Want to have some fun?
We all do, right? Well as tennis players one of the best ways to have fun is to have your tennis racquet strung more often than you may be accustomed to.
We all have heard that old rule “string as many times a year as you play per week”. Well with todays string material that simply does not work! Every string begins to loose tension as soon as it is installed. So after a few hours your racquet will feel different, and, place the ball in a different location than you aimed for. That is the reason professional players change to a fresh racquet every 7 to 9 games. Do you think they know something you don’t?
String is complex. Many say it goes “dead” or “lost elasticity” or some other reason they are loosing the match or just not “feeling it”. In reality string looses tension but very little elasticity and hardly ever goes “dead”.
So what is the answer? To maximize playability have your racquet strung after 20 to 25 hours of play! Remember playing a match will put less strain on your strings than a hour hitting session! Also, do not subject your racquet to very high temperatures for extended periods, such as your car trunk or a court side table in direct sunlight.
So, for a weekly player that will be about ten (10) weeks, if it doesn’t break before that. That is a far cry from the old “rule”. So to have more fun, and win more, don’t play by the “rule”! Have your racquet strung after 20 to 25 hours and feel the difference. Of course choose a racquet technician that has diagnostic equipment to record original string bed stiffness v current string bed stiffness.
Posted on June 23, 2012, in Good News!, String, Temperature and tagged "Stringing Schedule", "Tension Loss", stringing. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.
Nathan, thanks for the post! You are correct, lower tensions will return a little more energy to the ball that is why the ball does not land where you expect it to. The additional power of lower tensions is really small and typically easy to overcome for recreational players. Pro players on the other hand simply don’t want to change their swing and opt for a fresh racquet with slightly less power.
Lower string bed stiffness (tension) will keep the ball on the strings a tiny bit longer longer which may feel to the player that it is not responding quickly enough…or dead. We are talking dwell time increases of about one (1) millisecond!
Yes, but I don’t think the player would have the sensation that the strings had gone ‘dead’ if it was just a lower tension. If the player got a fresh restring at a lower tension, they wouldn’t be complaining about a dead string bed, they would be complaining about balls flying on them.
In light of your very interesting finding that not much elasticity is lost, my theory is that although the string may deform and still return to it’s original position, that maybe it doesn’t happen as quickly. So I’m saying that perhaps the dynamics of the elasticity may be lost. This would mean the ball would deform the strings, but then rebound off the string before the strings had a chance to return energy into the ball. This would give the feeling of the ball kind of getting ‘stuck’ in the string bed without propelling it forward.
Nathan, a component of any discussion like this is “what is dead”? Maybe “stuck” is the correct description. Dwell time is another factor to consider in light of your reasoning that a freshly strung lower string bed stiffness may feel more lively than an old string bed. By calculating dwell time for each racquet I do eliminates the dynamics of the racquet and focuses on the string bed.
For example a RDC of 68 has a dwell time of 7.72 milliseconds and a RDC of 61 has a dwell time of 8.15 milliseconds. That, to me, is a sizable difference and even though they are both freshly strung the longer dwell time may feel “less lively”.
If strings don’t lose much elasticity, but only tension, then shouldn’t that mean that you would get more power as this occurs? Why would the racquet start to feel “dead” in that case? Lower tensions should feel more lively.