Tennis Stringing Guide

Published: 10th August 2010
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Professionals often use different string tensions depending on the court surface, weather conditions, indoor or outdoor matches, elevation and sometimes even depending on what opponent they are going to play. Recreational players can also use this strategy to maximize the performance of their equipment, get more enjoyment out of their game or simply mix things up a bit to create that extra edge over your opponent.

Here are a few points you may want to consider:

1. Start by owning at least two identical frames (the same model, head size, grip size, weight, and balance). This will allow you to experiment with different types of strings and tensions.

2. If you want to compare different strings and/or tensions, string both racquets with the same string but different tensions or different strings at the same tension, otherwise you won't know if it is the string or the tension that you like or don't like. Always change only one variable at a time.

3. Do you play indoors or outdoors? Players often benefit from lower string tensions when playing outdoors, especially in the spring and fall when temperatures are cool with windy conditions. Lower tensions will give you a larger sweetspot with a more forgiving hitting area when sun and wind are making it more difficult to center the ball perfectly on the strings. Also, cooler temperatures will cause the ball to be less lively and the lower tension will give you more depth and a bit more power.

On the other hand , when playing indoors or in hot temperatures, higher tensions will help you with ball control.

4. If you are an aggressive or attacking player who frequently charges the net, slightly higher tensions may give you the extra control you are looking for. If you prefer to battle it out from the baseline, lower tensions can add depth to your shots to keep your opponent from advancing forward.

5. Temperatures really affect the playability of strings. When it's cold, strings play stiffer and less powerfully. When it's hot, they will be a lot more elastic or "trampoline-like" and the ball will fly further. Therefore, never store your racquets in the car and when you are on the court, keep your spare racquet in a tennis bag which has a thermo racquet compartment. These bags are available from most manufacturers such as Wilson, Head, Prince etc.

6. Many players are now turning to lower, rather than higher tensions. Even the professionals are following this trend and are stringing their racquets at consistently lower tensions than they used to. Most of today's strings actually play better when strung at lower tensions! With the rapid development of new string technologies, manufacturers now produce strings which purport to provide players with great control, even when strung at lower tensions. This flies in the face of the rigid theory that "tighter tensions equal more control and lower tensions equal more power". With the benefit of modern strings, players can now string at lower tensions and still see the same kind of control in their strokes. Stringing at lower tensions also leads to gaining a bigger sweetspot, better feel, more depth on your shots and more power when needed.

To sum things up, here's what we recommend:

If you break strings quickly: Own two or three identical frames and after you find your favorite string and tension, have all of your racquets strung with the same string and at the same tension. You may want to adjust tensions as you move from indoors to outdoors and vice versa. Use polyester strings to get the best durability and still have great performance.

If you don't break strings often: Treat yourself to two identical frames. This will allow you to experiment with different strings and to find the best setup for your game. Once you have found the perfect strings, consider stringing one racquet at least 3 to 5 lbs looser (or tighter) than the tension you normally prefer. This will allow you to adjust to different temperatures, especially during the summer months. Also, when you are not playing at your best, switch to the racquet with the lower or higher tension. Sometimes, a little change like this is all we need to turn the game around.

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