8 November 2018

String theory: What you and your racket need to know

The strings are often called "the life and soul of the racket", but have you ever considered how your strings are impacting your game? 

There is not much that Mark Everett, a UK RSA Pro Stringer, at Topstring, the Racquet Stringing Collection & Delivery Service, doesn't know about strings and restringing. We asked him to answer our questions.

Do the strings I have in my racket make a difference to my game? 

Absolutely. Getting the right strings can help with shot delivery, manage elbow injuries and improve your overall game. For example:

  • Delivery of topspin can be increased with specific co-polymer strings
  • Managing tennis elbow can be helped with multifilament constructed strings
  • Overall control of shots can be more efficient with the right synthetic strings
  • Strings with thicker gauges will generally offer more durability and last longer

So what are the best strings to have?

Well, it all depends on your style of play. If you are looking for power, control and spin, combining co-polymers with nylon or natural gut is definitely worth looking at (known as a hybrid). If you are not seeking spin and power, natural gut or nylon mono or multifilaments are worth considering.

Sounds complicated! Can you explain a bit more about the different types of strings on offer?  

Synthetic strings are all-rounders and the most commonly used are: 

  • Co-polymers/polyesters - work well for power players seeking spin, durability and a level of feel. They are not favoured for players with elbow injuries.

  • Nylon monofilaments - good for all round play, control, comfort and feel.

  • Nylon multifilaments - good for all round play, control, added comfort, feel and support elbow injuries well.

  • Kevlar - another type of synthetic string and highly durable, but to be looked at by players who want more durability than co-polymers. Kevlar is not favoured for players with elbow injuries.

Natural gut strings are the softest, most playable string but they are also the most expensive:  

  • Natural gut the ultimate in playability, feel and comfort. Natural gut is used on the pro-circuit and ticks all the boxes for playability and is good for supporting elbow injuries. 

How about tension? Will tighter strings make me a better player?

Tension is often a matter of personal preference, so it is always best to discuss what you are looking for with your stringer before deciding. Here are some points to consider:

  • The higher the tension, the more control. The lower the tension, the more powerful the string bed is.
  • If strings are over-stretched at high tensions, they can lose their elasticity resulting in a shorter shelf-life along with their overall playability.
  • The type of string you have will also influence your tension. For example Co-polymers do need to move to help deliver bite and work well at a string tension between 53-57lbs, whereas synthetics are generally strung between 55-60lbs depending on the racket and player’s needs. 

And do I just wait until my strings break before I get them restrung?

The general guide is to have your racket restrung per yera the number of times you play a week. For example if you are playing twice a week you should get your racket restrung twice a year. Although this is a good reference, it does not necessarily take into account how long your sessions might be during the week. 

If you can’t remember your last restring or your strings are not delivering the control you need or feel wooden, it is also probably time to reach out to a stringer and discuss options.

I see, but what causes my strings to break anyway? 

Strings deteriorate over time and eventually break due to a combination of string abrasion/friction between strings, heavy or wet tennis balls, temperature changes and thin gauges which have less durability. 

How much will it cost to get my racket restrung?

Prices vary on the strings and the stringer you choose, but here are some guidelines:

  • Nylon monofilaments are normally the cheapest strings, usually starting from £16 upwards
  • Nylon multifilaments are normally more expensive, usually starting from £18 upwards
  • Co-polymers, polyester and polytec monofilaments also generally start from £18 upwards
  • Natural gut can start from £45 upwards

Hmmm...is it possible to restring my own racket? 

Yes you can, but you would need to buy a machine and learn how to string. This is easier said than done!

And what is TOPSTRING? 

Topstring is a Racquet Stringing Collection & Delivery Service, run by myself, that operates over 33 areas across Herts, Bucks and Middlesex. I have been established as a UK RSA Pro Certified Stringer for over 6 years and I currently service over 350 tennis racquets across these counties with customers including park players, club, league & county players, coaches, schools, sports centres. More information about our services can be found on our website here

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