Badminton Shuttles: Feather vs. Nylon
In this blog post, we will be discussing the differences between nylon shuttles and feather shuttles along with their pros and cons. We will also show how to differentiate the different grades of feather shuttles in regards to their speed, composition, and quality.
NYLON VS. FEATHER SHUTTLES
Nylon shuttles are made of a synthetic material (nylon) and are frequently seen being used by recreational players and people who are just starting the game. They are cheaper compared to feather shuttles and are a lot more durable, making them great for practicing skills and casual play.
Feather shuttles are made of natural duck or goose feathers. Goose feathers have thicker bristles than duck feathers and will have better flight quality and durability. Feather shuttles are often used by players who play competitively due to the more natural flight characteristics of a feather shuttle compared to a nylon shuttle. However, many people choose to play with nylon shuttles due to the high cost of feather shuttles and their low durability.
DIFFERENCES IN FLIGHT
The structure of feather shuttles are more rigid compared to the soft skirt of the nylon shuttles. Due to this difference in rigidity, nylon shuttles will deform more compared to a feather shuttle when hit. As a result, feather shuttles will have a higher initial speed coming off the racket bed compared to a nylon shuttle. Aside from greater initial shuttle speed, the feather shuttle will also decelerate faster due to the higher drag it experiences during its flight and therefore will travel less distance and fall at a steeper angle.
CHARACTERISTICS OF NATURAL FEATHERS
You can distinguish between duck and goose feathers by looking at the feather itself.
In goose feathers, you will be able to see an arrangement of lines clearly on the bone of the feather. On the contrary, duck feathers will have less pronounced/nonexistent lines on the bone of the feather.
Goose feathers will have a channel/groove in the bone of the feather. Duck feathers will have a shallower groove or none at all.
The shuttle speed is not how fast the shuttle will fly, but how far it will travel in the same amount of time when hit with the same amount of power.
Eg. A speed 78 shuttle and a speed 79 shuttle will travel different distances when hit with the same stroke.
What Affects Shuttle speed?
The weight of the shuttle, feather type, balance point, and weight distribution all affect the speed of a shuttle. But the most important factor are the type of feathers used in a shuttle.
Feather types differ depending on the region of the wing it was taken from.
You will see that the all-round feathers will be used in most top grade feather shuttles as they are superior in flight quality. Whereas the ones to the right will be used as more of a recreational type shuttle as well as training shuttles since they are quite durable although the flight quality may be lacking.
Speed of a Shuttle
You can tell the speed of a shuttle by looking at the tube itself as there is often a number labelled on it. (77, 78, 79, etc..) This system is used by most brands of shuttles except for Yonex which has its own unique numbering system. ( 3, 4, 5, etc... which is equivalent to 77, 78, 79 respectively)
|1||48||75||slow, for use in highland|
|2||49||76||Medium slow, for use in hotter area|
|3||50||77||Medium, most sea level area|
|4||51||78||Medium fast, cold area|
|5||52||79||Fast, cold area, below sea level|
The reason different shuttle speeds exist is because a change in the temperature of the environment will affect the distance traveled by the shuttle. As the temperature decreases, the air will become more dense meaning you will require a faster shuttle.
Many brands of shuttles will have a speed/temperature chart on the tube showing you which speed of shuttle to use for different temperatures.
But wait a minute.... doesn't this mean that you will require different speeds of shuttles when playing in the winter versus the summer? Yes that is correct, but most people just stick with buying the same speed as most stores only stock a certain speed that is suitable for that location.
To solve this problem, you can first test the shuttle by standing at the baseline of the court and hitting it towards the other side. Depending on where the shuttle lands, you can make adjustments to the shuttle to change it's speed. This method is known to most as "tipping the shuttle".
Check out this YumoTube video to see how you would test and tip the shuttle!