When to re-string

Just like selecting the right string, knowing when to re-string your racket is subjective and unique to each individual player.

That being said, whatever type of string you are using, there’s really no set-in-stone answer to the exact time you should re-string. But there are some things to consider when you’re trying to decide if it’s time.

So, why should you change your strings at all?  For starters, racket strings, no matter the style, have a tendency to lose tension quickly, and tension is what helps control the ball/shuttle on your racket.

When the tension on your racket decreases, your strings are likely to stretch more during impact. This means that the ball/shuttle will stay on the strings longer, which translates into a less controlled trajectory when the ball/shuttle finally comes off the racket.

This is why it’s important to re-string your racket on a consistent basis. So what does consistent mean in this case? There’s a rule of thumb around the industry that you should take the number of days a week that you play and use that as the number of times a year you should change your string. Meaning, if you play four times a week, you should restring your racket four times per year.

This guideline could work well for the recreational players who play for fun but aren’t as focused on the competitive aspects of the game. Now, if you’re focused on improving your ranking and winning tournaments, considering that your racket is literally your tool, you’re going to probably want to take another approach when it comes to re-stringing. For the more competitive, frequent players, you’ll likely want to base your restringing on the frequency of your play. Let’s say you play five times a week. You would take that number and double it to figure out how many times a year (give or take) you should restring your racket. In this example, you’d be restringing your racket roughly 10 times per year.

Consistently re-stringing your racket will save you from the frustration of having to overcompensate for your strings’ lack of tension.

But as we mentioned earlier, it really is is subjective and unique to each individual player.

String guide

MONOFILAMENT

A type of string design where one string material, or a combination of materials form a solid piece of string. Monofilament strings tend to exhibit greater durability than synthetic gut or multifilament strings of the same material, but have less power, feel, and comfort. The most common monofilament string, polyester based strings, have become softer as it has evolved making them much more comfortable to play with. These strings are ideal for players searching for durability with control and spin. The lower elasticity of these strings requires full, fast swings to maximize their performance.

MULTIFILAMENT

In this type of string, numerous individual string filaments, usually made of nylon, but can be polyester, are wrapped or braided into a single length of string. Multifilament strings tend to produce more power and comfort than monofilament or synthetic gut strings, and are a preferred choice for players with arm problems. Multifilament strings are designed to feel as close to natural gut as possible.

SYNTHETIC GUT

An economical string. Synthetic gut is a nylon-based string, typically with a solid monofilament core surrounded by one or multiple layers of smaller filaments. The construction provides all-around performance by combining the solid core for enhanced durability while improving the feel and playability with the outer wraps.

NATURAL GUT

Made from strands of intestines (usually from cows), this string is also one of the priciest. Natural gut is sensitive to water and weather changes, but modern coatings and treatments have decreased this risk. Even so make sure to keep it out of the rain.

HYBRID

This is the mixing of two different types of string in the same racket. Hybrid stringing has become popular in the last several years due to the rise of polyester-based strings. Since these polyester-based strings are stiff, many players have mixed them with softer strings to make for a more playable and comfortable string bed, while retaining much of the poly’s spin and durability characteristics.

STRING GAUGE

Generally speaking, thinner strings offer improved playability while thicker strings offer enhanced durability. String gauges range from 15 (thickest) to 22 (thinnest), with half-gauges identified with an L (15L, 16L, etc), which is short for “light”. A 15L string is thinner than a 15 gauge but thicker than a 16 gauge

  • Thinner string = More power, spin, control, feeling and comfort but less durability
  • Thicker String = Less power, spin, control, feeling and comfort but more durability

Tennis

  • 15 = 1.41 – 1.49 mm
  • 15L = 1.34 – 1.40 mm
  • 16 = 1.28 – 1.33 mm
  • 16L = 1.26 – 1.27 mm
  • 17 = 1.20 – 1.25 mm
  • 17L = 1.16 – 1.20 mm
  • 18 = 1.10 – 1.16 mm

 

 

 

Badminton

  • 20 = 0.80 – 0.90 mm
  • 21 = 0.70 – 0.80 mm
  • 22 = 0.60 – 0.70 mm

Squash 

  • 16L = 1.26 – 1.27 mm
  • 17 = 1.20 – 1.25 mm
  • 17L = 1.16 – 1.20 mm
  • 18 = 1.10 – 1.16 mm

Racketball

  • 16 = 1.28 – 1.33 mm
  • 16L = 1.26 – 1.27 mm
  • 17 = 1.20 – 1.25 mm
  • 17L = 1.16 – 1.20 mm
  • 18 = 1.10 – 1.16 mm

Tennis

  • 15 = 1.41 – 1.49 mm
  • 15L = 1.34 – 1.40 mm
  • 16 = 1.28 – 1.33 mm
  • 16L = 1.26 – 1.27 mm
  • 17 = 1.20 – 1.25 mm
  • 17L = 1.16 – 1.20 mm
  • 18 = 1.10 – 1.16 mm

Badminton

  • 20 = 0.80 – 0.90 mm
  • 21 = 0.70 – 0.80 mm
  • 22 = 0.60 – 0.70 mm

Squash 

  • 16L = 1.26 – 1.27 mm
  • 17 = 1.20 – 1.25 mm
  • 17L = 1.16 – 1.20 mm
  • 18 = 1.10 – 1.16 mm

Racketball

  • 16 = 1.28 – 1.33 mm
  • 16L = 1.26 – 1.27 mm
  • 17 = 1.20 – 1.25 mm
  • 17L = 1.16 – 1.20 mm
  • 18 = 1.10 – 1.16 mm

Tension

These are the general rules for string tension

  • Lower tension = More power, comfort and durability but less control and spin
  • Higher tension = More control and spin but less power, comfort and durability
Tension

These are the general rules for string tension
  • Lower tension = More power, comfort and durability but less control and spin
  • Higher tension = More control and spin but less power, comfort and durability

Choosing a Racket

I have shared with you the cart below. I think this is one of the best racket buying guides available. It is for tennis but the same rules apply for Squash, Racketball and Badminton. 

Tennis elbow / Arm problems

Tennis elbow is a common condition that causes pain around the outside of your elbow, into your forearm and the back of the hand, all or any combination of these can occur.  In spite of its name, this condition is often the result of everyday activities, not just playing a sport.

If the muscles and tendons in your forearm are strained, tiny tears and inflammation can develop near the bony lump (lateral epicondyle) on the outside of your elbow. Pain on the inside of your elbow is often called Golfers elbow and is equally painful and problematic.

Suffering with any arm or shoulder pain doesn’t mean you have to stop playing, but it does mean you need to make sure your racket set up is suitable whilst your arm recovers. Equally, make sure you’re using the right technique. You may want to get a coach to help you with this. Try an elbow or wrist support and always stretch and warm up.

Step one – Racket modification 

  • Switch to a softer, multifilament string – Kirschbaum Touch Multifibre is my number one choice
  • Use a thin gauge – 1.25/17 is recommended
  • Lower the tension – Try the lower end of the recommended tension for your racket
  • Re-grip often – A worn grip will cause you to hold tightly, adding to your arm pain. Have a well padded grip
  • Add an overgrip – One overgrip add approximately 1/2 a size to you grip. You could even try two whilst you arm repairs

Step two – Change your racket

  • Larger head – More forgiving to miss hits and a softer feel
  • Heavier – More power and absorbs more shock 
  • Head light – Easier to maneuver and less stress on the wrist and elbow
  • Flexible – Absorbs more shock 
  • Open string pattern – Greater power

Take a look at our Choosing a Racket section for more information

Step three – Seek professional help

  • See your GP 
  • Visit a Chiropractor or a Physiotherapist – Visiting a specialist is normally the fastest and easiest way to get professional help. I have added a link below for an Essex based Chiropractor of whom I can personally recommend

Young players

Children grow and as they do so, their game changes. They become physically stronger and faster around court. Their game opens up as they find that they can do so much more with the racket and strings. Whatever the playing level, there is a crucial need to ensure that the racket, strings and tension are best suited to the actual needs of the player. If not, then the performance potential will never be reached.

Choosing the right type of string for your child it of upmost importance, allowing them to grow without pain and injury. Polyester, which a lot of stringers will use in children’s rackets is a very hard and durable string that resists notching, so the string lasts longer. However, it is not an easy string on the arm and not really suitable for young players. The younger the player, the softer and thinner the string, the better. By the time you get an arm problem, the damage is already done, so best to avoid it at the start.

I would recommend using a multifilament or synthetic gut, 17 gauge, strung no more that the mid tension recommend for the racket.

 

Tennis          Badminton          Squash          Racketball          Racket Maintenance

Fieldgate, Church Road, West Hanningfield CM2 8UL

07891 816644

lynsey@essexstrings.co.uk

Check us out on our social media  pages for updates, photos, fun and facts.

Copyright © Essexstring 2019. All Rights Reserved.

Tennis          Badminton          Squash          Racketball          Racket Maintenance

Fieldgate, Church Road, West Hanningfield CM2 8UL

07891 816644

lynsey@essexstrings.co.uk

Check us out on our social media  pages for updates, photos, fun and facts.

Copyright © Essexstring 2019. All Rights Reserved.