Whether as a recreational star, club night king or the next Olympic hero, each of the 944,000+ people who play badminton twice monthly have one thing in common – their racket is a weapon for success.
But which one to play with? It is the one question we get asked more than any other.
With our official online retailer, Direct Sports, stocking over 270 models, knowing your Arcsaber 11 from an X-Feel Blast II, is not one that is easily answered and it can be a daunting task to puzzle even nano-scientists.
But the racket you finally choose to wield on court must be the right fit for you.
Technique, playing style, experience and physique all have a major influence on what you will be looking for as you seek a racket that plays to your strengths.
We take a look at the conventional wisdom that comes with selecting a racket.
For a Power game:
Look towards a head heavy racket with a stiffer shaft – A controlled uncoil will accumulate more momentum during the swing, and will therefore give you more power, especially in clears and smashes.
Popular with singles players and doubles players playing mostly from the back of the court who have need for consistent, lengthy clears.
For net specialists:
Opt for a lighter racket head on a lighter frame, to allow you more control, manipulation and maneuverability. Ideal for fast defensive doubles play or where quick reactions are needed at the net .
Suitable for club players who play driving, fast attack minded doubles badminton or singles players with excellent technique and swing speed.
Offering a mix of power and front court control, even balance rackets offer the solution for players who switch between front and back of court or whose gameplan involves regular transition between attack and defence during rallies.
General wisdom says look at flexible shaft rackets which can get best results from a slower swing speed that often accompanies those players still learning the basics of court craft.
Even balance rackets offer a good chance to develop an all round game.
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The professional's opinion
We sat down with England national champion and Olympic bronze medallist Chris Langridge to learn exactly what he looks for in his racket and to offer tips when next selecting your weapon of choice.
“A lot of people ask what racket should I get but the question should really be ‘what racket best suits me?’” Langridge said. “I think the most important thing is to find a racket that they like and are happy with.
“The most important thing is that you’re happy mentally with what you’re playing with and then the results will follow.”
For Langridge, the biggest result of his career to date – a bronze medal win at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio – came after a change of racket.
“I use a Yonex Duora 7. My first tournament with the racket was actually the Rio Olympics so it was a pretty good first tournament with a new racket,” he said.
“When I picked it up it had a good feel for me because I’m the net man. I don’t need a slightly heavier racket that some players might need to generate more power overhead.
“For me it’s more about touch, control and feel. The racket I opt for is slightly lighter than others available so when I’m at the net I feel I can swing quickly which is the important thing for me. I can get as many shots off as possible.”
“But that is something that comes with experience. The more time you spend on court, the more you will develop an instinct for what you like in a racket, and what you don’t.”
Critically, Langridge advises it’s best not to rush into a purchase and not to be swayed by price.
“The best thing you can do is go to a demo day, such as those run by Yonex, where you can test a wide range of rackets and get an idea of what you prefer.
Make more or your membership
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