Saturday, 31 May 2008

Badminton Racket Strings Part Two

The type of string you put in your badminton racket is also very important. We have already talked about string tension in part one, now i want to talk about string gauge and how it affects your game. The most popular string you will come across is made by Ashaway and Yonex. These are the only two string types i have personally used since the 1990's. Before that i used whatever was in the rackets when i bought them, although i did go through a faze of using carbon strings when they were popular. They used to smell like carbon, and i liked that, so i used them!

In the 1990's i used Ashaway, as these were the most popular brand and offered the best value and quality. These days i use Yonex or Ashaway. Now, after all we have gone through with different rackets and string tension, there is another factor to deal with, the string gauge, and this affects your game, but it is nowhere near as important as the actual tension. The 5% extra your badminton racket may give you, combined with the 5% extra the tension may give you, adds up to around a 10% advantage. The string you actually use adds up to another 1-2% if that.

Ok, you actually hit the shuttle with the strings, not the racket, so they are super important. String gauge or thickness relates to the diameter of the string. The gauge is designated by a number, and thick strings have a lower number compared to thinner one's. If we take a look at Ashaway as an example, these are their string gauges.

Gauge Diameter
20 .80-.90mm
20 micro .78-.82mm
21 .70-.80mm
21 micro .68-.72mm
22 .60-.70mm

Thick strings perform differently to thin strings in the racket. There is no hard and fast rule here, all badminton players are different, so their choice of string will be different, in order to compliment their own game. Thick string will naturally last longer than thin string, it is more durable, and it will take longer for it to break as there is more of it. Thick string will also hold it's tension longer.

Thin gauge string will give less durability and will break more easily compared to thick string. However thin strings offer more power and control. The thin gauge will have less resistance through the air, allowing you to swing your badminton racket slightly quicker, thus generating more power. Thin string will also bite into the shuttle base on impact, giving more control and slice. Bear in mind this is ever so slight and most players will not notice much difference.

If we match the string gauge and badminton racket to ability, we will see a clear pattern now. This is what happens:-

NOVICE/BEGINNER

REQUIRES- POWER AND DURABILITY
RACKET TYPE- FLEXIBLE
STRING GAUGE- 20-21
TENSION- 15-18lbs

INTERMEDIATE

REQUIRES- POWER AND CONTROL
RACKET TYPE- STIFF
STRING GAUGE- 21-21 micro
TENSION- 18-23lbs

ADVANCED

REQUIRES- CONTROL
RACKET TYPE- VERY STIFF
STRING GAUGE- 21 micro
TENSION- 23-30lbs

More recently Ashaway have extended their range and the latest and most popular strings are the Flex 21 micro, used by Nathan Robertson and Gail Emms, and the Microlegend XL. These types of strings can be strung to 33lbs tension.

The Yonex range is classified as follows:-

BG63- 0.70mm
BG65- 0.70mm
BG65Ti- 0.70mm
BG86Ti- 0.68mm
BG80- 0.68mm
NANOGY 95- 0.69mm

Yonex badminton racket strings are used by 95% of top players. They are the most popular strings, but the fact that most top players are sponsored by Yonex means they will naturally use their strings as well.

5 comments:

coolieo206 said...

Thanks!!! That really helped me in deciding on what racket string to get.

antony said...

Hi Coolieo
Glad to be of service!!

nev said...

hi antony,

when i request a restring from the local store, they ask me "would you like it single or double?" aside from the tension i want. i think they are pertaining to the method of stringing. probably the single means that the main and cross string ends in one point? and the double ends in two points i suppose? please enlighten me on this.

nev said...

or i think i heard wrong. maybe the term they were asking was one-piece or two-piece stringing. which pertains to the number of strings to use to restring the racket. in any case, i still don't have any idea what advantages one has over the other. please enlighten.

antony said...

Hi Nev

One or two piece stringing, it does not matter, as long as the final stringing is right for you.