* Prices may differ from that shown
As a family, we like to play outdoor games together where we can all participate, and through the years we've tried a variety of sports in the back garden. At first, we managed to mark out a small tennis court with a makeshift net, and for a while, all was well. Then as the kids grew bigger (and stronger), some of the shots from them started to disappear through the hedge or over the roof tops. At the time, whilst they thought it was funny, I was always waiting to that breaking sound of the ball going through the neighbours greenhouse or window. Like wise, cricket was also popular - until my son managed to smash a ball through a closed window on our house - not a good idea. So we really needed to find something that we could still play, within the confines of the back garden that would be energetic and enjoyable, and hence badminton came to be the sport of choice.
The basic idea of the game is very similar to tennis in that you have to hit an object (in this case a shuttlecock) over a net towards your opponents, who in turn must hit it back and so on without the shuttlecock ever hitting the ground. The game itself can prove to be quite energetic as you race around the court to return the shot, but the real good 'selling' point of this game that makes it ideal for most gardens is that you can really 'smash' the shuttlecock at your opponents with your badminton racquet, and it's not going to go whistling through the hedge into the neighbours greenhouse, or threaten to smash one of your windows. This ability to slow down and limit the range of the shot is in the design of the shuttlecock, which is like a weighted funnel. So when you 'smash' it, the 'negative' aerodynamic shape causes it to slow down rapidly, and hence you can contain the overall game within the confines of your garden without the shuttlecock disappearing over the hedge. Overtime, it teaches you that the game is not all about power (as you find with much of tennis) but more about precision and technical ability.
Now in order to play this game of 'precision and technical ability', you need to have a badminton racquet, and it is very fortunate that they are not very expensive. You can pick up a basic racquet from Amazon for a little over £5, with the price going up for better quality, but most seem to settle at around the £20 mark for a reasonably good quality racquet. In fact, you can get a whole badminton set of 2 racquets, shuttlecocks and a net for around the £20 mark. So the game is very cheap to purchase and play, and then as you get better and perhaps want to play on a more regular basis, you could then purchase a better racquet and so on.
Looking at the racquets in general, the first thing you'll notice is that they are very light when compared to something like a tennis racquet. With tennis, the idea is power to smash the ball towards your opponent's side. Hence, you need a racquet that has some strength in order to do just that and provide that force. With badminton, the racquet is designed to hit a light weight shuttlecock, hence you don't need so much rigidity and strength in the structure, very much reducing the overall weight of the racquet. Traditionally, racquets used to be made from laminated wood - layers of wood glued together and shaped. But as technology progressed and demand for a lighter weight racquet grew, you started to see materials such as metal (aluminium) being used. Nowadays, pretty much all of the racquets on the market are made from a carbon fibre composite, meaning that you can maintain a high degree of strength at a very much reduced weight (great strength to weight ratio) when compared to a standard metal or wood construction. Typically you'll find the better racquets weighing in around the 70 - 90g mark.
Another design area of the racquet that has seen a technological advance is with the stringing. Racquets of old were strung using gut from animal's intestines. In modern times this has perhaps become socially unacceptable, and hence modern man-made replacements such as coated nylon or polyamide are used, again producing a high strength to weight ratio and helping to keep the overall weight of the racquet low. If you are a serious player, you find over time that the stringing begins to wear and hence you'll need to get the racquet re-strung, which normally requires the services of a professional re-stringer who will have the equipment to ensure that the tightness of the string is maintained.
Whilst the head of the racquet will be a fairly standard size and shape (as governed by the rules of the game), the other area that needs to be considered if you intend taking up the sport of badminton on a regular basis is the other end of the racquet - the handle. Normally this is slightly wider than the shaft of the racquet and is then covered with a special grip tape. Now through the years I've tried and played with a variety of racquets and I've seen on some of the cheaper ones that the grips has just been wrapped in a rubberised tape - great for grip, but after a while when your hand gets 'sweaty', the surface of the grip starts to break up. With better quality racquets, I've seen the same sort of rubberised tape being used, but it has also been perforated with air holes which allow the area between your hand and the grip to 'breath', thus preventing that breakup of the grip material. As always, it will be a balance of how much do you want to spend on the racquet, balanced with what your needs and expectations are.
In terms of maintenance, it will really depend on how much you use the racquet. If you are a 'leisurely' player then the racquets themselves will not take much maintenance to keep them in a very good condition. Most will actually come with some sort of protective case in the price which will protect them anyway when not in use. However, the more serious player may need to have the occasional re-stringing done to maintain the quality of the racquet.
In summary, badminton is a fast paced sport for all the family that can normally be played within the confines of the average family garden, and with racquets starting from a little over £5, it is a very cheap sport to get into and progress within. Hence, easily a 5 star recommendation for anyone wanting to get involved.
Badminton is a very popular sport in this country. Go to any sports centre and you will see people young and old playing this simple little sport. Badminton is basically a racquet sport which involves players on a court with a net in the middle. The basic idea is to hit the shuttle cock over the net and get it to land in the court before your opponent can return the shot. I have been playing badminton for many years, while I would not say it's a sport I play all the time, it is one that I enjoy having a game of every now and again. The sport is fast moving and can require a high level of skill. Unlike some sports it's not all about power and aggression, a delicate touch is often required for some more technical shots.
One of the great things about the sport of badminton is that it is very cheap to play. You can often hire racquets and borrow shuttle cocks from sports centres. So there is really just the price of a court for an hour. However if you want to play more often you really should be looking to buy your own badminton racquet. Often the ones that you can hire or borrow from sports centres are not very good and come with damaged strings are poor grips, so it's well worth buying your own.
As with most sporting equipment you can really spend as much or as little as you want. For a very basic racquet you can pick one up for around £5. Admittedly this won't be a very good one and it may not last you long, but if you just want a cheap one that will give you an idea of what the sport is like this may be a good place to start. You can buy a cheap racquet online or you can head down to your local sports store and get one there.
If you want a decent racquet you are probably looking somewhere in the region of £20. For this price you can pick up a good quality one that will last you a long time. The grip will be better, it will probably be a bit lighter than a cheaper one, the strings will be less likely to snap and it will give you a better level of performance when you play the game. You should also get a cover for this price which will keep your racquet safe.
If you are looking to play at a higher level then you may have to spend a bit more money. Some of the more expensive racquets head up towards the £100 price, but these are really for exceptional players. You can get different string tensions depending upon your style of play, custom made grips and other little things that most average players would never worry about.
Badminton really is a wonderful sport that appeals to so many different people. There are so many badminton racquets out there to choose from that you really are spoilt for choice. So if you fancy taking up this excellent sport go and get your self and badminton racquet and enjoy this excellent game.
I am a really big fan of sport in general, and although I do spend most of my time just watching almost any sport on TV, I do play lots of different sports quite regularly, and enjoy the opportunity to mix things up a bit, and get to know each sport individually, and all the rules associated with them.
I was first introduced to Badminton when I was at school, where we used to play most weeks, as part of our PE (Physical Education) lessons. From there I went on to play after school with a few other lads of my age, then after leaving school I have played a few times a year on average at my local leisure centre with friends or the wife (who almost always beats me), and I always enjoy it. Also a few years ago, my parents bought a set for their back garden which we have often often played with, and had many a great afternoon, if the weather was suitable.
Badminton, has a few similarities to tennis, in that it is played on a rectangular court seperated by a net in the centre, which looks quite similar to a tennis court, with the lines positioned in a similar way, including serving lines, and extra wide lines for use when the court is being played on by doubles. The net is much higher though, and a shuttlecock is used as opposed to a ball, but it is still a racquet sport.
The racquet's used for badminton have a lot smaller head on them though when compared to a tennis racquet. They are more similar to a squash racquet in a way, with the grip at the end, followed by the long shaft and then a smallish, oval or isometric stringed head.
In the olden days (which I can just about remember), the frame of the squash racquet was (just like the tennis racquet was) constructed from wood. Nowadays however the racquet's are commonly made from steel, or Carbon Fibre.
As with tennis or squash, different styles of racquet's suit different players, and when playing regularly or competitively it is important to find the right racquet in terms of weight, size, construction, and grip, that will suit you, and that you feel comfortable with and in full control of.
A cheap badminton set which will include 2 racquet's, a couple of shuttlecocks (either feathered or plastic / nylon), and a net complete with poles, can be picked up for around £10 - £15.
These sets provide a huge amount of family fun, and good exercise at the same time, although the lawn may take a bit of a battering after a few hours of playing, and if there is even just a hint of wind around, it makes the lightweight shuttlecocks tail off in all sorts of directions (usually over the fence into the neighbours garden!).
To Purchase a Badminton racquet on its own is also relatively inexpensive assuming that you just want a basic racquet for the odd game with friends, then it will cost anywhere from £5 - £50 and they are available from a whole host of sports shops, or somewhere like Argos. For a state of the art professional racquet though, expect to shell out somewhere in the range of £100 - £300, and take care not to break or lose it!
Overall Badminton is a very good game, and it is relatively cheap to acquire the kit for it, and to book a court for. It is a lot less strenuous than squash or tennis, but requires just as much skill, and is suitable for males and females of all ages. There is an extensive range of racquets and shuttlecocks out there on the market, which have a huge price range depending on the requirements of each player. I paid just £18 for my last badminton racquet, including a nice leather head case from JJB sports about 3 years ago, and it has served (pardon the pun) me very well.
I would be quite happy to bet that even if I played with the latest carbon fibre, light weight, large headed racquet with a full carry case costing in excess of £200, that my wife would still be able to beat me - much to my embarrasement!
Thanks for reading.
© L500589 2011
Over the years I've played badminton in various situations - in the back garden at home, at school, and also at university. Obviously, one of the most essential requirements for a game of badminton is a racquet, so how do they hold up?
Firstly, there are quite a few crucial differences between a badminton racquet and its closest rival, a tennis racquet. A badminton racquet is a slightly different shape, being a longer oval shape, and is a lot lighter. This means that it's a lot easier to manoeuvre, including flipping upwards for extra height. It also has a longer handle, again helping you reach higher as shuttlecocks tend to fly high through the air. For short people like me, this also means that you're not at a complete disadvantage because the racquet will make up for some of the height you're missing!
The strings are often made with plastic these days, but they are pulled tight and hold well. The shuttlecocks are much more likely to get damaged in my experience, particularly if you're not using plastic ones but have the ones with crazy feathers. When you're playing you want to have the ball of the shuttlecock hit the strings on your racquet, so they need to be able to withstand considerable force.
One of the most important considerations when buying a badminton racquet is the handle, because you need to be in full control of the racquet and not worry about your grip. This is made a bigger demand by the fact that your hand is likely to get sweaty when playing an intensive game, and so it's more likely to slide around. Plenty of badminton racquets have rubbery plastic handles, or have thin plastic wrapped around them for grip. If you end up throwing your racquet you could hurt someone quite badly so it's worth picking one with good grip, particularly if you're buying a racquet for playing badminton with children or those who like to play aggressively.
Badminton racquets can be bought from a number of different places. If you're just looking for a casual game now and then, then buying from a big supermarket or somewhere like Argos is fine. You can often buy full sets of equipment quite cheaply for a good family game. I managed to pick up my racquet for around £5 from Asda, which included a cover. It's not professional standard but it's surprisingly good quality and is more than adequate for me as I don't play very often any more. One of the good things about badminton is that it can be easily adapted from a two player game to a four player game (or more, if you're just playing for fun), so even at £20 for four fairly good quality racquets, they aren't particularly expensive and a good opportunity to get out in the garden during the summer.
Badminton racquets require very little maintenance, and as long as you're reasonably careful with them then they should take care of themselves. If you're a serious player then you'll probably want to treat your racquet like it's your baby, but for everyone else you can get by without even giving them a wipe over. But most people can get years of use out of a badminton racquet simply by covering it and storing in garage or garden shed. As long as you don't leave it face down in the grass for months, even a cheap badminton racquet should last a long time. Now all we need is a nice sunny British summer!
As I have started to play Badminton quite recently with friends, I wanted to have my own racquet to use instead of the cheap hire ones from the sports centre. I didn't want to spend too much on one though, so I went to Sports Direct in the Bullring as I knew they would have some cheap but good quality ones.
The racquet I went for and am reviewing is the "Head Titanium 900" in a black, grey and white colour combination. Aesthetically it looks very good with white grip tape and strings and then bands of the other colours on the frame itself. It has the Head logo printed in black on the strings also.
This racquet is very light compared to come I have used before with it being only 102g. In a game this makes it to be very light through the air and very easy to make difficult or powerful shots. I have found that since purchasing this racquet that my aim is a lot better as the shuttlecock is now going where I want it to rather than all over the place!
The grip size for my particular racquet is "G3" which suits my hand very well. I feel it may be suitable for most as others who have tried my racquet have found it to be very comfortable to use.
With the racquet came a full length padded zip up cover for it made of synthetic material. This looks very good and is very comfortable to carry over one shoulder with the strap on it.
I'm not the most knowledgeable badminton player but on the racquet there is a sticker with the tension and flex of the racquet. For anyone who is interested they are: Flex = Stiff, Tension = 20-22lbs.
When purchasing this just after the summer, I paid just over £20 for it in SportsDirect. This is quite heavily discounted from its RRP as from looking online similar racquets sell for excess of £50. I am very pleased with it and would definitely recommend it to anyone looking at starting playing or even looking to upgrade racquets.
Sadly, I have never been much of a sportswoman. That's not to say I don't like sports, I do, but I've never really got into one sport and have yet to find one I excel in!
The closest I've ever got to being a sports enthusiast was before I became pregnant with Baby Frank. I had been playing badminton weekly with a group of friends and was really enjoying it. I even had my own racquet.
The things I like about badminton are:
* Rules don't seem too complicated
* Can be played at a low level, unlike tennis where you just have to keep picking up the ball from various parts of the course!
* You only need two people for a game, so you can get in plenty of practice
* It's tactical and fun to hit the shuttlecock around and watch your opponent run for it!
* It can be played inside so you can play all year round
* It's a good workout, but not so 'good' that you dread it!
I have tried out quite a few racquets at the Monday night badminton games, so I know what I like in a racquet. I guess it's mostly a matter of personal preference, but I would recommend looking for the following features when buying a racquet (for casual playing):
* Comfortable, padded handle (not white-like mine- as it'll end up grey!)
* Lightweight (practice flinging it around the shop so you can see how quickly you'll be able to smash the shuttlecock!)
*Comes with a case with a strap on it so you can wear it on your way to and from your badminton games.
For my level of regular but non-competitive badminton, this is all I have had to consider for my racquet. Mine is a Head one and was in the sale. It cost about £16 which I think was a bargain. I have never had any problems with it, like broken strings, but this may be because however hard I try, I just cannot master the 'smash' shots!
I am really happy with my basic racquet and am glad I bought it. Having your own racquet is really nice as you can just hire out a sports hall relatively cheaply and have a game with a friend. It makes a change from just automatically heading to Starbucks!
We have a Pro Baseline Badminton Set which we bought for ourselves and the kids to play with some time ago. We have used the racquets from the set ourselves for some fun knockabout badminton games. Even though our racquets were a cheap buy they have out lasted our expectations and so for that we have been more than pleased.
The set of racquets we bought has not only been fun for us to use, it has also been good for our children to use when in the garden and when we have been out on picnics. We have all used the racquets to good effect and we have found they have lasted surprisingly well, considering the battering they have had at times. What they may lack in finesse they have made up for in terms of longevity when in use.
We have found that the racquets in our set didn't cost too much to buy but have stood up reasonably well to repeated play during the summer. Over all the racquets have been a decent buy considering the money we paid. We bought our Pro Baseline Badminton Set for £6.99 which included 2 badminton racquets which were of a cheap but durable quality.
Our little set had two racquets for the money plus a simple yet handy case and 2 shuttlecocks. Our pair of racquets are a budget set so we didn't expect anything of note from them. They are in no way a professional badminton standard racquet. However we have had plenty of fun and games with them and I have to say they could be a good buy for families with children or adults like us who just want a bit of a knock about game.
Our pair of badminton racquets are simply made from a light but strong steel material. They are very easy to handle and feel light but comfortable to handle when we use them. They also have tempered steel shafts which give a bit of extra support and strength to the racquets. They are in shades of blues and blacks so have an under stated but modern look to them.
Having had a quick look they seem to measure 25 cms wide and are 73 cms from shaft to tip. I feel they are of a good size and the strings have enough tension in them to return the shuttlecocks with plenty of spring and distance. I don't think there is any way we can adjust the string tension on our racquets, but so far the strings remain tight and firm to the touch, so we haven't worried about that at all.
Our pair of badminton racquets have taped handle grips which wrap around the shaft of the racquet in a spiral motion. I have to say they do feel a bit light and cheap when in your hand, but they do seem to have worn well so far. The texture of the tapes is simple and thin and so nothing to write home about.
The grip tape used is of a cheap feeling material so doesn't feel as comfortable or padded as they would, had we paid a bit more for them. They do function well enough when in use for simple fun games, but wouldn't be of a good enough quality for a serious badminton player. I do feel that due to the cheap feel of the grip tapes, they may need to be re-taped in the future.
My feelings about the over all design of the racquet heads is that they are adequate. The racquet head of each racquet certainly has more than enough space to get a good hit in. When going for a shot we have found that the shuttlecock is easy to return getting plenty of height and bounce.
The racquet strings are springy yet firm, which makes these racquets a fair budget choice for fun use. They certainly would not be of much use to a more serious player and so I would not recommend them for that purpose. They are very suitable for use by children and adults who want a simple family game.
As we only bought our racquets for family games and not for competitive usage they have suited our needs. If you are looking for a simple yet durable and cheap set of racquets then you could do far worse than these. Our set has stood up to lots of knocks and bumps yet remains in working order.
The materials used in our racquets are of a budget feel and so I do feel they would not suit more serious badminton players. If using them as we have for fun knock about games I can say that they work well. Our set of racquets came with a simple but useful storage bag too which we liked.
We also got a couple of cheapo shuttlecocks with the racquets which we have had to replace. Our set can still be bought in a number of stores and prices range from £6.99 to £8.99 for it. Which I feel offers good value for money. As such this set of 2 badminton racquets gets a 4 star rating as it has proven far more durable than we thought it would when we first bought it.
Badminton a great fast exciting game played indoors on a smallish court (in comparison to a tennis court).
Speed and agility are of the essence in this game so the lighter the racquet the better. A carbon fibre racquet may cost a bit more but the benefits will be massive, it will enable you to move, swing and generally play quicker which could be the difference between winning and losing.
The second thing to look for is string tension. A nicely stringed racquet can help you put the shuttlecock where you want it. Too loosely strung it will go nowhere and too tightly strung and you wont be able to control it.
Price, this depends on what level you play, the better racquets cost anywhere from £30 to £90 and the less good ones can range from just £10 to around £40. There are some bargains to be had but keep your eye out and pick a racquet thats right for the level you play (unless your loaded ;)!)
Lastly but one with a grip that 1 fits your hand and 2 feels soft and comfortable. This can prevent hand blisters and generally make you feel more relaxed playing. More relaxation will cause less nerves and tension less of this means you can perform better.
My review is mainly about what to look for in a racquet not reviewing specific racquets, i hope this helps you pick the perfect racquet for you!
I have recently been given the latest Yonex Nanospeed 9900 to test.
This racket has been introduced for the 2009-2010 season and features the new X-Fullerene technology which has made it possible for Yonex to create a thinner and stronger head-light racquet while maintaining great manoeuvrability and repulsion power.
The one I have on test has been strung with Yonex BG80 string to 28lbs.
It has an extra stiff shaft, and other features include:
New Grommet System
New built in T joint
New control support cap.
My first impresseions of the racquet was that it has a nice head light feel which enables you to manoeuvre the racket quickly and helps to give you faster reactions at the net.
Normally I avoid racquets that are really stiff as I prefer a more medium flex which suits my build and power.
To get the Nanospeed 9900 to work properly I had to work really hard and generate alot of power through my body to deliver a good smash. But when it all came together, wow! What a powerful racket! It feels quite strange at first that a racquet as light as this can produce such power.
Having played with the racquet for a few weeks now I have started to master it and it is now my racquet of choice for singles. I still have to work harder for powerful shots but it's worth it.
For doubles I still prefer my Yonex ArcSabre 7, as it is easier to use but not quite as powerful as the Nanospeed 9900.
When the 9900 starts to be used in world class competition next season I really think that the world record for the fastest recorded smash will be broken. Exciting stuff.
The 9900 retails at £170 but is available from TAG Sports at £136.
This was the fourth Carlton racket I came to own and the most expensive. The previous two Carlton rackets had been great rackets, perfectly balanced and light. Unfortunately both these two rackets had suffered from what Iam now coming to believe is the curse of Carlton. They both broke within three months of receiving them the first snapped and the second cracked. The strange thing about the last of these rackets is that it was a replacement racket for the previous one which Carlton said had been faulty. When this one broke too I sent it back to Carlton and they sent me the next model up, the airblade 2000. When I received this racket I found out that it was used by a number of professional players including Richard Vaughan the former UK number 1 at singles. According to Carlton UK ----Specification---- The AirbladeTM 2000 is the most techically advanced racket of its generation. It features a Titanium 'ultra' aerodynamic frame profile, which reduces drag and increases head speed for maximum power. It has a High Tension FrameTM which can withstand up to 40lbs of string tension and Carlton Flex SystemTM which lowers the racket flex point to produce maximum power in over head shots. Weight 91grams, balance 305mm Plastic Racket carry case with shoulder strap ----My Impressions---- The racket looked good, it had a relatively thin frame with Aluminium inserts. The majority of the frame was comprised of carbon graphite ensuring that the weight remained relatively low though a little higher than what I was used to at 95grams. The racket flexed well along the shaft, hopefully this was going to ensure strong smashes and was strung to a very high tension. This means that the strings produce more power but it can also reduce you ability to control the shuttle when initiating slow shots. The handle had the usual carlton grip on it. First impressions the racket looked
good, well designed though perhaps a little fragile as I was soon to find out. ----After playing---- After playing with the racket now for over a year I can honestly say its a good racket. It won't suit people who don't power play as its all built around achieving the greatest power. The BG 80 strings have lasted well and are only just starting to wear thin. The only problem though is I've have'nt played with the racket for two months. Why? The graphite on the racket's shaft is peeling away in layers the top of the shaft is cracked and I fear that if I play with this racket again the head could break off and injure someone. The curse of Carlton strikes again. Perhaps Carlton who have always been very helpful changing previous rackets and who design and make good rackets should think about better quality control. I've noticed that all Carlton's rackets are now made in China perhaps this is one reason for the drop in their quality. I've owned a Yonex Ti 60 racket alongside my carlton racket for over 2 years. Its not as light as the Carlton but it smashes just as well and looks and feels more well built. Carlton insist on putting shiny paint on their rackets which peels off in no time Yonex on the other hand put matt paint on their rackets and none has yet peeled off my Ti 60. ----To Conclude---- The Airblade 2000 is a good racket it does the job very well. The only problem is its bound to break within a few months if you play a power game as its not constructed particulary well and if your paying around £120 for a racket you don't want this to happen. I recommend having a look at Yonex's rackets, the majority of which are made in Japan. they look and feel stonger than Carlton's and they produce just as good results.
The Yonex ISO Muscle Power 77 is the best racket ive ever used, for a good price. Here are the vital stats : MATERIAL Titanium/Graphite FLEX Extra Stiff STRING Multi-Fibre SHAFT Long HEAD Isometric WEIGHT 90 grams The new muscle power (MP) technology is the very latest development in its field, im not quite sure how it all works - so i wont try to explain. But one thing is for sure - it works!. Yonex has 3 rackets in the series MP100(£135), MP77(£72) and MP55(£50). I chose the MP77 because the MP100 has got a reputation of easliy breaking if you clash with your partner, and at £135 not may people can afford that to happen. Ive been using it for about a month now and it is excellent. I find it very good for the more aggressive player. It gives you great control but the power in your smash is amazing. A top racket, without the mega-high price tag.
Yonex VF Isometric Badminton Racquet I started playing badminton about 3 years ago and 2 years ago I bought this racquet as I play twice a week in the winter and spring. I purchased it from my local sports shop, where it cost me £49.99. Weighing 5 grams at the most (not that I’ve ever have weighed it) and being made of 100% carbon graphite it is very light even for a badminton racquet and may not be everyone’s choice. Even so it takes its fair share of knocks without showing any evidence of them and there is no shortage of power when smashing the shuttle. The only part of this racquet that does not quite come up to scratch is the grip. It is better than average with handy bumps that mould to your fingers but is thin and easily worn through. I would advise re-gripping the racquet before use. All in all I would say that this racquet was a great buy and has lasted me a long time and is still going strong. Marks out of ten I hear you cry ???? 8.5 without re-gripping and 9.5 when re-gripped.