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Warning - Do not wear running shoes to play badminton. Their outsole is
usually made of synthetic rubber instead of 100% natural rubber. You need to
run from side to side and running shoes do not provide any side grip, thus
would harm your feet. (please read an article regarding the choice of badminton
equipment in the end of this part).
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Badminton Central Guide to choosing Badminton Equipment
Written by Kwun Han
Monday, 28 February 2005 16:21
I have wanted to write a guide on what equipment badminton should focus on.
By nature, badminton requires the player to have a few pieces of equipment to
engage in the sports, items such as a racket and a shuttlecock are a must for a
badminton player. However, often I see many player places the wrong focus on
how they spend their money on equipment. A smart badminton player will spend
money effectively to maximize their badminton playing experience.
However, before I start, I would like to point out that no badminton
equipment can replace proper badminton skills. If you think you can spend
US$200 on a racket and you can instantly play better, you are 105% wrong. A
good set of equipment can only bring out the potential of a player with good
skills. No equipment can fix your bad skills. Instead, I recommend you spend
your money on some good coaching lessons. It will make much more difference in
your badminton game than a shiny new racket.
I chose to list the equipment in decreasing order of important, in other
words, I reckon that the badminton shoes is the most important equipment that a
badminton player has, while their clothing is the least important.
Contrary to popular belief, a good set of badminton shoes are the most
important piece of equipment a badminton player can have. Badminton players
move around the badminton court at an amazing pace, dashes and changes
directions on every stroke of the rally, twisting and turning and lunging. All
these movements are supported and made possible by the biggest unsung hero, the
Badminton shoes are designed for badminton movements; a thin but well
supported sole with good lateral support keep the player’s feet close to the
ground, this allows for fast and ankle bending directional changes with lower
chance of injury; light weight for faster feet movement; surface hugging gummy
soles to grip the indoor surface without slipping.
The amount of torture we subject our lower body to can clearly be seen in
people’s badminton shoes. A good pair of badminton shoes used by a decent
player sometimes last only 3-6 months. At the end of its short life, you will
find soles that are worn to the inner support, insoles that are worn through,
strong upper leather that gave up and split due to the immense force exerted at
Pick your badminton shoes with care, make sure you choose the pair that fits
the shape of your feet and thus the most comfortable.
And whatever you do, do not wear running shoes or any other thick soled
shoes. They keep your feet too high up in the ground and all it will take is
one deep lunge to have your ankle sprained. From then on, you will be in
excruciating pain for days and the injury will affect your badminton game for
years to come.
Good badminton shoes brands include Asics, Hi-Tec, Mizuno, and Yonex. Other
smaller brands are starting to catching up as well.
The number two unsung hero of the badminton equipment is the badminton
string. Afterall, it is the string that is in contact with the shuttle on every
stroke. How the string interacts with the shuttle is crucial to the feel of
each stroke. Depending on your skill level and the style of your game, you
should pick a string and tension that is suitable for your game. String
manufacturers usually have ratings of different string characteristics at the
back of the string package. Pick the items that are most important for your
String tension affects the playability of the string as much as the string
itself. The general rule of thumb is that the harder you can hit, the tighter
your tension can be. A higher tension rewards a hard hitting while robs power
from a light hitter. On the opposite end, a lower tensioned string helps light
hitter with a better timed trampoline effect.
There is always the temptation to go higher in tension, but this is a case of
bigger is not always better. Higher tension does not give you more power as
mentioned above, beginners should always start with lower tension of around
20lbs, adjust it to 22-23lbs when you progress to intermediate and only go up
to 25+lbs if you are gain more power in your technique. Using the inappropriate
high tension will make the racket unresponsive, decreased power, and will
easily cause injury.
Good brands for badminton strings are: Ashaway, Gosen, Mizuno, Yonex.
Recommended tensions: beginners: 19-20lbs . intermediate players: 21-24lbs.
advance players: 25+ lbs.
The number three unsung hero of badminton equipment is the badminton grip.
Similar to the string being the interface to the shuttle, the grip is the
interface to the badminton player’s finger and hand. The game of badminton
comprises of many very delicate movements and fine control from the player’s
finger and wrist. A proper grip ensure that there is proper actuation and
feedback to and from the racket.
Three major factors affects the characteristics of the grip: type, size and
Badminton grips falls into two different type, towel and synthetic. The
choice of which are personal preference. Towel grip are softer, provides good
sweat absorption, but at the same time, is more prone to germ accumulation and
needs to be changed often. Synthetic grips are less messy and less prone to
accumulation of germs, however, they are not as good as towel grips when it
comes to sweat absorption.
The proper grip size to use depends greatly on the player. Obviously a player
with larger hands will prefer a larger grip and vice versa. It is often
tempting to use a large grip, a large grip gives the false feeling that the
racket is lighter and more maneuverable. However, one must again understand
that badminton is comprised of subtle, agile and delicate movements in the
fingers and wrist, a smaller (but not too small) grip will allow for higher
agility and maneuverability of the racket.
Often times badminton players give the racket the most emphasis. If you go
into badmintoncentral.com and you will find that most of the discussion centers
on the racket. While the racket is certainly an important equipment, the
importance of which is often overrated, and that is the reason why I put the
Racket almost next to last in our recommendation list.
The badminton racket is the middleman when transferring force from the player
to the shuttle, sitting right between the grip and the string. A badminton
racket can be categorized by a few characteristics: shape, stiffness, weight,
Virtually all badminton rackets are made of carbon fiber or graphite. Some
manufacturers choose to put in extra ingredients into the racket material like
titanium or recently nanocarbon. I want to emphasis that they are only
addictives, the 99% of the racket is still graphite and the extra benefits of
the additives are very marginal.
Badminton rackets comes in two major head shapes: Isometric/square and Oval.
Oval is the traditional racket shape, it is a slightly bottom heavy oval,
almost the shape of an egg. Oval rackets in general have a small but more
concentrated sweet spot. Oval fans like the concentration of power around the
sweetspot of the racket. The shape is the Isometric or square which became more
popular after the early 1990’s. The Isometric head has a wider and more squared
top half of the racket head. The advantage of the isometric is an enlarged
sweetspot which give off-centered hit a better response.
The effective stiffness of a badminton racket is similar to the effective of
string tension. So I will refer you back to that section. A stiffer racket has
the similar effect as a higher tensioned string, while a flexible racket is
similar to the lower tension string.
Rackets comes in different weights. Normally the racket alone weighs between
80-95g. Different manufacturers have different rating system, the most popular
of which is Yonex’s U system, U = 95-100g, 2U = 90-94g, 3U = 85-89g, 4U =
80-84g. a racket’s weight determines how fast one can swing a racket, the
lighter a racket, the faster one can swing it with the same force. In general,
a lighter racket is more maneuverable than a heavy one. However, before
everybody goes out and buy the lightest racket, I also want to point out that
lighter isn’t always better. A light racket is less stable than a heavier
racket, more force is necessary to keep its path, furthermore, a heavier racket
has a larger momentum and thus more effective in transferring its speed and
power to the shuttle.
The final racket characteristic is the balance of the racket. Head balanced
racket is becoming more popular recently. Head balanced rackets have more mass
near the head of the racket. A head balanced racket is more stable and have
higher angular momentum when swung. On the contrary, a even balanced racket is
As you can see, none of the different properties of the above characteristics
are strictly better than other. Some players prefers slightly heavier rackets,
some prefer slightly lighter, some like even balanced, some like head balanced.
What I want to point out is that ultimately, it is a person’s skill level and
style that determines what racket is suitable, go try them out if you can to
see what fits.
Badminton clothing is quite simple to choose. Aside from one personal fashion
preference, badminton clothing is better kept light and unrestrictive. Shirts
needs to be slightly loose and comfortable to allow for arm and body movements.
Badminton is a game of sweat, very often we see a badminton player walks out of
the court like he just came out of a shower. As it is always uncomfortable to
have sweat stuck to one’s skin, sweat absorption and dissipation is thus
important. There are many fancy sweat-wicking clothing out there, but from my
personal experience, a good cotton t-shirt works well in most situation. If one
gets really wet during a game, they are cheap enough so you can have a few
spares ones to change into.
Shorts are the preference for most badminton players. Again, choose something
that is light and not restrictive to movement, jumps and lunges are done often
Again, clothing is mostly personal fashion preference, as long as the
clothing allows for the extreme movements in badminton, it is usually quite ok.
I have mentioned it once and I will do it again here, while equipment is
essential in badminton, the most important factor in badminton is still one’s
badminton skills. Equipment will only have marginal effect on one’s game.
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