Why Do Badminton Racquets Break?
In our shop, we string more than 6000+ racquets a year with the majority of these being badminton racquets. On average, we see one or two racquets break during stringing every year. Most of these are badminton racquets.
As professional stringers and members of the Haribito Project, we are trained in how to string all kinds of racquets at a wide variety of tensions and stringent procedures are in place to ensure that we do not do anything to cause frames to break.
So why do racquets break during or after stringing even if the stringer is doing everything correctly? There are several possible explanations, all of which are covered below.
We understand that micro-fractures and fracture arrays commonly known as "paint chip" that accumulates with racket clashes create risks of structural failure in stringing. Micro-fractures can be made worse by improperly cutting the strings out of a racquet strung at high tension or when a string snap during play.
When a customer walks in with a used racquet with no strings in it, we have to wonder who cut the strings out and if they knew what they were doing when they did it. Cutting the strings out improperly and not cutting when a string snap during play are the biggest ways to aggravate micro-fractures and create weak spots that show up during stringing. They can remain undetectable until the frame is exposed to stress during stringing and suddenly result in structural failure.
Customers have to look beyond the numbers printed on their frames. For example, when we see "Max tension 35 lbs" printed boldly on a badminton racquet, "Max tension 35 lbs" does not mean that the frame should be strung at high tension. It only means that the racquet can theoretically be strung at that tension.
"Max tension 35 lbs" does not mean what customers think it means. They think it means that this racquet can be stung at 35 lbs without risk, but it doesn’t. "Max tension 35 lbs" should say "string at 35 lbs AT YOUR OWN RISK" because stringing any frame over 25 lbs comes with an increased risk of breakage, especially if the frame has been strung and used.
Lookalike Counterfeits or Replicas
Nearly all of the frames that break during stringing in our shop turns out to be replicas. Customers see these racquets in-store or online at impossible prices and buy them because they think they are getting the best deal of the century.
In truth, these are not great deals. They are rip offs. Customers have to look beyond price to risks and consequences. If a newly launched racquet is deeply discounted, they should ask why? The lower the price, the higher the risk that the "Deal of the Century" they are being offered is, indeed, too good to be true.
Small flaws in the graphite, too small to be detected during the manufacturing process that causes stress concentration on the frame especially at 4 and 8 o’clock positions, can result in major failures on the court and also failures during stringing — especially when stringing at 25 lbs or more.
As a result of all of these risks, we seek the understanding from customers to understand that "it was perfectly fine when I brought it in" is not a relevant argument. There are risks with every racquet. Unseen defects that can be weakened by normal wear and tear, can even be weakened by accidental damage caused by cutting strings out improperly thus increasing the risk of breakage during stringing or even after surviving the stringing but failed during gameplay.
As professionals, we know if something we have done has caused a break. We are also professional enough to stand by our work and fix anything that is our fault. We are not, however, responsible for any of the common issues above.