFeel 68
- YONEX BG Aerobite
- Ashaway ZyMax 68TX
- Ashaway ZyMax 66 Fire
As per their name, the motto of power strings is to generate and provide more power while hitting a shuttle. Power strings have a thinner string diameter of about 0.68mm or thinner. String diameter is otherwise known as gauge and is measured in millimeters. Power strings are best suited for attacking players or those who play the rear court in doubles.
Top Power Strings
- YONEX BG80 Power
- YONEX BG 66Ultimax
- BABOLAT iFeel 66
- Ashaway ZyMax 66 Fire Power
- Ashaway ZyMax 64TX
- YONEX Nanogy 98
- YONEX Aerosonic BG
These strings are more more durable and lasts longer. The guage of these strings are usually around 0.7mm. As you have learned above, string thickness is measured by gauge. These strings are best for players who have a hectic schedule and want reliability in their strings for long periods of time.
Top Durability Strings
Strings are typically around 0.7mm in gauge, but can be as thin as 0.62mm. Strings of different gauges have different defining factors. Let’s take a look below:
Benefits of Thicker Strings
- Good Durability. When hitting a shuttle, the strings dig into each other. It’s like battering ram. The string will eventually break as they cut through each other. Therefore, thicker strings are more resistant than thinner ones. Durability is one of the main factors that people consider while buying a pair of badminton strings.
- Great Control. Thicker strings do not flex as much as thinner strings. The shuttle remains on the string-bed of the racket for longer with thicker strings than it does on the string-bed of thinner strings. This means that strings with thicker gauge feels higher in tension, even if they are strung at the same tension as strings of thinner gauge. As you may be aware, players who prioritize control want to play with higher tension.
- Better at Holding Tension. As thicker strings tend not to stretch as much as thinner strings, they are able to retain string tension better. This helps to avoid tension creep, which diminishes the ideal string tension that players prefer to play at.
- Absorb the Force. When you mishit a shot, there is a chance for the strings to break. The sweet spot on the string-bed absorbs the force of the shuttle. Strings snap when you mishit the shuttle outside of the sweet spot – usually around the edge of the racket – as the pressure from the shuttle impact is dispersed unequally. The tension around the edges of the racket is a bit higher, and the force of the shuttle concentrated in one area will cause the strings to over-stretch. Thicker strings have a higher ability to consume the impact in comparison to thinner strings.
Benefits of Thinner Strings
- More Power. Thinner strings have more repulsion power than thicker strings. The strings proper and hit the shuttle forward when the shuttle contacts the string-bed. This is similar to a trampoline effect. This means that the shot will generate more power when the strings stretch and rebound when coming into contact with the shuttle.
- Better Hitting Sound. There is not a single player who hate smashing. Thinner strings make a novel sound when the shuttle hits the string-bed.
Today’s players love playing with synthetic strings over natural strings because they are more durable, stronger, and provide better overall control. Over the passage of time, racket strings have improved in quality through research and development into new stringing technologies.
About the Author
My name is Mayank Pachwari. I’m a blogger from india. I’ve been playing and writing articles on badminton for the last 3 years. Sharing my knowledge about badminton with you all motivates me to write further. Do check out my blog badmintonracketz. And thank you BadmintonBites for allowing me to guest post on your blog.
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