The main equipment used in this Badminton game is the racquet and the shuttle cock. Apart from this, the grip and the strings of racquet and the feather and rubber quality of shuttlecock also play a major in international games. Type of shoes and apparel used during play are other things involved as well.
This most important equipment is generally light weight and a quality racquet weigh anywhere between 70 – 95 grams. It is a framed structure with a handle and hoop in which networks of strings are tightly knit with which the shuttlecock is hit.
Frame of the Racquet
- They are made of various compositions of materials like the carbon fiber composite or solid steel. Carbon fiber is a better bet as it is stiff, gives a good kinetic energy transfer and has a very good strength to weight ratio. Earlier, racquets used to be made of wood or light metals like aluminum. However, wooden racquets are no more manufactured due to their excessive mass making them highly expensive. Nanomaterials such as fullerene and carbon nanotubes are added to the racquets now a days to give them more strength and durability.
There is a wide range of badminton racquets being manufactured to cater to different players to suit their playing style. Though the conventional oval head shaped racquets are still available, the new variety with an isometric shaped head has taken over now which is slowly gaining more popularity.
Handle of the Badminton Racquet
– I case of professional games, it is up to the players to choose their choice of the grip. The material used and its thickness influences the grip and the most important thing here is the players’ comfort during play. The common materials used are PU synthetic or toweling grips. In case of players who sweat excessively, an anti-sweat spray can be applied to the grip, or they can use sweatbands or frequently change the grips.
There are two main type of grips –replacement and overgrips. Replacement grips, most preferred by the players, are thicker and used to increase the thickness of the handle Towelling grips are always replacement grips. Overgrips are thinner and are generally used as the final layer. Replacement grips are adhesive while the overgrips have just a small patch of adhesive at the start of the tape that must be applied at the start of the tension. Overgrips are mostly used by those who keep changing their grips frequently so that they can be easily removed without changing the underlying material.
Strings used in Badminton Racquet
– They are thin (0.62 to 0.73 mm thickness) and are extremely strong. String tension is normally in the range of 80 to 160 N (18 to 36 lbf). Professional players use stronger range of tension, around 80 and 110 N (18 and 25 lbf) compared to recreational players who generally string at lower tensions typically between 80 and 110 N (18 and 25 lbf). Some string manufacturers measure the thickness of their strings under tension so they are actually thicker then than specified when slack. The brand “Ashaway Micropower” is actually 0.7mm but the brand “Yonex BG-66” is about 0.72mm.
A “Shuttlecock”, also called the shuttle or a birdie is made of sixteen overlapping feathers in a cone shape, all embedded together at one end into a round cork base. The cork is lined with some synthetic material or thin leather.
Some players use a synthetic type of cork while playing for recreational purposes as it is less expensive and doesn’t break easily as the feathered ones.
A shuttlecock has its own distinctive characters:
Aerodynamic character of the shuttle: The feathers impart substantial drag, causing the shuttlecock to decelerate greatly over distance. Regardless of the initial orientation, the shuttlecock is extremely aerodynamically stable. The cork flies first and remains in the cork first orientation. The parabola of its flight is such that it falls at a steeper angle than it rises. With very high serves, the shuttlecock may even fall vertically.
Spin of the shuttle: Slicing the shuttlecock so that it spins, however, does have applications, and some are particular to badminton.
Badminton Shoes and Apparels
- Slicing the shuttlecock from the side may cause it to travel in a different direction from the direction suggested by the player's racket or body movement. This is used to deceive opponents.
- Slicing the shuttlecock from the side may cause it to follow a slightly curved path (as seen from above), and the deceleration imparted by the spin causes sliced strokes to slow down more suddenly towards the end of their flight path. This can be used to create dropshots and smashes that dip more steeply after they pass the net.
- When playing a netshot, slicing underneath the shuttlecock may cause it to turn over itself (tumble) several times as it passes the net. This is called a spinning netshot or tumbling netshot. The opponent will be unwilling to address the shuttlecock until it has corrected its orientation.
- Dut to its overlapping feathers, a shuttlecock also has a slight natural spin about its axis of rotational symmetry. The spin is in a counter-clockwise direction as seen from above when dropping a shuttlecock. This natural spin affects certain strokes: a tumbling netshot is more effective if the slicing action is from right to left, rather than from left to right
Players need to wear light weight shoes with rubber soles or similar high grip material.
Since this sport requires high levels of lateral support, shoes are carefully selected to suit this instead of choosing the traditional running shoes. Hence shoes requires thin soles which will reduce the injury to the ankle by providing powerful lateral movements unlike other sports that require a built-up lateral support. Besides safety issues, these type of shoes will provide proper footwork to the players which is very important to move around the court to hit the shuttle.
Apparels need to be anti sweat synthetic ones which are comfortable on the players while playing in the high stress environment.