Saturday, 20 December 2008

Browning Oxylite Racket

It has been a while since my last post, so apologies for the delay. I have been playing with a Browning Oxylite Ti 80 badminton racket recently, and i must say this thing is a very good racket indeed. The crazy thing is that it cost just £20. Listen for £20 this represents unbelievable value for money. Now the racket is not actually mine, it is one of my friends, but he managed to get hold of 4 of them for £80. He has now started using the Apacs Edgesaber 10, so i decided to nick his Browning rackets.

This racket has a good solid feel when you hit the shuttle, the head stays true through the stroke, and does not twist at all. There is hardly any vibration either, and you usually only get this with expensive badminton rackets. The fact that it was strung to about 27lbs makes this even more remarkable, you typically see more vibration when you string at higher tensions. Because the Oxylite has very little distortion it is also very forgiving, and the shuttlecock still travels off the head even with off centre shots.

It doesn't exactly look like a world beater, but inside it is very capable. The weight is around 85-89g, and the one i have been playing with felt more like 89g. This is a good weight to get some power, in fact the Oxylite gives great power when you hit the middle of the strings. The weight is an even balance, so it is also good for all round play and touch shots.

At this price i would say it ofers the best value for money of any racket i have tested. The key to getting these prices is to haggle a bit. Don't be afraid to do this, my friend did this and ended up with that deal. Browning are well known for having really stupid recommended retail prices, which are very high, no one would ever buy them for that price. Just concentrate on what the actual selling price is, and then work on that.

An update on the e-mails i have sent out. Well, i have sent one to Yehlex and one to Tactic, neither of them have had the decency to bother replying to me. This is unfortunate because i know for a fact that if i had sent an e-mail about buying a badminton racket, they would have replied right away. Perhaps the answer is to just phone them directly, which is my next option. The Apacs review went so well that they have now run out of Edgesaber 7's, so i really don't know what is wrong with these people. If anyone out there is reading this, and you own a badminton racket company that needs to sell rackets then get in contact with me, you cannot lose, you get a free review and a bit of recognition. I get to test some more rackets and hopefully help people decide on what is good and what is not good.

The Browning Oxylite 80 is a quality racket, i could tell from the first shot i played with it. It may not be your choice because i am different to you, this is just my opinion, but for £20 it defies belief, which is why i am writing about it.

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Badminton Racket Discounts

If any of you are looking for a new badminton racket this xmas, then there are some good deals to be had on the internet. The big discounts are on Yonex badminton rackets, and two in particular, the Muscle Power 99 and the Nanospeed 9000X. It would appear that Yonex is discontinuing these two models, and they will not be making any more in the future.

These two rackets are Yonex's best sellers over the years and have achieved cult status in the badminton world. The Muscle Power 99 is now on sale for as low as £60 in the UK, which is a big saving from around £100 when it first came out. The Nanospeed 9000X, the X stands for extra stiff, is on sale for £80 depending on where you look. I found these at and thy appear to be the cheapest deals so far.

The Nanospeed is offered at half price, which means it should be £160. No chance, it has never sold for this price, this is just the recommended retail price, and we all know that the online stores just pick a figure out of thin air, which is always sky high, and then make you think you have saved a whole load of dosh when you eventually do buy that badminton racket.

If you think you are getting a racket for half price, chances are you will go for it, and the sale is complete. The Muscle Power 99 is a very stiff racket, and it will make your arm ache after playing with it for a long time, ie a season, if you are not used to it. Again it all depends on how good your technique is, to be able to cope with the relentless pounding your arm will get. The Nanospeed does the same thing over time.

I really do think that this is why Yonex tends to change these kinds of rackets earlier than the others. The Muscle Power 100 came out around the same time as the 99, but it soon disappeared in the UK anyway. If you thought the 99 was stiff, then the 100 was even stiffer. It was like hiting the shuttlecock with a block of wood. It was almost unplayable over a period of time. A friend of mine who owns a sports shop played with it when it first came out and basically said it was just too much like hard work. His shoulder was getting sore after a few hours playing with it. Then as if by magic, Yonex stopped selling it in the UK. It was a flop, because it was too much, too much for the average player anyway.

And so the 99 has gone the same way. However, i believe this is more down to it's age. It has been doing the rounds for many years now, and it is now time to retire it. It is less hardcore, and so is more playable, and so it has been more successful. God knows how many have been sold around the world, probably millions. It kick started today's modern badminton racket trend, super stiff and lightweight, and strung at very high tensions. Bang!! That's the modern way, this is how racket technology has evolved, if only shoulders could evolve as well we would all be fine.

The Nanospeed 9000X will come down in price even more i think, as the stocks go down. There are bargains out there if you follow the trend and look hard enough. I am still in the process of finding some more rackets to test, which means finding some more manufacturers out there willing to let me test their products. The best chance i have is with the smaller manufacturers. I very much doubt that Yonex would ever loan me some rackets because they don't have a website that sells rackets, they have their own stockists who sell them for them. So to approach a main dealer would be a bit silly, but you never know.

The fact is that i need to get my hands on the rackets to test for free if possible, so i will try my luck. The one advantage i have is that quite a few people find this blog every day, so it gives the manufacturer a bit of exposure, which may help me when it comes to asking them to let me test their stuff. The test i did for Apacs was very positive and i am grateful to them for being the first. I will send out a few e-mails and see what happens

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Badminton Racket Review- Apacs Nano 755 Power

Next up for review is the Apacs nanopower 755 badminton racket. This falls into the budget range, but is not yet available to buy in the UK at the moment. The technical specifications are as follows:-

Weight- 85g
Balance- slightly head heavy
Grip- G2
Flex- 8.0-9.0 (stiff)
String- Apacs spider Ti 66 (0.66mm gauge)
Tension- 24-25lbs- pre strung

This racket has nano technology and is made from high modulus graphite. First impression is that it felt heavier than the other rackets i tested, even though it had the same weight spec, ie 4U. It felt very solid in contact with the shuttle, the head stayed in line with my shots, and there was little distortion, which is always a good thing in a badminton racket.

I was able to clear from back to back very easily, and the fact that it had a heavier feel and more head heavy balance certainly helped with this. There was not as much feedback as with the more expensive Apacs edgesaber's, but it is still a very useable racket indeed. Smashing wise i had no problems generating any power, and the shuttle came off the string bed very well, the lower tension also helped to get a bit more power, it was a combination of control and power at 24lbs, a kind of middle ground.

The nano 755 power did not feel quite as stiff as the nanopower 8000, or the edgesaber's, and so it was more forgiving on the shoulder and arm after a couple of hours, but this was only a slight benefit. Being a budget racket i was still surprised with how it played and felt, it did offer very good value, which is the main point, you still want to be able to play well no matter what you use, and the nano 755 power did not let me down.

I would rate this badminton racket as an 8/10 for power and control, and the same for the overall rating. The value for money would be a 9/10 because i don't think it will go on sale for much more than £30, which would give a real bang for the buck. A few of the other members in my club tried it out and they all said it was a decent racket, so it passed the test for them as well. All in all, we were pleasantly surprised with the nano 755 power. If you are on a budget then you can't go wrong with it.

Of course, when testing these rackets you need a shuttlecock, and i tested the Apacs Aero Flight 700. These have been IBF approved, so it gives you a clue as to their quality. I can tell you that these were a revelation. There is always a bit of uncertainty when you try a brand new shuttle, you just don't know what they will be like until you buy them. Now i am a bit of a shuttle snob, in that i hate playing with crap shuttles, they spoil everything in my eyes. This is why i usualy play with RSL tourney no1's, which i get from an ebay seller in hong kong. If you browse through some of my earlier posts you will know what i am going on about here.

I can say hand on heart that these apacs 700's are better than the RSL's. The speed is very consistent, they all land in the same place when you test them. The speed i tested was 78 by the way, which is perfect for the UK at this time of year. The biggest difference between these and the RSL was the durability. The 700's lasted about twice as long as the RSL, and that is a huge benefit as i am sure you would agree.

The feathers felt more robust than the RSL's i had from hong kong. I have a theory that the hong kong rsl's have different feathers in them than the one's sold in the UK, the hong kong one's are not as durable, but they are a hell of a lot cheaper. The Apacs feathers feel much stronger and more well made dare i say. We were slicing the ass of these apacs all day long and not once did any of the feathers break, they just frayed a bit, which is good news because it meant they lasted a lot longer. Even after a good hammering the flight was still consistent, and the speed did not alter much as well.

I have been e-mailing Apacs to get some more free samples, so hopefully i will get some!! When they stop dishing out free samples i will then buy them with my own money because i have fallen in love with them, hopefully i can get a discount!

You will not find the likes of Apacs in the high street just yet, or in the argos catalogue, or any other catalogue for that matter. They won't appear in major retail chains either, they are specialists, so you have to find them online, they only deal online. As they become more popular you will start to find them in other online outlets, this has happened with fleet and yehlex, and it helps to bring awareness to the brand. Of course, those of us in the know don't really care, because it is just as easy to buy direct, you always get better deals that way.

After testing the Apacs rackets and shuttles i would say they offer real good value for money. I was interested in using apacs stuff because of the reputation they had, and i glad i got the opportunity to do this. The badminton rackets are all quality products and will not let you down, and the prices are the added bonus. Hopefully in the future i will have more apacs rackets to test, as the catalogue has many more rackets in there. As they come to the UK i will test them and give my honest opinion to you. I am also on the lookout for more badminton manufacturers to let me test their products, so keep an eye out for some more reviews, as i will sending out some more e-mails.

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Badminton Racket Review- Apacs Nanopower 8000

The next badminton racket on review is the Apacs Nanopwer 8000, which is new to the UK and as yet is not on sale at the Apacs website, so this is a little bit of a secret test so to speak. I am guessing it is based on the nanospeed 8000 from Yonex. First of all there is no spec for it, so i am going to give you my best estimate as to what i think the spec is.

The weight is around a 4U, it really does feel light indeed, and the balance is even, but when you add the overgrip, which almost everyone does, it becomes head light, much like the nanospeed series are. The grip is certainly G2, ie very small diameter. Of course this will increase when the overgrip is added as well.

Maximum stringing tension is 30lbs, just like the Edgesaber rackets are, which is good news because the frame must be able to take this tension, so it will be strong. The string in here is an Apacs 0.66mm.

First impression is that this is very easy to swing with due to it's light weight. You do get a very solid feel when you hit the shuttlecock, it feels different to the edgesabers in that there is not as much feedback, but this is replaced with a solid contact feel. Both are equally as good to me, they just take a bit of getting used to. The shaft is very slim, which is designed to help you swing this racket faster through the air and increase the swing speed. Well, it felt about the same as both of the edgesaber's did to me, and the 4U weight made it travel through the air quicker as well.

The trade off with this is that you don't get the same power as you would with a heavier model, it's the laws of physics coming into play, and so if you are a touch player or a defensive player then this racket will be more suited to you, simply because it is light and has a more even balance.

You can get power out of the nanopower because it does give a solid feel when you hit the shuttle, but as always it is down to your technique. The nanopower does have a stiff flex, and so there is added control to shots. I had no problem controlling the shuttlecock, and the racquet head is very stable through contact, even more so than the edgesaber's.

The string tension in the nanopower 8000 i tested was around 25lbs, which is a fairly average tension for most players, and the frame coped with this no problem at all. This tension is a combination between power and control, it's not too tight to wreck your arm after two hours, which is one of my main concerns, but you just will not have maximum control, like you will with high tension. So there is a trade off, and it all depends on how you like it, or if you can adjust your game to get used to it.

I would have it strung a little tighter, but not much, so it didn't take long to get used to it. I would say that the nanopwer is a very capable badminton racket, you would not be dissapointed if you like the feel of a top end modern racket with the stiff flex and head light balance.

My rating for power would be an 8/10, it is very easy to swing through the air and increase your swing speed with the nanopower 8000. If it had a bit more weight it would have got an 8.5/10.

Control is also very good, i would rate it as an 8.5/10 because it has such a solid feel when you hit it just right. You get the rewards when you use it right.

Value for money? Err... there is no price yet for this racket, i guess we will have to wait and see. I would expect it to be around the same price as the edgesabers, there is nano technology and high modulus graphite in it, and it doesn't usually come cheap.

Overall rating is an 8/10, certainly a very well made, quality racket, i enjoyed testing it, more suited to all round play/ defensive, but aimed at more experienced players due to the stiff shaft. Put it this way, this badminton racket will probably be half the price of the Yonex nanospeed 8000, and after testing it, there is not much difference between the two.

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Badminton Racket Review- Apacs Edgesaber 7

Next up for review is the Apacs Edgesaber 7 badminton racket, which is based on the Yonex equivalent. I have played with it for around 10 days, just like i did with the edgesaber 10, so it has had a good old testing. Here is the technical stuff-

Construction: Hi-Modulus Graphite/ GS Carbon Nanotech
Weight: 4U
Grip: G2
Balance Point: 285 +/- 3mm
Max tension: 30lbs
Flex: Stiff - Extra stiff


GS Carbon Nanotech
Air resistant frame
Control support cap
Built in T joint

The racket i tested was strung with Apacs Ti Spider 66, which has a gauge thickness of 0.66mm and the tension was 25lbs. The replacement grip was an Apacs PU super grip, similar to the Karakal grip.

First impression is that it has a more even balance than the edgesaber 10, and is slightly less stiff, but only very slightly. The weight felt the same, and with both being in 4U form, this badminton racket is very light indeed. The edgesaber 7 gives a lot of shuttle feedback, just like the 10 does, you can feel each shot come through the frame, it's kind of like a "pinging" noise when you hit the shuttle. There is not as much feedback as there is with the edgesaber 10 though.

The edgesaber 7 is stiffer than the arcsaber 7. Even so, i found it very easy to play clears to the back of the court. This racket is more forgiving than the 10, mainly because it is not quite as stiff, and the string tension at 25lbs also helps out a little bit. The power is just as good as the edgesaber 10 though, if not a little bit better, which surprised me a bit. Fast reaction shots are easy because of the lightness of this racket.

Just like i did with the 10, i re-strung the 7 upto 27lbs tension, and the difference was very noticeable. I found this racket became even more responsive, as the shuttle flew off the string bed. It is designed for higher tensions, and this is when you get the full benefit of what the frame has to offer. The Spider strings felt very similar to the Tour strings i used in the edgesaber 10, both are very capable indeed, and i had no breakages even when i upped the tension.

There is that consistent feel that i look for in any badminton racket, and this aids control and allows you to hit your shots consistently to all corners of the court. The edgesaber 7 allows me to this, and so it does it's job. Hit the shuttle in the middle of the racket and you get the rewards, don't do this and you will not be rewarded, this what happens with the edgesaber 7 and the 10 for that matter. The combination of the stiff frame and the light weight mean that this is the scenario you are faced with, it is the same for all of these type of rackets. You need a solid technique to play with this badminton racket. But the reality is that when you get it right, boy does it feel good. It's like your technique is unlocking the real potential of the racket, and higher string tension is the icing on the cake for me.

The edgesaber 7 is a quality product, i liked it even more than the edgesaber 10, it seemed to suit my game better.

The power is there from this badminton racket, you just have to be able to generate it with your technique. I found no problem at all hitting the shuttle hard. For a little bit more power i would suggest a bit more weight, but the edgesaber 7 had a tiny bit more bang than the 10 did, so i would rate the power as an 8.5/10

I was able to do what i wanted with the shuttle using this racket, so as far as control goes i would give it a 9/10.

Value for money
This is where it gets a bit silly, because the edgesaber 7 is now on sale at apacs UK for just £39.99, and if you add the code BLOG10 in the coupon field you get another 10% off until christmas eve. This represents real value for money, you will get this racket for around £36, and you also get your own string tension as standard, which is a big advantage. How many times have you bought a new badminton racket and then immediately had to re-string it because the tension was crap? My rating for value for money is 10/10.

Overall Rating
I would give the edgesaber 7 a 9/10. In fact i like this badminton racket so much that i am now using it all the time.

Friday, 14 November 2008

Apacs Edgesaber 10 badminton racket review

Well i have had the Apacs badminton rackets for around 10 days now, and given them a good testing. First up is the Edgesaber 10, and here is the technical specifications-

Weight- 4U (80-84g)
Grip - G2
Balance point- 285 +/- 3mm
Flex- 8.5-9.0 (stiff)
Max stringing tension- 30lbs


GS Carbon Nanotech
High Modulus Graphite
Ultra PEF
Control Support Cap
Built in T-joint

The Edgesaber 10 i tested was strung at 25lbs with Apacs Titanium 65 Tour (0.66mm).
The replacement grip was also an Apacs grip (white)with a "soft feel".

First impression was that the edgesaber 10 felt very light, with a slightly head heavy balance, but not as head heavy as the Yonex Arcsaber 10. This badminton racket feels fairly stiff, but not super stiff. As a result i found it very easy to hit the shuttle from baseline to baseline. There is very good feel from the shuttle to the racket, this is a very responsive racket indeed. Power is also there, and the shuttle comes off the string bed very well. This feel comes into it's own when you play fast reaction rallies. One word of warning though. I would say this racket is not for beginners because it is fairly unforgiving, if you do not hit the shuttle in the middle of the string bed, then it will not travel like you want it to. On the other hand, when you do hit it just right you are rewarded with a clean, crisp, solid feel, and this is what the edgesaber 10 is all about. You need to be good enough to get the rewards from these type of badminton rackets.

The Titanium 65 Tour string is as good as any other string out there. At 25lbs the racket does give you a bit of forgiveness, as the sweet spot is bigger, so any shots slightly off- centre will still travel. However, i did re-string the edgesaber 10 to 27lbs and there is a marked difference. This racket becomes a different beast at higher tensions. You get even more reward in the way of power and response. I would say that this racket is better at higher tensions because it is designed for it, that is why you see the max string tension at 30lbs. This is why the strings are really the key for me.

Control is also good, at the net and from all round the court. I am not one for being obsessed with what technology is in a racket and what it does for me. I just want to know how the racket feels for me and what it offers my game. To be honest with you, i could not tell you how the high modulus graphite and the CS carbon Nanotech technology make this racket what it is. I just get the bat out and play with it. I can tell after about two or three shots if it is going to be any good or not, and whether i will like it. The edgesaber 10 is a quality product, there is no doubt about it, but the main point i will make about it, is that it is a good racket in it's own right.

I have been playing with this badminton racket and all my shots are still the same, i can play net shots that are close to the net, and do all the things i want to with the shuttle, and this is what matters. You must feel comfortable with your racket, otherwise, what is the point in using it?

Most modern badminton rackets follow the same formula, and there is only a small difference between them in playability. The manufacturers will try to make you think differently, so you choose them above another, but the reality is that they aren't that much different, we are just fooled by the marketing machine, and the prices.

My overall rating for the edgesaber 10-

I would say that if you have the technique then you have the abiliy to get the power from this racket. It will reward you for this. More weight will help with power, and so for a bit more power use a heavier racket. This edgaseaber was a 4U, so it was very light, therefore, the amount of power i could generate would not be as much as if i used a 3U or even 2U. Personally, if i was to go out and buy one myself i would have at least a 3U, but this is my own personal preference. Because of this, i would rate the edgesaber i tested for power as an 8/10.

Control is very much dependant on the player and technique. The edgesaber has a stable hitting base if you hit the shuttle in the centre of the string bed, and from this you get the shuttle control. I was able to hit all my shots where i wanted to, so i had control. The racket head stays stable through the strokes and this is what you want, a consistent feel. I got more control with a higher string tension, but this is down to the strings. As long as the racket performs consistently that is what i look for, and in this respect, the edgesaber delivers. So for control i would rate it as an 8.5/10.

Value for money
The retail price for this badminton racket is £59.99. However, Apacs are selling this edgesaber 10 for £44.99. Also, as a special discount to any readers of this blog, there is also a 10% discount if you add BLOG10 in the coupon field when you go to buy. This would make this edgesaber 10 around about £40, and that is value for money folks. By the way, i am not affiliated in any way to Apacs, they have just decided to offer this discount to my readers, which i think you will agree, is a great way for you to save some money. At this price i would rate the value for money at 10/10.

Overall Rating
I would give the Apacs Edgesaber 10 badminton racket an overall rating of 8.5/10.

Next up will be the Edgesaber 7. Just one more thing, you can still get free shuttlecocks from apacs if you e-mail them, there is a back log as you can imagine, but e-mail them anyway and just be patient. One more thing, i tested these rackets with the apacs shuttlecocks and i can tell you that they are a bit of a revelation. I am a bit of a shuttle snob, i only play with good quality shuttles, crap shuttles spoil you game, but the apacs shuttles are among the best i have used. I will write my own review of them in a future post, but they really are first class, and they are free if you e-mail them!! Once you try them you will see what i mean. Stay tuned for the next badminton racket post!

Monday, 3 November 2008

Apacs Badminton UK Have Delivered

Well here are the goodies from Apacs UK as promised. I will take some more photos of them as i go along. What they have sent me is...
1. Edgesaber 10
2. Edgesaber 7
3. Nanopower 8000
4. Nano 755 Power
5. Dri fit top
6. Apacs racket bag
7. 2 replacement grips
8. 2 sets of Apacs Ti Spider 66 strings
9. One tube of Apacs Aero Flight 700 goose feather shuttles
10. One tube of Apacs Aero-Space 600 plastic shuttles

I will let you know all the different specs and stuff when i write up the reviews and give them a good testing on court. Also, these 4 badminton rackets are samples of what is available in the Uk at present. There are other models on the way, and i will also be able to get my hands on them and test them when they arrive, courtesy of Apacs UK.

The Edgesaber 7 and 10 are brand new out of the packet, and the Nanopower 8000 and the Nano 755 Power are demo models but are in as new condition. I have a badminton match tommorrow and i will use the Edgesaber 10 first, nothing like getting stuck in straight away. Stay tuned folks.

Friday, 24 October 2008

Apacs Badminton

You may remember i had trouble with getting in contact with Apacs Canada a good few weeks ago. Well Apacs UK left a comment on the original Apacs badminton rackets post mentioning the fact that they have new rackets in stock, and they could also get any Apacs model they manufacture to the UK. What they also mentioned was that they now have shuttlecocks in stock, both feather and plastic, and the best part is that you can have a sample tube for free. Yep, FOR FREE, just e-mail them at I have a feeling that this is only for UK residents, so if you live in the UK and want some free shuttles then drop them an e-mail.

Furthermore, Apacs badminton UK are sending me some sample rackets and clothing to try out from their ranges. Even better, they are going to string the rackets at my own tension preference. This is the kind of customer relations i like. Who knows, perhaps some other manufacturers will follow suit in the future. I will give the rackets a good testing and let you all know what i think.

A word of warning though. You know my opinions about racket reviews, and how subjective they are. So please, please, please, remember that fact. However, for this blog to provide more useful information than me just listing different badminton rackets and their specifications, i think it would be good to actually let you all know what these badminton rackets are really like when you play with them.

What do you think? Would you be happy with this? Please let me know. I don't know yet which Apacs rackets i am going to get, but i will give all the information on the one's i do get, when i get them. I will take some photos of them, so you can see for yourself what i will be testing. It will also be an honest, unbiased review, i am not being paid to do this. Apacs have faith in their products, and many others have recommended their stuff. I have also wanted to get my hands on their badminton rackets because of the cult following they already have, and now i have that opportunity. Stay tuned for more details, and don't forget to contact Apacs if you want those shuttlecocks, i don't know how many they have so i would advise you to get in quickly if you want them.

Monday, 20 October 2008

Babolat Badminton Rackets

Babolat made it's name from making strings, natural gut to be exact, and they started this a long long time ago.. They are also more well known for their tennis rackets, but fairly recently they have started making badminton rackets. Their rackets are distinguished by the two stripes on the lower part of the head. Babolat have gained a cult following in the tennis world for their rackets, with around a quarter of the world's top 100 using them.

The big coup for them was signing Rafa Nadal and Roddick, because no matter how good your product is, you need to market it to the masses, and what better way to do this than by having successful players using your stuff. Just ask Yonex, they have all the top players using their stuff, although i don't think some of the Asian players have much choice in the matter, their national team is sponsored by Yonex, so they use their gear.

The question is can Babolat transfer the success of tennis into badminton? It's a similar situation to the likes of Wilson, Head and Prince. All are the big players in tennis, but they are starting from behind when they enter the badminton world because of the domination of Yonex. What they do have going for them is that they are not trying to copy anyone else, they have their own ranges, with their own little variations of technology. There must come a point when these companies will exhaust the amount of variables you can do to a badminton racket.

All manufacturers must look at a badminton racket and sit down to see what can we change? how can we make it better, or different from the rest? The head shape has changed from a conventional oval shape to isometric, and Prince tried to Axis shape a few years ago. Are there any other shapes the head could be? The aerodynamics of the head have been looked at, remember the wide body rackets? The edges of the head have been curved to cut through the air better, with the promise of extra power. I bet the manufacturers would really like to make a racket head that had sharp edges, like a wedge shape, which would be even more aerodynamic, but in reality you would have players being sliced up by their partners if they get hit.

So what have Babolat done to make them stand out from the rest? Well in the UK there are two ranges to choose from, the Satellite and the Booster Max. Where do they think up these names from? Most manufacturers have names that conjour up thoughts of power, speed and movement. We have the ArcSaber, the Airblade, the Aeroblade, Powerflow, Muscle Power, Nanospeed, K strike, EdgeSaber, Armortec, Fireblade, Super Wave, Ripple Power, Nano Power, Quad Power etc. Some badminton racket makers now add "tour" to their products, which gives us the impression that these rackets are used by the touring professionals, so they must be good enough for us. You get the impression that you would be part of an exclusive club if you use a tour racket.

So Babolat have chosen the term Satellite for their most expensive range. It immediately makes me think of something going round in circles (movement), orbiting around the earth (out of this world!) and moving very fast (speed). Babolat have covered the power problem with the "booster max" range. I guess these racquets will boost your power to the maximum.

The big daddy of the Satellite range is the Satellite Nitro 09. Now why have they brought out the 09 range in 2008? Looking at the online store i am at, they also sell the Satellite Nitro 08, which happens to be £12 cheaper. You may be able to guess that the Satellite range features Babolat's new Satellite technology. The marketing slogan is "may the power be with you", says it all really. This technology will give you increased power and added responsiveness. And it does this because it has cone shaped grommets. Yep, that is the big deal here, the grommets are a different shape. Babolat have also made the frame slimmer, and have a revolutionary new stringing pattern which will cut stringing time by 30%. I can see all the stringers rubbing their hands with glee on this one.

Yet more amazing technology can be seen at the t-joint where the shaft meets the head. Babolat have turned this joint into a v-shape, with Kevlar positioned around this v, to reduce torsion. And the final bit of good news is that Babolat have designed the "pilot system" which is basically two strips of plastic placed on the cone, which will help you to grip the cone better, and act as a marker for playing drop shots, serves and drives. Most players just tend to put their overgrips over the cone to help with this, but now you don't need to, because of these "strategically positioned elastomer strips".

The Satellite Nitro has a medium flex and is slightly head heavy. It weighs 86g and has a "power head size". This means it has an isometric head shape. It is made from hot melt graphite, with a bit of Kevlar and Zylon thrown in as well. Price for the 09Nitro is £101.99, the price for the 08 is £89.99. The difference between the two is the paint job, and the 09 version has a thinner shaft, oh and the price as well. You may as well just buy the 08 version, i am sure you will not notice the 3mm reduction in the shaft that much.

By the way, how do you spell Satellite? Is that correct, or is it "satelite"? the online store spells it satelite, with only one "l" in it. What the hell, i will just spell it both ways, a bit like racket and racquet i suppose.

Now the price for this Nitro is very expensive, and when Babolat hit the tennis market they kept a close watch on the dealers to make sure they didn't devalue the Babolat brand by cutting prices, a bit like Yonex do. So i suppose this is why prices are high. However, the very fact that they are selling next years models in this year, and also offering small discounts on this years models, which are in fact now last years models? Confusing ain't it? leads me to believe they are not selling well. The fact that they are new on the scene would account for this, and they are not exactly flooding all the online retailers with their rackets.

On the plus side, Babolat have taken the tennis world by storm over the last few years, so they must know how to make good stuff, perhaps they can repeat this feat in badminton. I must admit i have never used any Babolat badminton rackets, nor have i even seen anyone else using them so i can't comment on how good or bad they are. It may be a different story in other parts of the world, but in the UK they have yet to catch on.

Next up in price is the Babolat Satelite Solar 08, which is £82.99. It has the same technology as the Nitro but this one weighs 82g and has a very flexible rating, it is also slightly more head heavy than the Nitro. This kind of breaks the mould a bit as far as top end models go because they are usually very stiff.

At £74.99 we have the Satelite Energy 08, with the same technology as the others, but this time we have a medium flex and slightly less head heavy balance. The weight is 86g. Also at £74.99 is the Satelite Star 09, which has the same balance and stiffness as the Solar, but weighs 84g.

Also in the Satelite range is the Comet. Now i have found another online retailer who sells Babolat gear and there is a quite a big difference in price between the two. One sells the Comet for £39.99 and the other is selling it for £76.49. The cheaper one is an 07 model, but they are basically the same except for the price. The Comet weighs in at 92g and is very head heavy, with a medium flex. This would probably feel very sluggish.

Finally we have the Satellite Chrono and Synchro which are the same apart from the weight, with the Chrono being 89g and the Synchro at 85g. They cost around £55.

OOPS, there is one more, the Babolat Satelite Brio. This costs £39.99, has a medium flex, weighs 89g and is head heavy. It also has an oval head shape, not isometric like the others in the range.

The next range is the Booster Max series, which is the economy range. This series does not have all the bells and whistles that the Satelite series has. The Booster Shock 09 costs £41.99, it has a medium flex, weighs 86g and has a more even balance. It is made from high modulus graphite, and you do get the revolution that is the pilot system, ie, two plastic strips on the cone. It is also isometric.

The Booster Ti 09 is next up, and this baby weighs in at 90g with a medium/stiff flex. It is also has the same balance as the Shock. Price is £33.99.

The Babolat Booster Force is from the same range, but i have had to look at a different online store to find any more Babolat offerings. What i can see is that it pays to shop around for the cheaper rackets because this Babolat Force costs £50.99, and this is much more than on other websites. There is not much info either, but it weighs 89g and has the isometric head shape. Finally there is the Booster Lite at around £34.99, with a more even balance, 87g and a medium to flexible flex rating.

So there you have it. Time will tell if Babolat can make it in badminton, and it is fiercely competitive. The prices on the top end rackets are around the same as Forza, Carlton and Head badminton rackets, so i guess this is who they are competing against. But the market is huge as there are so many of us badminton players sbout so perhaps they have a chance.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

A New Badminton Racket

Well, the time has come for me to change my badminton rackets. The Carlton Airblades have done a good job for me over the past 4 years, but i feel like a change. The legendary Carlton quality problems are doing my head in. After adding my lead tape, they just don't seem to be capable of handling this extra strain. There is now large amounts of insulation tape all around the cones, to keep them in place. Every time i play the cone moves around, and it is getting on my nerves. The question is, what should i buy?

I have done a bit of searching on the internet to see what is out there. I have seen some decent deals on the Head Metallix 8000, which is now £50, down from £80. The Apacs rackets seem to be good value, but i hate paying more, just because i am in the UK. You may recall that Apacs are much cheaper in Canada, but trying to get a reply is like getting blood out of a stone. Yonex are too expensive, and even though the Muscle Power 99 is now selling for £60, down from about £100, it is too stiff for my liking. That racket should come with a warning on it for your shoulder.

The ever reliable Fleet website does look tempting. They always have special offers, and at the moment there are 2 which look interesting. The first deal is for the Fleet FT 85X. Now this racket has a flexible shaft and has the old nano technology in it. It has an isometric head shape and the balance point is 290-300mm. This means it is head heavy. A little guide for you here about these measurements, which do appear quite often in the various badminton racket specifications. 270-280mm will be head light balance. 275-285mm will generally be more even balanced. 285-300mm will be head heavy balance.

Fleet are offering two of these rackets for £65.99. I also want my own sting tension as well, so i contacted Fleet and they said no problem sir, i can have both these rackets strung with Yonex BG65Ti for an extra £8, which works out at just £4 per racket, which is about as cheap as you will find. These rackets can be strung up to 30lbs, and they will string up to that tension. This is great news for me because almost every online store will not string your racket to anything near this kind of tension, they just go with the manufacturers tension, which is a lot lower. I would have my tension at about 26lbs, because the racket will lose a few pounds as soon as i start playing with it.

The big dilema with higher tension is the possibility of breaking those strings if you mis-hit the shuttle, especially when they are new. The solution is don't mis-hit the shuttle, and if you are daft enough to have this tension then don't go crying when they break. I will take the chance, because i absolutely love the extra control you get with higher tension. The trade off is that you need that good technique, especially from the rear court, or you will not have any power. The strings will flex less, it is down to you to make them flex, and therefore get the power.

Of course you all know what i am going to do with these rackets as soon as i get hold of them. Lead tape baby! Forget the stated balance point because that will go out of the window. The flexible shaft will help with power a little bit, and i will have more control with the strings. Of course, control is all down to you. No racket can promise extra control, and i would like to see one that can. Nope, only your racket stroke production will give you control. The string tension will also help, depending on what tension you feel will help you best. If you feel you have more control at lower tension then all is fine, but for me, it is a little bit higher.

The second special offer is for two Yehlex badminton rackets. These being the Yehlex YX7000 Nano. It has nano technology and a woven kevlar shaft. It also has a triple taper racket head and has a medium flex. The balance point is head heavy again, but that will change with the lead tape that would go on it. Now what the hell all this triple taper and woven kevlar stuff will do is anyone's guess, i am not particularly interested. What i am more interested in is the price, which is £62.99 for two. These rackets can also be strung to 30lbs, which means that the frames must be robust to take the tension.

This all sounds really good, but there is one small problem and it is this. I have used Fleet twice before. The first time i had a couple of racquets, i cannot remember what they were called now, but they were good value and they did the job. The second time i was not impressed at all. I got two, Top Power models for £60 and they were crap, i just did not like them, they felt dead. I let a few of my mates try them and they all came to same conclusion, they were crap. So i have had a good and bad experience. Should i try them again? I could just contact Fleet/Yehlex ( they are the same company) and ask them if these two special offer rackets are decent. Not much use really because they are hardly going to tell me they are no good are they? I could just tell them the truth, ie, are these rackets as crap as the Top Power one's? This is not a very good idea either. I have not played with them before, so i can't get a feel for them before i buy them. As far as i know they don't let you try before you buy, but there is no harm in asking is there? As far as i can tell, this is the best option, because i would not be a happy bunny if i paid for them and found out they were shit.

Now if i was mr Fleet i would and i had a potential buyer asking me to try before they buy, and also knowing the buyer had had a bad experience in the past, i would offer a trial, wouldn't you?

There is another alternative, and that is Browning. My playing partner uses Browning, the Oxylite 80 to be precise. He got them from Racketworld, which is just about the only place you can buy Browning badminton rackets. This is not a problem because they are extremly cheap and offer good customer service. I am going to try my partners rackets out, so i can see what they are like. Hopefully i won't break any of them, and i am sure he is hoping i don't either.

I will mull over these options for a few weeks and come up with a solution no doubt. However, if by some miracle anyone from Carlton is reading this, then sending me a couple of replacement rackets would be a great exercise in customer relations. In fact if anyone from any of the hundreds of online retailers is also reading this, then sending me a few rackets would be great, and it would do harm at all for your customer relations as well! Hell, someone could sponsor me, and the couple of hundred people who read this blog every day would get to know just how great your shop really is. I won't hold my breath though eh? If anyone has any suggestions as to what badminton racket i should get next then feel free to comment. And for something completely different, a little shout out to one of my friends who has a fantasy baseball site, not related much to badminton rackets, but fantasy baseball has a huge following over in the US.

Sunday, 12 October 2008

Badminton Singles Advice- Serving

Most, if not all of my previous posts have been on badminton rackets. However, there is a limit as to the amount of information i can give out about rackets. I have covered many of the major badminton racket manufacturers, there are still a few more to look at, and i will do this in due course. By now you should be familiar with the technical fluff that goes with buying racquets, what to look for when buying, and how to find the right racket for your style of play. This is all well and good, but you now have to play with your chosen racket. I keep banging on about how it is you, and only you that can get the most out of your racket. Rackets will only ever give you a small advantage, about 5%. But what about the other 95%? This is the hard part. Badminton is such a difficult game to master, you never stop learning.

I have been playing badminton for many years, both singles and doubles. This post is about singles. It is my take on this discipline. I was coached by a respected England coach for about 5 years, when i was younger, so what i tell you is based on what i was taught, with some of my own ideas thrown in.

Singles badminton is based on moving your opponent around the court, so you can play winning shots. The pre-requisite for being able to play singles is fitness. Without fitness you cannot play singles effectively. So i am going to assume you already have a good level of fitness. I am also going to assume you can play your shots. If you cannot hit a clear to the back of the court consistently, or any other shot consistently then get on the court and practise. Go to a coach. This is essential. Spend your money on coaching and learn the basics before you spend money on rackets. I cannot stress this enough.

Once you can play your shots consistently you will come up against players who are of a similar standard to you. This is where you will find out about yourself and your game. There is not much use in playing inferior players. This may sound a bit ruthless, but if you want to improve, you absolutely have to test yourself against players who are of similar standard. You may be a beginner or intermediate player, but try to find opponents of similar standard. Once you reach a certain standard, you will realise that you can't hit winning shots for fun, your opponent will be able to reach these shots, and this is the essence of singles play.

Now, let's begin.. Singles is about using shots to put your opponent out of position. It is all about movement, this is why fitness and shot consistency is essential. The serve is the first shot you will play. If you use a high serve, then make sure it reaches the backline, or very close to it. This will put your opponent right to the back of the court. It will put pressure on their movement right from the start. If you cannot hit your serve consistently to the back tramline, then practise until you can. Look at where you stand when you serve, and then look at where the shuttle lands. You can do this on your own. Adjust your serve position. If you find your serve is landing short, then move closer to the service line and hit your shot with the same amount of power, see where it lands now. Alternatively, if you hitting your serve too long, move back a little bit, and see where the shuttle lands now. This is basic stuff, but so many singles players fail to hit the high serve consistently to the back line. Weak serves put you under pressure right away, so make sure you can get good consistency.

This is the base point for serving high. What you also need to do is realise what your opponent is doing, and where their base position is. A high singles serve can have different trajectories, and be placed either straight or to the side tram lines. If your opponent stands close to the service line, then a flatter serve will put their movement under more pressure to get behind the shuttle. Make sure you hit it high enough so they cannot intercept your serve.

The most common high serve is to the centre. This choice of serve will narrow the angle of your opponents replies. If you hit the serve high enough, it will make sure the shuttle is falling down vertically when your opponent hits their reply. This makes it more difficult to hit the shuttle cleanly. Most players cannot play winning shots consistently from the extreme back line. Aim to make them play from this area.

Study your opponents replies to your serves. Don't just hit the serve into court to get the rally started. Do they have a favourite reply from a certain position? If they do then you can start to anticipate their return by moving your base postiton a little to where you think the reply will be. An example of this is when your opponent plays a straight forehand smash reply to a serve hit out wide. You can move over more to the side they tend to go to. Always study your opponent, this is vital. Better players will learn and adapt quicker, so you can't always depend on anticipating their shots, they will vary their shots from any postiton to keep you guessing. This is where the fun starts!

Against good players, serving out wide will put you under pressure. You open up the possible angles of reply, straight or cross court. However, even good players may still tend to have a favourite reply, so think about this, try it and see what happens. Remember, you are constantly probing for any weakness, right from the first shot, to gain any advantage you can get.

The low serve in singles can also be an effective choice. In my experience i tend to play two types of low serve. The first one is a serve that lands close to the front service line. The second is played a bit harder, and i aim to land it a few feet in court. Which one depends on my opponent. If their base position is futher back in court, then a tight low serve to the front service line will put a little more pressure on their movement, and they will take the shuttle later, giving you an advantage. This could be the difference between them hitting the shuttle below the level of the net, giving you a slight advantage.

If your opponent stands closer to the net, then i tend to play my service further into court. This makes it more difficult to reply with a tight net shot. If they stand even closer to the net to receive serve, then a flick serve is an option, to keep them guessing. Which serve you play will also depend on your opponents replies. If they like to play net returns, then the slightly harder hit serve will make it more difficult to play those tight net shots. However, if you are strong at the net, then play the softer serve and invite them to play a net shot.

If you do serve low in singles, then you must be able to cover the whole court very quickly. This puts pressure on your movement so you need to be able to cover all the corners quickly. If you struggle with this, then serve high, but always look for what your opponent does.

It may appear as though this is a complicated thing. Afterall, i have only described the very first shot you play. But this is the kind of detail that can mean victory or defeat. Badminton is a thinking game underneath, just like any other sport, and just a little bit of understanding will help you improve faster. It is not just about hitting shots, it's how, where, when and why you hit them. Every opponent is different, and you need to be able to adjust accordingly. This is why you need to be able to play all the shots from all the many positions you will find yourself in.

Now i ask you- how important is your badminton racket? Your racket does not make these decisions as to how and when to play different shots. It is all down to you and your ability to think during games. You can have the world's most expensive badminton racket, but if you can't hit a high serve to the back of the court in singles, or be able to analyse your opponents game, and your own, then what use is it? I will cover more topics on both singles and doubles in future posts, with more racket manufacturer stuff thrown in as well.

The next time you read about how this badminton racket and that racket will give you the power and control you have been wishing for, just take a step back, and realise just how much it is all down to who is holding that badminton racket.

Monday, 6 October 2008

Back Up Badminton Rackets

We all have them, and they are sometimes different, but if you play a lot of badminton then you need a back up badminton racket. There is nothing worse than seeing your racket strings break and then realising you don't have a spare in your bag. Or worse, seeing your racquet break on your partners, and wondering why only yours has broken. It may not be so bad if their's had gone as well, but it only ever seems to be your own that breaks.

This leads on to what spare racket or rackets you own. Personally, i like to have the same rackets so i know that everything is the same for me. This goes for doubles and singles, always the same. I have been caught out in the past when i have broke strings and had to borrow from my partner. This is when you find out that their racket is nothing like what you play with, and the string tension is miles apart as well. This means you have to adapt, and quickly as well. I can hear the ready made excuses already if you lose. " We would have won, but i just couldn't get used to the weight, or the tension".

There are a lot of people who have all kinds of badminton rackets in their bags, for all sorts of occasions. Some have different rackets for singles and doubles. Some have different string tensions, depending on all kinds of things. Some have different tensions because their other rackets have just been left in the bag and they didn't have time to get them strung. You may have a few rackets with broken strings, just sitting there. You may have racquets in your bag that you played with and just didn't like, so they sit there, only to be used in emergencies. If it sounds like you, then don't worry, the only way i know this is because i have been guilty of all of the above in the past!

We all know what we like, and the point of having a variety of back up rackets seems quite logical. You may like that heavier racket for playing doubles, so you can get a bit more juice on the smash. Alternatively, you may like that lighter racket for doubles, so you can play fast reaction shots at the net, or fast, flat driving rallies from the mid court. You can have your own individual rackets for your style of play in mixed or level doubles.

Some people have their rackets all strung at different tensions for singles or doubles. I do this, i have my racket strung at a slightly lower tension for singles than for doubles. Singles often involves being put into difficult positions, especially in the corners, and you need all the help you can get to get the shuttle back into play with a good length, to get you out of trouble. My idea is that the lower tension will help me do this, because it slightly increases the sweet spot, and adds a bit of forgiveness to shots. In doubles, i need control, especially around the net, so the higher tension gives my touch shots more accuracy. At higher tensions, the shuttle comes off the string bed quicker, and this helps my reaction shots, and sends the shuttle back faster.

My regular readers know about my lead tape experiment, and i have two rackets with this tape added. One has just about as much lead tape as you can add, the other has just a little bit. I use the heavier one for singles, as this gives me a little more power overhead and also makes it easier to hit full length shots, it makes clearing the shuttle much easier, and this shot happens much more in singles then in doubles, for me anyway. Now, the combination of lower tension and overall heavier weight helps that little bit to enable me to get out of sticky situations without flogging my shoulder to bits.

In doubles i choose the lighter racket because i have found that the heavier racket is a bit more of a handful in playing fast reaction shots. There is only a slight difference, but that small difference in doubles is the difference between winning and losing sometimes. Despite this, i know that this heavier racket is actually helping me, because it is training my forearm and wrist as i play. When i use the lighter racket, it seems much less cumbersome, because i am in effect, strengthening these muscles as i play. It is much like training with the head cover on, when you take it off and use the racquet without the head cover, you mis-time the shuttle at first because it seems so light.

Whatever set up you prefer is down to you. I have seen players who constantly change their rackets throughout a game, they never seem to be able to find the right set up that suits them. The result is usually a poor performance with a ready made excuse. Now who's fault is that? I guess what i am trying to say is, be prepared. The higher the standard you play, the more prepared you need to be. This means spending a bit of money on badminton rackets and all the other stuff that goes with it.

Good shoes being the most important of all. If you start entering tournaments, make sure you have good shoes, because your feet will take a pounding all day long, and there is nothing worse than getting blisters or sore ankles because your good old, worn out shies just aren't up to the job anymore. I know this from experience, i have played with my big toe sticking out of my shoes. Good grip is another huge factor. Many sports halls are slippy, and your worn out tread will make sure you slip and slide all over the place. Another ready made excuse.

Take care of your feet. I recently bought a pair of Yonex shoes, the SHB100 LTD, the best that Yonex has to offer. Although i give the cost of Yonex rackets a bit of a battering on here, i do use their shoes, and i don't mind paying the money for them because they are very good. However, one thing i have noticed is that these SHB100 shoes have a weird insole, which has little ripples in them. Yonex claim this is a revolution in comfort, and helps to cushion your feet as you play. It is known as the "air cushion insole". At first it seems to do the job. But i have noticed that if i give them a good hammering by playing singles for a few hours, my feet start to get "hot". By hot, i mean the skin on my feet is stsrting to go red, due to rubbing on this insoles ripples. The solution is to get rid of the insoles for one's that don't have ripples. The problem was cured instsantly.

I don't know if any of you have had this problem, but it seems a shame that Yonex have messed up a really good badminton shoe with a stupid insole. Just put a normal one in please Yonex. The rest of the shoe is fine, and i have given them some stick recently. They do a good job, which is what i am after in a badminton shoe.

Whether you have an army of 10 badminton rackets at your disposal, or just a couple, make sure you are prepared for string breaks and racket breaks. Look at what overgrip you have. I went through a phase of sweaty hand syndrome, and no matter what i used i could never feel comfortable with the grip. I used Karakal, towelling and then made a big mistake of trying supergrip, which it supposed to help you grip better. The towelling grip is good for a few games and then it goes hard, so you have to keep replacing it. There is also many forms of powder you can sprinkle on your hands to keep them dry. These work on towelling grips, but not so well on Karakal grips, they just make the surface even slippier for me.

One thing i found quite funny was a whole thread in a forum based on someone's review of all the types of overgrips from the manufacturers. This review included cost, sweat absorption over time, tackiness etc. What the hell is all that about? How on earth can i relate to somebody elses sweaty hand? That had to be one of the daftest reviews i have ever seen. I can only give one piece of advice regarding overgrips, and that is to buy a dark coloured one, because if your anything like me, if you buy a lovely white one, within one hour it will not be white, and everyone will be able to see just how much sweat your hand gives off.

Ok this post is going off topic yet again as usual! Look after your badminton rackets, don't throw them around when you lose, they break very easily, and remember if you blame your racket for a poor performance your really blaming yourself, it ain't the rackets fault.

Tuesday, 30 September 2008

What's the best badminton racket for me?

This question crops up all the time all over the internet and at badminton clubs all over the world. Because a badminton racket is a personal choice it is quite difficult to answer. We are all different, with our own unique styles, so to actually pinpoint a certain racket for a certain player is going to be hard.

That said, it is possible to give a very basic outline of which racket should be more suited to certain types of players. As far as attempting to recommend an actual racket model for a player, it is always going to be subjective. If you add the extra variables of string tension, weight, grip size, flexibility and balance, then it is almost impossible to fit an exact badminton racket to an exact player type. The fact that you can also customise racquets makes it even more difficult because you can change some of the above variables with nothing more than a piece of tape. The decision of what racket to buy will ultimately come down to you, and what suits you best of all. Forget what anyone else tells you, they don't know your game like you do. This is why i cannot tell you what specific racket to use. However, what i intend to do is give a little list of what racquets, in general, should suit different player types.

Please do not take what i am going to say as gospel, it is just a rough guide to perhaps point you in a general direction. See, i am beginning to regret making this post already, and i haven't even started yet! I guess this post will be more aimed at beginners, or players who need a little bit more information to help make a decision of which badminton racket to choose.

There are many different player types such as the power player, who wants to hit the cover off the shuttle at every opportunity, the touch player, who can put the shuttle wherever they want. There are defensive players, who actually want you to smash at them so they can blast the birdie back at you or place your hardest smash to anywhere they want with a casual flick of the wrist. And there are players who can do all of the above, the all rounder who seems to be able to do everything. The question is, what kind of rackets do these players play with? Is there a common trend between player style and racket?

Well at the professional level there does seem to be a trend towards stiff flexibilty, head heavy balance and high string tension. I have touched on this in a previous post. However, we are not all professional players, so what do we all use?

Well i will use myself as an example. I would describe myself as a bit of an all rounder, with a preference more towards touch and control. I can smash when i need to, but i like to make my opponents run around before i do this. I am 37 years old, and have been playing for around 25 years. I have played county badminton in the UK for many years and i would say i was at an advanced level. I am in no way trying to brag about how good or bad i am, but it would seem a little foolish to write a blog about badminton rackets if i was a beginner, what kind of credibilty would i have to give you advice? All the stuff i write is based on my own experiences with using all kinds of rackets, and if it helps any of you, then i am doing what i set out to do.

Now, what kind of racket do you think would suit my game? I use the Carlton Airblade Tour, which Carlton actually stopped making a few years ago, but you can still buy them if you know where to look. Here is where the fun starts. Looking at the Airblade spec on the internet, one store says this racket weighs 78g and another says it weighs 86g. Looking at some reviews, one person says it is too light, another says it is too heavy. One person says it is too flexible, another says it has a stiff flex. What the hell is going on here? Everyone is saying something different, how do you know what the truth is? See the problem?

From my own experience with this Airblade, i would say it has a stiff flex, and the weight is more likely to be closer to 86g than 78g. However, my regular readers will know that my racket has been modified, and i reckon it weighs in at around 96g. It seems way too heavy to use, but it isn't, not to me anyway. The balance before modification is even, after, it is head light, in fact it is about as head light as i can get it. I have this strung at around 25-27lbs tension.

Does this kind of racket suit my play? Well if i am looking for control, then the higher string tension and stiff flex will help me, so this is on the right track. As far as power goes, i will need to generate this myself, the racket is unforgiving with the string tension and flex. So what i gained in control, i have lost in terms of power. However, the modification of lead tape on the handle will give me more power for the same effort. But, this extra weight has made this racket a bit less responsive in fast, reaction type rallies. So for a control player this will be a hinderance. The truth is that this has been the case. I am getting used to it though, but i needed to do this to prove my little experiment would work.

Can you see the problem here? I have just told you what racket i use and what i have done to it. Does this help you decide which racquet you should choose? Would you go out and by a Carlton Airblade Tour, based on what you have just read? Can you relate your game to mine?

Here is another example. I could go out and buy myself the top Yonex badminton offering, which right now is the ArcSaber 10. Is this the right racket for my style of play? Well, the Arcsaber is stiff, and has a head heavy balance. The balance will help me get a bit more power on the smashes, but in time it will destroy my shoulder. The stiff flex will help my control shots. The weight is the same as my Carlton. Could i play with this racket? Of course i could. If i did buy it, the first thing i would do would be to add my lead tape and make it head light, and then string it at my own tension. I would be happy to play with it. Would it improve my game? No. Why? Because i would have changed it's characteristics to the same kind of spec as my Carlton was. The only difference would be a bit more weight in the racket head, as this is what this bat came with.

So what kind of racket should you use? I can only give you a pointer, because i have no idea what you are going to do with your racquet once you have it. The badminton manufacturers like to think they know what racket will suit which player, and they make them accordingly, or do they? Ok, most retailers will tell you that if you are an advanced offensive player, you need to have a stiff flex racket. These people assume if you are an advanced player then you can generate power yourself, you just need the control that stiff, or extra stiff ratings can give you. Does this mean that i could not use a racket with a medium/ flexible rating? Of course not, i could just make a flexible racket have more control by stringing at a slightly higher tension. I would have more control then. Strings are everything.

Almost every top end badminton racket has a stiff flex rating. They cost the most money because the manufacturers have added all the goodies, like titanium, nano technology, kevlar etc, to make them stiffer. So, the general rule is that advanced players need stiff flexibility. Intermediate players need medium flex, and beginners need flexible rackets. Offensive players need head heavy balance, defensive players need even/ head light balance.

The problem is that it does not work like this. Seriously, if you have a racket and you don't like the feel of it, or the balance, then just modify it before you rush off to try the next best thing that promises to take your game to another level. Experiment with string tension if you feel you lack control or feel. Change the balance with tape, or apply more or less overgrip to the handle to change the balance point. If you need more extreme measures, add lead tape for extra weight, either to the handle or the head depending on which type of balance you are after. The only thing you cannot change is the flexibility, so if you have bought an extra stiff top end Yonex racquet and you now find you are having problems hitting the shuttle from baseline to baseline, you may need to reduce the string tension, or add weight to help you get more power.

This is why you should be careful of extra stiff rackets. I know many people who have fallen for the marketing hype, and bought these types of racket, only to find they cannot use them. Use what you have already. If you are a power player and you have a fast hitting action, you don't have to use a stiff bat just because the manufacturers tell you to do so. You will get more power with a flexible racket. If you need control, then string at higher tension, with the same racket.

I think i am rambling on a bit here, so i apologise. But to try to put this all in context, this is what i would advise..

If i was a beginner/ intermediate player, and i was not too sure what kind of badminton racket would suit me, i would go out and buy myself a neutral bat. By neutral i mean, a medium flex, average weight, ie 85g, and an even balance. This would be my starting point. Bear in mind that as soon as you add your overgrip to the handle, you will have altered the balance. As far as the strings go, just use the factory strings to start off with. Go out and play with it and see what you think. You can change the balance all you want with more overgrip and tape on the handle if you like a head light feel. Or add tape to the head for a head heavy balance. This tape only costs a few pounds, so it won't break the bank.

Play some more with it. Perhaps start thinking about experimenting with string tension for control, or for a bit extra power depending on higher or lower tensions. Keep playing some more until you now know what kind of spec suits you best. Only when you have done this can you think about changing rackets, because hopefully you will now be able to know what you like best. After this you can go out and buy whatever you think will meet your requirements, whatever make or model it may be. The main factor is that you will be able to decide what you want, you will not need to read all these reviews because you will already know that it does not relate to you personally. You will also know all the little tricks to turn almost any badminton racket into one that you can use, and that suits your style.

Sunday, 28 September 2008

Tactic Badminton Rackets

Tactic badminton rackets are very popular in the far east, but over here in the UK they are virtually unheard of. There is just one badminton retailer who sells Tactic racquets, and they have only just started selling them. They could well be onto something as well, because i have the distinct feeling they will start to get bigger and bigger over here. They are also on the lookout for more distributers.

Tactic are actually a Danish company, which started back in the 1970's. Finding information on them is a bit tricky, but i did manage to find their official website. It turns out they have previously sponsored the England badminton team, although i cannot ever remember seeing their brand around. Tactic badminton have also sponsored the Danish team, and now seem to be involved with some Chinese junior and regional teams. Tactic badminton rackets are made in the far east and then shipped over to Europe, as most rackets are.

The rackets are cheap, and they appear to be Yonex clones, much like Apacs and god knows how many others. The big bonus is that they cost a fraction of the price. An example is that they have the Tactic Arc Striker 7 and 10, which is very similar to the Apacs Edge Saber 7 and 10. Both are just copying the Yonex ArcSaber name. If i was Yonex i would not be too pleased with this at all, but i guess there is not much they can do about it.

The seller in the UK has just 7 Tactic badminton rackets available. After a bit of snooping around on the net, i came across a site called my badmintonstore, who are based in Hong Kong. This site has a much larger selection of racquets, and they offer free worldwide shipping. Hmm.. interesting. They also happen to be a very popular distributor in the far east, and also sell all Yonex stuff.

The top Tactic racket on the UK site is the Tactic Nami Blade 9000. This range is based on the Yonex Nanospeed range, so the Nami Blade 9000 is a clone of the Yonex Nanospeed 9000. There is no technical info for this model on the UK website. What the hell is that all about? How can you not give any information out and expect people to buy? Madness. Luckily, my badmintonstore does. The 9000 has a stiff rating, isometric head shape, and weighs around 85g. It is made from nano carbon and elastic Titanium, with some ultra high modulus graphite thrown in there. If it sounds familiar it is because it is a Yonex clone. The balance point is 290-300mm. The idea of this inforamtion is that most rackets have a balance point somewhere between 290-310mm. The higher the number, the more head heavy the balance is. Most "offensive" marketed badminton rackets have head heavy balance points, so you would expect to see a higher value if the retailer gives you this kind of information. It turns out that 290-300mm is not really that exact, so it is a bit difficult to tell whether this racket is head heavy or not. In fact after looking at all the Tactic racquets on the website, all have balance points between 290-300mm. What is all that about? My guess is that the 9000 is probably slightly head light or even balanced, as the Yonex Nanospeed 9000 is. Now here is the interesting part, this racket costs £69.99 in the UK, but from the Hong Kong website, this Nami Blade 9000 costs £45.98, with free shipping. Now which option would you choose if you were in the UK and wanted a Tactic badminton racquet?

Next up is the Nami Blade 8000, based on the equivalent Yonex Nanospeed 8000. The spec is exactly the same for the 9000 and the 8000, much like the Yonex rackets too. Really, i am struggling to find out what the difference actually is between the Yonex nanospeed 9000 and 8000, apart from the price and the paint job. The UK website price is £59.99, witha £6.99 delivery charge on top of that. The Hong Kong site sells this Nami Blade 8000 for £42.99.

There is also the Nami Blade 7700 for $43.17 from the Hong Kong store, which is actually more expensive than the 8000? The UK site sells it for £49.99. I suppose the big question for me if i was to buy any badminton rackets from Hong Kong would be whether it would actually reach me in one piece, and how long it would take to get here. The only way would be to try it i guess. The fact is that they are cheaper over there, but the Yonex rackets are about the same price as they are in the UK and the US.

Next up is the Tactic Arc Striker 7 badminton racket, which is a clone of the Yonex ArcSaber 7. The UK store sells this for £39.99 with an extra £9.99 for delivery. The Hong Kong site sells it for £45.98 with free shipping, so it is only slightly cheaper, and probably not worth the hassle for a few pounds if you ask me.

The Tactic Arc Striker 10 is not available in the UK yet, why i do not know. But it is available fom Hong Kong and the cost is £51.39, which is about half the price of the Yonex ArcSaber 10.

There is one big plus point if you do buy a Tactic racket from the UK store, and it is that they will let you have a 14 day trial. If you don't like it within 14 days you can give it back, and get a full refund. Bear in mind you will then have to pay the postage costs yourself. You could be a little bit cheeky here, and test out the racket, and even if you like it, just send it back, and thn buy it from the Hong Kong store. You would still save some cash, especially if you fancy buying a couple of them.

It appears that Tactic racquets have been featured on Sky Sports, they offer very similar playing characteristics as the real Yonex rackets, but cost much less. Would i buy any of them? Yep, no question about it. Many other players also have this same philosophy because these type of clones sell very well.

Just an update on my lead tape experiment. One of my Carlton Airblades has encountered a problem. The support cap, which covers the place where the shaft meets the handle has totally come loose. I was expecting this to happen, with the extra weight now on the handle placing more strain on this support cap. I was playing a match and the support cap ended up hitting the bottom of the racket head, travelling up and down the shaft. Not good. I ended up taping it back in position with some tape, and it semms to be holding up. I guess the moral of this experiment is that if you are going to add lead tape to your handle, then don't do this with Carlton badminton rackets.

Just one more thing. I do wonder if the Apacs Edge Saber badminton rackets and the Tactic Arc Strikers are the same. They may well be made in the same factory, they may well be the same, but with a different paint job on them.

Saturday, 20 September 2008

The Modern Badminton Racket Trend

The professional players of today all seem to have one thing in common, very high string tension in their badminton rackets. Yonex have recently released some information on the medal winners at the recent Beijing Olympics. The information tells the racket used, the string and tension used, and the chosen footwear of the players.

Virtually every medal winner has their badminton racket strung at over 30lbs tension, some as high as 36lbs. Another similar trend is in the actual racquets used, with the Armortec series being the most popular with the current best players. The Yonex Armortec rackets are all head heavy balanced, which makes them "high work" rackets, ie, they are the most difficult to use. Now whether or not these professionals are using the same spec rackets that you can buy in the shops is debatable.

The string tension is not though. All the players are going for extremely high tension. High tension gives more control. I have seen a few debates on forums about string tension and what it offers. People disagree on this subject. Some argue that low tension gives more control because the shuttle stays in contact with the strings longer. This view has been backed up by a famous ex professional player from the 70's and 80's. I totally disagree with this theory, and the science also disagrees with it. From my own personal experience, high racket string tension gives more control, period. Some of the previous posts touch on this. All the current professionals have high tension, so they must also know this. The top players have sound technique, they can generate power, they just need the extra control to harness this power, and this is where the strings come into it.

The fact that the Armortec badminton rackets are stiff adds to the control factor. However, the head heavy balance makes these racquets more cumbersome to use. I just wonder if any of the top players customise their rackets with a bit of extra weight on the handle? The Indonesians tend to have overgrips that go right up the shaft, which would make the head heavy balance become more even weighted, or even head light. I have touched on this before in previous posts, about making the perfect badminton racket for power and ease of use. I have suggested that a head heavy balanced racquet, which is then turned into a head light/even balance by adding weight to the handle will give the best possible combination of power, performance and ease of use. Perhaps the professionals do this.

Based on the information from Yonex, Lin Dan uses the Armortec 700 strung at between 30-33lbs tension. Lin Dan also has surgical tape placed around the top of his racket, and also tends to have very little overgrip on the handle. There are pictures that even show that Lin Dan has only half his handle covered with overgrip, the rest of the handle is just bare wood. This combination would make his badminton racket very head heavy, which must be the way he likes it. It would make it harder to manoeuver, but he would benefit from the extra power that the head heavy balance gives. In singles, there is not as much emphasis on very fast, flat, reaction rallies, so perhaps this is why he chooses this combination.

Lee Chong Wei also has his racket strung at between 30-33lbs, but he uses the Armortec 900P. Again, he chooses a racket with a bit of weight in the head to begin with. Remember, weight is good, it helps you to generate power. Ridiculously light weight rackets do not help you, all they do is destroy your arm, despite what their manufacturers tell you. When you find youself stuck at the back of the court, unable to get the shuttlecock on the ground, because this is what will happen when you come up against better players with good defences, you will then realise that your shiny ultra light weight racket is useless to you. Cue the arm and shoulder injuries as you try your hardest to gain power by swinging away.

Does this mean that you should copy what the professionals do? Hell no. Head heavy badminton rackets are the worst for shoulder injuries. I guess the playing career of a pro is short, but i truly believe that they are all risking problems later on in life if they are in fact using these racquets. I also believe that the pros do customise their rackets. Another difference between the pros and the rest is that they have sound technique. They are far more effective at hitting the shuttle consistently, day after day, year after year, and so less stress is placed on their arm and shoulder muscles and joints.

I have said this before, but the only thing you should concern yourself with is you, and your game. There is no point in having high string tensions if you can't play with your racket like this. You need to find the right balance for yourself, between power and control. Everyone is different, and you may just as easily find you get all the control you need at a relatively low tension, compared to someone else who needs high tension for control.

Now here i am telling you that high tension equals more control, based on my own experience, and also from the racket science i have researched. So what? You may well find this does not apply to you. The only way to know is to experiment with different tensions, and see how you play. There are always exceptions, and one of the Olympic medallists had their racket strung at 24-26lbs, much lower than the others. This just shows that you don't have to follow the trends, and is a clear example of just how personal your tension is to you. All that matters is how you play, regardless of what equipment you use. But bear in mind that there are things you can do to make things easier on your arm and shoulder by experimenting with your badminton equipment.

Friday, 12 September 2008

Badminton Racket Prices

Why is it so difficult to buy cheap Yonex badminton rackets? Of all the many racket manufacturers, Yonex always seems to be the most expensive. It is very rare to see good deals on Yonex. I have seen this in the UK, all the Yonex rackets are virtually the same price, or should i say, they all have the same minimum price, which no retailer will go below. Why is this?

I have a friend who is an authorised Yonex dealer, and the "authorised" part is important here. This means that the Yonex rep has been round to see you and has deemed you are fit to sell their badminton racquets. Most of the time this means you will own a sports equipment shop, and have a reputable business. If you are an online business, the same will apply to your website, it will have to be professional and reputable.

Yonex will not allow just anyone to sell their stuff. If you have a market stall, Yonex will not supply you. Let's have an example. Let's say i wanted to start selling Yonex rackets. I have no shop, or even a market stall for that matter. My intention would be to sell these racquets on the internet. I would contact Yonex and ask them if i could have some stock please. Let's say i would invest my money on 1000 Nanospeed 9000's. These sell well no matter where in the world you are. I could probably get a discount by buying in bulk, and so each racket would cost me a little less. I could sell them on this site, or open up an ebay store. Of course, i would sell them just a little bit cheaper than anyone else, and so everyone will buy from me.

This of course is fantasy land. It will never happen. Why? Well first off, Yonex would not sell me those badminton rackets because they would like to see how reputable my business is. Selling their stuff on ebay is not going to cut it i'm afraid. Secondly, Yonex tell their dealers the price they want them to sell their rackets for. Think of Yonex as the Gucci or Armani of badminton. They are the premium brand, and so the price has to reflect their status. Premium brands have the exclusivity that other brands don't have.

There was a classic example of this in the UK a few years ago, when some of the large supermarkets got hold of some Levi jeans, and started selling them for really low prices, much lower than Levi jeans liked. They were very upset because it kind of devalued their image as a premium brand. The supermarkets did not get hold of their stock directly from Levis, because there was no way in the world that they would have supplied them unless they sold the jeans for a certain price. The end result is that the supermarkets don't sell them anymore.

No what would happen if Walmart or Tesco went to Yonex and said "we would like to buy 100,000 of your badminton rackets please" Do you think that Yonex would sell them? Of course, the supermarkets would demand a huge discount, which would then drive down the price. If you were in charge of Yonex, would you sell to them? Afterall, you would have the chance to sell off a large part of your stock in one go, albeit at a cheaper price than you would hav liked.

Well the answer is no, Yonex would not sell to them. Can you imagine what would happen if they ever did? For a start, all the other online retailers and small high street shops would go out of business, they could not compete. The Yonex badminton brand would instantly be devalued, so they would lose the ability to supply their badminton rackets at a certain profit.

This is how it works. All the online badminton retailers have no choice but to sell Yonex rackets at a set price. This is why the prices are the same. If one retailer decided to start selling at a cheaper price than anyone else, then Yonex would simply stop supplying them. It is price fixing to an extent, but it happens with every premium brand. The dealers have their hands tied, and i am sure they would just love to be able to sell them cheaper, so everyone will buy from them and not their competitors. It will just not happen, and it's not just Yonex, but all the other big name badminton brands as well.

There are two sides to the story. Yonex has to protect itself, it has worked hard to get where it is. You can only be a premium brand if you offer quality products, and we can all agree that Yonex makes quality badminton racquets. I know sometimes they break, i have had a few Yonex breakages, but that's life. The fact that so many other brands try to copy them is testament to this. They wouldn't copy crap would they? Think of Winnex, Tronex, EdgeSaber 7, Mighty Muscle, Armour Power, etc, etc. All based on Yonex technology.

Discontinued rackets are a different matter. When a racket is no longer being manufactured, then they can be sold off at a cheaper price to all the dealers, who can then sell the rackets at discounted prices. The problem with Yonex is that their rackets sell so well, that they are in no hurry to discontinue making them, and why should they?

A perfect example of selling discontinued rackets is Racketworld on ebay. These guys specialise in doing this, and they obviously have some great contacts to get hold of as many as they do, especially Carlton and Browning. Browning is a bit of a mystery to me. They must still be making badminton racquets, and i think perhaps Racketworld may have bought the rights to the name to be the sole distributer for Browning in the UK, no one else seems to sell them. In fact Racketworld are in the process of making a new website called, so they must indeed have the rights to the name in the UK.

The discounts on Carlton rackets are huge, i mean you can get hold of an Airblade Tour for £30, and this same bat a few years ago retailed at around £80. They must be making a profit, so god knows how much Racketworld are getting them for. You don't see many people selling discontinued Yonex stuff though. That's probably because they don't change their line up very often, unlike most of the other badminton manufacturers. Carlton seem to bring new ranges out every other year, so Racketworld must be happy about that, it gives them more of a chance to sell the discontinued ranges. Carlton don't seem to mind their rackets being sold on ebay, and is it devaluing the Carlton brand? Amazon also sell badminton stuff, but they do this via the "marketplace" section, which allows online retailers to showcase their products. It's a good way for these retailers to reach a very large audience, although Amazon will take a cut of the sales.

SOTX and Apacs also have ebay stores, so they must feel it is a viable way to sell their gear. There are some good bargains to be had as well from the smaller brands such as Fleet and Yehlex. They have their own website, and always seem to offer 2 for 1 deals. Perhaps their rackets don't sell that well, so they have to have special offers, or perhaps they do these special deals on soon to be replaced models. Either way, it represents a good deal for those of us who buy them.

The fact is that you are not likely to get any good deals on Yonex badminton rackets in the near future. Only when they discontinue part of their range, is it possible to get discounts, but don't hold your breath waiting.

It's not just rackets either, Yonex has put the price of shuttlecocks up four times this year. They are getting expensive now, especially the top end aerosensa shuttlecocks. The cheapest way to get hold of shuttles is again, from ebay, from the Yonex dealer in Hong Kong. I am not sure if Yonex know about this, but they do sell RSL and other brands, and RSL shuttles are decent quality, not quite as durable as the best Yonex, but not far off, and they are cheaper. I got six dozen for £54 delivered, and you wont find them much cheaper than that. If you buy more it's even cheaper.

Friday, 5 September 2008

Badminton Racket Update

Well, it has been just over a week since i added the lead tape to my badminton racket, and in that time i have played about 6 times, so i can now give you an update. The result is that i think it has been a complete success, the fact that i have been able to play so much in just over a week is testament to that. The badminton racket is just as easy to swing, even with an extra 10grams of tape on the bottom of the handle. Now 10 grams may seem a lot of weight, but you don't feel it at all. The racket science research works is all i can say.

The balance point is now just one inch from the cone on the handle, which makes my racquet extremely head light now. Remember i have modified a Carlton Airblade Tour, which was head light to begin with, it's just a whole lot more powerful now. This is my own personal thoughta here, but it is a hell of alot more easier to clear the shuttle from back to back, i would say about 10% easier to me. That is a massive difference, and it has made a massive difference to my shoulder as well. This badminton racket is now 10% more efficient to use. Don't believe it? Give it a try. My practise partner has now got in on the act and has also noticed a huge difference. He is now struggling to keep his clears in court, because his racket is also easier to swing.

The lead tape cost me around £3, and it is the best £3 i have ever spent, period. The badminton racket is now doing more work, not me. Will it improve my game? Well, the fact is that i still play the same shots, i am still the same player, with the same footwork, fitness and racket skills. So i doubt it will make me a better player, it's just now easier on my shoulder. I can achieve the same power with less effort, so that is certainly an improvement. I have also noticed i can get a bit more power on smashes, with the same effort. It works for me.

There is one drawback to this, the extra weight does make a difference when you are playing fast reaction shots. It takes a bit of getting used to at first, but there is certainly a trade off here. In time i will get used to it, but if you try it please bear this in mind. I suppose practise makes perfect, and if you do experiment with your racket, try adding only small amounts of lead tape at first, and build it up over time. I have a feeling i have gone straight in at the deep end by adding around 10g to my badminton racquet, but it is only an experiment, although i have no intention of taking it off now, the benefits far outweigh any drawbacks.

I am going to experiment with 5g on another racket to see what happens. In the future i am going to get a head heavy model and modify that, to make it head light with the extra mass at the top it should provide the best results. I have still not heard a thing back from Apacs Canada about the Edge Saber racquets. What kind of customer care is that? It doesn't fill me with much optimism about them, that's for sure. They will not sell much badminton equipment like this.

I suppose it's all about being professional. The first thing you look for if you visit a website is how it looks. First impressions count, it gives you a certain feeling about a retailer, and this matters if your going to actually buy anything from them.

If your searching for a new badminton racket, what do you look for from a website? You need all the specific details about it, you need quality pictures about how it looks, all the technical stuff about weight, flex etc. You probably want to read some sort of review about it, although you do need to view these with a little caution. The site must be easy to use, you don't want to be searching around too long to find what you want. Most important, you want a good deal. Most badminton retailers will show you the recommended retail price, and then show you their own special price which invariably is lower, to give you the impression you are saving money. The fact is that the recommended retail price is always very high, no badminton retailer would sell many rackets at that price. The final piece of the jigsaw is the delivery. You want your goods delivered quickly and in one piece. If all this happens, chances are you will buy from them again, and also recommend them to your friends. If you need to ask a question about any badminton racket, you want a quick reply, it's all about us, the customer, and if they don't provide all these things, well, there are plenty of other places we can buy our stuff from.

It's no suprise that the most successful online badminton retailers offer the best customer care, and have professional looking websites. Another thing they are good at is getting your name when you purchase anything. In the future you will receive brochures about their new stock, they will market their goods better. I suppose you are looking at this blog and thinking, where are the stunning graphics and the professionalism? Yep, i know it ain't the most interesting site you have ever been on, but i am not trying to sell any badminton rackets. Perhaps i should? There are adsense ads at the top of the page, and most people who visit this blog usually click straight off it, or click on one of those ads. Most people don't actually read all of the stuff on here. There are however, a few people who do, and i hope i can give a little bit of information for anyone who is thinking about buying a new badminton racket. There are a few places i have reccommended in previous posts, but these are all based on my own experiences. How could i recommend a place i have never used myself?

I have given out the technical stuff for hundreds of badminton rackets, but it is impossible for me to personally review every racquet, and i stay away from reviews because they are all personal, what i think is a good racket, you may think is a load of crap. How would you feel if i was to recommend a certain bat, you go out and buy it, and find it just doesn't suit your game? I imagine you would not be too happy. If you know your own game inside out, it makes things a bit easier, because you will know what type of spec could suit your game, ie, the stiffness and the balance etc. But remmember, it is all about the person who holds the racket, not the racket itself, that will improve your game.