To beginners just joining the sport, picking out the right racket may seem like an easy task to do. You go to the store and find one that feels comfortable to use and is in your price range. However, as you become more familiar with badminton, you will find a few different factors to consider when buying the right racket for you, such as weight, flexibility, and balance.
We will break down each category for you to hopefully help you understand which type of racket is best for you. Or maybe you will learn why your current racket is not giving you the final result that you want. You will be a pro at picking rackets in no time.
Weight of the Racket
If you have ever purchased a badminton racket, you may have wondered what the 3U or 4U on the packaging meant. This number and letter combination lets you know the weight of each racket, which is essential for anyone, especially more experienced players, to learn. The weight of your racket can affect your swing by providing more or less momentum to your swing.
While each brand may differ slightly in its racket’s actual weight, there are standard ranges for each combination displayed. We will list the weight ranges for four of the most popular units if the racket is unstrung. Once the strings are added to them, about 5 grams or so can be added to the final weight.
- 5U is between 75-79.9 gm
- 4U is between 80-84.9 gm
- 3U is between 85-89.9
- 2U is between 90-94.9 gm
As you can see, the smaller the number in front of the U is, the heavier the racket. The 4U and 5U rackets are considered lightweight, whereas the 3U and 2U rackets are heavy-weight options. While a number or two may not seem like a big difference, there are advantages to using each different type. A 3U racket tends to offer you more balance and control while you swing without slowing you down too much. Or a 4U that is lighter, allowing you to move and react quicker during a game.
Each player will have their preference when playing depending upon if they are playing singles or doubles match to fit their needs. Finding the right weight that works for you can do wonders for your game.
Having a Stiff vs. Flexible Shaft
Those who may not know the shaft of a badminton racket are the area between the handle and the racket’s head. A racket’s shaft is generally classified as being flexible, medium, or stiff. Beginners tend to use a more flexible option, whereas more skilled players prefer a racket with a more rigid shaft.
Having a flexible shaft will allow it to be more agreeable to any bending you may need while playing. They also tend to provide players who have a slower swing with more speed and force. However, a medium shaft is perfect for new players who are still figuring out their playing style and technique. It allows them to have a decent amount of force behind their swing without having it be too quick or go flying out of the court in most cases.
A stiffer shaft will still bend for you, but it recoils quite quickly to offer you as much energy and command over your racket as it can. More experienced and knowledgeable players may use this type of shaft as they usually have a quick and powerful swing that benefits from the quick recoil. Players who enjoy powerful hits such as smashes, drives, or even tight clears will find a stiff shaft useful.
Another factor that some people may not consider when purchasing a racket is the grip size. They can range from G5, an extra-small grip, to a G1, an extra-large grip. The smaller the number next to the G is, the larger the grip. You can typically adjust a racket’s grip to the size and type of grip you want.
While most people use a G4 grip nowadays, which is a large grip, players can choose. You can easily measure your grip size by wrapping your hand around it and seeing if you can fit your other hand’s pointer finger in between your fingers and thumb. If you can, it’s the right grip size for you. If not, then you will want to size up one and try again.
Knowing How your Badminton Racket is Balanced
Understanding the balance of your racket and where the majority of its mass is located is critical to ensure that you can properly execute your swing. A badminton racket may have three types of balance: head-heavy, even balance, and head-light. Each one offers its advantages and is preferred by players for one reason or another.
Rackets that are head-heavy balanced have a large portion of their mass up near the racket’s head, enabling the head to be heavy. These are ideal for anyone who enjoys playing a power-packed game as they can help them garner more force behind their hits. Many have also been able to clear longer shots with a head-heavy racket.
Head-light rackets tend to be more lenient with your swings if you enjoy playing a game of badminton where you tend to attack more and approach quickly. The majority of the mass here is located away from the racket’s head, allowing you to respond promptly and be quick with your hits.
Even balanced rackets are the happy medium of head-heavy and head-light rackets. They offer you the versatility of having the force focused on the front of the racket and the speed aspect in the back. This type of racket can be ideal for anyone who often plays the nets or even the back of the court. Many people have one of these on hand as they play because it allows them to play various shots.
Next time you are purchasing a badminton racket, try and consider these factors. Having the proper racket that fits your playing style and needs can change how you play. It can allow you to have the force you want behind your swing, the speed you desire when returning a hit, or the guarantee of knowing that your hand can adequately grip the racket.