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Badminton Racquet Maintenance Guide (Grommets, Strings, Grips, Paint Repair, Cleaning)

Image credit: Photo by Cesar Carlevarino Aragon on Unsplash -

Looking after your Badminton racquets should be a no-brainer for any Badminton player, whether you’re a beginner or an elite player. Look after your equipment and they will last longer and give you more back in return. Sadly not everybody gives their Badminton racquets the TLC they deserve.

So how do you look after your Badminton racquet? Looking after your Badminton racquet means replacing the grommets when they’re starting to split. Restringing your racquet when strings are worn and likely lost some of their tension. Changing the grip regularly avoid moisture seeping into the wooden handle from sweaty grips.

These are just a few things you should do to keep your racquets in good shape but there’s more. Read on to find out everything there is to know about maintaining your Badminton racquet.

Badminton Racquet Grommet Replacement

The grommets on a Badminton racquet are the small black pieces of plastic that sit in the sides of the racquet head. The strings are threaded through these as protection for the racquet head itself so the strings don’t sit directly on the graphite of the racquet.

They’re a component that is often overlooked in racquet care. People will get their racquet restrung when the strings break but worn out or split grommets might be the reason the strings snapped anyway.

After long use grommets will start to deform as the strings are constantly exerting pressure on them. If they “split” the string will start to put more pressure onto the racquet head which could cause the frame to crack.

It’s important to check the grommets on your racquet every time you get it restrung to make sure your stringer knows that they need replacing and doesn’t overlook them. They’ll add an additional cost on top of their normal price but rather that then having to buy a new racquet because old grommets caused cracks in the frame.

Paul Stewart Badminton coach has a great video on grommet replacement, watch below.

When to Change your Badminton Strings

There is no one size fits all rule for the best time to change your strings. Strings lose tension and start to fray naturally over time. People usually ask this question because they’ve been playing a number of months and are wondering why they haven’t broken yet.

There are five factors that play a role when debating whether to change your string or not:

  1. Your playing level
  2. How often you play
  3. What string you use
  4. The weather and climate
  5. Can you actually feel a difference?

Let’s look at these points one by one in more detail.

Playing level

Beginner/intermediate level players tend to have lower tensions for their strings to compensate for their lack of consistency and technique. This means a good quality string could last months for them as the strings aren’t put under as much stress through high tensions or powerful hitting.

More advanced players will tend to have a higher tension for fine-tuned feedback from the racquet. This grants them more control and precision in their shots if they play with good technique. These same players will go through strings much faster with the strings under a lot more pressure.

Frequency of play

How often you play will have a role in how often you change your strings. If you’re a regular player playing 3-4 times a week you’ll need to replace your strings more often then somebody who only plays twice a month. Consistent use will wear down the strings naturally and they will eventually just break if you don’t replace them first.

Choice of string

The type of string you use plays a big part in how often you’ll need to change them. There are lots of different types of strings out there. Lots of different brands provide different styles and colours. These different styles provide particular pros and cons for use.

For example; I use the Yonex BG80 Power strings in all my personal racquets. It’s a slightly thicker string than most which means it has better durability. However, I have my racquets strung at 28lbs which is quite high and that means a higher probability of breaking through a mishit.

In contrast, very thin strings like the Yonex Aerosonic strings are much easier to break. They’re only 0.61mm in thickness so no matter how good you are they will wear down very quickly.

Weather and climate, storing your racquets

Not known by many but the temperature and general climate in which you store, carry and play with your racquets can affect your strings. Fortunately, it’s only one type of climate you need to really worry about and that is the cold.

When the strings in your racquet get very cold they’re less elastic and unable to stretch as much as they normally would. When put under pressure from hitting shuttles whilst still cold they’re more likely to snap.

It’s best to store your racquets in a cool, dry place at home. Not somewhere hot or cold but just somewhere room temperature so your racquets and strings are in a consistent environment.

Most Badminton bags have a foil lining on the inside of the racquet compartment of the bag. This insulates the compartment and keeps it at room temperature. This protects against the cold and heat but hot climates do not affect Badminton strings in the same way.

Feel the tension difference or measure it

Probably the best time to change your strings is when you can feel a definite difference in tension. A lose of tension will drastically change the quality and consistency of your shots. You’re essentially hitting the same shots in the same way you always do but with slacker strings.

Usually, when the strings lose tension your shots will start to feel dampened. You’ll start to feel the feedback from your racquet is less concentrated and that’s because the sweet spot on your racquet will have widened.

One easy test to see if your strings have lost tension is to take the racquet your testing and a spare one. If you have a racquet unsued with your original stringing tension then this works doubly well. Take the spare racquet and firmly tap the middle of the strings of the racquet you’re checking with the side of the racquet head.

Listen to the sound it makes when you hit the strings. Strings with a high tension will make a high pitch “ping” sound. The lower the tension is the lower the pitch will be. So you’ll be able to tell if the strings have changed by comparing it to the sound of the other racquet.

This technique is used by a lot of players. But what if you don’t have a spare unused racquet with the right tension? Or what if you don’t know what sound your tension should make? There is an app called Stringster which allows you to use the same method mentioned to measure the tension sound with your phone.

It’s compatible with iOS and Android and works quite well. Download it and give it a go. Below is a video explaining the app.

Cleaning/Changing Your Badminton Racquet Grip

I’ve seen players with racquet grips that really need some TLC. This is especially prevalent with beginners as they either don’t know they can change the grip on their racquet or don’t understand the dangers of not changing their grip often enough.

There are two different types of Badminton grips, synthetic grips and towel grips. Each type needs replacing regularly but I’d say it is more important to replace towels grips when they start to wear down and can no longer be dried properly.

Let’s talk about the problems you’ll face if you don’t replace your grip enough. Towel grips are made from cotton, which makes them comfortable to handle and great for people who get sweaty hands when they exercise. But because they’re made of cotton they absorb moisture really well and the towel grip holds onto that moisture.

It’s worth having an actual towel in your bag to dry the grip off after playing and during if necessary. Even with the best care, the towel grip will need replacing at some point as the cotton fibres start to break down and become saturated. Having grip powder too can help if you find the grip starts to get slippy from damp hands.

When the grip no longer feels comfortable, can’t be dried properly or has become ragged and smelly, it’s time to change it. It can become a real problem if the moisture from the grip starts to seep into the wooden racquet handle. It will soften and damage the wood creating irreversible damage.

Synthetic grips are designed to mimic leather grips. They’re tacky and provide a good comfortable grip. They’re more hygienic then towel grips as the material, normally Polyurethane, has natural antibacterial properties. They come in two forms, a PU grip which completely replaces the original grip and thinner overgrips which are meant to just be wrapped over the top of an existing grip.

Synthetic grips can last at longer then towel grips without smelling and getting wet. They don’t absorb moisture like towel grips. The downside is that the tackiness can wear off quite quickly if you play a lot. They become more smooth and then it can be easy for the racquet to slip out of your hand. Putting both your racquet at risk and somebody else it might hit by accident.

It’s best to replace these grips when they start to go smooth. They definitely need to be replaced if you see the synthetic material starting to rub away. At this point, the rough underlay will start to irritate your skin.

If you prefer using synthetic grips instead of towel grips, I recommend the Yonex Supergrap Overgrip to go over your existing grip. They’re very thin so they won’t add much bulk to your existing grip

Badminton Racquet Paint Repair

Paint chips happen with any Badminton racquet. Whether from scarping the shuttlecock off the floor to pick it up or from clashing with someone else’s racquet, paint chips will happen.

As long as they’re not too deep or part of a crack in the frame it’s purely cosmetic damage and nothing to worry about. However, for those of you who like to keep their racquets looking new for longer, there are a couple of ways to repair paint chips quite simply.

You can simply apply some simple paint primer to the chipped area, wait for it to dry and then apply some enamel paint that matches the colour of the chipped area. Be careful if doing this as both primer and enamel paint emit fumes and you should use a mask. Enamel paint drys to a hard, glossy finish which is very durable.

An even simpler way of repairing paint chips is to use nail varnish to paint in the chipped areas. Nail varnish comes in almost any colour so you’ll be able to match your racquet colour. Unfortunately, it is very thin so a few layers may be needed to cover up the chip.

Store Your Racquets in the Right Way

We mentioned earlier how storing your racquets in the right environment can help preserve your strings. Let’s discuss storing your racquets properly for protecting the rest of the racquet. Having a good quality Badminton bag is a necessity for keeping your racquet protected. Badminton bags have protective padding and lining to reduce damage from bumps and collisions.

If you have a Badminton racquet bag then great, if not most Badminton racquets come with a protective cover of some kind. Whether it’s one that just covers the racquet head or a full-length cover, if you have one then use it.

If you have both a Badminton bag and the cover then even better. Store your racquet in the cover in your bag. Double protection and if you have multiple racquets in your bag then they won’t scrape against each other with their covers on.

Try and keep your Badminton racquets in a place where they’ll not get knocked constantly and keep them in a room-temperature environment.

If you don’t have a Badminton bag I’d recommend looking at our article, best Badminton bags to suit any player in the recommended gear section.

How Long Does a Badminton Racquet Last?

A good quality Badminton racquet treated well can last a lifetime of play. I’ve still got a Yonex Armortec 900 Power in my bag, a racquet I’ve had for over 15 years! I don’t play with it anymore but I could if I wanted to.

Badminton racquets are made from a special graphite material that makes them lightweight but strong. They do have good durability but, like anything, as time goes on they can become more susceptible to damage and breaking. Here are some things to avoid to help your racquets stand the test of time.

  • Clashing with another players racquet in doubles
  • Throwing or otherwise abusing your racquet
  • Stringing your racquet higher than recommended by the manufacturer
  • Hitting the shuttlecock with the frame of your racquet
  • Not cutting up the rest of your strings when one has broken.

I’ve always taken good care of my racquets using all the information I’ve shared in this article. There’s no reason why yours won’t last as long as that if you take good care of them. Don’t let good money, materials and the effort that went into creating the racquet go to waste because of poor care. Give your racquets the TLC they deserve.

Why do badminton players cut the strings? Badminton players cut the strings out of their racquet when they break. They do this to release the tension that the unbroken strings still have in them. Having one string broken with the others intact creates an imbalance of tension that can distort the racquet head.

Why do badminton strings break? Badminton strings can break due to general wear and tear, worn-out grommets that begin to cut into the string and mishits that put too much force on the strings closer to the frame of the racquet.

Can badminton rackets be repaired? Depending on the severity of the damage to the racquet, Badminton racquets can be repaired. If there is a crack in the frame this can be repaired using an epoxy filling technique combined with carbon fibre. Click here to see a video on how it’s done.

If you found this article helpful return the favour and share it with a friend. If you feel I’ve missed anything out or have other advice, please leave feedback and share your help with others below. Thanks again for reading.

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Written by Liam Walsh who lives in Manchester, England. Working as a Software Engineer but moonlighting as a dad, Badminton player/coach and creator of BadmintonsBest.

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