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The Right Strings for the Right Racket for You

June 07, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 237

You need to identify your swing characteristics and match them to one of three racket types; Type 1 Oversize, Type 2 Mid-Plus and Type 3 Mid size.

To get the best from the racket type you choose you also need to consider strings and string tension. I am not a racket stringer or stringing expert but in this article I hope to demystify the choices available, to help you choose a string that is consistent with the racket you choose, based on your swing characteristics.

For most recreational players the choice of string is a trade off between playability and durability. If money was of no concern most would choose natural gut (Cow Intestines) like most of the players on the professional circuit. (The preference on the circuit now is a Copolymer, Natural Gut hybrid)

The playability of gut derives from its structure and function in a cow's intestine; the material has to be strong and elastic enough to withstand the stretching and contraction of the intestine and have some cushioning properties to make these movements less uncomfortable. Gut's other playability characteristics include a feel of increased dwell time, it's ability to retain string tension for longer, it's low dynamic stiffness and greater ball grab for spin from it's slightly textured surface. It is not as durable as Kevlar or Polyester but progress in gut care and maintenance now adds a good measure of durability to it's superior playability.

If gut is not an option for you then you need to make your choice of synthetic strings based on the type of material used, it's construction and gauge (thickness) as they all have different performance properties.

The choices of material range from a softer more playable Nylon to a more durable Polyester and to Kevlar the stiffest and most durable. Higher grade Nylon is the material used in synthetic gut and most of the more playable performance synthetic strings. Polyester and Kevlar tend to be used more in hybrids with Natural Gut or Nylon to combine the characteristics of more durable with more playable strings. The idea of Hybrids is that you combine different materials and or gauges to get a different mix of durability from thicker, stiffer string and more playability from the softer more elastic string but you will lose some of the characteristics of both in the resulting mix. It is likely that a total string bed of polyester and more particularly Kevlar will feel too stiff and unplayable especially for recreational players. There are other materials to choose from and my string material of choice at the moment, is a copolymer which combines the properties of polyester with a chemical additive for greater slide and snap back making the string bed feel more responsive and resilient.

The performance of a string is also influenced by it's construction with choices ranging from a solid to a multi filament core and from a single outer wrap to multi wraps. In addition, the quality of material used, the size of the core, texturing of the wrap surfaces and the use of composite materials will all also affect the play characteristics of the string. Solid core is the cheapest more durable less forgiving nylon string with multi core and multi filament construction providing better playability.

The thickness(gauge) of strings range 15 (thicker) to 19 (thinner) with half gauges shown as an L (15,15L, 16). Thinner is designed for more playability with thicker for more durability. Thinner strings are more likely to break for some players.

String tension is another consideration and perhaps a little over emphasised, especially when you consider that, actual tension is usually lower than the string machine setting and your string bed looses some tension every time you hit the ball. So unless you constantly measure tension and have your racket restrung accordingly, this may be of less concern. Take the mid point of the racket manufacturer's recommended range when you restring and adjust up or down slightly if you know what you want (more power, more control).

Within the general rule that lower string tensions equal more power and tighter tensions more control there is a major caveat, namely that of the players ability. Tighter string tension for control will benefit advanced players but is unlikely to provide the extra control a beginner needs. Looser stringing creating a more forgiving feel would be a better option for a beginner.

Other string bed characteristics you should consider include density; fewer strings, 16x18, create a more open powerful response and denser patterns, 18x20, more control (determined by racket choice). Thinner strings tend to produce more spin and more elastic strings produce more power.

In summary there seem to be as many string options as there are racket choices, but in my opinion the main choice is still the trade off between playability and durability with the attendant financial implications.

If money was no object Natural Gut would be the natural choice for most recreational players as it has all the playability characteristics we want, with some degree of durability, but at a price deemed unaffordable.

As cost is a concern for most of us, I have listed only the synthetic string choices as I see them, under the racket types I identified in my previous post "The Right Racket for You". You might consider Natural Gut in a hybrid with a copolymer which is the stringing I'm considering as a change from the Luxilon Savage Black six sided copolymer I use at the moment. It would be a cheaper option which might produce better results.

Racket Type 1 Oversize. For players with a slower speed, shorter swing.

String Choice: Softer more forgiving feel to help offset the stiffness of larger thicker frames

Material: Nylon or a Polyester Nylon hybrid.

Construction: Multi filament (softer) or multi core with wraps (more durable)

Gauge: Middle of range from 17 (thinner, softer) to 16 (thicker, more durable)

Tension: Mid to lower end of racket recommended range for softer feel.

Racket Type 2 Mid Plus. For players with a medium speed, mid length swing.

String Choice: Slightly stiffer thicker strings to combine well with slightly smaller less stiff frames.

Material: Nylon or a Nylon Polyester hybrid or a Copolymer

Construction: Single or multi core with wraps or monofilament.

Gauge: Mid to lower end of range for thicker more durable.

Tension: Mid range for slightly less soft feel

Racket Type 3 Mid Size. For Players with a faster longer swing.

String Choice: Stiffer strings for durability, thinner for a crisper feel

Material: Polyester or Kevlar hybrid with Nylon. Copolymer or Copolymer hybrid.

Construction: Multi filament for Nylon, Monofilament/shaped for Copolymers.

Tension: Mid range.

There are elements other than playability and durability that might affect your choice so have a look at the stringforum for more on strings and midwest sports for a string calculator.

If you found this helpful let me know


Vaughan Ebrahim

LTA Licensed Senior Club Coach

GI Foundation in Applied Functional Science

I'm Vaughan Ebrahim and I invite you to read about my journey from functional oblivion to renaissance by visiting If you're 40 to 60 years old and want to regain fitness for function, visit my site to see and read about how I've achieved, a metabolic age near the start of this age range when I'm actually very near the end of range.

Source: EzineArticles
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