When purchasing a badminton racket, one of the things you need to have an eye for is balance. Sure, you can ask the store staff or seller about a badminton racket’s balance, but what if I were to tell you that you can check the balance yourself?
To check the balance of a badminton racket, tip the racket so that it’s parallel to the ground. Once you’ve done that, all you need to do is support the middle of the shaft with one finger. Naturally, you’ll find that the racket tips to one side. The goal is to find the point where you can support the racket with one finger without one side tipping too far down.
If this point is closer to the head, then what you’ve got is a head-heavy racket. On the other hand, if you find that the point of support is closer to the handle, then the racket is head-light. Some rackets won’t tip at all the first time you support the shaft with your finger. These rackets are even-balanced, weighing roughly the same from the head to the tip of the handle.
Balance matters, especially past the recreational phase of your badminton career — but what is it? Let’s get off to a smashing start by defining balance in detail!
What is the “Balance” of a Badminton Racket?
The balance doesn’t refer to the weight of the racket, per se. After all, knowing that your Voltric Z-Force 2 weighs 88 grams tells you nothing about how heavy it’ll feel on the court. Rather, the badminton racket balance talks about which part of the racket weighs more relative to the other parts.
The balance of a badminton racket refers to the weight distribution of the racket. This is represented by the balancing point. This point represents the area where you can support the racket at the shaft without it tipping too far down on one end. The balance of a badminton racket will reveal whether the racket is heavier at the head or at its handle. Even-balanced rackets will have weight symmetry, meaning that the racket will weigh the same throughout its parts.
Depending on your personal preferences and playing style, you have three general balances to choose from.
What Type of Balances Does a Badminton Racket Have?
The different balances will tell you where the racket is heaviest and lightest. Of late, balances have evolved into varying degrees of head-heaviness and head-lightness due to the options manufacturers want to give customers. Nonetheless, you only need to know these three:
Head-heavy, head-light, and even-balanced are the three types of badminton balances. Head-heavy rackets are heavier at their heads, regardless of their shape. By comparison, head-light rackets will be lighter at the handles. Somewhere in the middle lie even-balanced rackets that weigh the same throughout the badminton racket.
Manufacturers didn’t just come up with rackets having variations in balances and weight. As with flexibility, balance can make or break a particular player’s style on the court.
Why is the Balance of a Racket Important?
Balance — along with the other qualities of a badminton racket — will play to the strengths of certain players. As well, the right racket with the right balance can offset a player’s weaknesses, whether it’s a weak wrist or a shoulder issue.
Balance is an important consideration when choosing a racket because the weight difference will carry over to play on the court. Balance can mean the difference between being able to deliver lighting-fast smash shots and executing speedy returns. Balance will also be a crucial factor when a player needs a racket to compensate for weaknesses that cannot be improved with training.
To see how balance carries over, imagine yourself as a player with a smash-heavy playing style. What would you need in your smashes? You’ll need power, but power requires you to deliver force. Force production requires weight at the point where you’ll make contact with the shuttlecock. For this reason, a head-heavy racket will benefit your smashes more.
Imagine yourself as a player with the reflexes and service speed of Tan Boon Heong. Sure, you’ll get by with a head-heavy racket — that is until the weight causes you to sustain wrist injuries. For your strengths, you’d be better off with something that allows you to flick faster like a head-light racket.
Do you see how it works?
How Do You Check the Balance of a Badminton Racket?
You don’t need to have worked at Yonex, Li-Ning, or any badminton supply company to know the balance of a badminton racket. As mentioned earlier, you only need your racket and one or two fingers. For the sake of precision, having a ruler on hand can’t hurt either.
To check the balance of a badminton racket, hold it parallel to the ground. Then support part of the shaft with your finger. From here, let go of the racket and allow just your finger to support it. See where the racket falls. Move your finger closer to the end where the racket tips downward and continue until the racket stabilizes. Where your finger ends up as the racket stabilizes is the balance point. Mark the balance point and measure it. Depending on which end of the racket is heavier, you’ll end up with a number in the ballpark of 285 to 295 mm from the handle.
If the measurement is closer to the higher end of the above-mentioned range, the racket is head-heavy. On the other hand, a racket that has a balance point 285 mm or less from the handle is head-light.
Which Category of Balance Is Best for You?
It’s decision time. Which one should you go with?
The best balance will depend on your playing style. If you like having more power behind your backhands and smashes, you need more weight at the badminton racket head. You’ll have to go with a head-heavy racket. On the other hand, if you prefer control and speed over the crushing power that a Voltric delivers, go head-light.
Allow me to walk you through the pros and cons of the different balances in greater detail!
Rackets that are heavier at the head will allow you to deliver more force behind your shots. This is great news, especially if your signature move is a smash. Because of the force a head-heavy racket allows you to dish out, you’ll be able to drive your opponent to the back of the court, giving you more time in between rallies.
Because the weight rests on the farther end of the racket, it’ll feel heavier. The racket will feel heavier. We all know that a racket that feels heavy doesn’t lend itself to quick reaction shots.
What’s the best balance if you want cat-like reaction times and movement? This is where a head-light balance comes in.
A head-light racket is heavier at the handle, bringing the weight closer to your center of gravity. Thus, the racket will feel lighter, giving you better control on the court as you hold the rally in your hands.
Of course, understand that this comes at the expense of power and smashes that your opponents might not return.
Weighing symmetrically throughout is an even-balanced racket. This balance is great if you want that “golden mean” between force and control. This compromise works great if you’ve yet to figure out what your playing style is.
Checking the Badminton Racket Balance — Easy but Crucial
At the end of the day, balance works to even out things between players of varying strengths and weaknesses. This is why if you’re looking to gain an extra edge, the balance of your racket is worth looking at.
So what’s your ideal badminton racket balance? There’s only one way to find out — check!
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