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Yonex Nanoray 3 Badminton Racket View

Yonex Nanoray 3 Badminton Racket

The Yonex Nanoray 3 Badminton Racket is an excellent entry level frame made to ensure easy power generation and aid beginner players struggling to imbue shots with power to take opponents head on. The power comes from an expanded sweet spot established with a good size isometric head, whilst higher strength, repulsion and swiftness is ensured with the unique Nanomesh + Carbon nanotube design. It’s a head light balanced racquet with stiff shaft flex that controls well and helps to found initial skills of a player. The Nanoray 3 is shipped strung with standard BS1801 string, as well as with a protective head cover.

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Carlton Kinesis XT Lite Badminton Racket View

Carlton Kinesis XT Lite Badminton Racket

The Carlton Kinesis XT Lite badminton racket provides superior striking speed and impressive accuracy with being capable of creating incredibly powerful shot. The racquet boasts Aeroflex channels to improve shaft stability, as well as comfort, whilst the Vortex Geometry vastly improves head speed, and maintains excellent manoeuvrability. This head heavy, isometric head frame can definitely deliver devastating steep shots, plus with Torsional Control System, the racquet offers exceptionally reduces torsional twisting in order to improve control and shot precision. The frame of the racquet is constructed for increased strength and light weight feel, thanks to the Japanese high modulus graphite. The Kinesis XT Lite is shipped pre strung with nylon string for excellent playability, and arrives with included full-length cover to ensure essential protection from minor damage.

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Yonex Nanoflare 170 Light Badminton Racket View

Yonex Nanoflare 170 Light Badminton Racket

Providing a cunningly easy handling and fast striking motion, the Yonex Nanoflare 170 light badminton racket combines excellent control capabilities with consistency and easily generated power due to an isometric head style. It’s a light weight, head light racquet that moves incredibly fast with the help of Aero Frame technology, and with a flexible shaft it gains a superior shot sensation and feel. Furthermore, the racquet incorporates into its design Sonic Flare system for incredible shot power improvement and maximised shuttle acceleration, where as the Control Support cap integrates into play style sharper manoeuvrability and grippier feel on shuttlecock impact. The racquet is shipped strung with D637-A7 string, and arrives with a full cover to ensure necessary safety for the frame between use.

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Yonex Astrox FB Badminton Racket View

Yonex Astrox FB Badminton Racket

A fine county player choice with medium flex, the Yonex Astrox FB badminton racket offers more power on each stroke and easy shot power generation thanks to an expanded sweet spot established by an isometric head. Although it’s specifically made for aggressive style of badminton, with evened balance point of the frame and light weight, the racquet ensures a decent level of manoeuvrability and control. It’s additionally improved with the Rotational Generator System which distributes the weight equally in the frame using the counterbalance theory, thus providing super smooth shot transition and superior control. Furthermore, the racquet is lightning fast thanks to the AERO+BOX frame technology ensuring minimal air resistance. The racquet arrives pre-strung with BG65 Ti string, and it’s shipped with a protective full-length cover for proper storing between games.

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Wilson Blaze S1700 Badminton Racket View

Wilson Blaze S1700 Badminton Racket

The Wilson Blaze S1700 badminton racket is designed for fast and nimble players looking for additional edge in the game with lightweight manoeuvrability and superior control over strokes. The racket features a good-sized classic oval head, and head light balanced frame to aid players with rapid reaction time and extra accuracy. Furthermore, there is the Spider Silk Ballistic Frame Armor which makes the racquet both light in hand, and extremely resistant, whereas the Super Kick Shaft helps generate some extra power points and whip when going for those drop shots. The frame is strung with Wilson Fierce string for improved touch and durability, and supplied with a head cover for your basic protection between practice and use.

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Ashaway Phantom X-Shadow Badminton Racket View

Ashaway Phantom X-Shadow Badminton Racket

Excellent for defending and offensive tackles, the Ashaway Phantom X-Shadow badminton racket is a head heavy, mid flex choice that offers incredible power without compromising the control over shuttle and playing comfort. The racquet generates power easily and maintains smooth handling, and also the lateral strength of the frame has been reinforced with the Viper Weave technology. The frame is incredibly durable whilst remaining very light thanks to the Nano Carbon technology. Furthermore, the racket is supplied strung with ZyMax 69 Fire white string to complement heavy-hitting players who enjoy aggressive approach to the game. Finally, it’s shipped with a durable full-cover to ensure necessary protection and storage.

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About Badminton Rackets

The Birth of Badminton

The evolution of badminton as a sport it long and varied.  Shuttlecocks were first used recreationally in Ancient Egypt, Ancient China and Ancient Greece.  Back then they were kicked from player to player.  In the 1860s in colonial India the shuttlecock was hit over a net using a wooden paddle.  This game was called Poona and the aim of the game was to sustain the longest rally.

The game was introduced to Great Britain by returning officers and soon became popular.  It was given its name in 1863 when it was played at Badminton House at a party hosted by the eight Duke of Beaufort.

Around this time rackets as we recognise them today were first used and the popularity of the sport grew. The rules were introduced in 1877 by the Bath Badminton Club and regulations concerning courts and equipment became established.  And since then badminton rackets have evolved their shape and composition to speed up the sport.

The custodian of the modern game is the Badminton World Federation, (formerly the International Badminton Federation) established in 1934.  Amongst other things it determines the allowed shape size and composition of competition rackets.

The anatomy of a badminton racket

The key components of a badminton racket are the head, the string bed, the shaft, the throat and the handle. 

The head

Badminton racket heads come in a variety shapes and sizes.  Larger heads offer bigger sweet spots - the point on a head where you get maximum power.

An oval head is more traditional and more typical of lower-end rackets.  The head on these is smaller in relative terms and so the sweet spot is smaller too, requiring a more skilled player to get the best from this head shape.

An isometric head, which is squarer in shape and larger too offers a bigger sweet spot and so a greater chance of a better serve and return.  Typically isometric heads are the preferred choice.

The string bed

The string bed is flat and the stringing pattern a uniform one.  On all rackets it covers the head area.  On some it continues down to the throat, this is allowed when the throat is 35mm or less in width and the length of the stringed area is 330mm or less.

Badminton racket strings typically fall within gauges of 20G (0.85-1mm) to 22G (0.7– 0.85mm).  Thinner strings usually offer greater power and natural product strings typically outperform synthetic ones.  The tension with which they are strung also affects play; generally speaking the tighter the tension the lower the power. 

The throat

The throat (AKA the T-head) is where the head and shaft connect.  There are two types: externally attached and carbon fibre shafts.

Externally attached throats are most often found on rackets where the head and the shaft are made of different materials.  It is the job of the throat to connect the two.  The throat is proud of the rest of the racket.

Carbon fibre covered throats are a more recent development.  As well as being lighter they are also stronger and most rackets now feature this type of throat.

The shaft

The shaft connects the handle to the head.  Shafts are available in varying degrees of flexibility. 

Stiff shafts rebound quickly.  Badminton shots are best played at the point of rebound, so if your reflexes and hits are fast a stiff shaft is best for you.  Fast players using more flexible shafts will compromise their game, if they try to smash the shuttlecock before the racket has rebounded they’ll end up playing a clear.

A slower player benefits from using a more flexible shaft.  Flexible shafts complement players who use slowly accelerating strokes. The downside of a more flexible shaft is that accurate shot placement is compromised.

The handle

The handle is where you grip your racket and is the part of the racket that usually fatigues the quickest. 

It’s wider than the shaft for comfort and there are a variety of grips that come with each racket at point of purchase and many more which can be added once you’re playing regularly. 

Obviously you need a handle that’s comfortable for you but you also need to consider the weight of the handle since this is key to you getting the most from your racket.

Most grips are made of synthetic materials like polyurethane.  They’re textured like towelling and easy to replace.

Badminton racket frame composition

Early racket frames were wooden and as they evolved new, lighter and more durable materials were introduced like aluminium and more recently graphite, titanium, carbon and keylar. 

Each material offers something different in terms of weight and flexibility. Rackets can vary from 80 to 100g in weight, and those at the heavier end offer the greater power.

On some models the head, the throat and the shaft are all different materials giving an incredible choice of strength, flexibility, weight and balance points.

Racket balance point

Every badminton racket has a balance point where you can balance it on the finger of one hand. If that point is closer to the racket handle it has a lower balance point and offers more control to the player. If that point is closer to the head the racket has a higher balance point and offers more power to the player.

In the middle there is the balanced racket which offers equal power and control. Doubles players like a balanced racket as the game is typically faster-paced and features more power shots.

Once you’ve committed to a racket you can adjust its balance point by simply making the handle heavier and the strings lighter for more control or the handle lighter and the strings heavier for more power.

So, which racket is right for you?

Given all the variables above answer is far from simple.

A weaker, slower player will do best with an isometric head, thin strings, a flexible throat and a head-heavy racket; while a faster, stronger player should consider the opposite.

A newcomer might go for a balanced racket and experiment with different strings and handles to see which works best for them.

The best thing is to try a few before you commit. Ask your fellow players to borrow theirs, see which feels best and then research rackets with similar properties to find the closest match.

Then continue to try others as you improve your game, because when you do it will improve your performance even more if you continue to use a well-suited racket.

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