You spend big bucks to get your best badminton racket, and you want it to last long and deliver the most value for your hard-earned cash. That’s why it pays to know what can potentially damage your racket, and what to do to avoid such situations.
In the past, weaknesses in the t-joint frame were the biggest culprits for racket damage, but the issue has been rectified over the years. Today’s rackets are designed to ideally stay put for over five years, but most of them last around 3 years.
In this article, we are going to expound on the top reasons for racket damage that you should watch out for. We’ll also touch on important tips and advice on how to prevent damage, as well as appropriate badminton racket maintenance.
Top 6 Culprits for the Racket Damage
Reason #1: Extremely High String TensionThe most common culprit for racket frame damage is very high string tension and this is also the most common reason for all the shoulder problems that happen due to the game. If they aren’t strung in a proper way, extremely tight strings can break or cause the racket frame to crack.
In reality, most newbies and intermediate players should use rackets with lower string tension, which is anything between 18 and 23 lbs. The result is a softer string bed, which means the player tends not to feel the shuttle. The downside is that the player will have fairly less placement and control over the shuttle.
At lower string tension, the racket (and of course the strings) are poised to last longer and are less vulnerable to cracking/breakage when you hit on the side of the string bed. Only pro players may use very high string tensions, usually higher than 28 lbs. You also need an expert stringer to make sure that the extremely high string tension doesn’t cause breakages during off-centre hits.
As a rule of thumb, beginners are advised to stick to string tensions between 17 and 20 lbs. Intermediates can use 20-24 lbs, while advanced players should opt for 24-27 lbs. As we have already stated, professionals can try very high tensions between 27 lbs and 30 lbs.
Reason #2: Incorrect/Poor HandlingIf you don’t smash at the cork or handle your racket properly it can fall off your grip and hit a hard surface. The result isn’t always good. If the racket hits the ground frame first, it can snap in two, crack or break in many parts. Whatever the case, you don’t want to let go of your racket mid-air. You can also apply protection tape on the frame which is used to protect the tennis rackets, this also helps your racket from getting scratched.
Reason #3: Missing or Snapped String/ThreadThis one is a no-brainer. If even only one thread snaps, you must take immediate action. Unless you are in the middle of a tournament, you should cut all the other threads promptly to even out the tension and prevent further damage to your frame.
Rackets can suffer lots of torture from the game and miss hits. However, the biggest culprit for wear & tear is corrosion which usually affects all steel rackets. If the frame paint has begun to chip, you must reapply a fresh coat.
Reason #4: Corrosion
Obviously, all steel construction can start to rust and develop weaknesses when exposed to prolonged moisture. You should store your racket in a dry, waterproof case when not in use.
Reason #5: Broken GrommetsGrommets are small tubes that dot around the frame of the racket. They are designed for the string to pass through them, so they can protect both the frame from being sliced by tight strings. If the grommets are loose, broken or missing, they should be replaced. If not the string will start through the frame causing it to buckle or break.
Reason #6: ClashingThis is the most obvious reason for racket frame damage. This is especially true if you play with your partner in doubles. At some point (which is more often than not), your rackets will clash.
Depending on the force you put on the smash in question, the clash can cause insignificant to serious damage to the frame. A strong direct clash, for instance, can make the frame to buckle, bend or lose its elegant isometric shape.
Light clash, on the other hand, can cause the paint to come off the frame, while extensive or repeated damage can make the strings to become loose.
Of course, if the collision of the rackets is too much, the frame can crack, or even worse break into pieces. In most cases, the racket damage from a clash can be remedied by a professional. The frames will be reshaped, the strings will obviously be retightened, and new grommets might be installed to prevent tight strings from slicing through the frame.
How to Maintain and Care for your Racket
Rackets typically lose tension and strings start to feel loose with time. A racket with loose strings makes it difficult to control and place your shots, which is not what you need if you want to win.
Re-Stringing your Racket
Reduced string tension can put a bump in your badminton game. That’s why you need to restring your racket at least 4 times a year. Of course, there are numerous other reasons why you might want to do so and there is no hard and fast rule:
- If some strings are broken, this should prompt you to have your racket restringed
- Stay on top of loose strings that can hamper your shot placement
- Reduce sweet spot to increase control over your shots
Here’s a step-by-step on how to restring your racket properly:
Step 1. Inspection: It doesn’t matter if you intend to restring your racket on your own or take it to a professional stringer, you should inspect it first. An inspection will help fish out problems like collapsed, cracked or broken frame. This will help answer the question of whether you should restring your racket or purchase a new one.
Step 2. Decide Who Will Do It: Ideally, you should let a professional restring your racket. But it can be cost-effective and convenient to do it yourself if you have the expertise, tools and time. We recommend Machine Stringing in place of manual stringing.
Step 3. Choose the Right String for your Racket: There are 3 common types of racket strings - monofilament, multifilament, and microfilament. Monofilament strings are typically stiff and provide increased control. Multifilaments offer more power and tend to be more flexible. On its end, microfilaments are slim, stretch well, and offer reduced wind resistance.
It is the load-bearing ability that tells how powerful a string is. A good stringer can help you make an informed choice based on your badminton needs.
Step 4. Pick the Right String Tension: We have already covered this topic extensively. Nonetheless, this is an important step when restringing your racket. The right string tension depends on your experience, string type, etc.
If you want to repair the racket string, then this article will help you.
Taking Care of the Racket FrameFor obvious reasons, the frame of your racket is the region that bears the biggest brunt. The chances are that your racket will get damaged at the frame.
When inspecting your racket frame, be sure to look out for paint chips. They are not exactly a damage issue but can be quite unsightly. Clashes often lead to chipping of the paint.
More crucially, you should watch out for cracks on the frame of your badminton racket. Any crack is a telltale sign of a racket that will not live long. They are usually located in areas where there's a paint chip. A crack often comes off as a thin line that's very noticeable as black or grey when the paintwork has come off.
Large, deep cracks should be a cause for worry.
Your inspection should not end there. Check out for bends, dents, and signs of collapsed/deformed racket frame.
How you store your badminton racket can make a huge difference in terms of durability, performance, and longevity. A racket that’s left lying around uncovered will most likely get damaged and eventually break due to corrosion.
How to Store Your Racket Properly
Here are tips that will come in handy when it comes to storing your racket:
Never leave it in your car - This is the worst thing you can do to your badminton racket. Temperatures in a car during summer can soar very high. Heat can loosen the strings, warp the body and ruin the handle of your racket.
Store in a well-padded case - The case should be well-shaped, sufficiently cushioned and waterproof. Generally, the inside of the case should be dry at all times. Store in a dry, cool place away from heat and anything that can break the racket.
Thermal-lined racket bags are ideal - Don’t take your racket storing location for granted. Ideally, you should buy a bag that has a thermal-lined compartment that will safeguard your baby from extreme changes in temp. This makes sure your racket is not only preserved but also protects your strings.
Avoid extreme cold places - like high temperatures, extremely cold temp can do more harm than good to your strings. More specifically, very low temperature makes the strings dead and inflexible, which means you’ll pretty much have to restring.
Grommets are plastic cylindrical inserts around the circumference of the racket frame. Their job is to protect the racket head and prevent tight strings from damaging the frame. Any damaged or missing grommets should be replaced immediately because this can lead to further damage to the strings or frame.
Taking Care of Grommets
The gripping ability of your badminton racket is crucial. That makes it vital to the overgrip and grip of your racket frequently. After all, a good grip can prevent slips and avoid a scenario where the racket slams on the ground. Also, fresh overgrip helps prevent blisters and accidents that can cost you several points when playing.
Racket Gripping and Re-Gripping
How frequently should you change your racket’s overgrip and grip? It often boils down to a number of important factors. First off, if you tend to sweat a lot, you equally have to change the overgrip several times. Sweat has a habit of percolating through the grip and wetting the wooden handle beneath. You can alternatively use resin pads, cushion wraps, grip powder or a towel to take care of excessive sweating.
For most players, changing the overgrip after 2 to 3 weeks is okay. The grip should be replaced every 2-3 months. However, if you wear a ring that tends to rub against the grip, you might have to replace it frequently unless you are willing to remove the ring while playing. Here is an article on choosing the best grip for your racket.
The Don’ts of Maintaining your Racket
(1) Don’t the Shuttle with the Racket Frame
The frame of the racket can crack, break or buckle if the shuttle hits the right at the frame. It is called a miss-hit. This is particularly worrisome if it happens during a strong smash. This can happen with any newly purchased rackets or old ones. You are lucky if not happen with your old one, but this is not an excuse that will not happen with the new one or a new one that is faulty/defective. More the string tension, the more the chances of frame breakage. If you are a newbie, you are better off using a metal racket instead of a high-modulus carbon or graphite racket.
(2) Don't Put Pointed or Heavy Objects when Storing
Careful storage can ensure a longer-lasting racket. Never place a pointed, heavy or damaging item on the racket when carrying or storing it. Read the article What to pack and how in a badminton kitbag.
(3) Don’t Expose your Racket to Direct Heat or Sunlight
High-modulus carbon and graphite rackets don’t do well in high temperatures. They lose shape, elasticity, strength, and durability. Of course, don’t leave it close to a heat source like a boiler, reflective window, car or heating coil. As we have mentioned earlier, frigid temperatures can stunt and cause your racket strings to malfunction.
Also, Read - Top 10 Myths of Badminton Game
It is not enough to just buy a quality racket. You have to maintain and care for it properly. That’s why you should avoid the above-mentioned causes of frame damage to make sure that your frame will last longer and deliver the most value to you. Otherwise, you will cry saying I just purchased the new racket and break in the first match, and there is No resolution of the same.