Intermediate badminton players are the natural evolution from beginners, who are novices embarking on their badminton journeys. You’ve probably made it to this post because you, yourself, either identify as an intermediate player or are curious if you’ve made the skill transition, and want to explore what badminton racket will best suit you.
Well you are exactly where you need to be!
|1||Yonex Duora 7||Learn More|
|2||Yonex Arcsaber 10||Learn More|
|3||Victor DriveX 5H||Learn More|
|4||Li-Ning Windstorm 72||Learn More|
|5||Yonex Voltric FB||Learn More|
Like any other category of players – beginners, advanced players, heavy smashers, or technical masterminds – intermediate players will also benefit from choosing a racket that is most suited towards their group identity.
If you don’t quite identify as an intermediate player, fret not! Check out our other racket recommendation posts to find the racket that fits you the best:
Before I dive into the badminton factors to consider as an intermediate player, let me first try to define the ever elusive category of intermediate players.
Am I an Intermediate Player?
Intermediate refers to the skill level of a player. Skill level is measured across a spectrum, and is typically broken down into: beginner, intermediate, advanced, and professional. It’s definitely subjective as to when one skill level ends and the next begins. But here’s my take specifically for the intermediate category.
Players are not necessarily deemed intermediate by the number of years of playing experience or the number of tournaments under their belt. Number of years of experience can vary depending on the cumulative level of players you play with, while tournaments can also very widely in terms of how competitive they are. Rather, intermediate players should generally display the following 3 traits:
1. Ability to perform each of the basic badminton shots.
Intermediate players should be able to hit a clear, drop, drive, lift, and smash without much effort. However, they are not expected to have perfected these shots. Instead, intermediate players should be pushing their skills beyond simple execution.
They should be starting to think of how to take these basic shots to the next level and putting that into practice.
Clears should be high and consistently target the area between the doubles service boundary and back line. Drops from the rear court should land around the singles service line, while basic slicing is introduced into net drops. Smashes are executed with varying steepness and toggle between half and full smashes.
2. Displays a competitive mentality.
Intermediate players will start developing that innate competitive spirit that all athletes of a sport have. This is a mindset transition from just playing for fun that beginner and recreational players hold.
Don’t confuse this with needing to actually participate in tournament competition. Tournaments come in all shapes and sizes, and definitely cannot be compared apples to apples. For example, a local tournament in a state where badminton is widely popular versus a region where badminton is not can vary drastically.
What I mean by competitive mentality is having the ability to flip a switch in your mind and play with conviction and decisiveness. You are no longer just hitting shots for the sake of getting it over the net and continuing the rally. Rather, you are thinking ahead and analyzing what it will take to actually win the point. This type of thinking naturally brings players to think about the tactics they need to achieve their goal of winning the match. If you need help with defining your winning strategy, we at BadmintonBites have exactly the tool for you. Subscribe to our email list at the top of the page and receive a free downloadable PDF to design your badminton tactics.
Intermediate players will not only plan out how they can have a better chance at winning points, but will also take time to reflect on mistakes and lost points to continue improving. This cycle of learning and improving will be what solidifies a player as a graduate from the beginner into the intermediate group of players.
3. Good grasp on standard footwork and motor skills.
Moving well around the court becomes essential for an intermediate player. In order to be efficient in their movement, intermediate players should be able to perform basic footwork around the court to move front-to-back, back-to-front, side-to-side, and diagonally.
Additionally, intermediate players are able to incorporate hitting while in motion to intersect shuttles at precise moments through a shuttle’s flight. This requires proper timing through hand-eye coordination and a developed sense of the game for when the ideal moment is to strike a shuttle in-flight.
Now that you gotten a sense of what makes an intermediate player, let’s dive into what factors they should consider when selecting a racket.
Factors to Consider When Selecting a Racket for Intermediate Players
As intermediate players have developed a toolkit of shots, technique, form, and footwork, they will not necessarily need any particular racket technology or feature to address large deficiencies in their game.
Rather, since intermediate players have progressed from the beginner category, they can explore stiffer racket flexoptions that were ill-advised for beginners and look towards versatile rackets that will help them discover which play style is their true calling.
Pick a Racket with Medium to Stiff Shaft Flex
Racket flexibility (or flex for short) is a measure of how stiff the racket shaft is. The stiffer the shaft, the less it will bend from its neutral upright position, and the faster it will return to it as well.
Beginners are recommended to stick with highly flexible racket shafts because they do not have the swing speed and ability to handle stiffer rackets. With slower swing speeds, the natural bend created in the racket’s shaft during the backswing will have returned to its natural upright position well before the racket comes into contact with the shuttle. This mis-timing will lead to a loss of power transfer from the swing into the shuttle.
As intermediate players have improved their swing and technique, they are able to take advantage of rackets with a stiffer flex. Medium to stiff shaft flex will allow intermediate players to capitalize on heightened control without sacrificing the transfer of energy from their swing to their shots.
Please note that different manufacturers may categorize their shaft flex in different scales. Yonex, for example, categorizes their flex in 4 buckets: HI-FLEX, Flexible, Stiff, and Extra Stiff. In this case, Flexible would equate to a medium shaft flex.
Stiffer rackets naturally provide more control as there is not as much variance in how far the shaft is bent upon striking the shuttle. Better control can heighten an intermediate player’s game by allowing them to introduce shots with better placement and effectiveness agains their opponents. At the same time, intermediate players have the ability to insert enough whip into their swing to generate power despite the greater stiffness of the racket.
Using a hi-flex racket as an intermediate player can also be a disservice to the player. If your swing is fast enough that the racket head is still working its way back to being completely upright, you may be hitting the shuttle at a sub-optimal angle, which would impact both accuracy and power.
On the flip side, as many intermediate players have not developed the speediest of swings, they should avoid rackets with an extra stiff flex. If you do not have the ability to generate a particularly quick swing, you would be doing yourself an injustice with an extra stiff racket. Furthermore, you may end up overcompensating your swing by forcibly throwing your shoulder and arm into the swing, which can lead to rotator cuff injuries – one of the most common injuries in badminton.
Choose a Versatile Racket that Helps you Discover your Play Style
Intermediate players are no longer newbies to the badminton scene. They’ve put in the time to practice and have developed sufficient skills to prove it.
However, as I had mentioned above, the intermediate skill group is extremely broad. Players will have learned to perform the basics, but may not yet have discovered their ultimate calling as it comes to a definitive play style. Should they gravitate towards supreme dominance by means of overwhelming attacks? Or should they favor more technical mastery to outmaneuver their foes?
Popular badminton manufacturers like Yonex and Victor have invested a lot of research and development (R&D) efforts into their various racket products. Special racket technologies can be introduced from the racket’s handle to its frame and anywhere in-between.
These different features typically target optimizing a particular aspect of the badminton game play. Steeper smashes, faster swing speeds, quicker recovery, increased control, improved racket handling, and boosting power are just a few of the many examples.
For each of Yonex’s current racket lines, we at BadmintonBites have created racket guides to dive deeper into what advantages each series offers to its badminton players.
|Racket Series||Signature Trait||Post|
Intermediate players may very well still be in an exploratory phase in their badminton journey. As such, a versatile racket which boosts both offense and control will be most beneficial towards an intermediate player’s discovery period. By offering the ability to excel in both styles of play, intermediate players can experience the thrill of performing in each within a single racket. Consequently, they will be able to unravel which type of game play is their true calling and focus down that path.
This discovery phase takes time to craft and mold. However, once the process is complete, intermediate players may find themselves at the verge of graduating to the advanced skill group with a definitive play style they identify closely with.
Now that you’ve learned about the two factors which I feel should be prioritized in racket selection by intermediate players, let’s dive into the specific racket recommendations!
Racket Recommendations for Intermediate Players
Yonex’s Duora racket series has the signature trait of dual impact. The Duora line of rackets is truly revolutionary since it introduces two types of racket frames within a single racket, otherwise known as the DUAL OPTIMUM SYSTEM. The intention here is to enable its player to play both forehand and backhand shots at their highest potential.
The AERO frame on one face of the racket allows the player to slice through the air with its sleek aerodynamic design to deliver speedy returns and exchanges. The BOX frame on the flip side of the racket helps the player execute solid, sturdy, and strong shots.
What can be more perfect for a player looking for versatility within their racket?
The Duora 7 is specifically geared for intermediate players. Its flexibility sits between a medium to stiff flex, which complements an intermediate player’s developed swing speed. This racket is delivered with a Super Slim Shaft which reduces the air resistance in the swing, allowing for even speedier swings to boost a player’s shot execution.
The shaft of the Duora 7 also contains lightweight fibers known as Ultra Poly Ethylene Fiber (PEF) which has the ability to prevent disruptive shock and vibrations from traveling from the racket to the wielder.
Coming back to the frame, the Duora 7 includes a NANOTECHNOLOGY called NANOMETRIC DR, which is a special type of graphite that helps achieve a stronger hold on the shuttle. By stabilizing the shuttle and increasing the dwell time on the frame, the shuttle gains repulsion power when it explodes off of the racket. Additionally, the Duora 7 includes a soft Elastomer material known as the IC ELASTOMER which also aids power transfer from the racket to the shuttle through an elongated shuttle grip time on the racket.
Where the shaft includes features which aid control, the frame rounds out the racket with delivery of offensive capabilities.
As you can see, the Duora 7 literally combines the best of both worlds of attack and control through its innovative design. Keep your opponents under immense on-court pressure with this one-of-a-kind racket!
The Arcsaber series is known to store and then release energy through the racket’s composition to deliver precise shot-making for players seeking a higher level of control. This may sound similar to what the NANOMETRIC DR and IC ELASTOMER features found in the Duora 7 achieves. However, how this phenomenon is accomplished is different in the Arcsaber.
Within its specialized frame design, the Arcsaber 10 has CS CARBON NANOTUBES located on the sides of the racket head, which help it bend more easily at the point of shuttle impact, gripping the shuttle for a longer time to improve the control of the shuttle rebounding off the string-bed. This is what contributes to Arcsaber’s signature and provides players an elevated technical game play.
Also included in the frame of the Arcsaber 10 is Super High Modulus Graphite (HMG), which is found alongside the CS CARBON NANOTUBES to provide increased repulsion power.
The Arcsaber 10 has a stiff flex and the same Ultra PEF lightweight fibers that exist in the Duora 7, which together provide a quicker, less unwanted shock and vibration, greater comfort, and a heightened racket response from the player through to the shuttle.
Where the shaft meets the racket head, the Arcsaber 10 features a Built-In T-Joint which safely secures the two pieces of the racket together, reducing detrimental racket twisting, which translates into even more control.
While optimizing control is Arcsaber’s namesake, the Arcsaber 10 exhibits NANOAIR SPRING which are small air pockets within the actual graphite itself to transfer energy from the racket to the shuttle, boosting the explosiveness of the player’s shots.
The Arcsaber 10 displays an AERO + BOX Frame design, which offers the players accelerated swing speeds on top of strong and solid shots. You may be wondering – well how does this differ from the technology found in the Duora series? The answer lies in the construction of the racket frame.
The Duora racket series sees to the different faces of the racket equipped with the AERO or the Box frame. Which means, whether you are hitting with your forehand or back hand, you will be leveraging the benefits of one or the other frame design.
The Arcsaber 10, on the other hand, has a sort of fusion between the conventional AERO and BOX frames, creating a completely new frame design. This design is then found uniformly throughout the entirety of the racket head, which means that whether the player is using their forehand or backhand, they will always be leveraging the combined benefits of the AERO + BOX frame instead of isolating one or the other.
Combined, all of the features of the Arcsaber 10 make it a formidable racket in speedy exchanges and allows for quick reaction times to what your opponent dishes to you. Its high degree of maneuverability allows the player to thrive at the front court, while its frame composition benefits the player in the back court.
You simply cannot go wrong with the feature-packed Arcsaber 10 racket!
Victor’s DriveX racket series was launched in 2019 and claims to offer players the precision to control the situation authoritatively. The DriveX series rivals Yonex’s Arcsaber racket series in terms of its innate focus on control. However, the DriveX series is designed to be an all-around racket, which is why this series deserves a spot in my recommendation for intermediate players.
The DriveX racket series is capable of achieving a great offering of racket control, powerful shots, and stability for a delightful racket feel for its user.
The Victor DriveX 5H is suitable for intermediate players with its shaft flex sitting around the mid-point of Victor’s flex spectrum, with a slight favor towards the stiff end. With its medium flex, the DriveX 5H is able to flex and release its stored energy to match the timing of an intermediate player’s swing speed.
Within the frame, the DriveX 5H displays a Fibre Reinforced System (FRS) which improves the racket’s elasticity, allowing it to return to its default state quicker after shuttle impact, leading to better racket control. The frame is designed with AERO HEX which prioritizes the minimization of air resistance through aerodynamics to accomplish speedy, yet stable, swings.
Furthering the concept of “less is more”, the DriveX 5H is equipped with Hard Cored Technology which sees to compressed multi-layered carbon fibre and composites throughout the racket. This helps minimize the overall size of the material, resulting in heightened racket handling.
Rounding out what makes the DriveX 5H an easy to use and comfortable racket is through its inclusion of PYROFIL, an ultra light, high performance carbon fibre. PYROFIL is strong and resilient material which safeguards the player from unwanted shock transfer from the shuttle.
Where the DriveX series picks up its versatility is in its dynamic weight distribution around the top, center, and bottom of the racket frame. This unique design allows for power and control to be bundled within a single racket.
Get yourself a Victor DriveX 5H if you’re looking for a truly complementing companion on court!
Li-Ning, another reputable badminton manufacturer, is a powerhouse in the Chinese badminton scene. You’ll find it impossible to play at a club in China without seeing a Li-Ning racket in sight. Rightfully so, as this brand has seen badminton greats – such as the legendary Lin Dan – be its racket promoter. If the name Lin Dan doesn’t ring a bell. You’ll absolutely need to check out the post to learn who the greatest badminton players of all time are.
Before I dive into the specific Li-Ning racket recommendation, it’s worthy to note that Li-Ning organizes its racket series a little differently than what you may be familiar with in Yonex or Victor rackets.
Li-Ning has 5 racket series: Mega Power, Ultra Sharp, Extra Skill, Multi Control, and Pro Master. Now, you may be wondering, well where does Windstorm come in? This is where I would classify the Windstorm as a line of rackets that can fall into one or more different racket series. However, similar to the other manufacturers, Li-Ning rackets within the same series exhibit similar traits. Let’s check out the Extra Skill series, which is where the Windstorm 72 falls under.
Li-Ning’s Extra Skill series is known for its supreme racket handling qualities and its ability to achieve speedy swing speeds in order to execute various shots at a moment’s notice.
The Extra Skill series aims to decrease the drag coefficient, more commonly referenced as air resistance. As such, the series uses slim shafts and a AEROTEC Beam System which streamlines the racket frame through an aerodynamic design to severely reduce air resistance for swifter swings.
The Windstorm 72 is a relatively light racket, coming in at 6U (70g – 74g). The lightness makes for extremely easy racket maneuverability, and delays the onset of fatigue settling in that heavier rackets are more prone to doing.
To round out the racket and boost a player’s potential for power, the Windstorm 72 is a head-heavy racket. Coupled with the speedy swing, the concentration of weight at the top of the racket will translate into more powerful shot deliveries. A Dynamic Optimum Frame resembles the Isometric design found in Yonex rackets, where the sweet spot of the string-bed is increased. Intermediate players will find this helpful as mishits are one of the most common reasons why strings break!
The shaft flex for the Windstorm 72 is rated as flexible / medium which suits an intermediate player’s ability to generate decent swing speeds. The Windstorm 72 comes with a UHB shaft which is a particular technology of Li-Ning that brings the actual flex point higher on the racket shaft. This particular technology allows for better control and power in the player’s smashes, most effectively observed in half-smashes.
The Windstorm 72 is very capable of rivaling opponents in speedy drive exchanges, and will not disappoint when you find yourself in the backcourt either.
Equip yourself with the Windstorm 72 and become a true force to be reckoned with.
Yonex’s Voltric racket series is known for its crushing power. It should not be surprising then that all of the rackets in this series have a head-heavy balance to aid the generation of power.
One of the signature technologies within the Voltric series is the TRI-VOLTAGE SYSTEM. This system scientifically integrates the racket’s head weight, shaft flex, and the aerodynamic frame design to deliver truly overwhelming smashes. The extra stiffness at the top of the frame creates a longer shuttle hold time on the strings, while the deliberately thinner sides of the frame allows for more flex within the frame itself. Together, these qualities maximize the energy transfer to the shuttle through an explosive release.
While it is indisputable that Voltric rackets are head-heavy, this series claims to deliver power without sacrificing control. It achieves this through how the weight is distributed on the top and bottom of the frame. By redistributing the weight around the racket frame and keeping the sides of the frame thin, power is achieved while control is preserved.
The Vonex Voltric FB is an extremely light racket, coming in at a weight categorization of F (73 g). While it may be too light for some serious players, this particular lightness comes at a benefit of enabling optimum racket maneuverability, while enjoying the benefits of the signature power the Voltric series promises.
The Voltric FB has a BLACK MICRO CORE built into the upper frame, which helps negate the disruptive vibrations from shuttle contact to maintain comfort for the player. SOLID FEEL CORE can also be found in the frame which helps dampen the vibrations at the location of impact from traveling through the racket and being transferred unto the player.
The shaft has a stiff flex, which plays to an intermediate player’s ability to produce the proper swing speeds. NANOMETRIC technology is also built into the shaft to maximize the racket’s overall strength and also prevents the racket from twisting during shot execution. While a slim shaft seeks to reduce the air resistance within the swing. Ultimately, the shaft composition allows for heightened control and racket handling.
Similar to the Arcsaber 10, the Voltric FB is also equipped with the AERO + BOX Frame design which produces powerful shots, without being at the expense of a smooth swinging feel.
The Voltric FB exhibits the New Built-In T-Joint, which is an upgrade to its predecessor Built-In T-Joint. The New Built-In T-Joint is capable of better stabilizing the shuttle on the string-bed upon contact. This helps to minimize the energy loss and enables players to exert increased control over the shuttle and its ultimate destination.
Arm yourself with the Yonex Voltric FB to be speedy yet powerfully overwhelming in the face of your opponents.
You will not go wrong by choosing any of the 4 recommended rackets above to optimize your play style as a control player.
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