Friday, October 9, 2009

Feather vs Nylon

A sport with a court exactly the same as badminton court, very similar rules to badminton, but not badminton. What is it? It is a badminton with nylon shuttles ;)

Okay, I may be exaggerating. However, I believe many people will agree with me, especially those with vast badminton experience, that a badminton game with feather (shuttle)s is very different compared to those with nylon (shuttle)s. Heck, in Indonesian badminton is called "bulutangkis" where "bulu" actually means "feather". So I might not be completely wrong in the first place... hehehe...

Anyway, let me start with my story. Back then when I live in Indonesia, I was not a serious player. I never played in any club nor had any kind of training. Simply said, I played badminton just for a social activity. Despite that, I never once played with anything other than feather shuttles. When I came to Holland to study, to my surprise, everyone in my campus badminton court was playing with nylon shuttles, including those in the club. Since feather shuttles are expensive, I was also forced to play with nylons. At that moment I didn't realize much, but when I started to take badminton more seriously, I realized that there are huge differences between nylons and feathers. My opinions are:

  • With feathers, the shuttle will have a high initial speed compared to nylons, but with higher deceleration as well.
  • It is more difficult to lift nylons. This cause the shuttle path much more flatter compared to those with feathers.
  • Thus, there is less chance to jump smashes in badminton game with nylons. The shuttle will not "float" as much as feathers.
  • Nylons don't give enough feedback on the impact. I often wonder if I hit the shuttles correctly.
  • The strokes are different. If you are used to feathers or nylons, expect to have some effort in adapting when using the other type of shuttle.
  • Those with technical finesse have more advantages when playing with feathers, nylons encourage power play more. Smashes with nylons are very difficult to retrieve since their speed is ridiculous.
Since I grew up with feathers, I prefer them more. Hence my bias in writing this article :) I will not tell people to pick feathers over nylons since everyone is entitled to their own preference. My only advice is to stick with one type of shuttle only. Mastering badminton is difficult enough without having to think about different types of shuttle. The only exception is, if you are willing to be pro then you have to stick with feathers since all high level competition that I know is played with feathers.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Badminton Beginner, Where to Start?

So we want to start (or arleady started) playing badminton and want to enjoy the beautiful game. Where can we go from here?

It depends, personally, one way to enjoy badminton is by becoming better at it. Therefore, I would suggest you to find a good coach (perhaps by joining a club?). Some people think that they can be better by training without a coach, while this might be true, nothing can really beat a good coach. In badminton (and other sports), basic technique is very important. Understanding the basic technique since the very beginning is the right way to do it because once you learn a wrong technique, it would take more time to unlearn it. So, who's going to prevent you from going to the wrong direction? Correct, that would be the coach.

For beginners, there are some important techniques to focus on: grip, basic stroke, and footwork. While some of us will find those not as fancy as smashing or trick shots, they are the most important. I would suggest everyone to check this article from The Badminton Bible to get to know more about badminton grips.
The very basic strokes that should be learned at the very beginning are: lob, drop, and perhaps underhand strokes. For lob and drop, just concentrate on forehand first. The backhand lob and drop are not as important because you can (sometimes) replace them with over the head forehand lob and drop which is more recommended. As for footwork, this is probably the most boring thing to learn and easily forgotten. However, I can assure you that most of the time footwork is a difference between a decent and good player. Ask your coach to show you how to do it, although I doubt you will have the chance to do it since he/she will tell you about it anyway.

Last thing, don't forget to enjoy the game!

Some Links for Badminton Resources

Check out these links:

The Science of Badminton

I found an interesting video in YouTube about science of badminton. This is a program created by a China TV (called CCTV 9) but with English commentary/subtitle. This is a good start for those interested in badminton equipments. These video features the badminton professor Xiao Jie whose pretty famous among badminton enthusiast because of her instructional badminton video along with the former world champion Zhao Jianhua.

First Post

Hi there,

Welcome to my blog. I am an amateur/recreational badminton player who occasionally play in tournaments. I live in Holland (though I am Indonesian) and playing in a university club in Delft called USSR. I am also part of a social badminton gathering called MBI Belanda (Indonesian Badminton Community in Holland). Do not mistake me as an advanced player, I am merely a beginner who enjoy badminton a lot and therefore putting a lot of effort in order to become better! My motivation in writing this blog is because I feel that there is not enough badminton resource available on the Internet. I hope this blog could somehow create an added value.

I'm planning to put anything related to badminton here: badminton news, my experience/story, equipment related to badminton, badminton technique/strategy, videos, and many others.

Let the journey begin...