Most racquets are made from light man-made materials such as aluminium or graphite. Some people reckon, the lighter the racquet the better, although that isn’t always the case. The frame of the racquet, including the handle, must not be longer than 68cm (26.75in) or 23cm (9in) wide. The hitting surface must be flat and consist of a pattern of crossed strings connected to the frame. The strung surface must not be more than 28cm (11in) long and 22cm (8 5/8in) wide. Most racquets are strung with synthetic material such as nylon but some top players still use natural animal gut.
The shuttle may be made from synthetic or natural materials – it’s entirely up to you. Most players start with plastic as they last longer and are cheaper. Feathered shuttlecocks have 16 feathers fixed into a cork base. The feathers vary in length from 6.4cm (2.5ins) to 7cm (2.75ins) but in each shuttle they must be the same length. The tips of the feathers should form a circle with a diameter from 5.8cm (2.25 ins) to 6.8cm (2 5/8ins). The base of the shuttle should be 25cm (one inch) to 2.8cm (1 1/8ins) across and be round on the bottom. This is covered by a very thin layer of leather. The shuttle is incredibly light and weighs from 4.74 to 5.50 grams. This allows it to reach amazing speeds – up to 200mph. The diameters and measurements of synthetic shuttlecocks should be identical to feathered shuttles. A 10% variation is acceptable between them to allow for difference in materials.