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Friday, September 23, 2011

Yonex Nanoray review

Yonex Nanoray 700 RP
Racquet Type: Nanoray 700 RP (Repulsion) SP version
Specs: 3UG5
Balance: Headlight
Flex: Stiff
Strings: Yonex BG66 Ultimax
Tension: 25lbs, pre-stretched using Yonex ES5 PROTECH
Grip: Victor Towel grip
Technology: X-Fullerene, Fullerene, New Aero Head, new built in T-joint, solid feel core, isometric head and new grommet pattern.
Shuttles used: Apacs Aero-Flight 700

First impression: 
My first thought was, what?
Are we going back in time to thicker frame and thicker shaft?
What are the designers thinking? Thick is the new slim...

I won't described the colors or the looks of the racquet as the manufacturer's website and badmintocentral has plenty of those. This racquet occupies the same niche and has the same specs as Nanospeed 7000 which is stiff flex and headlight balance. It's also roughly similar to a Nanospeed 9000 type S but the balance point is a fraction more headlight. To put things into perspective, I am benchmarking this racquet against Ti-10 and NS9900. The NS9900 and Ti-10 are somewhat tough on the joints owing to the lightness of the head and offers little resistance during the follow through/momentum which may cause pain in the wrist/elbow/shoulders. The Nanoray series fixes this 'sore joints' problem and offers the handling of a headlight racquet and excellent control. 

Final comprehensive review

I played mostly doubles (and half court singles)

TOC (time on court) when making review:
total of 20 hours of game play.

Review and breakdown of shots tried: 

Power: 8/10 (4U may be lesser)

Synopsis: This is a headlight racquet and hence, it should be noted that the power of an overhead strokes would be less than a similar headheavy balance racquet. Thus, the aerodynamics and stiffness of the frame and shaft respectively would play a role to generate the power to propel the shuttle. To do this, one would need to be able to generate a fast racquet headspeed/swing to gain any power. However, based on initial testing  I find that the power I generated  is inferior to a Ti-10 or NS9900 (the basis of my comparison). Perhaps it's the lack of momentum of the swing during the follow through of a smash. The power is adequate for finishing off rallies (at halfcourt) but not for consistently punching holes in opponent's defense from the backcourt. Perhaps owing to this comparison, I felt that this is not a smash based player's racquet and more suited for a setup front court player. Fortunately, the saving grace comes from drives, stick smashes, punch clear...wristy shots.     

Clear: Forehand back-court to back-court, crosscourt full length clear and punch (low) clear
Smashes: Straight and crosscourt
Drives: hard straight and forehand/backhand to the corners

Control: 9/10

Synopsis: The claims by the manufacturer that all their high end racquets have a rating of  5/5 in terms of control. For this model in particular, it didn't refute their claim, but lending support to it. Fact is, this racquet has a stiff shaft and a rigid (repulse) fullerene-loaded frame. Owing to these parameters and materials, this racquet doesn't flex that much when swung overhead. Therefore, the placement of the shuttles (or accuracy) is excellent. On the downside, some power is traded for accuracy.  

Drops: checked/slice/reversed to the 2 front net corners
Netshots: Crosscourt net
Netshots: hairpin/tumbling netshot
Clears: to the 2 back court corners
Smashes: down the line
Push: flat and low to half court

Defense: 9.5/10 (4U version may be better)

Synopsis: The headlight balance and aerodynamics of this racquet meant that it is right up there with defensive stalwarts like Ti-10 and NS9900. Under proper hands, this racquet like its predecessors is like a mobile wall repelling all but the most well placed/steepest of  smashes. 

Lifts: backhand and forehand full court
Drive: backhand and forehand drive return
Block: backhand and forehand straight

Maneuverability: 9.5/10 (4U version may be better)

Synopsis: This is where this racquet shines. The quick handling and repulsion of the racquet allows quick exchanges/jabs near the net. Think a 'Lee Yong Dae' type player who likes to attack the shuttle at the net. If there's one shot this racquet can be identify with, it is the netkill. One can pull up the racquet over one's shoulder very easily after a downward stroke and be  ready for the next shot and the next one until the shuttle is planted on the opponent's court. I'm pleasantly surprised that the maneuverability of the Nanospeed headlight racquets can be improved.  

Crosscourt net shot
Crosscourt smash return block and crosscourt whip
Defending body smashes: reflex block, between the leg/behind the back defensive block
Netkills: Forehand/backhand/brush
Hold & flick shots

Feel: 8.5/10 (4U may be the same or lesser)

Synopsis: This racquet has the standard plastic internal T-joint and the solid feel core (resin/foam) type material [According to Yonex]. Based on my string of BG66 Ultimax at 25lbs, the repulsion of this string/racquet combination is pretty strong. The racquet felt somewhat solid with negligible vibration. The tapered frame, the rigid (fullerene loaded) and the thick frame in general gave this racquet some 'meat' and hence has a good feel to it.   

Total rating: 8.9/10

Pros: Excellent maneuverability and defense with good feel/control and decent power. The thicker frame and shaft lessen the momentum of the follow through and hence easier on the joints compared to NS9900/Ti-10.

Cons: The shaft stiffness/balance point combination may not quench the bloodlust of aggressive smash based player.

Suitability: Dedicated doubles racquet. For aggressive front court player who plays lots of netkills/drives, the counter attacking defensive player and the control player. Skill level of at least intermediate.

Footnote: this review was done as a hobby and as an interest to inform fellow badminton enthusiast. This is my personal opinion and in no form to promote this racquet.

Conflict of interest: None

Reference: Yonex website (accessed @ 20/09/11)
Badmintoncentral.com (accessed @ 20/09/11)

YONEX/Sunrise sports recommendation for player type:
For players who want to dominate with quick racquet work. Attack hard with a lightning fast swing.

Yonex rating 1-5
Power 5
Control 5
Flex 5

(Ref: Yonex badminton chart)

The Yonex headlight racquets, Ti-10 vs NS9900 vs NR700RP

The 3 top headlight racquets by Yonex. I am a big fan and user of Ti-10 and NS9900.
The sides of the frame of the above racquets: The thickest is the Nanoray 700RP followed by the Ti-10 and the thinnest is the NS9900.

On the one hand, the funny thing is the Nanoray frame departs from the modern trend of modern racquets leaning towards a slim  head design.

On the other hand, the shaft of the Nanoray 700RP is thicker than the NS9900 but about the same as Ti-10, negating the aerodynamic trend of an ultra slim shaft (e.g. Voltric 80).

However, looking  at the frame (hitting surface) of the Nanoray is tapered and more aerodynamic than the Nanospeed. The edges are somewhat 'sharp' but not as 'sharp' as the Victor Bravesword series. The Nanoray seemed like a thicker Bravesword.
In terms of performance: I would rate NS9900 as the best of the three followed by Ti-10 and NR700RP.

NS9900 > Ti-10 > NR700RP

All are 3UG5 version

Power: (Ti-10 = NS9900) > NR 700 RP
Defense: NS9900 > (Ti-10 = NR 700RP)
Feel: Ti-10 = NS9900 = NR700RP
Control: (Ti-10 = NR700RP)  > NS9900
Maneuverability: NS9900 > NR700RP> Ti-10

Yonex Nanoray 700 RP

Got this model instead of the 700FX or the 500. I prefer stiffer flex racquet and around 3U weight. So got myself a 3UG5 model. The NR700FX and NR500 are medium flex which would not have suited me. 

I will probably used it for a while before making a judgment. Benchmark would definitely be my Ti-10 or NS9900. 

The new nanoray series comes with a new bag, similar to the Armortec/Nanospeed with standard size/dimension.

This is unlike the unconventional Voltric and Arcsaber bags...

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Conclusion of Super Series China Masters 2011

The finals saw China won 4 titles, with the exception of the men's doubles.

Korea's Lee Yong Dae and Jung Jae Sung defeated the 2011 World Champions; China's much vaunted pair of Fu Haifeng and Cai Yun in a one sided affair of 21-17, 21-10.

The finals saw two half completed match of Women's doubles and Women's singles, where the loser retired and surrender the match to their compatriots.

The only exception was the men's singles where Chen Long defeated his compatriot Chen Jin 21-16, 22-20.

The mixed doubles pair of Ma Jin and Chen Xu defeated the newly formed Korean pair of Yoo Yeon Seong and Jang Ye Na, 21-13, 21-16.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Yonex NanoRay series 2011

Yonex has launched an updated series to replace the Nanospeed series.

The Nanoray series is similar to the Nanospeed series with the exception of the tapered frame shape. Or as Yonex called it the New AERO Frame.

The theory behind this technology(Aero Frame) is the thinner frame at the top of the frame (hitting surface) is thinner gradually curving in thickness towards the middle of  frame allows it to be more aerodynamic. This also made the racquet have a good center of gravity on the frame, meaning the frame is more stable. (The thicker part of the center of the frame improves the center of gravity.)

Vs. Victor Bravesword

The concept of a 'sharp aerodynamic edge' was first introduced by Victor in their Bravesword series.
Though not exactly the same diamond shape as the Bravesword's technology, the edge of the Nanoray is relatively sharp compared to a flatter frame of previous Yonex racquet. However based on swinging alone, I find than I can quickly pull up the Nanoray racquet after the (follow through of an overhead stroke) much quicker than a Bravesword. (tested BS9, 10 and 11). The Bravesword edges on the (hitting surface side of the) frame are 'sharper' than the Nanoray but the center of gravity of the frame is somewhat higher than the Nanoray.
The Bravesword series has a slimmer shaft

Above a Victor Bravesword 10 with a Yonex Nanoray 700RP

Tapering of the frame

The racquet frame is somewhat thicker at the T-joint area and tapered thinner towards the tip of the frame.
This tapering effect also made the racquet more headlight.

Quoting Yonex, 'The thinner top of the frame sides minimize air resistance for greater head speed, while the thicker sides at the bottom of the head generate maximum repulsion through greater frame stiffness.'

Vs. Yonex Nanospeed

Only the top end Nanoray has X-Fullerene in the shaft vs. Fullerene in the top end Nanospeed series.

Basically, the Nanoray series is a doubles racquet optimized for fast shots like drives, pushes, fast lifts and wrist/stick smashes.

Probably the improvement over the Nanospeed series is that Nanoray comes in 4U weight. I supposed the thicker/sturdier frame somewhat reinforced the frame structure.

On hindsight, the newer Nanoray is easier to pull up after a follow through than the Nanospeed series (and the Victor Bravesword series).

On the picture above is the Yonex top end Nanospeed the model 9900 and the top end Nanoray 700 RP.
The Nanospeed 9900 is overall a slimmer racquet than the Nanoray 700RP.

The NS 9900 has Fullerene on the shaft whereas NR700RP has X-Fullerene on the shaft.

The converse is true on the frame, with NS9900 having the X-Fullerene whereas NR700RP having the Fullerene material in the frame.

The initial swing speed of the Nanoray 700 RP is somewhat faster compared to the Nanospeed 9900. (based on my perception). However, the momentum of the racquet head speed or the follow through is slower than NS9900. On the one hand, this 'braking' effect lessens pulling of ones shoulders/wrist/elbow hence causing less injury. On the other hand, less power is generated for most strokes.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Adding deception to a netshot

Notice the shuttle is taken at a lower point of contact and not a higher point of contact.

This only works if your opponent is coming towards the net and not in a fixed position next to the net.

Otherwise, the lifting can be intercepted with a netkill.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Gosen Ryoga Issen

Sold this racquet away.

This racquet specs is as follows:

Balance: head heavy
Stiffness: Stiff-

Official manufacturer website: here

Below is the picture of the frame

Racquets I sold away...

The above racquets I managed to sell away, the rare 4UG4 AT900T and Ti-10 2nd Gen together with a Arcsaber 7.

Will try to stick to less variation of racquets. Narrowed down to Ti-10 3rd gen so far.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Badminton singles strategy (The triangle principle)

This method was previously described in badmintoncentral.com cicrca 2004/2005 but was taken down.

If I'm not mistaken it reference the Danish Badminton association/academy...

Nevertheless, here is the link by Dick Moss about this 'Triangle' or funneling concept.

[One way to win a match is to tire your opponent out. Fatigue breeds mistakes, slows pursuit, dulls reflexes and saps the will to win.

You can induce fatigue in opponents is by forcing them to change direction as they return to their base position near center court - returning to base position is the first thing a player will do after making a shot.

If, as they return to base position, they must slow down, then push off in a new direction, their energy expenditure will increase dramatically.

The Triangle Concept

This is where the triangle concept of shot placement comes in. To force opponents to change direction as they return to their base position, imagine that the corner you've just hit to is one corner of a triangle, with the top side running along the net.

Your next shot must then go to one of the other corners of that triangle (B or C). This will force opponents to stop as they are returning to base position then change direction in order to reach the shuttle.

You should avoid hitting to the far, diagonal corner (D), because opponents can simply run straight through the base position in order to reach the shuttle. ]

Ibid. , Dick Moss Op. cit. badmintoncentral.com 2004. @


Fig. 1. The Triangle principle. This method avoids hitting to the corner D or the forehand corner.
Instead of the conventional hitting to the four corners maxim espoused by coaches, this is the 3 corner method.

'If the shot is hit to “A,” next shot should be to the other corners of the triangle— either “B” or “C,” forcing the opponent (in blue) to change directions (see red lines). Avoid hitting to “D,” which would allow opponent to run through the base position without stopping or changing direction.'Ibid. Dick Moss @ http://www.physicaleducationupdate.com/public/217print.cfm

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Knee Supporter

Badminton is a game that places a lot of stress on the joints. More so on the knee and ankle.

The knee is one of the most complex joint in the human body.

The patella or colloquially known as the knee cap is one of the tendons in the knee that is responsible for knee extension.

Badminton places a lot of movement loading on the patella especially movement like jumping and lunging.

For example a Knee supporter from Yonex. This model covers the entire joint and is made of Neoprene, which allows stretching and is generally warm on skin contact.
The cons of a full support is it feels restrictive a bit when moving around.

A more popular type of knee support is the simple patella brace, for example this model by LP SUPPORT. This model is made up of neoprene and can be tied more snuggly with a velcro fastener. This is good especially for players who like to jump a lot. This can be worn as a precaution during game to prevent jumper's knee...
Victor also made a very good product, a knee belt (as Victor calls it). This particular model as a tube like structure embedded within the neoprene which fits very comfortably on the knee cap. The velcro is used to fasten it. This model is as good as the above, except that it may not be tied as snuggly.
I prefer the patella brace compared to the full knee support, owing to better comfort and mobility. The support of the patella is generally sufficient for badminton game. For more serious injury, consultation with a sports/orthopaedic doctor is paramount.

Backhand drive

One of the most important shot in doubles. This shot together with the forehand drive is key to force a lift. Whoever lifts the shuttle, would face a barrage of smashes (at least in the professional circuit).
Here, coach Lee Jae Bok explains the basics of this important shot in doubles.