What string should I use?



With so many strings to choose from, it can seem like a minefield. There's polyester, multifilament, nylon, then you've got gauge 15, gauge 18 aaaaaahhhhh!!!  Most people don't know a whole lot about strings and therefore always go for the same string.  From my experience, the main reason for this is down to embarrassment.  When asked by the stringer, if you're even asked, what kind of string you want, rather than seem foolish the usual answer is "same again please".  And then the question of tension arises.  Again most people don't want to be asked this question as they are unsure of the answer.

It is the job of the stringer to advice you on the most suitable string for you.  If your stringer doesn't give you the few minutes needed to explain the benefits of one string over another or try to find out what would best suit you, then they aren't doing their job properly.  And chances are the quality of their stringing job reflects their level of interest.

There are a lot of strings and brands to choose from and you should take some time to read up on the features of various strings.  This knowledge, along with your understanding of the type of game you play should really help you when choosing your string.

This can all sound a bit too technical, all you want is to get the strings replaced and get back on court.  But the thing to remember is, your strings are the engine of your racket and if you can find the right one for you then the magic can begin.

Here are some of the things to understand about strings and hopefully this will make life a little easier for you the next time you are going to get your racket restrung.

No matter what string you decide on you are either choosing power or control.  Once you know your style of game, your strings should compliment and enhance that.

The most common strings available are Polyester, Synthetic gut or Multifilament.  
Polyester is all about control.  It is a lifeless string that takes the energy out of the ball.  If you suffer from or are prone to tennis elbow then avoid this string.  It is also not recommended for junior players as the vibration that comes from this string can be the cause of elbow or shoulder injuries in juniors, whose bodies are still developing.  It is the most durable string, so could be a good choice for string breakers, but it is worth noting it also looses its' tension the quickest. 

Synthetic gut is a string that provides power.  It is a lot softer than polyester and is therefore also easier on the arm.  This string acts like a trampoline on impact with the ball and catapults it back out.  This is where the power comes from.

Probably one of the nicest strings to play with is Multifilament.  This type of string offers comfort and power and is the one I would recommend to tennis elbow sufferers.  It is the closest thing to Natural gut that is available.  Its' make up, as the name suggests is multiple filaments of string all wrapped together, similar to that of Natural gut, compressing on impact and diluting the vibration.  It is also a very good string for providing power.  Like synthetic gut, its' elasticity allows the string to move with the ball and throw it back out at speed, helping to provide the power.
Often seen as a negative with Multifilament is the fact that it shreds.  This is the nature of the string, the same applies to Natural gut.  The plus to this happening is you at least have an idea of when the string might break.  With polyester or synthetic gut it just snaps without warning.

The best advice I can give you is during the off season try out a few different strings and combinations, if you use a hybrid pattern.  

One thing all players should consider is different tensions.  If you play with the same tension throughout the year your racket will feel different.  During the summer the temperatures are higher, therefore the ball flies quicker and the strings are more pliable.  During the winter the balls are heavier and the temperatures are colder therefore the ball comes off the racket slower providing less power.

A good stringer should advise you on this, without having to ask them.

If you would like to discuss anything tennis related with me, I would be delighted to help. You can contact me on rob@racketrestringing.ie.


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