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Rackets are as individual as the player. A racket that feels the best to one player may not feel the same to a different player. When choosing the right HL racket for you, your choice should consider your budget, playing ability (beginner,intermediate, advanced, tournament level player) and your playing style (power, defensive, all around game). The two major considerations when matching your playing style to your HL racket, are balance and shaft flexibility.
HL tournament quality graphite badminton rackets start around $50 at the low end and can cost $150 for a tour professional quality racket. Deciding on a budget early will help you narrow your search. HL badminton rackets at every level cost less than the comparable models from the world's major racket manufacturers because HL does not pay millions of dollars in sponsor fees to the world's top players to use our equipment. The other companies sponsor fees are passed on to the consumer through higher racket prices. The more expensive badminton rackets are usually required by advanced and professional players because they string their rackets at higher tensions and need the most expensive graphite materials in those rackets to facilitate those higher string tensions. If you intend on stringing your racket at tensions above 25lbs, make sure you look at the recommended string tension before choosing your racket.
The racket balance categories are: Head-Heavy, Even-Balance and Head-Light. Head-Heavy rackets have the mass shifted towards the head, resulting in a heavier head. Head-Light rackets have the mass shifted towards the handle, resulting in a lighter head. Even-Balance rackets have the mass distributed evenly throughout the racket.
Head-Heavy badminton rackets facilitate the power game from the back of the court, full court clears and smashes. You must be strong enough to be able to maneuver this style racket effectively
Head-Light badminton rackets are better suited for the defensive counter attacking player who plays more doubles. The advantage of this style racket is that the head and frame have less mass and are therefore more maneuverable. If you play a fast attacking badminton style when playing doubles you should consider a Head-Light racket.
Even-Balance rackets are designed to offer the advantages of both, giving you enough power from the back and enough control and maneuverability when needed. If you are unsure or have yet to decide what style player you want to be, then an Even-Balance racket is your best choice.
Shaft flexibility is also important when choosing the appropriate badminton racket. The racket swing speed produced by the player is important when choosing the correct shaft flex. HL categorizes rackets as 'Flexible', 'Medium', Stiff' and "X-Stiff. The faster your swing speed the more you will benefit from a stiffer shaft. The slower your swing speed the more you will benefit from a more flexible shaft. Beginner and intermediate players are far more likely to benefit from a racket with a flexible shaft, while more advanced players tend to gravitate to a racket with a stiffer shaft. If you are unsure, it is best to choose a racket with a medium flex for your first racket.
A stiffer shaft will flex more quickly, giving high swing-speed players maximum power and control. A slower swing-speed player would not be able to flex a stiff shafted racket enough resulting in a loss of power
A more flexible shaft will flex more easily at lower swing speeds adding power to your stroke for players with slower swing speeds. A high swing-speed player using too flexible a shaft would lose both power and control as the shaft would flex too much when swinging the racket. The flex of a shaft determines how much repulsion you can get in exchange for consistency when making your different strokes. While having a badminton racket that bends is great for repulsion; it acts as a spring to help you hit further when you swing a racket, having too flexible a shaft can cause inconsistency as it bends differently when swung at different speeds
Racket weight is a personal preference, but a head heavier racket does add more power if you have enough strength to control the racket. Head heavier rackets are not suited for all players. Lighter rackets are easier to control, but you give up some power if they are too light.
The HL power grip is a good tool for learning to hold the racket correctly. If you like a particular HL racket and it has a power grip, but you prefer a conventional flat grip it is easily changed. Towel grips work well for a player whose hand sweats a lot when playing. Towel grips require more frequent replacement then a synthetic grip
String tensions are listed in a range. HL recommends that beginning and less skilled players use a tension at the lower-end
Here is a general guideline:
Don't worry if you are unsure of what string tension to use, badminton strings don't last forever. If you play frequently, your racket strings need to be changed when the strings wear out or get too soft. You can experiment with different string tensions next time you get your racket restrung. Restringing a racket with the same string, but with a different tension will make your racket feel and play differently.
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