Going ‘All In’ For Essential Badminton Gear!Published June 4, 2021
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The essential gear for any looking to play a friendly game of badminton – badminton rackets, birdies, and a net!
All you want to do is hit a ‘birdie’ over the net! However, The BWF (Badminton World Federation), headquartered in Malaysia, has some specifications that need to be addressed before you begin to serve that birdie!
‘The devil is in the details,’ if serious about being a badminton competitor.
This is an excellent time to explain the racquet’s overall body or frame. Within the frame is the head, the all-important oval or round ring to house the racquet strings. The string bed forms the racquet face and must meet BWF standards. The throat, usually a triangular shape or integrated into the actual head, connects to the shaft, the rod connecting the throat, and the handle where the player holds the racquet when serving or hitting the shuttlecock.
Consider the following when purchasing your racquet:
The Racquet Size: If you want to be a part of any tournament competition, make sure that the racquet length, from the tip of the head to the bottom of the handle, does not exceed 680 millimeters or 26.5 inches. The frame must not be wider than 280 millimeters or 9 inches. The string bed needs to have a flat, uniform pattern and conform to BWF standards of being no more than 280 millimeters (1.1 inches) in length or 220 millimeters (8.5 inches) in width. Overall, the racquet’s weight is a light 100 millimeters or 3.2 ounces, not exceeding 3.2 ounces! Racquets used in most competitions are comprised of graphite.
- The Racquet Material: All things evolve and are improved upon — including that badminton racquet! Manufacturers now create racquets with composite material that provides for its lightweight and sturdy frame. Graphite racquets are used in most competitions.
The string of the racquet is either natural animal gut or synthetic material. Pro players prefer the natural gut for the improved control it gives with less vibration when hit. Such material also adds more power but is also less durable than synthetic material. Racquet strings come in different tension gauges, depending on thickness.
- Racquet Grip: The racquet handle is also called the grip and comes in four different sizes, numbered from G2 to G5. The smaller the grip number, the larger the handle!
The racquet’s basic handle can be adapted based on the play style used: power plays or rally plays. Power players will want a thicker grip to the handle, and rally players will enjoy a thinner grip.
The grip material can be either a towel grip composed of thick, absorbent cotton material or a synthetic grip such as the original handle. A polyurethane overgrip material that absorbs sweat can be placed over the original handle for more comfort than simply the original racquet handle. Be aware that the towel grip requires frequent changes to avoid excessive contact with bacterial germs found in sweat.
We understand, ‘all you want is to hit the birdie over the net — but as stated, ‘the devil is in the details!’
Let’s move to the shuttlecock specifications.
All the fun and excitement of badminton lies in smacking a small, cone-shaped projectile constructed of natural or synthetic feathers with a cork rubber base on one end in a back and forth rally over a net. The common term for this projectile is called a birdie or shuttlecock.
We understand, ‘all you want is to hit the birdie over the net.’ But again, ‘the devil is in the details,’ provided by the Badminton World Federation when playing competitive badminton!
Creating the shuttlecock dimensions is an ‘exacting science’ to ensure and assure aerodynamic constancy. Those birdie dimensions include:
- Head: .98 to 1.1 inches wide. (25 to 28 millimeters)
- Shuttlecock skirt: 2.28 to 2.68 inches (58 to 68 millimeters)
- Total Length: From the tip of the cork head to the top of the feathered skirt, the shuttlecock length is 3.35 to 3 ¾ inches (85 to 95 millimeters)
- Circumference: The widest part of the birdie is between 3.09 and 3.46 inches (78.5 to 88 millimeters)
The net rules have remained a constant since 1934 when put in place by the Badminton World Federation (BWF). Those specifications include:
- Net Height: Whether singles or doubles play, the height is five feet from the ground at the center and five feet one inch at each pole. The net itself is 2.5 feet tall. The net posts are five feet tall and placed just outside of the court’s doubles lines. The net should be taut without any gapping between net and post it is anchored to.
- Net Width: For official competition, the net width is either 20 feet or 24 feet in length, depending on whether it is a singles or doubles court.
- Net Material: The net is constructed of durable braided nylon with an over-locked coated headband at the top.
Keeping in mind the intensity of cardiovascular activity involved with competitive badminton, we are inspired to suggest accessories to bring comfort to the tired and perspired!
- Headbands: An absorbent headband will prevent sweat from running into the eyes.
- Wristbands: Keeps wrist sweat from dripping onto the racquet handle.
- Specialty Shoes: Walking shoes for walking, jogging shoes for jogging, bowling shoes for bowling. Logically, badminton has its specialty shoes, which provide the type of traction necessary to stop, turn, and return the feathered birdie.
- Light, Not Tight Clothing: Badminton requires a lot of endurance, whether on an indoor or outdoor court. Wear loose-fitting shorts and tee’s to move freely. Wear thick padded socks for added foot protection!
As stated in the beginning: ‘the devil is in the details’ to understanding the gear needed for badminton!