The stiffness of a badminton racket plays an important role in how it behaves. For stiffer racket, it can be quite hard for you to bend or flex it. If you just start to play badminton, then you may face problem where you didn’t possess the required skills to swing the racket fast enough to make it flex.
Thus, for beginners, they are better off by choosing flexible versions of rackets because they can flex the racket much easier. With that, they can possess more power for the same effort when they swing.
You will find that the top end rackets have stiff or extra stiff ratings. The reason is that more stiffness gives more control. This works because the racket does not bend as much and so there is less movement of the racket head on impact with the shuttlecock. This gives you more control than a more flexible racket does. The most expensive rackets are geared towards offering this control, and they are aimed at advanced players.
The manufacturers assume that if you buy one of these stiff versions, then you already have the ability to swing fast enough to get the power, you just need extra control over your shots, hence the extra stiffness. You have to make sure that you are capable of using these kinds of rackets before you spend your money on them. Again, it will all come down to you and your skill level.
Another problem with the very stiff designs is that they can cause injuries. Vibration is a major disadvantage with stiff rackets because you feel every impact just a little bit more compared to a more flexible racket. The disadvantage of the flexible rackets is that they are harder to control, although this is all down to personal preference. Many players are totally comfortable with flexible rackets and have no need to move up to the stiff models.
If you look at the product descriptions of some of the most popular racket makers like Yonex you can often find little clues as to the stiffness rating. For example the Nanospeed series have the 9000S and the 9000X. In this case the “S” refers to stiff, and the “X” refers to extra stiff. You will also find this information, hopefully, fom the actual description of the badminton racket. There are many manufacturers on the market these days, all trying to make you buy their products over the next one, and each one has their own strengths and weaknesses, and their own way of making rackets. The next post will take a look at some of the more popular badminton brands.