Saturday, 29 May 2010

Badminton Coaching

I wanted to give a shout out to a guy who is a badminton coach, and lives in my neck of the woods. His name is Paul Stewart and he has recently begun his own badminton coaching and racket review site at He is as keen as anyone, and very passionate about badminton in the north west of England. His site is full of racket reviews and solid coaching tips for beginners and advanced players alike.

He is a yonex sponsored coach, so all the reviews are on the latest yonex rackets such as the z-slash, 8DX and the nanospeed range. What he does do though is try to remain impartial in his reviews, and what he does a hell of a lot better than me is to have videos of the reviews. His latest video is of the Arcsaber 8DX, and you can find it from his website. He does a pretty good job as well, with a well laid out video that is very clear and specific.

The only problem is that it is difficult to be totally impartial if you are sponsored by a company and you are reviewing their rackets. It would not do much for your new sponsorship deal if you give bad reviews would it? However, Paul does mark the rackets down on price, because we all know just how expensive yonex rackets are, so no matter how good they are there is always the question of "is it worth the money?"

He is as honest as they come, and is putting a lot of effort into promoting badminton via the internet, so good luck to him, and i hope his site goes from strength to strength, he deserves it.

On another note, i think it is time to do a few more reviews myself. My 2 Carlton Airblades have died, the heads on all of them have snapped. They have given me years of faithful service so i cannot complain. Stringing at a higher tension will eventually take its toll, and this is what has happened to these rackets. I would like to take a closer look at Victor and Li Ning, just to find out what they are like, and if they are worth the money. I will be looking for someone to send me some free rackets, so some e-mails will be going out very soon. Frankly, if i was the boss of a badminton racket manufacturer i would jump at the chance of some free promotion.

Friday, 7 May 2010


Yonex have taken quite a hammering over the past year or so. First they either lost or decided to stop sponsoring both the Chinese and Korean national players. They lost out to Li Ning and Victor. One thing yonex had going for them as far as advertising went, was that they could always rely on showing a few action shots of the best players in the world using their rackets. They have used this tactic since time began and it helped to make them the dominant force they are today. Today they have a new tactic to shift all those rackets, and it is a focus on what the rackets are capable of.

Case in point is the ArcSaber Z-Slash, which is the most powerful racket ever made, achieving a world record smash speed of over 400km/hour. In the right hands it is i suppose, but it would be interesting to have the same player use other rackets and see what results we get. Yonex have pulled a master stroke with this marketing, but it is a one off unless they aim to get the same pkayer to smash with all the new rackets they bring out, and create new world records. You can imagine what the average player thinks when they see that the ArcSaber is the most powerful racket ever made. They think they can achieve somthing pretty spectacular as well, and hey, even if it isn't 400 and odd kilometres an hour, it must still do something for my smash, and make me more powerful. The answer is- forget it, you will come home with a sore shoulder or even worse, an injury that wrecks your shoulder because you put everything behind that smash to obliterate the shuttle in one glorious moment.

All the online stores that sell this racket (all at exactly the same price in the UK by the way- something wrong there i feel) have this great big slogan that the z-slash achieved this smash speed. The ArcSaber range has also grown, and they now have an ArcSaber 8DX. I can see why they have come up with that name. The Cab 8DX is an all time classic racket. I actually had a hit with one a few months ago and it still felt great, despite all the advances in technology. The 8DX name is very symbolic, so to name an extra stiff new ArcSaber after it is a bit false if you ask me. There is no way the new racket will have any resemblance to the old one. Perhaps we will see an ArcSaber 21, named after the old Cab 21? The point is that older players like me (38) remember the older rackets, so just the name sparks a bit of interest. Again, pretty clever marketing from yonex.

Yonex have gone back to basics by emphasising the quality of their rackets. The prices are still very high, and i did think they would come down a little as they took the hit from rivals such as Li Ning. The problem is that those Li Ning rackets are at stupid prices in the UK. Honestly, i cannot see how they are going to break into the European market with such high prices. I need to get my hands on some to test them out and see if they are any good. The top end Li Ning Woods N90 is selling for £159.99, which is more expensive than the z-slash, and no-one in the UK knows a thing about them, so why would they shell out all that money on an unknown brand with unknown rackets? They won't, simple. If some rep from from Li Ning UK is reading this then send me some rackets.

I am still waiting for a new supply from steve at Apacs, and i want to test the Tantrum 200 or whatever the latest version is. My lethal 70 is still going strong and i am still lovin it, best racket i have ever had the pleasure of wielding. More new posts to come by the way.