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Shuttlecocks are one of the main pieces of equipment needed in order to play badminton.

The shuttlecock is designed to fly through the air when hit with your racquet and once it hits the court surface, a point is scored.

But the lightweight travel of the shuttlecock’s design can cause problems for players.

Hitting the shuttlecock over and over again, especially by those players who play badminton more intensely and aggressive, can cause it to break down and be useless.

Replacing a shuttlecock over and over again can be frustrating.

Finding out how to make a shuttlecock more durable can help reduce the number of times you need to replace a shuttlecock and makes playing easier.

Choosing the best shuttlecock

Before you learn to repair a shuttlecock, you should understand how to pick a shuttlecock.

The shuttlecock is shaped to be stable in the air after being hit by the badminton racquet.

The design allows for a cork and feathers, which are placed in a narrow cone like shape, to fly correctly.

But if one part of the shuttlecock is damaged, it will affect how the shuttlecock flies, whether by affecting the flight path and direction of the shuttlecock or limiting how far it can travel.

The feathers, either real feathers or plastic, are the portion of the shuttlecock that are damaged most quickly and easily.

There are sixteen of these feathers used on the shuttlecock.

While plastic shuttlecock feathers break less, they are not used by professional players as often as they have downsides.

Instead, recreational players use these shuttlecock types as they will be playing very often with the shuttlecock and will not want to replace the shuttlecock frequently.

Professional players will commonly replace the shuttlecock every game in a tournament which allows feathered shuttlecocks to be a perfect choice.

The major downside to using feathered shuttlecocks is they are very easy to break and mismanage.

Feather shuttlecocks

These shuttlecocks are made with bird feathers, usually goose or duck.

They enable the shuttlecock to produce high speeds. The speeds produced by the feathers require less force than plastic shuttlecock options as they are lighter and more adapt to gain air.

This increased speed will allow for extended distance to be covered by the shuttlecock. The distances covered will not affect the path of the shuttlecock.

The descent of the shuttlecock is faster too making it more difficult for opponents to return shots.

Though these shuttlecocks offer many beneficial features that encourage professional players to use them, they are very high maintenance.

How a shuttlecock is damaged

While higher quality made shuttlecocks last longer along with a plastic feathered shuttlecock, feathered shuttlecocks are prone to damage which can affect their flight path, stability, and trajectory.

The feathers used are brittle and can break easily due to impact with the badminton racquet or the court floor.

The speed the shuttlecock travels can also cause damage to ensue if the shuttlecock is traveling too fast.

When the feathers are dry, they can also suffer causing a higher risk of breakage and for the shuttlecock to wobble.

Finding a way to humidify the feathers helps stabilize their condition making them travel at the proper speed and reach the needed distance.

But this is a delicate process because if the feathers are too damp, they will narrow the shape of the shuttlecock cone.

This will cause the feathers to travel too far and too fast.

Once a feather is damaged it will affect the entire shuttlecock and a replacement will be needed.

Ways to make a shuttlecock stronger

There are three primary ways to help strengthen the durability of your shuttlecock by allowing the feathers to sit in a proper, humid environment before game use.

These ways include steaming the feathers, the use of a humidifier, and even a technique called dipping the feathers which requires the use of warm water.

These methods are all very similar in their function of increasing durability but will change slightly.

The three methods will also require different time needed for the process to be complete.

This is important to note, as all of these processes cannot be done right before a badminton match starts.

The shuttlecock will need time with these processes, and it can take hours to a whole night’s worth of time before the shuttlecock is ready to be used.

Other tips and tricks used to keep feathers in proper condition include basic care routines.

Making sure the shuttlecock is stored properly so no feathers are being bent and damage will help keep up its condition.

Also making sure the shuttlecock is stored away from areas within your home or gym that offer higher heats can help.

Higher heats make the feathers more brittle and therefore lead to breakage.

Storing the shuttlecock instead in a cool room with some humidity is ideal.

Your shuttlecock should also be aired out, or given time to breath, prior to a match. This is usually ranged between a whole day or two whole days prior to the shuttlecock being used.

This is important to remember when noting the time needed to complete the three durability methods.

Steaming the shuttlecock

The first method to increase the durability of your badminton shuttlecock is known as steaming.

This is similar to using a humidifier in order to damp the feathers to just the right amount so they travel perfectly and will not be affected by breakage that can occur during their flight time.

You can either purchase a shuttlecock steamer or rely on boiled water in a kettle.

Placing the badminton shuttlecock along the tube of the kettle, which contains boiling water, or within the device being used will place the shuttlecock in the proper position.

Then, let the steam being created enter the tube for about 30 seconds. Make sure to keep the lids of the kettle closed in order to contain the steam properly.

Let the feathers sit for a minimum of 12 hours in order to be properly steamed.

This will take away some of the brittleness from each of the feathers and allow them to adjust to their environment more easily.

As it requires 12 hours, it is important to plan ahead. This is not a task you can complete just before a match.

Rather, you must plan out when you will need to do this so the shuttlecock will be ready for use and the process is not rushed.

Using a humidifier

Using a humidifier works as another way to steam the bird feathers of your shuttlecock. These are sold as shuttlecock specific humidifiers designed to contain the shuttlecock tubes.

This process is by far the easiest way to increase the feather’s durability. There is also little chance for harm to occur and weaken the feathers unless server misuse occurs.

A humidifier will also be made small. This allows you to carry it with your gear, a great benefit to those players needing to travel for tournaments.

Many are designed to be portable and fit in a badminton bag.

Once the humidifier is placed on a surface you will pour water into the top of the device waiting for it to fill up.

Make sure the device will be placed on a surface that can get wet.

The humidifier will not spill water, but it can leak due to the humidity of the air changing in that vicinity.

The device is then placed in the tube where the shuttlecock is already positioned.

The humidifier should be on top of the tube in order to prevent any water from building up.

Much like the steaming method, a humidifier will also take a full 12 hours to have full effect on the feathers.

Dipping the shuttlecock

Dipping the shuttlecock into warm water is another way to ensure a more durable feather for you to play badminton with.

This method requires a player to store the dampened racquet overnight in order to use it the next day.

The dipping process works by introducing the feathers to moisture so they will soften.

This will reduce the brittle nature of the features, lowering the chance of breaking that occurs when the shuttlecock is hit.

This is an easy solution for those players who dwell in dryer places or during winter times.

To do this process, prepare a bowl of warm water and hold the shuttlecock by its cork.

The feathers of the shuttlecock will be on the bottom of the grip and allow you to more easily dip them into the water.

Be careful not to get the cork wet as you dip the feathers in the water. Allow the feathers to sit within the water for two to three minutes.

Shaking the shuttlecock off as you retract it from the warm water, place the shuttlecock inside the tube that has been cleaned with warm water for a few seconds prior to ensure the inner walls of the shuttlecock tube is dampened.

Close the cap of the tube to ensure the inside of the tube will be wet as the shuttlecock sits overnight.

This, like the other processes is slower, taking plenty of time but is an easy solution to those without the devices needing to humidify their shuttlecock feathers.

How to make a shuttlecock more durable

Shuttlecock feathers can break easily, being made of bird feathers. This is caused by a number of things including high speed travel, hard impact with the badminton racquet or court floor, and improper environment which can make the feathers too brittle.

Making your shuttlecock more durable will prevent the need to constantly replace them and allow them to operate and fly properly.

The three methods to increase the durability of the shuttlecock, steaming, humidifying, and dipping, all requiring at least 12 hours to be effective.

These methods work by supplying moisture to the feathers and allowing them to be dampened slightly to reduce their brittle nature.

Steaming the shuttlecock is used by a kettle of boiling water being placed against the tube containing the feathers.

A humidifier works in a similar fashion being filled with water and then placed on the top of the tube to dampen the feathers.

These two methods allow the steam of warm, boiling water to improve the feathers of the shuttlecock.

Dipping the shuttlecock allows you to directly place the shuttlecock’s feather in water and to sit within the tube to slowly dry.

This method does not require steam but for a small amount of water to rest directly on the feathers.

Each of these methods should not soak the feathers as this can narrow the cone shape and prevent a straight flight path.

Sources Consulted:

Featured image credit: DepositPhotos.com

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