Skill, talent and fitness are obviously the most important tools in a badminton player's arsenal, but the racket they use can have almost as much influence on their level of play. Any badminton player, from professionals playing on the international stage to rank amateurs playing for an hour or so every weekend, should have at least one racket that suits their style of play.
Choosing a racket that suits your style is particularly important for doubles players, as the quickened pace of doubles games leaves very little margin for error. If you are a doubles player in the market for a new racket, keep the following guidelines in mind to help you choose the racket that best suits your needs.
Light rackets for doubles play
Because doubles play tends to be so much faster than singles games, players who specialise in doubles matches should choose lighter rackets than singles players. The lighter a racket, the easier it is to react quickly to incoming shots. Although lighter rackets tend to have less power behind them when making shots, shot power tends to be less important overall when it comes to doubles.
Head-heavy for power and grip-heavy for speed
One thing that is commonly overlooked by badminton players choosing a new racket is the way their racket's weight is distributed. Some rackets have more weight towards the 'head' (the part that actually makes contact with the shuttlecock) of the racket, some are heavier towards the grip, and still others distribute their weight evenly along the length of the racket.
Head-heavy rackets help you transmit the maximum amount of power into your shots and place extra speed behind smashes and clearances. They are therefore best suited to aggressive doubles players who play towards the back of the court.
Grip-heavy rackets, on the other hand, are easier to control with precision and allow you to move the head of the racket more quickly when reacting to shots from the opposing team. Consequently, they are ideal for defensive doubles players playing close to the net as they react as quickly as possible to return shots and lobs.
if you are a more versatile player who enjoys playing both close and far away from the net, an evenly-balanced racket will perform equally well in both positions. These balanced rackets are best-suited to more casual players who do not specialise in a specific role during doubles play.
Stiffer shafts for faster players
The shaft that joins the head of your racket to the grip is another important components, and different rackets have different levels of shaft flexibility. As a general rule, the stiffer the shaft, the more explosive power you can put behind your shots, so stiff rackets are ideally suited to power players engaging in frequent smash rallies and long-distance clearances.
However, this stiffness only benefits players with enough arm speed to make proper use of it, and players with less agility or experience may find that a stiffer shaft actually saps power from their shots. Flexible shafts are more forgiving for these players, as the force of a flexible shaft springing forwards at the end of a swing can add extra power and speed to their shots.
If you have more questions about what kind of racket you should get for doubles play, talk to a professional at a businesses that has sporting equipment for sale.