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Compared to other racquet sports, badminton has an added challenge when playing outdoors. Badminton shuttlecocks have a high top speed.
Therefore, shuttlecock flight is highly affected by wind. For this reason, competitive badminton is always played indoors.
Badminton is also played as a casual recreational activity, often in a garden (yard) or beach setting.
However, in this article we will focus on finding the best shuttlecock for indoor badminton.
Playing badminton indoors
To learn more about playing badminton indoors, take a quick look at this video!
Other reasons Competitive Badminton is played indoors rather than outdoors
- A shuttlecock is lightweight. A feather shuttlecock is often used in competitive play. A feather shuttlecock is formed from 16 or more overlapping feathers, usually duck or goose, embedded into the rounded cork base. To ensure great flight properties, it is preferable to use feathers from right to left wings only in each shuttlecock and not mix feathers from different wings, as the feathers from different wings are shaped differently. A feather shuttlecock is extremely lightweight. The total weight of a shuttlecock is about 5 grams. A tennis ball, in comparison, weighs about 60 grams. Therefore, the tennis ball is 12 times heavier. A golf ball is also heavier than a shuttlecock weighing in at around 50 grams. The weight of the shuttlecock makes it susceptible to any type of wind, and control is lost.
- The Shuttlecock’s shape makes it a fit for indoor play. A shuttlecock (also called a ‘birdie’) has an open conical shape formed by feathers or a synthetic alternative (plastics) embedded into a rounded cork (or rubber base). The shuttlecock’s shape makes it extremely aerodynamically stable. No matter where it initially originates when hit, it will turn to fly ‘cork first’ and remain in the cork-first orientation. The cone shape acts as a parachute and slows after the shuttle is hit. The rate at which this happens is one of the characteristics that can make different types and brands of shuttlecocks perform erratically in different settings.
- Visibility: For most of the time during a badminton game, the shuttle is above head height. You are constantly looking up. Many sports centers are not suited for badminton due to the placement of lights. The same problem happens when playing outside. The shuttle can get lost in the lights whether it is bright misplaced indoor lights or sunlight.
- Rainy conditions and safety: Besides the fact that a shuttle (especially one made of feathers) will be weighed down to the point of not being playable, a wet playing surface is dangerous. The combination of turning, jumping and twisting during fast play requires secure footing. Injuries occur easily if dampness causes players to slip and fall. Playing indoors obviously alleviates these problems.
What is ‘Crossminton’?
Crossminton is a cross between badminton, tennis and squash. The closest relation that badminton has to crossminton is the ‘speeder’. The speeder is the equivalent of a shuttlecock.
There is no net in crossminton and instead, the two sides of the court are separated by 40 feet of empty space.
Much like badminton, the object of the game is to land the speeder in the opponent’s court and for the opponent to be unable to return it.
Crossminton allows for outoor play in three ways:
- The Speeder: the speeder is designed to be wind-stable. It is heavier than a feather shuttle and made from durable synthetic materials more similar to a plastic badminton shuttle.
- Removal of the Net: Removal of the net is beneficial to playing outside because the approach to the game is different. Instead of having a lot of high lifts, crossminton is played more directly by players trying to hit the others box. This provides less chance for the speeder to get carried away by wind and for the sun to be a factor as well.
- The Court: Sometimes badminton (and crossminton) games are played on a beach. Covering the court outdoors is made easier due to the size and set-up of the court. The two sides of the court are separated by empty space. The box each player plays in is 5.5 meters wide and long. This is narrower and shorter than one side of a badminton court.
If you aren’t interested in trying Crossminton or outdoor badminton and want to stick with playing badminton indoors.
Best Shuttlecock for Indoor Badminton
As we mentioned earlier, feather shuttlecocks are very popular for indoor badminton, as well as being the only type of shuttlecock used in professional tournaments.
In the section below, we will focus on feather shuttlecocks.
Always consult an industry professional before using any new product with your game. The following products may work well for use with indoor badminton.
Yonex AS-30 Shuttlecocks
From the manufacturer:
YONEX Aerosensa shuttlecocks are the official shuttlecock of the World’s leading international tournaments.
The precisely engineered technology in every lightweight YONEX feather shuttlecock is extensively checked and tested to guarantee consistent performance.
These high standards are the reason that YONEX feather shuttlecocks were the official choice of the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Features and Details
- 100% solid cork
- Goose feathers
- YONEX feather shuttlecocks are precision-manufactured to ensure the correct speed, distance and stability performance.
- Speed: 3
- Shuttles in the tube: 12
- Last an average of 2 full games for an intermediate level player
- Durable and accurate
View at Amazon to learn more about how this product might work for your game.
The most common complaint generally reported about the YONEX AS-30 was that they were a little on the heavy side.
It’s also often reported that you need to wet or moisturize them. This isn’t uncommon for feather shuttles.
To “wet’ or ‘moisturize’ means to humidify.
They should be humidified for at least four hours prior to play in order to fly the correct distance at the proper speed and to last longer. The reason for this is because dry feathers break easily due to being brittle, causing the shuttle to wobble.
On the other hand, saturated feathers make the feather cone narrow too much when hit, causing the shuttle to fly too far.
The process of humidifying can be done by a humidification box or a small moist sponge is inserted in the feather end of the closed shuttle tube container.
Victor Champion #1 Green (BWF approved) Professional Badminton Shuttlecock
From the manufacturer:
Victor Champion Grade shuttlecock is grade AAA feather with a cork base. It is approved by the World Badminton Federation.
What does it mean to be WBF approved?
Manufacturers of badminton equipment can apply to be included on the list of approved standards established by the World Badminton Federation. The official list of approved equipment is tested according to the minimum standards established by the WBF.
It is there to ensure that the highest level of equipment is used for the highest level sporting events.
The manufacturers who have their equipment approved have certain rights when advertising their products.
The approval scheme was introduced in 1988 to maintain a satisfactory standard of feather shuttles used in international badminton events.
The BWF also approves nets, net posts, and flooring.
Shuttlecocks have to undergo tests in laboratories or testing facilities.
The results are examined by the BWF and if the product meets the required standard, the product manufacturer will be entitled to use the words “Approved by the BWF for International play” on advertising for that approved brand and grade.
The Victor Championship feather shuttle is proud to be on the approval list.
View at Amazon for more information on how this product might work for your game.
Features and Details:
- Color: White
- Material: Feather
- Manufacturer: Victor Sports
Featured image credit: DepositPhotos.com @JanPietruszka