Badminton is a sport just like others, it requires not only good skills but also a good racket too! Whether you are developing a new hobby or just beginning to play the sport, it is important to have a reliable racket. Before heading to the court, the first step that you should do is to find a badminton racket. I am here to help you with some tips and points to remember on how to choose a badminton racket for beginners!
When choosing a badminton racket, comfortability should be on top priority.
- Badminton rackets come in different weights and build, so make sure to choose the weight that you can be comfortable with.
- You don’t have to be like a pro. Professional badminton players have their years of experience in using their rackets. You do not have to buy what they are using. It might be too expensive. It could also be too heavy or light for you.
How to choose a badminton racket for beginners? Apart from the weight considerations, there are a lot of things that you have to check before purchasing a badminton racket from the market. This difficult decision could be narrowed down by two key considerations: the type of balance and the shaft flexibility. Just take the one which you think you could best perform your rallies and smashes inside the court!
As a beginner, there sure is a lot of information to take in. Don’t worry because we totally understand, and that’s why I am here to make these details simpler to understand. Check out the rest of the article as I thoroughly explain how to choose a badminton racket for beginners. These include the engineering and great tips to help you decide what your next badminton racket might be!
What are the parts of the badminton racket?
Before we take the smash into the details, first we have to start with the parts of the badminton racket. This information would be vital as we go along this article.
Basically, the badminton racket has 5 different major parts.
- The head refers to the oval frame of the racket where the strings are attached.
- The shaft is the stem part of the racket that ends in the head. It connects the grip and the head.
- The cone is a plastic that you can find on the upper end of the handle grip. It joins the shaft and the handle grip together.
- The handle grip is the part where the control of the racket is taken place. Players just simply call it the handle.
- The butt is the enlarged area at the end of the handle/grip. It prevents the hand from slipping while using the racket.
Choose a Perfect Racket’s Overall Weight
I have mentioned that it is important to look at the racket’s weight. Yes, it truly is. The weight of the racket is simply explained by our high school physics. Remember the formula for force?
Force = Mass x Acceleration. This means that the heavier the racket, the more powerful it is. The only downside of using heavy racket is that it is harder to maneuver and causes more fatigue on your arms and shoulders.
Racket weights are categorized into 6 units:
6U (F): 70-74g
(Take note that some of badminton racket manufacturers also have varying unit charts)
For you to see the racket’s overall weight, you have to check the racket’s cone and often marked together with the grip size. Common racket weights are usually under 3U and 4U. As a beginner, I highly suggest that you train with the 4U or 6U category. Making use of these racket weights will make you have better arm and shoulder endurance and strength along the way.
Trivia: Professional badminton players also have specialized rackets for training which could weigh over 100 grams!
Additional Tip: I highly advise beginners to use heavier rackets. This will enable you to build muscle memory for the future development of techniques. It may be heavy and difficult to use, but it will surely pay the price in the future. While on the other hand, if you will be using lighter racket on your beginner days, muscle memory will not be developed and might give off some difficulty in building up muscle memory which is required to generate power. There is a fine balance between finding the right weight and the right balance.
Know the Badminton Racket Balance
Here’s another tip when wondering how to choose a badminton racket for beginners. You should consider that balance of the badminton racket when you are planning to buy a racket. It tells about the weight distribution of the racket’s body for better handling during the play. We can classify the racket balance into three types. You can find this information on the racket’s shaft. It is either laser-printed, embossed, or engraved.
Head-Heavy Balance Badminton Rackets
Head heavy balance badminton rackets suit best for singles play. Since the weight concentration is on the head, it will give you the extra edge when hitting the shuttlecock. It is good for power swings and smashes. It leaves a solid feeling on impact.
The downside of using the head heavy balance racket is that is a slow racket type. This means that your reaction time on shots might be a bit sluggish while in the play. The weight can also be strenuous on your wrist and forearms when doing swings and defensive blocks.
Head-Light Balance Badminton Rackets
Head-light balance badminton rackets are best suited for doubles play. These types of rackets are easier to swing. This makes you a better performance when engaging in fast drive exchanges. It will also heighten up your defense skills as it gives an overall lighter feel and very easy to maneuver.
The disadvantage of using a head-light balance racket is that it generates lesser hitting power since the weight is concentrated on the grip. The impact also feels less solid.
Even Balance Badminton Rackets
Next is the even balance badminton racket. This type of racket suits best for both singles and doubles play. It is considered as the all-rounder type as it falls in the middle of power and comfort, as compared to head-light balance and head-heavy balance. It gives your swings a good power without sacrificing mobility when in play. The versatility of the even balance is perfect that gives you enough power from the back, and enough control and maneuverability in the front.
Using even-balance racket will help you develop an all-round game. The only downside of using this type of racket is that it falls just into the middle. It only serves average in both power and speed.
Additional tip: You can actually adjust your racket’s balance by doing some self-fixes on your racket.
- You may add a lead tape on the badminton racket’s head by adding a lead tape into it to make it more head-heavy.
- You may add additional grip tapes into the badminton racket’s grip to make it more head-light.
Just like the badminton racket’s balance, the shaft flexibility is also a crucial point to consider when choosing your next racket. Shaft flexibility you have to choose should depend on your wrist or arms speed or to what experts refer to as swing speed. We could categorize shaft flexibility into two:
- Stiff Shaft Flexibility- a stiff shaft suits best for badminton players who have quicker and more explosive wrist or arm speed. The stiff shaft has the ability to bend and unbend very quickly which results in maximum power and control during the play. Returns of shots are also quicker since the shuttlecock has a shorter time of stay on the string bed due to the stiff flex of the shaft.
Some disadvantages of the stiff shaft are those it requires a stronger swing and good techniques in order to generate and maximize power. It is also more suited to intermediate and advanced players.
- Flexible Shaft – a flexible shaft for badminton racket tells that it has the best bend and unbend capability compared to the stiff shaft. From a beginner’s perspective, it is always good to choose the flexible shaft because it gives the player more power without exerting much energy. Flexible shaft badminton rackets are also best in defending smashes. That’s a fact!
Some disadvantages of the flexible shaft include the fact that it has lesser control for the shuttle placement. It means that the shuttlecock has uncertain flight directions. It is more likely to be described as “More power, but less precision.”
Another way to check the shaft flexibility is by twisting the racket in different directions. I usually hold the racket’s grip with my right hand, while the left holds the head. After having a good handle, I twist the grip on upward location, while the head should be twisted on a downward position. If it flexes, then that is a flexible shaft. If the racket doesn’t twist, it is a stiff racket.
Additional Tip: In a nutshell, beginners will more likely to benefit with a flexible shaft. As it could be a great help in producing power. While on the other hand, intermediate or advanced badminton players could have the stiff shaft as they have better techniques which could maximize the racket’s abilities. If you are unsure of what shaft flexibility you need, it is best to buy a flexible shaft badminton racket.
4. Head Shape
The head shape of the badminton racket is easy to understand when gauging how to choose a badminton racket for beginners. It is the main part of the racket that is used to hit the shuttlecock. Badminton rackets have only two types of head shape. The first one is the Isometric Head Shape, and the other one is the Conventional Head Shape.
Now let us differentiate the two types of badminton racket head shape.
- Conventional head shapes are usually oval in shape and are things of the past. The shapes are in full bend on sides. Some manufacturers don’t produce them anymore these days.
- Isometric head shapes usually have straight-line sides. This makes the racket head look more likely to be a square than an oval.
Though the shape of the head is not much different from each other, the only difference that they have is the sweet spot. The sweet spot is the central area of the racket head or string bed. Isometric head rackets have bigger sweet spots compared to conventional head rackets. This means that you have a bigger chance of hitting the shuttlecock with maximum power using the isometric head.
The tension and the quality of the String
After knowing the head shape, one thing you also have to check is the tension of the string. String tension also plays a major and vital part in a badminton player’s ability to play shots well. This means if you have a good string and a good string tension, your play will be maximized on its maximum level.
The tension of the string will give you more power in executing your techniques, and also comes along with better control and balance while you are on the play.
High tension strings or thin strings gives better durability and improves the control of the badminton racket. On the other hand, thicker strings give the advantage of solely increasing control. That is why it is more advisable to use thin strings for beginners, and thicker strings for advanced and intermediate badminton players.
Here is the breakdown of the specific string tensions for badminton rackets:
Beginners should have their string tension from 15-20 lbs. Intermediate players should have their racket’s string tension from 20-25 lbs. While for advanced players, it is also highly advisable to have their badminton racket’s string tension above 25 lbs.
Additional tip: If you are not satisfied with the string tension of your racket, you can always find help! There are different shops who could help you in adjusting your racket’s string tension to your desires. But always take note that rackets are also built with their compatible string tension levels. Stringing out of the intended level of tension might put your racket out of warranty.
As a beginner, you should also consider hand grips. Handgrip serves as the central processing unit of the badminton racket. All control and technique execution take place on this spot. A badminton racket’s hand grip has two different factors which are the type or built and the size of the handgrip.
Size of the handgrip
Though the grip size is more of personal preference, the best rule of thumb for beginner players is to have the G1 (81mm) which is one of the smallest grip size available. Also, take note that the badminton racket’s handgrip size is not standardized yet. This means that the size of one manufacturer may not be the same as other manufacturers. This rule of the thumb is highly advisable because it is easier to increase the grip size by building up extra grips, rather than downsizing the racket grip.
Larger size in grip is a tighter feel that produces power, while smaller racket grip is for control and precision.
Check out this hand grip size chart to help you visualize the handgrip sizes available on the market. (Maybe different from other hand grip manufacturers.)
G1 = 4 in
G2 = 3 3/4 in
G3 = 3 1/2 in
G4 = 3 1/4 in
G5 = 3 in
Type or built of hand grip
There are two types of a handgrip, the first one is towel grip, which gives a softer feel and is perfect for sweat absorption. The only downside of the towel grip is that it is more prone in accumulating bacteria and germs which will then require frequent replacements. While on the other hand, synthetic grip gives more of a rubbery feel and has poor absorption quality. This is not suitable for badminton players who have sweaty hands. The good side of the synthetic grip is that it lasts longer than the towel grips.
Additional tip: Just like string tension, the badminton racket’s grip type, and grip size could also be customized. You can find sports shops who could help you out with this one. You could also do it yourself, but as a beginner, it could be a great help to have some assistance first.
There may be a lot of things I mentioned that you should consider when you want to know how to choose a badminton racket for beginners. However, always take a look into the rules of the thumb I mentioned. Always consider that as a beginner, hard training will also end up with a great play and technique execution.
You don’t have to buy the most expensive badminton racket out there! The most important thing is for you to be knowledgeable about what’s the best one for you! Always weigh out the pros and cons of every choosing aspect that you have. Have a racket that is like tailor-made for your needs and for your comfortability.
And one final note, don’t stress yourself! Enjoy the process of selection! That way, you will also be able to gauge yourself and will also let you able to know more about the things that you should be ready about for your future play and games. It will also be more fun to engage yourself as you learn how to choose a badminton racket for beginners. There is surely a racket that is for you. You just have to be patient in checking one.