Get to Know Your Strings
Tennis strings. So many parents and players have no idea as to what the difference between types of tennis strings are, what the different tensions do to your racquet, what gauges in tennis strings mean and what string should I be putting in my tennis racquet right now. In this article, “Get to Know Your Strings,” I will be answering many of the common questions that I often hear about all the things that are involved with having your tennis racquet restrung.
Different Types of String
There are 5 different types of strings; Kevlar, Poly, Synthetic Gut, Multifilament, Natural Gut. (These are placed in order from left to right, most durable to least durable.) In this article I will only be discussing poly, synthetic gut and multifilament strings because Kevlar based strings are too tough for many players shoulders to handle and natural gut is too expensive for many players to want to try it out.
Poly based strings are the most durable of the strings that I will be discussing. Poly based strings are used by virtually all of the top college and professional players due to the durability that this string gives and the amount of “bite” that you receive when you hit the tennis ball. However, the tradeoff between durability is the amount of feel and control you might have with a less durable string. Synthetic Gut strings offer quite a bit of feel each time you hit the ball but they break relatively quickly once a player begins to hit with more racquet head speed. The last string that I will be touching on is the multifilament string. A multifilament string is produced by weaving together many single strains of string to produce a multi (ple) filament string. These strings are primarily recommended to players that either want the feel of a natural gut without the cost or to players that have been having arm troubles as a multifilament string is softer on the arm.
How Should I String My Racquets
Now that you have a basic understanding of the different types of strings that are made you probably want to know what string should you have in your tennis racquet. All players should begin their tennis careers with synthetic gut strung in their racquet. The brand of the synthetic gut does not matter that much because they are basically all the same. At On The Rise I use Solinco or Genesis synthetic gut string to string my players racquets, but the synthetic guts do not differ that much from brand to brand. Now, once a player begins to break their synthetic gut strings more than 3 times in a month, I feel it is time for them to upgrade the string durability in their tennis racquet. At this point a player should do a hybrid string job, which means that the player’s racquet will be strung with a poly based strings in the mains of their racquet and a synthetic gut string in the crosses of their racquet. The mains are the strings that go up and down in the racquet while the crosses are the strings that go from side to side. Now, once a player begins to break their hybrid strings 2-3 times a month they know will need to switch to a full poly based string job. Now this is the general rule of thumb that I tell all my players to use unless they have current or past shoulder issues. If a player has shoulder issues I would rather have a player breaking their strings more often then risk adding more pressure on their shoulder due to more durable strings. I realize that this means a player will be stringing their tennis racquet more often and that this costs money, but in the long term I believe it is better to protect a person's shoulder versus saving money on stringing a tennis racquet.
Recently, I have noticed a trend in player’s having their racquets strung up with a multifilament string. I personally am not a fan of this string unless you are an adult that does not play often or a younger player (14 and Under) who has recently had shoulder injuries. The reason being is that once you begin to hit the ball with more spin and pace you will fray the strings quickly and use frayed strings to hit the ball until they finally snap. Once the strings begin to free in the sweet spot of the racquet you are not receiving any sort of help to generate spin on the ball. Basically, I look at a multifilament string as being used only for tennis players that have had shoulder injuries and are getting back into the game or older adults that do not hit that often anymore.
What Tension Should I String My Racquet At
The next topic to consider when getting your racquet strung is what tension should you string your tennis racquet at. If you have a new tennis racquet I would start by stringing the racquet in the middle of the recommended tension of your new string. After you have tried that middle tension out with your new string you can alter the tension depending on what you want to achieve. If you want to get more “pop” from your racquet get your racquet strung looser, if you feel you have to much “pop” from the racquet get the racquet strung tighter. Tennis strings act much like a trampoline. The looser the string the more trampoline affect your receive and the harder the tennis ball can be hit. However, just because you have the ability to hit the ball harder does not mean you will be able to keep that power behind the ball in the tennis court. If you are changing the tension in your racquet I recommend adjusting the tension in increments of 2 pounds. So, if your racquet has been strung at 54 lbs and you want to get a little more “pop” off the racquet then I would lower the string tension to 52 lbs to see how that feels.
What are String Gauges
The last thing to consider when discussing strings are the different gauges that tennis strings come in. The gauge of the tennis string corresponds with the thickness that that string is. In America, the higher the number gauge the smaller the thickness the string is. For example an 18 gauge string is less thick than a 16 gauge string. Just like with the different types of materials strings are made at the thicker the string means the more durable the string is, but that also means that you receive less feel when you hit the tennis ball. In general I recommend using a 16 gauge string for synthetic gut and a 17 gauge for poly based strings. Once you begin to get a better understanding of your strings and your likes and dislikes you can begin to play around with the options a bit and see what fits your individual game best.
I hope this article has informed many players and parents about the basic things to consider when getting your racquet strung and what string you should use to string your racquet. If you have any further questions about stringing racquets feel free to ask a question in the comment section below.