A Complete Guide to Badminton Gear
Beginners and competitors alike should take time to choose the best badminton gear for them. A sport that is growing in popularity, badminton can be enjoyed in the backyard or played professionally. It has officially been an Olympic sport since 1992 for both men and women.
Like tennis, badminton can be played one on one (singles) or two on two (doubles). It involves hitting a shuttle or shuttlecock with a racquet over a net to your opponent who must hit it back. Equipment is not copious, but it does range in quality.
First of all you will need a net and posts to hang it on. Make sure that the posts will be 5 feet 1 inch above the playing surface, as is official. Then string your 2 feet 6 inch (depth) net tightly between the posts. Look for one in a dark color with cords from 15mm to 20mm thick. Also necessary for the official rules is white tape edging across the top of the net that is 3 inches deep.
Racquets also range in price and quality and are often designed with a style of play in mind. Pick them up and swing before you buy, holding the grip tightly to find out which one is comfortable for you. They must be light (usually between 71 and 90 grams) and are often made of carbon fiber composite or steel. Wood racquets are rarely manufactured now due to high costs and weight.
Make sure the racquet is flat and within certain size limitations. The frame, including the handle, should be no more than 2 feet 2 ¾ inches (or 680mm) long and the width should stay within 9 inches. Your racquet’s head will be 11 3/8 inches (or 290mm) long and the exterior frame around the strung surface should be about 3/8 inch thick. With that math in mind, the pattern of strings should be 11 inches long and 8 5/8 inches wide.
Grips on your racquet are generally personal preference. Choose something that won’t hurt your hand and can be reapplied if necessary. Synthetic or towel grips are the most common.
There are different styles of shuttlecocks (also called birdies) out on the market. Some are made with real feathers and are considered high end or elite. Others made of nylon are less expensive and perfectly good for durability and overall use. Buy what you can afford and what you like to play with. Both types use a cork tip which can have a leather or synthetic cover. Also look for different color shuttlecocks. Green (for a slow moving shuttle), blue (for medium speed) and red (for a fast shuttle) are all available. Purchase the correct color for your climate – colder climates need faster shuttles and warm ones need a slow shuttle.
If you are a casual or backyard player, take a look at a set of badminton gear. Often this will come with a decent net, posts, two racquets and two shuttlecocks. Good sets can be found at sporting goods or department stores. They also sell sets made especially for children, as badminton is an ideal sport for kids. For the entire family, purchase a set of badminton gear that is on the higher end of the price scale to ensure durability. Most sets will include the basic rules as well as instructions on how to install the posts and net. Storage should be neat and compact, so look for a set that includes a bag or box to keep your equipment in after play.
Don’t forget to have more than two racquets on hand in case of game of doubles breaks out. Also be sure to have four or five shuttlecocks handy. The shuttlecocks will not last as long as the racquets and may need to be replaced due to loss or damage.
Specialty badminton shoes are available. The most obvious difference from sneakers or running shoes is the thickness of the sole. Badminton shoes have very thin soles and are designed to lower your center of gravity, preventing injury in the sport. For casual play, sneakers or running shoes are just fine.
Be sure to set up the net on a level surface. The sport requires a lot of movement and you are generally looking up while moving. No other safety equipment is required.
Shop around for the best quality badminton gear that you can afford. This will help you to enjoy the exciting and entertaining sport for many years to come.