How do YOU select a string?
At my last count there are over 350 different strings available from which to choose! Add to that number the racquet size, string pattern, and racquet stiffness!
How in the world can you choose from all these variables? Well, here is a clue.
Determine what is most important to you; cost or performance. If performance is your top priority then you select a good natural gut. Expect to pay over $65.00 for the top of the line and about $55.00 for other variations of natural gut. Babolat, for example, offers “VS” as the top end and “Tonic” as the value alternative.
If cost is your priority head for a nylon “synthetic gut” and expect to shell out at least $20.00. The term “synthetic gut” has little or no bearing on the quality of the string. These strings are primarily nylon, the most popular and important material for racquet string. Do not reject a string because it says “nylon” on the package!
Smack in the middle of the offerings is “multi-filament” string. This format consists of several strands of many materials designed to stretch and react to impact with a softer feel. This category offers a great alternative to natural gut and may offer performance advantages over “synthetic gut”, and, expect to pay around $35.00. Tecnifibre is one of many brands that offers several multi-filament strings.
This is a simple snapshot of the range but what if you want maximum “spin” without regards to anything else? The first reaction to this desire is to opt for the popular “polyester” based string and those that refer to themselves as “co-poly” strings. Polyester strings have been around for many years and have found a “home” within the professional ranks for the following reason: the string slips (displaced) easily and since they are slippery they want to return to where they started so this quick movement can contribute to the ball rotation we call “spin”.
But, when the ball is spinning it is not going as far given the same force from you! So, because most polyester strings are very stiff, you must swing harder to get the ball to go as far as you want and a harder swing will in fact contribute to “spin”. Many say “I can hit harder with polyester string”! Not only can they hit harder, they must hit harder!
Before selecting a very stiff polyester based string consider your options very carefully. A relatively new option is PEEK string. Polyetheretherketone (PEEK) string is not new but the new monofilament products are recent. The advantage of this material is that it has very high elongation meaning it is softer on impact which translates to “arm friendly”, it is very slippery meaning it will displace and snap back similar to polyester based string. The premier manufacturer of PEEK string is a US company Ashaway Line & Twine Company in Ashaway, RI!
So, determine how much you want to pay for a given set of performance factors then contact a qualified racquet technician to discuss your options.
If you have any questions you can contact me or leave a comment on the site.