Keeping String Tension in Mind

by



This week, the topic up for discussion is string tension.  String tension is something that, despite being extremely important, most people don’t understand.  So here’s to making this a little more… lucid.

To me, string tension is every bit as important, if not MORE important, than any other part of your equipment (excluding the user, that is). String tension is also something that is extremely subjective, and depends on a variety of factors. What works for me may not work for you. What works for me on December 10th may completely fail me on July 10th.

First of all, what does string tension do? String tension influences how comfortable your string bed is. The higher the tension, the harsher the string bed, and the more damage your arm is liable to incur. For example, Kirschbaum Competition at 70 pounds will be harsher on your arm than will the same string at 50 pounds. If you’re having arm problems, consider dropping the tension on your string by 5 pounds and see how that works out for you. Also, string tension influences power. The higher the tension, the lower the power and the lower the tension, the higher the power (or rather, the ball will travel a longer distance with the same swing). If your shots are consistently shooting out by a couple of inches, consider upping the tension by 2-3 pounds.

Now, you might be wondering… why did Dan say that “What works for me on December 10th may completely fail me on July 10th ?” Well, strings tend to perform differently under different conditions (aka weather). The warmer the day, the “looser” the strings will feel, and shots will be a little deeper. As such, if you normally string Pro Supex Big Ace at 55 pounds in the winter, then you should consider upping the tension by 2 pounds in the warmer months to get a similar result. Also, humidity plays a factor on certain strings. Gut (such as newly available Pacific Tough Gut– try that out!) especially is particularly susceptible to humidity. If you’ve strung up with gut, either full or in a hybrid, then you probably shouldn’t use that particular racket in humid conditions. The reason is that humidity ruins gut: the strings will absorb the moisture in the air, and prolonged exposure to excessively humid conditions will make the gut strings virtually unplayable (they’ll lose tension, become a lot softer, and become “floppy”). That’s not to say that gut is the only string that humidity effects though. The more moisture there is in the air, the softer your string bed will feel. However, most strings will not be greatly effected by humidity.

A final point to keep in mind: string tension is EXTREMELY subjective.  What feels great to me might feel absolutely terrible to you.  Some people string their rackets in the teens, others, in the 70’s.  Find what works for YOU, not what works for person XXX.

The next time you’re getting your racket restrung, consider playing around a little with string tension. Up it a bit for more control, lower it a bit more for more power… who knows, maybe you’ll finally find your perfect setup?!

Advertisements

Tags: , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: