The Best Lightweight Badminton Rackets for Controlled Smashes

Badminton
A birdie on a badminton racket in the grass. (Image: Jevtic/iStock/Getty Images)

Certain racket qualities are more conducive to hitting controlled smashes, but players should regard them as general guidelines while shopping. Selecting the right racket is a trial-and-error process. A racket that feels good and handles well for one player may not work well for another player, notes former world champion Halim Haryanto Ho. Players can customize rackets by changing the grip and restringing the racket head. Players should tailor their equipment to their swing speed and playing style.

Racket Weight

Heavier rackets are generally designed for power. Lighter rackets generally offer more control. The manufacturers of Prospeed rackets suggest models that weigh from 85 g to 90 g unstrung. Nanospeed rackets are a good example of a lighter, high-propulsion racket built for control, according to the Badminton Coach website.

Racket Balance Point

The balance point of the racket is measured from the handle towards the shaft. It is the point where the racket will balance on your finger. High balance points give rackets a heavier feel for power and lower balance points afford a lighter feel for control. A balance point of 275 mm to 280 mm for players seeking more control. Adding weight to the handle -- or adding a new, heavier handle -- will lower the balance point.

String Tension

High string tension is generally regarded as better for control, since the shuttlecock springs off the racket instantly. The spring bed provides a stable base. With proper control of a high-tension racket, players can place their smashes. But some players prefer less tension, which keeps the shuttlecock on the racket longer and provides a different feel. Other variables include the composition and width of the string and the types of shuttlecocks typically played.

Head Shape

For players seeking a tighter feel with the rackets for more control, Halim Haryanto Ho recommends standard or isometric frames. Such a racket has a shorter main string "making it feel tighter or stiffer," he says. He believes teardrop frames can "feel bouncier." They are more geared for power, as are the wide body rackets.

Shaft Stiffness

Less experienced players seeking greater control should try rackets with more flexible shafts. Experienced players may go the opposite direction. "Stiffer shafts will provide better control for your shot and more flexible shafts will provide more power," Halim Haryanto Ho says. While players may adjust the string tension, weight and balance point of their rackets, they cannot adjust the stiffness of their shaft, according to Badminton Avenue.

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