I was curious to find out why badminton strings break, so I did the research and collected the information in this post.
So, what causes a string to break in a badminton racket? The most common causes are:
- Split grommet
- Temperature change
- Wear and tear
In the rest of the post, we are going to explain what each of these causes is and which steps you can take in order to lengthen the life of your strings.
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Why do badminton strings break? – The in-depth answer
As I said before, the most common causes are notching, overstretching, split grommet, temperature, nicks, and wear and tear. Let’s have a look one by one and explain what they are.
This is one of the most common and often overlooked causes for the string to break. I have to admit that, having played badminton for more than 10 years myself, I have never considered this before. This shows how overlooked this item is.
The grommets are a plastic element that is placed inside each hole where the string goes through. The grommets basically ensure that the string does not touch the frame directly. Since the frame tends to end up with sharp corners, the grommets ensure a smooth transition and an easier life for the string.
However, grommets can get damaged and, as a result, get split. If that happens, the string might then start being in contact with the frame directly. Once the string is in direct contact with the frame, the support becomes weaker and it is easier for the string to break.
Temperature change breaking a string? That may sound silly, but it is another of the most overlooked reasons for breakage. This will be especially critical for those of you living in a cold climate. If you store your racket in a warm environment and then you go to play in an unheated or low heated sports hall, the fast change in temperature will make your strings more brittle.
If you then start a training session with very powerful shots, don’t be surprised if the string breaks. Due to the change in temperature and the additional tension of your powerful shots, breakage can happen more often than in other circumstances.
Notching is one of the most common and knows causes for a string to break. What notching basically means is an incision on the string that causes the string to become thinner and that will eventually lead to the string breaking. There are a lot of reasons why notching will happen in a string. The main ones are as follows:
- In the intersection of two strings, because of the tension, the strings will slowly notch into one another.
- When taking out the racket from the kit bag or even during storage. If you are not careful and protect the racket properly, your keys, the zip of the kit bag or any other strong item could create a small notch in the string.
- When hitting the shuttle. If you make a mistake hitting the shuttle and you hit the skirt of the shuttle, that might cause a notch. This happens mostly with smashes because they are the shots where more power is used.
Overstretching mostly happens at the top of the racket, in the place where the main strings do no longer cross with the cross strings. If you, by mistake, hit your shuttle in that location, the lack of cross strings will cause the main strings to bend back (and stretch) more than usual.
By doing that, the main strings are under more stress and that can make them break more easily. As with the notching, the more powerful the shot, the higher the chance that the breakage will happen. So, if the shot you perform is a smash, the chances of breaking the string due to overstretching are higher than if you perform a drop shot.
Wear and tear
The last cause is the most obvious one, but I think it is good to add it in any case for the sake of completeness. Sometimes, there is nothing wrong with the string breaking apart from the fact that the string has reached is “expiration date”.
In most cases, the breakage will happen because of a notch in one of the strings, but this will be caused not by a mistake in hitting the shuttle, but simply because you have played with this string for a long time already and it has slowly decayed.
What are the actions behind these causes?
So, now that we know which are the causes behind a string breaking, let’s have a look at the actions that are usually behind these causes.
Hitting technique & hitting point
As I mentioned in the previous section, there are several ways to break a string by hitting the shuttle incorrectly. You should always aim to hit the shuttle in the center of the racket, what is known as the sweet spot. Moreover, you should always aim to hit the base of the shuttle only.
Your playing style can also cause the strings to break faster. I have already mentioned the smashes being a big part in some of the causes above. So, if you have an offensive playing style with a lot of smashes, that stresses the strings more and they can break more easily.
Moreover, slicing the shuttle will also reduce the lifespan of the strings. This will happen mostly with the slice drop shot.
A quick tip: If you don’t know what the slice drop shot is, be sure to check our Badminton Drop Shot Guide.
Lifting the shuttle from the ground
This one may be surprising to you (it certainly surprised me). In some rackets, the strings in the outer frame stick out of the frame. There is no grove in the frame so that this doesn’t happen.
If this is the case in your racket, every time you lift the shuttle with the racket, the strings will be touching the court. Through time, this contact will cause the strings to get damaged in that location, eventually leading to a notch and to the breakage of the string.
String tension has also an impact on the lifespan of the string and how fast it breaks. The higher the tension you use, the more stress you are putting the string under. As a result, all the other things being equal, the string will break sooner with a higher tension. For example, the notches created in the intersection between the mains and the crosses will happen faster because the string is in higher tension.
The thickness of the string also plays an important role in its durability. As a rule of thumb, the thicker a string, the more durable it is. But, as it happens with everything in life, there is also a downside with string thickness. The thicker a string is, the less control you will have on your shots.
So you need to balance a bit between how often you want to be replacing your strings and how much control you want to have on your shots.
Believe it or not, racket maintenance has also an impact on the durability of the string. The most direct example is the grommets, as I explained before. Split or missing grommets will severely impact the lifespan of the string you are using. Keeping an eye on your racket to make sure they are all fully functioning will increase the life of your strings.
Storing a racket in a heavily packed kit bag in the same compartment with slightly sharp elements such as your keys will impact the lifespan of your strings. Through contact with other elements, the strings can start having small notches that, over time, will become bigger simply due to playing. One tiny notch made by your keys can end up breaking your string further down the line.
In addition to that, if you store your racket in a warm room and then go to play in a cold sports hall, the temperature change will also affect the strength of the strings.
This is intentionally the last reason, because it is hardly the main reason for a string breaking. However, occasionally, a mistake from the stringer could cause the string to break sooner than it would normally. The way the stringer is stringing the racket could already be damaging the string so that it is already notched even without you playing.
If your strings are breaking surprisingly fast compared to the other members of the club and you have ruled out any of the above reasons, it wouldn’t hurt to try a different stringer, especially if you are the only one using a specific stringer in your club.
How can you lengthen the life of your string?
Now that we know the main causes behind the breakage of the string in a badminton racket and we have also seen what actions usually cause them, we can have a look at how we can lengthen the life of your string.
This is to be used as a checklist for people looking for courses of action in order to make their strings last longer.
- Make sure your racket has all the grommets properly functioning. This will help with the overall life of the string and does not have any impact on your game.
- Store your racket with a cover. This will help prevent other objects from inside the kitbag notching the strings and can also lower the temperature change.
- Choose a different (thicker) string. If your string is breaking too often, it might be that the string you are using is not the adequate one. Try different brands and thicknesses to find the one you like.
- Choose a lower tension. This can have a big impact on your game, but if you are only playing recreationally and you want to lower the number of times you have to re-string your racket, lowering the tension of the string could help.
- Make sure the racket has a groove so that the strings do not protrude from the frame. This will protect the strings from damaging when you, for example, lift the shuttle from the court with your racket.
- Change your stringer. If none of the above works, trying giving your racket to a different stringer and see if that helps. If the stringer’s technique is not good, that might be affecting the lifespan of your strings. However, this is usually not the problem, so most likely you will not see an improvement when changing.
- Use a less offensive playing style. This last tip feels a bit extreme, but if you are playing only for recreational purposes and having to restring your rackets is becoming a big problem, you might want to consider reducing the number of smashes and slicing you do.
And with this, we have arrived at the end of this post. If you are curious about badminton strings, you will enjoy our post “How Long Does It Take to String a Badminton Racket?“, where I explained all the variables that come into play when stringing a racket.
If you have any questions regarding this post, do not hesitate to let me know in the comments below.