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 browning.co.uk, 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.