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Weird but true: Did you know badminton shuttlecocks are calibrated? Here’s how it’s done

If you love to know random facts about things, then find out how badminton shuttlecocks are made

Badminton birdies on the gym floor

For backyard barbecues, high school graduations, summer picnics, or one competitive thing the whole family can get into, badminton is a go-to sport for any age that everyone loves because it doesn’t require a ton of physicality. No matter how good you think you are, there will be a time when you absolutely whiff the shuttlecock and then stare at your racket, wondering how the heck you missed.

Well, there’s actually a bit of science behind that. Here’s why your badminton shuttlecock might seem out to get you.

The professional grade ones

The high-quality shuttlecocks we are talking about here are the nice ones. The ones professionals use. The ones that make your eyeballs widen and your jaw drop a bit when you look at the price tag. These are handmade, quality-controlled birdies.

What makes them special

There is a super involved process to make one shuttlecock. It’s a labor-intensive technique, but the results are worth it. Each birdie has a specific number of duck or goose feathers, depending on the brand and style.

How Badminton Birdies Are Made | Design Insider

They go through a process that is more intense than filling out a dating site profile. The top is cork covered by a thin piece of white leather. Each shuttlecock’s feathers are precisely the same to create that perfect lob when you act out your professional dreams at the family reunion.

The process keeps going

After they go through the whole assembly process, they still have to run a few more tests before packaging the shuttlecock. Each one goes through a calibration machine to make sure it’s are as centered and uniform as possible. It looks like one of those zero-gravity experiences you can do, but mini-sized for the birdies.

The final fun bit is seeing the birdie in action. They feed into a machine-operated racket arm that fires them at an awaiting employee.

A badminton birdie on top of a badminton racket on the court floor

The facts don’t stop there

Have you ever paid attention to the different colors on the badminton shuttlecocks? Have you ever noticed there were other colors? Those actually mean something, so look the next time you buy.

The color code

  • Green for slower speed
  • Blue for medium speed
  • Red for the fastest speed

Depending on your climate

  • Use red in colder conditions
  • Use green in warmer conditions

The store ones aren’t the same

The ones we usually buy for those summer days are made of plastic and other synthetic materials like nylon. But the goose or duck feather ones are the best for accuracy, which is why they’re used in tournaments and at professional levels. The plastic guys are made so that no matter how hard you hit the birdie at your friend’s face, they won’t come apart.

Sometimes, learning how something is made is just as weird as it is interesting. Now you have facts about badminton shuttlecocks to wow your friends at the next party or to give you that extra edge at general knowledge trivia night.

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Dannielle Beardsley
Dannielle has written for various websites, online magazines, and blogs. She loves everything celebrity and her favorite…
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