Saturday, 26 July 2008

Customising Badminton Rackets

Now as you know i am on the lookout for a new badminton racket that will not destroy what is left of my shoulder. The last post went through a bit of racquet science, and so i am after a fairly heavy model with a head light balance.

What i would like is a head light, heavy overall, medium- stiff flex. My string tension would be around 25 lbs, enough to help control, but not so much to wreck my shoulder. If i find one great, but i will also add lead tape to the handle to increase the balance point towards the handle, making it head light.

Just as a side note, the badminton stores in the UK, all offer the Yonex Nanospeeds in head light versions, which appears to contradict the information on badminton central. However, different regions have different versions so perhaps there is a trend towards even/head heavy balance around the world with the yonex racquets. The UK versions are also 4U, making them heavier, which is better for shoulders and arms. A lot of people state that the Nanospeed 9000 offers more power. Based on just the design of this racket, the head light balance and overall weight would help explain some of this, as this is the ideal combination for a low work racket.

Although the technique factor is the most important, this racket will help your shoulder in this form, if more weight is added to the handle it will be even more effective, not only for reducing injuries, but also making it easier to swing and getting better performance. Probably without even knowing, players using this type of racket are getting a bit more performance with the same effort, and also being able to play more consistent shots for longer because it is easier to swing over longer periods of play compared to the head heavy, or super light rackets that proliferate the market today. The only problem is the price of Yonex racquets, there must be other models that have this same design feature for a lot less money. Although what price would you put on your shoulder?

Would i buy one? If it saved my shoulder then yes, of course i would. My priority has changed during writng this blog, i have found out things i didn't know before about just how much badminton rackets can cause injury, or reduce injury depending on the type you use. This is the most important factor to me now, and if you also have nagging injuries, it should be yours to. In fact, even if you don't have any injury problems, head light, heavy overall rackets are what you should look for. Customize the one you have, or look for something else.

I am going to test this whole theory out myself. It will be simple to find out the answer. I have 3 carlton airblade tours, so i will keep one the same, and just add more weight to the other two by way of lead tape, one more than the other. Then i will just play a normal game with each racket, and see what happens. I anticipate that the difference in power will only be small, it can only ever be a slight difference anyway, but what i am more interested in, is how much easier it will be to swing the badminton racquet, and if it helps my shoulder problems.

Time to search for some lead tape, and after looking at quite a few online stores, i have decided to buy some from ebay. You can pay up to £10 for this lead tape, which seems a bit expensive to me. I have found some on ebay for £5 delivered, so it should reach me in a few days time. What i am after is a decent sized roll that is not thick, so it doesn't make my handle too wide when i add the overgrip. There are some versions i have seen that are very thin, what i have gone for is 36" of 1/2" wide tape, that should do fine. How much i will put on i have no idea yet, i will just experiment when i get it, and see how it feels. The time to customise my badminton racket has arrived, about 20 years too late though.


Anonymous said...

I just bought Prince Graphite II. I don't exactly know what balance it is. Printed on the shaft is a parameter balance = 282mm +/- 5. How is this interpreted?

Thanks a lot!

Owen said...

Hi I'm just wondering how you applied the lead tape to the handle. Did you stick the tape up the sides of the handles, or did you wrap it around the circumference of the handle?


antony said...

Hi Owen

I wrapped it around the circumference of the handle, right at the bottom. Be careful not to add too much.