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As a beginner starting your journey in the world of badminton, you may have a ton of questions swimming around in your brain: What are the rules of badminton? What should I wear to play badminton? Where can I find a badminton court? How do I hit the birdie? Why is the “ball” of the sport such a weird shape?
All of these are valid questions. But to start yourself on the right foot, the first and foremost question to answer is: “Which badminton racket should I choose?” The badminton racket is the single most important piece of equipment in the sport. With its various features, attributes and technologies, finding the right racket is a matchmaking process that is critical to a player’s success on the court. When chosen correctly, the racket is regarded as an extension of a player’s arm and complements their play style. Conversely, failure to select the proper racket will prove detrimental and may lead to a player’s demise on court.
Don’t be lured by the marketing of the latest and greatest racket features. Choosing the right racket goes beyond the current top seller in the market. Especially as a badminton beginner, you may not have the technique, form or strength to maximize the benefits offered within a high-end racket, yet.
Rest assured, we will walk you through a few key attributes that are critical for beginners to consider. Read on as we highlight 3 of the most important racket qualities you should prioritize when choosing your starting racket:
The balance of a racket refers to whether the distribution of weight of the racket is towards the handle or the head of the racket. Balance is typically determined by where the racket’s balance point is, which is the point along the shaft of the racket you would need to position your finger to have the racket rest perfectly horizontal.
The balance of a badminton racket is categorized into 3 buckets: head-heavy, head-light, and even balanced. Rackets with a balance towards the head of the racket generally produce more powerful shots, while rackets with a balance towards the handle are speedy, nimble and offer superb control.
Head-heavy rackets see a concentration of weight towards the head of the racket. This offers players the ability to channel more power through their shots by means of additional momentum the weight distribution adds to the swing of the racket. Head-heavy rackets will accommodate for beginners who may not yet have the strength or technique to be able to generate their own power in their shots. However, the risk of head-heavy rackets is the mistiming of overhead swings can overload strain on your rotator cuff muscles and lead to one of the most common badminton injuries: the rotator cuff tear.
Head-light rackets are positioned on the opposite end of the spectrum from head-heavy rackets. With the weight of the racket focused closer to the handle, head-light rackets offer more ease in racket control and handling. This is beneficial for beginners as being able to maneuver your racket to the right position to hit a shot is critical to avoid mishitting. The trade-off with choosing a head-light racket as a beginner is that it offers no power buffer to players who may be lacking it. However, as a beginner, we would strongly advise focusing your attention on using the correct hitting form over seeking to hit hard – that will come with time. For our list of do’s and don’ts for badminton players, check out the 10 Do’s and Don’ts of Badminton: How to Improve Your Game.
Even balanced rackets occupy the middle ground between the two racket balances mentioned above. Even balanced rackets extract the benefits of each of the other balances: the power of head-heavy rackets with the control and racket maneuverability of head-light rackets. Simultaneously, even balanced rackets shrinks the drawbacks from head-heavy and head-light rackets.
Beginner’s recommendation: Even Balanced
We recommend beginners to start with even balanced rackets and through its usage, you can discover your unique preferences and trade-up in time. Even balanced rackets are the superior choice for beginners as there are no major cons beyond the lack of specialization towards a particular play style.
The flex, short for flexibility, of a racket refers to how easily the racket shaft will bend with the player’s swing. Rackets that are stiffer snap-back to its original state faster, but require more skill and speed to create the natural bending of the racket.
Yonex categorizes flex into 4 buckets: HI-Flex, Medium, Stiff, and Extra Stiff.
These four categories represent the spectrum of flex and do not have a strict definition. Imagine it resembling a sliding scale to indicate a racket’s flex.
The benefit of a stiffer racket is a shorter recovery time, allowing players to be poised and ready for the next shot. However, the drawback of stiffer rackets is that it is unforgiving for players who are unable to produce the quick swing speeds required to maximize the quick snap-back of the racket shaft to transfer explosive power into the shuttle.
On the contrary, HI-Flex rackets are more lenient towards players who are not able to snap their wrist quickly. A racket with more flexibility will complement a player who has a gradual racket acceleration, as the racket will be able to complete its longer snap-back duration by the time the racket contacts the shuttle.
Beginner’s recommendation: HI-Flex
As a beginner in badminton, the variety of swings that produce different shots may be completely foreign to you. Even for players who have dabbled in other racket sports, the demands of badminton on the body is rather unique. It is not uncommon for the muscles used in badminton to be dormant prior to wielding a badminton racket. As such, beginners will more often than not have a naturally slower swing speed to start, making a Hi-Flex racket most suitable. Choosing a racket with a stiff or extra-stiff flex may lead to very dull and weak shots due to a generally slower swing speed.
3. Racket Frame Shape
The racket frame shape is important as it can largely dictate where the “sweet spot” or ideal hitting area is on a racket. Players product precise shots when striking the shuttle at the sweet spot. On the contrary, striking the shuttle outside of the sweet spot area results in subpar shots. Racket frames can vary in size, but the sweet spot is more so influenced by the shape rather than the minute differences in frame size between rackets.
There are 2 common shapes for a standard badminton racket: Isometric or Oval.
Oval: the oval racket head frame shape is the more convention head shape and at times may resemble the shape of a teardrop. Due to its shape, this frame shape has a relatively concentrated sweet spot. This means that the area in which players should strike the shuttle on the string bed is smaller than that of its isometric counterpart. The result of a concentrated sweet spot is more explosive power. However, the prevision required to maximize this attribute is typically only achieved by advanced players.
ISOMETRIC™: the ISOMETRIC™ racket head frame shape was created by Yonex in 1980 and introduced as part of their tennis rackets. Not until 1992 did the ISOMETRIC™ frame shape debut in a badminton racket. Its appearance resembles more of a square or box, which allows for an enlarged sweet spot sweet spot due to the more uniform stringing of the cross and mains of a racket. A larger sweet spot is more forgiving for beginners who might not have the best timing on their swings. However, it doesn’t offer up to the level of concentrated power that is observed in the conventional oval shaped rackets. Isometric rackets boast a 30% larger sweet spot than oval rackets. While ISOMETRIC™ rackets are recommended for beginners, this technology has made its way into most of the top of the line advanced rackets on the badminton scene today. As such, many top of the sport players are witnessed wielding ISOMETRIC™ rackets.
Beginner’s recommendation: Isometric
We recommend the Isometric racket frame shape primarily because it offers a larger sweet spot for players to play with. As a beginner, you are still learning the basics of badminton and may be prone to mishitting. A larger sweet spot will allow you to play with more confidence while you build your experience and develop your badminton skills.
Please note that Isometric racket frame shapes are not meant for just beginners. Many advanced players in the current professional circuit are also using rackets with this common racket frame shape.
Racket Recommendations for Beginners
Given the 3 key racket attributes to consider as a beginner, we would recommend the following 4 rackets as suitable choices for your starting racket.
1. Yonex Nanoray 10F
The Yonex Nanoray 10F is a light-weight racket that is easily handled, allowing players to maneuver it swiftly through the air. While the Nanoray racket series is marked as a head-light series, the Nanoray 10F is positioned closer to an even balance, minimizing the lack of power generation from head-light rackets.
The Nanoray 10F has an aero (aerodynamic) frame, where the the side of the frames are curved, which serves to minimize the air resistance as the racket is swung through the air. This not only makes the swing speeds faster, but decreases the effort and ultimately the fatigue that is experienced by the player.
The two main drawbacks of aero frames is the inability to generate as much power as box frames and the uncomfortable vibrations that result from mishits, an occurrence that may be more more frequent in beginners. Vibrations are dampened through the TFA cap, minimizing the poor feeling from mishits.
To counteract the commonly associated lack of power with head-light rackets, the Nanoray 10F is imbued with a Nanomesh + Carbon Nanotube technology which creates a higher repulsion power when the shuttle contacts the string bed. The attribute helps players drive the shuttle further into their opponents’ end of the court.
Pros: Lightweight, Quick swing speeds
Cons: Mishits can cause undesirable vibrations, Lack of power boosting
|Racket Frame Shape||Isometric|
|Amazon||Black/Blue | Pink | Yellow|
|Yumo Pro Shop||Black/Blue | Pink | Yellow|
2. Victor Auraspeed 30H
The Victor Auraspeed 30H is an all-around racket that is easy for players to control and maneuver to their will. The controllability of the Auraspeed 30H is due in part to the Fibre Reinforced System (FRS) which enhances the elasticity of the racket, increasing the repulsion power by having the racket recover faster after each shot.
The Ultra-Thin Frame found in the Auraspeed 30H achieves swift swing speeds, decreasing the energy expenditure required by the player.
The Nano Tec technology embedded throughout the head of the racket prevents racket frame distortion upon striking the shuttle.
The Auraspeed 30H is even balanced with a medium shaft stiffness, equipping the player to handle any shot delivered by their opponents. Using a racket that can weather any storm and will help a beginner to establish their foundations of shots. With this racket, beginners can sufficiently play both offensively and defensively while they discover their badminton style.
Pros: Quick swing speeds, Boosts player power through increased repulsion power
Cons: Lack of technology to mitigate the disadvantages from mishitting
3. Wilson Recon PX5000 TWS
The Wilson Recon PX5000 TWS (tetrad weighting system) is created with weight distribution in 4 distinct areas around the frame which helps deliver extra power in each shot while maintaining stability in racket handling. This benefits players who have yet to develop proper hitting form and technique.
The Recon PX5000 TWS includes the EX Zone feature, which positions the racket’s kick point higher in the shaft, further balancing the generation of power with increased stability, which corresponds to enhanced racket control. The kick point refers to the point along the racket shaft where the greatest flexibility is located. Read more about the kick point in the racket kick point forum here.
The Ultra High Modulus Carbon Fiber found in the racket frame helps fortify the frame against mishits, which beginners are more susceptible to causing.
The Wilson Recon PX5000 TWS is able to boost a player’s power while providing an easy to manage experience, ideal for beginners.
Pros: TWS generates extra powerful shots, great control
Cons: No particular benefits towards reducing energy expenditure or mitigating transfer of vibration from racket to player.
|Racket Frame Shape||Isometric|
4. Yonex Duora 33
The Yonex Duora 33 is a unique racket in the Dual Optimum System. This technology produces a singular frame that offers both an Aero frame (present in the Yonex Nanoray 10F) and a box frame. The box frame’s shape provides a sturdier structure given its more rigid design. While this leads to decreased maneuverability, the box frame excels in maximum transfer of power from racket frame to the shuttle via the string bed.
The combination of both frame types within a singular racket is revolutionary and unprecedented. Players essentially get the best of both worlds in a single racket – quick swing speeds by means of the aerodynamic racket slicing through the air and powerful shots delivered by the solid construction of the box frame. The additional innovative Duora Grommet Design further amends the typically decreased power generation of aero frames, by pulling strings harder for greater power.
Generally, the box frame side of the racket is recommended for forehand shots, where the aero frame is intended to aid the commonly weaker backhand shots. Any and all benefits to the backhand should be prioritized by beginners, as players typically pick on their opponents’ backhand.
While the benefits are clear, it may be hard to capitalize on as a beginner. There are markings and visual indicators on the racket itself to remind players which frame they are using. However, the constant need to be aware of which side you are using may prove to be too complicated for beginners to remember. As a beginner, simply returning the shuttle may occupy all of your attention on court and you won’t have the capability to consider using the correct frame per shot. Using the incorrect frame to hit the shuttle may result in subpar shot qualities.
Regardless, we wanted to still include the Duora 33 as an option for beginners because it exposes players to different racket qualities within a singular racket. With practice, players will become used to using the right frame for their forehand vs. their backhand. Using the Duora 33 as a beginner will allow for accelerated learning as the racket offers benefits across the spectrum to aid the execution of any badminton shot.
Pros: Dual optimum system supplements forehand and backhand shot
Cons: Beginners need to exhibit an additional awareness towards using the correct frame to hit each shot
|Racket Frame Shape||Isometric|
|Yumo Pro Shop||Orange/Red|
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