Plastic vs Feather Shuttlecocks. How To Adjust the Speed of a Badminton Shuttle

What is a shuttlecock? They are also called birdies, and that’s what you play badminton with. There are two types. There are plastic and feather.

Plastic vs Feather Shuttlecocks

So let’s first start with the plastic birdies. Many beginner players start off with the plastic birdies because it’s more durable, and therefore, it’s more affordable. Even if you mishit the bird, it doesn’t break as easily. Then why would anyone use feather birdies? Well, once you get to a higher level of play, you’ll realize that plastic birds don’t really react to technique shots as well.

Now, moving on to feather birdies, there’s the duck feather and the goose feather. For the duck feather, a lot of people use it for casual games or training, because it’s not very durable, but if you’re going into a competition or a tournament, the goose feather is what you’re looking for, because it’s more solid and it’s more durable.

Manually Adjusting The Speed Of A Badminton Shuttle

One of the biggest challenges facing clubs and tournaments and perhaps players themselves these days is the cost of shuttles. As you know, when you turn up at a sports center, one of the biggest issues is getting the right speed of shuttle. Well, here’s a short article on how to change the speed of a shuttle when we don’t have those huge budgets to go and buy different speeds of shuttles for our club or for tournaments or just to play socially.

Here we have a shuttle. It’s got 16 individual feathers. And let’s just say that on this occasion, the shuttle is too fast. So what we do initially is we take the end and just break backward, just a small amount like this, and then we do one in every four feathers. And then we would retest to make sure that has slowed it down sufficiently. If not, then we do the next one along, so we do two in every four feathers.

Now, let’s just change the equation now, and the shuttle is too slow, so instead of bending outwards, as we did before to slow the shuttle down, what we would do is bend inward, so effectively we’re just breaking the very top of the shuttle. So you can see that just bending in.

The same principle as the last time, you do one in four then two in four until you’ve tested it and found the right speed. It’s not ideal. It’s a short cut, but at an end of a day, what you are doing is breaking the top of the feather, which means you will not get as much use out of the feather as if it was a new one and the correct speed. But it does save you having to go out and buy different speeds of shuttles, which is very expensive.

Use the chart below as a guide to find out which shuttle speed to use in your country:

Speed Speeds:

  • 1 / 75 slow, for use in highland
  • 2 / 76 slow, medium slow, for use in hotter area
  • 3 / 77 slow, medium, most sea level area
  • 4 / 78 slow, medium fast, cold area
  • 5 / 79 slow, fast, cold area, below sea level

I hope this little tip will help you be able to play your games with the right speed of shuttle and get more satisfaction enjoyment from it.

James/ author of the article
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Comments: 2
  1. Evan

    I have never been very successful at changing the speed of shuttles. I always tend to break them before I am able to see if they are usable or that I did it right.

  2. Tristen

    I am very new to badminton and everyone just kept telling me to purchase all different shuttles, but man those can get expensive. I’m glad I put some research into it so I didn’t go and waste all that money.

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