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Know Your Badminton Shuttles

Shuttlecocks are the most important part of badminton. Shuttlecocks come in two varieties, ones made with a feather skirt attached to a semi-circular cork end, or ones that have a plastic skirt.

Here is a short primer on badminton shuttlecocks from’s inhouse badminton expert.

Feather Shuttles

When watching badminton on the TV, its feathers you are going to see. The choice of professionals, these bad boys are made up of 16 goose or duck feathers, taken from the left wings only. They are light and exact, as well as being extremely responsive when in play.

Using feathers requires certain levels of control and skill from the players, as all too often clears can zoom past tram lines, short serves pop up meters above the net and the punishing replies seem all the more devastating. Once you get a feel for them though, they are rather dreamy to use with a quick-cut clean feel to them as they fly incredibly well through the air, building up serious speed on the attacking shots. Where they fly quicker off the racket, this also causes less shoulder impact on players and can help prevent injury. Not only do feathers make smashes and drives feel almost superhuman, but the delicate drops and net play can also benefit with a light trickling touch that these feathers can provide, replying better to a gentle hand

Seen as the superior shuttle by most, these elegant shuttles do have their negatives though. They may be fantastic to play with, but their durability causes some serious question marks about whether you want to purchase some. It’s not that they are massively expensive in the scheme of things, but it’s the fact that you have to buy them so frequently, much more often than you would with their plastic counterparts.  A killer smash can annihilate a few feathers, ruining the flight of the shuttle, meaning you need a new shuttle.

Plastics Shuttles

Plastics are considered to be the starting point for all badminton players, often used in recreational games and in trainings. Beginners often lean towards plastics for their more forgiving nature – where you don’t need to be as precise to get a good shot in, they allow you to practise and develop your shots, which is a great tool. Although they are naturally going to be a bit heavier, this means you need to whack them that bit harder and definitely you need to steer them more. They have a slower flight speed but, they still deliver. Smashes are still thunderous and drops still elude stretched rackets but they don’t have the same polished finesse of a classic feather.

They are also incredibly durable and actually last for hundreds of games. This makes them very cost effective, which is great for groups as then you are getting more games for your money.

This article is published as a part of Badminton Knowledge Repository of – India’s #1 online badminton store. is India’s most trusted online badminton portal and offers the widest range of badminton gear from all leading brands like Yonex, Li-ning, Apacs, Ashaway, Carlton, Silver’s & more online at the most affordable prices.

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