Stringing Tips by Ken DeHart
Here are some tips on stringing which can affect your play, feel and power in tennis.
I get lots of questions about When and Why to string my racquet?
Here is some basic information that may be of help to you with your decision and choosing a string that will help your game – yes, strings do make a difference…
When should I restring? How do I know when my strings are dead?
1. The strings move around and continually need straightening – you will need to swing harder to create power
2. You lose feel and touch on shots – especially drop shots volleys
Your skill level, hours you play, string composition, tension and playing style can dictate when you need to restring. Because the loss is subtle and over a period of time you seldom notice the tension loss. 25-30% loss of tension needs replacement.
Three Main Questions Regarding Stringing a Tennis Racquet:
1. What is a Poly String and Co-Poly String or synthetic? 2. How often should I string? 3. What tension should I use?
Poly a string made from polyester like years ago when they made suits out of (Polyester Suits) a single polymer. It is usually a monofilament string (one strand) Co-Poly is the same string with other additives to make it softer or more elastic Synthetic Gut is simply a marketing term used to describe an advanced nylon string – there are monofilament (single strand) Synthetic Guts and Multifilament Synthetic Guts. ie Wilson Syn Gut vs Wilson NXT So – nylons for synthetic gut and plastics for poly. We see higher grades of nylon or plastics being used for numerous performance differences as well as more complex manufacturing processes.
How to get spin – you must possess sufficient technique and racquet head speed in order to get more spin from a Poly or Co-poly string. The strings appear to move less but they do move but “snap” back into place. This “snap-back” is the key ingredient to generating spin. You must have sufficient racquet head speed at contact to move the string so it will snap-back and cause the spin.
Durability – Poly’s do not break as quickly but lose tension incredibly fast both without playing and while playing _ yes, without playing!
Therefore they need to be replaced very frequently or you will lose control and power. That is why you see the pros change racquets after every 9 games.
Poly and Co-Poly need to be restrung every 2 to 8 hours of play depending upon density of the string pattern, type of string and string gauge.
If you are not a big hitter – synthetic is just as good if not better for you.
Who should use Poly and Co-poly? Poly players should be skilled players who can generate necessary racquet head speed to flatten out the ball on impact. A well made Co-Poly that is soft will fit most everyone.
*If you are not a string breaker – there is little advantage to using a Poly or Co-Poly (Luxilon, Black Savage, Revolve Spin Cycle etc), especially if you have arm problems or need more power or depth on your strokes.
*Most players – including most juniors do not possess the racquet head speed to get the strings to move and “snap-back” to benefit from the Poly or stiff Co-Poly strings
*A Hybrid or mix of Co-Poly and Synthetic Gut is the best option for most players and will be the continued wave of the future for performance strings that will help your game.
When to restring?
1. When they break
2. With major temperature changes – never a good idea to leave your racquets in the trunk of the car in heat or cold – never have your racquets checked when you fly.
3. When you play a lot. They may not break but they lose tension and resiliency that you will not notice with daily use.
4. General rule – string as many times a year as you play in a week. Play 4 times a week -string 4 times a year.
5. Because the strings go dead over time – don’t wait too long, when you get it restrung it will feel too different even though it was put back to the original tension.
6. To help change your game when you get into a “FUNK” Also, change your grip often as they become gross and dead as well. Replace the grip or use the Wilson over grip that comes in a package of 3.
So – What should you do? I have been a professional stringer for over 40 years and have seen all the fads, new products and new ideas come by. Hybrids (Poly or Co-Poly with Syn Gut) for most club players, Synthetic Gut for most non-string breakers are great (Wilson NXT, Sensation, Syn Gut and there are softer versions within those lines as well) Tension is probably most critical to maximize performance of the string and your game – don’t wait too long, it goes dead often before it breaks.
I will be glad to answer any questions you may have regarding your personal racquet
Ken DeHart is a PTR Hall of Famer, PTR International Master Professional, 2 Time PTR international Pro of the Year, USPTA Master Professional and 4 time USPTA Divisional Pro of the Year. He is the Director of Tennis at Silver Creek Valley Country Club in San Jose, California. Ken travels and speaks at conferences and to pros all around the world, Australian, Wimbledon and US Open tennis teachers conferences and writes extensively for magazines and websites. He is a tennis collector with hundreds of books, racquets and tennis memorabilia in his collection. You can follow Ken on Facebook at Ken DeHart Tennis and on Instagram at dehartken.