In a world of flicks, balks, shuttlecocks and wood shots, tension is more than just crazy badminton lingo. String tension is measured in pounds and refers to how tight your racket's strings are. It's a factor that makes a big difference in your performance on the court. There is no one “right” tension to choose; instead, pick your string tension based on the type of player you are, or the type of player you aspire to be.
Pick a racket with a tension between 16 and 19 pounds if you're a beginning player. This gives you a nice big sweet spot, or the part of the stringbed that makes for the best shuttle propulsion off the racket. A bigger sweet spot typically makes it easier to learn the game.
Tighten up to 18 to 20 pounds when you're more comfortable on the court. These lower tensions also cater to those who don't use a lot of wrist in their game.
Bump your tension up to the 20-to-25-pound range after a while if you're confident in your shuttle control.
Go with tighter strings, 27 pounds or above, only if you're a power player or a wrist-focused hitter. More tension gives your stringbed less bounce, adding additional accuracy and propulsion speed to your shot but on the downside, you'll have a smaller sweet spot.
Pay attention to your hand and arm as you test different tensions on the court. If contact with the shuttle causes your hand or arm to vibrate, your tension may be a little too high. Try a lower tension until it feels right for you.
- Don't neglect string thickness when choosing or stringing a badminton racket. Thinner strings -- which typically measure around 0.66 millimeters in circumference -- offer more power and bounce, but are less durable than thick strings. As a general rule of thumb, avoid stringing thin strings at tensions higher than 27 pounds.
- Always follow the racket's recommended string tension, as provided by its manufacturer. Exceeding the recommended limit may damage the racket frame. As a rule of thumb, don't exceed 30 pounds of tension.
Dan Ketchum has been a professional writer since 2003, with work appearing online and offline in Word Riot, Bazooka Magazine, Anemone Sidecar, Trails and more. Dan's diverse professional background spans from costume design and screenwriting to mixology, manual labor and video game industry publicity.