New to the sport and clueless as to where you should begin? The first thing you shouldn’t do is buying a racket with its cosmetics being the sole criteria. We’ve all been there – going for the best looking badminton racket despite it being the absolute wrong choice for our game.
If you are just starting out the first question to ask yourself is what are your intentions as a player.
- How long do you plan to play the game?
- Do you plan to improve your game by playing at higher levels or are you satisfied playing socially?
Let’s start out with the first question – how long do you plan to play the game. A lot of players when first starting out get really excited an immediately look to invest in the latest or most expensive racket out there. This might not be the best option as even though the top-tier rackets offer stronger frames with more advanced technology - they might be too stiff/heavy for developing social players to utilise.
Instead what we generally recommend for social players who plan to increase their playing frequency is to choose a graphite racket over a steel alloy frame. A graphite racket will be better choice as it offers a stronger frame at a lighter weight – allowing players to develop the correct swing and wrist technique as they progress. Alloy frames while cheap tend to be too heavy and a short-term option as the frame isn’t very durable.
The next step is to choose the right racket that suits your playing style, power and skill level. One key point to remember is that a good racket will enhance your game but should not be used to compensate for hard work and training. Spending tons of money on the latest gear will not magically transform your game without the proper coaching and fundamentals.
First Factor: Weight
As a developing player a racket weight plays a key role in your game. Badminton rackets come an in diverse range of weights these days:
Heavier rackets are generally harder to use as they require more arm strength and developed swing technique. Heavier rackets also tend to place added stress on the wrist and not an ideal option on players who are still developing their technique. Rackets that are too light on the other hand might appear very easy to use but the downside is the lack of power in your shots. Finding the racket weight is tricky endeavour but here are some of the key questions you need to ask yourself when swinging
- Does the racket feel sluggish (too heavy) or does it feel like it might fly out of my hand during a rally (too light)?
- Any pain or tension in the wrist/forearm during a game?
Our general recommendation is to choose a racket between 4U(80-84g) and 5U(75-79g) as they tend to be the most comfortable weight for developing social players.
Second Factor: Balance
The balance point of a racket is makes a huge impact to your playing style and overally racket feel. There are three main balance points : Head heavy, even balance and head light.
Head heavy frames provide more power but tend to be slower and reduces a player’s response time. We generally do not recommend a head heavy frame as social players who are still developing their technique will find it hard to get their rackets ready between shots. Even balance and head light rackets are better options as the frames are easier to move about and players will be able to focus more on using the right technique.
Third Factor: Flexibility
A badminton rackets flexibility generally comes in three options – Flexible,Medium Flex and Stiff.
A beginner player whose working on building power will generally want a flexible shaft as it provides more whip in the racket head during shots. This will enable players to utilise the power from their rackets more instead of their arms. The main downside is that flexible rackets tend to be less accurate as it is harder for players to control their shot placement. We recommend a flexible shaft for most beginner players.
The last factor you need to consider is price. The price range a for a decent beginner badminton racket will cost between £40-£80. This will generally consist of a basic graphite frame that can be restrung between 22-26 lbs. You can get great frames and deals from the following brands – Yonex, Victor, , Li-Ning and Babolat.
For Yonex you can consider the Play and Game Models.
For Li-Ning you can consider the Calibar and Turbocharging models.
For Babolat you can consider the Prime and I-Pulse models
Still unsure? Check out our detailed badminton guide or contact us for more help. We will be more than happy to assist you in picking the right frame for your game.