In this post I am going to answer some of the most common questions I get asked as a racket stringer.
1. Why restring if my strings aren't broken?
The simple answer is to keep your racket performing at its best.
All strings have a lifespan, it varies depending on the material of the string. Strings perform at their best when freshly strung and gradually overtime, even if not used regularly, become lifeless and lose their ability to perform.
Dead strings require more effort to generate power and spin and increase the strain on your arm.
2. How often should I restring?
This depends on how often you play and which type of string you use. You may have heard the saying, 'the number of times you play per week is the number of times you string per year'. While that is better than not stringing at all, for best performance that isn't enough.
I say that in terms of how quickly strings lose their tension but if you play social tennis and have no interest in competition or how your racket performs, then regular stringing is not required.
For competitive players, to ensure their equipment performs at its optimum, then regular stringing is required. The frequency depends on the string type.
Polyester is now the most used string type, whether in a full racket or as part of a hybrid setup, so it is worth noting that it also loses its playability quicker than any other string type therefore requiring more frequent stringing. Performance players will probably break their strings before they have gone dead but if they havent then I would say polyester strings should not be in your racket for more than 2 months.
With softer strings like multifilament or natural gut, the increased elasticity of these strings enables the strings to perform at a higher level for longer. So for these I would say you should consider replacing them every 3-4 months, if they haven't broken sooner.
3. What string should I use?
For me this is the question that shows the difference between a good stringer and someone who is stringing for a bit of extra cash. If you find the majority of players in your club are using the same strings and the same tension then you know there is something wrong.
To answer this question properly you need to consider, and should be asked by your stringer, the following:
- Your Game Style
- Your Racket
- Your goal ie. Power, Control or maybe an injury
Your Game Style is all about how you play.
Are you an aggressive player with long, fast strokes. These players tend to be more powerful and would benefit from full polyester or a hybrid with polyester mains. You need to be careful when putting juniors (boys up to age 13 and girls up to age 15) into these categories. While this style may describe a junior you need to be aware that no matter how fast their swing looks, in comparison to an adult in the same category they are never going to generate as much power and playing with a full poly setup can cause arm issues from the increased shock that these strings emit.
If you're a player with shorter swings, who likes to move their opponents around the court and who may need a little help generating power then either full multifilament or natural gut or a hybrid with multifilament in the mains will work better for you.
There is another category called All-rounder or Tweener. This player is more aggressive than the player with short swings but not as powerful as the player with long, fast swings. This is generally the category most good club, competition players fall into.
Rackets, like strings have different categories. Each category compliments a certain game style. The categories are identified by the weight of the racket (unstrung weight as listed on the frame). Power rackets (that is players in need of power) are anything up to 265grams, tweener or all-rounder rackets weigh between 270 - 300grams and control rackets (powerful players in need of control) weigh more than 300 grams.
The most important thing for any player is to be in the correct weight range, after that you can pick a string suited to this range. The correct combination can help your game progress quicker. The wrong combination will do the opposite and can even cause injury. Most racket suppliers have said that rackets weighing less than 300 grams do not require polyester string as the frames are stiff enough already. However there are always exceptions to this. This where your coach and your racket stringer should be advising you.
After playing the game for a while you should be forming a plan as to how you want to play. Using the information above you will have a better idea of whether you are using the right equipment and this will help you achieve your goal.
So to summarise:
The Powerful player, with a long, fast aggressive swing would benefit from a Control racket with either full Polyester string or a Hybrid with polyester in the mains.
The Control player with the shorter swings would benefit from a Power racket with either full Multifilament/Natural Gut or Hybrid with the softer string in the mains.
The All-rounder with medium to fast swing would benefit from a Tweener racket with either a thin gauge Polyester string (120-125 gauge) or a Hybrid, setup either way.
The most important thing is to be honest with your assessment of your game as this makes choosing the correct equipment easier.
I hope this helps. If you need anymore information feel free to get in touch 087-1528120.