The most important piece of equipment for a badminton player is their racket (or racquet as it is sometimes spelt).
Badminton is a very fast sport, and as such the rackets used are a lot lighter than in other sports such as tennis and squash.
They generally consist of a handle, a shaft and a head. The whole length of the racket can be no greater than 68cm, and the width no greater than 23cm.
The head of the racket is made up of a frame and the strings, which are usually made from nylon (though can actually be made from sheep or cow gut).
The head can be no longer than 29cm, with the strings no more than 28cm long and 22cm wide.
The shaft and head frame are made of metal; anything from aluminium or steel to graphite or titanium on lighter rackets.
To make holding the racket easier, a grip is added which makes the handle less slippery and easier to control. The thickness of the handle is to the player’s preference.
Rackets vary depending on the type of player. For example, some rackets suit a more attacking player and others a more defensive player. Also, whether the racket is to be used for singles or doubles has an effect.
Some rackets are designed for all-round use and tend to be more popular.
Generally a defensive player would want a lighter racket (for accuracy), and an attacking player would want more weight in the head, for power.
Important to any player is the ‘tension’ of the strings. If the strings are too tight, they will break more easily, but if they are too loose, there will be a loss of power on shots.
The average tension is around 21-23 lbs.
There are many companies that make badminton rackets, but the most popular of all is Yonex. Most of the world’s top players play with Yonex rackets.
Other popular makes include Carlton, Prince and Wilson.