So you're looking to make that first racquet purchase OR you're looking to get a new racquet to replace your old one and don't know where to start. There are so many different racquets out there and it can be confusing if you're unfamiliar with the brands and types that exist.
By the end of this article, we want you to know the type of racquet you're looking for, not necessarily the exact racquet to buy. Once you know the type of racquet that suits you the best, then you can begin to explore the most suitable options!
Before helping you decide what racquet is right for you, let's start by asking yourself a few questions:
Loves to smash everything, hit everything as hard you can in a downwards direction
A natural preference for defending, playing shots like blocks, lifts and net rolls
A bit of both or just fence sitting because you have no idea (that's okay!)
Now, let's mix it up a little bit.
Is your answer to question 2&3 the same? If so, that makes your decision a lot easier (see below for answers). If not, You have a choice between choosing a racquet that will suit the player you want to become or the player type you naturally fall into. I Would recommend going towards the player that you naturally fit into although the decision is up to you!
So you're a power player! If you hit hard already, why not get a racquet that makes your shots even faster? The type of racquet you're probably looking for is a head-heavy racquet where the balance of weight is heavier towards the head. These racquets carry more momentum when swinging, hence produce more powerful shots. The downside for this is that it might make you a bit sluggish during those fast rallies where you're not able to generate a powerful swing!
Do you feel like the great wall of China on court? and/or do you have great control at the net? If you naturally fall into a defensive position when playing or love to play at the net, why not get a racquet that can respond just as quickly as you can? The type of racquet you're probably looking for is a lighter racquet frame with a specifically light head as well. This will give you greater control over your net shots and the ability to defend all day long! The downside for this is that it may turn your smash from a bazooka into a water pistol. Make sure you give this type of racquet a trial before you go out and buy one because it may get difficult to win a point!
So you're a pretty balanced player or have no idea whether you have a tendency towards playing offensive or defensive. The type of racquet you're probably looking for is a balanced racquet. These racquets are designed to provide the middle ground between a head-heavy racquet and a light-frame/head-light racquet. If you're unsure of your playing style or you're an all-rounder, this type of racquet will allow you to easily transition between attack and defence throughout your rallies. The downside for this racquet is that if you do have a particular playing style, this racquet wont reinforce that particular style.
Like the all-rounders, an even-balanced racquet is probably what you're looking for. Unless you are pretty sure on the type of player you will become or naturally fit into, an even-balanced racquet will help you through your journey to determining the type of player you want to be. Because you are still learning the basics, an additional factor to consider is the flexibility of the racquet shaft. As a beginner, there will be a steep learning curve to improve your technique. While this is happening, a flexible shaft will give you easier access to power even if your technique or reaction time isn't quite there yet.
Whilst there are a significant amount of additional factors to take into consideration when buying a racquet such as:
Following the broad categories above should lead you to a suitable selection of racquets to choose from. Following that, you can then look into the additional points to consider when making that tough decision!
We will discuss those points in future articles.
Thanks for reading and we hope this helps you on your journey to becoming a better badminton player!
Last year in August, I was lucky enough to travel to Basel, Switzerland to coach the Australian Team at the 2019 World Championships.
Being a former player that has competed at such tournaments such as the World Championships, I found that the experience was vastly different as a coach compared to an athlete.