How to choose badminton shuttle
The best way to choose shuttlecock is to talk with your friends. Not like racquet or shoes, you cannot figure that much useful information from simple touch and feel. But overall, the feathers on the shuttle should be consistent. Stem of the feather should not be fragile. It should be covered by glue. When you clear shot or deep high serve, the shuttle should flight and drop smooth without wagging.
Feather for good shuttlecock comes from goose. Only 6 feathers in each wing can be used to make a shuttlecock. In China, the feathers come from 4 regions of China. The best grade feathers comes from the Northeast region of China, where the weather is colder and the feathers are thicker. Other regions where feathers come from are Sichuan Province, Shandong Province and Anhui Province. Feathers from these 3 regions are of sub par quality. The feathers are generally picked before the goose is slaughtered.
Speed of the shuttles is decided by a number of factors. Weight is the major one. Most shuttlecock has a number marked on the tube: 76 ~ 79 or 1 ~ 5 or 48~52. The smaller the number, the lighter the shuttlecock, the slower it flys. The following table compares their classification.
|1||48||75||slow, for use in highland|
|2||49||76||slow, medium slow, for use in hotter area|
|3||50||77||slow, medium, most sea level area|
|4||51||78||slow, medium fast, cold area|
|5||52||79||slow, fast, cold area, below sea level|
The shuttles were traditionally divided into 48, 49, 50, 51, 52 according to the weight of the shuttles. 49 weights 4.9g, 50 means 5.0g, 51 means 5.1g and so on. Such rating was inaccurate and therefore was difficult to classify. It was changed to use Speed 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80 instead. There is a 30cm distance between each speed. Shuttle speeds are ideal for different parts of the world. For example, shuttles with Speed 76 are used in China during the summer and 77 during the winter months. Speed 75 are good for Thailand. Speed 76 ,77 for Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia, Speed 77, 78 for U.S.A., Speed 78,79 for Finland, Canada, Korea and Japan. Speed 79, 80 for Australia in winter. Speed 73-74 would only be played in high altitude area as Yunnan Province in China and Colorado Springs in U.S.A. ; high temperature area as Johannesburg in South Africa.
Steaming / Humidifying is the best way to improve the durability of shuttlecock. This process moistured the shuttlecock. It makes the birstle feature tougher. How much does it improve depends on the shuttlecock. For example, Wilson Tournament can last almost twice longer after steaming.
There are multiple way to steam your shuttle. Here is the way I use:
1. Boil some water with your kettle.
2. Once the water boils, remove the whistle
3. Remove both cap of the shuttle cock tube.
4. Put the tube on top of the sprout, hold it perpendicular.
5. Let the steam flow through the tube for a couple minutes.
6. Put the cap back on.
You can also use some plastic foil to seal both cap to avoid the moisture esacaping from the tube.
You should do this at least half day before you play. The moisture needs sometime to infiltrate into the feather. Don’t do it too early either. After a couple days, the shuttle will become dry and bristle again.