String Failure(s) Redux
If you have taken advantage of our Stringing Frequency Calculator on this site you know that stringing often is the path to better play!
But what if the strings break before you can re-string, and why do they break!
Strings wear out! The picture shows what that may look like. A clean break close the area the ball is hit most often If you look closely you will see “notches” caused by the rubbing friction between the strings. This is an OK failure. This is a polyester string so the break is clean as opposed to a multifilament string that will “fray” before it fails.
These are the same racquet model and same string and tension. The image on the right shows a failure by Shanking! This is the dreaded failure mode because it can happen on the first shot or the hundredth shot…you never know, and it is frustrating!
This string is considered to be very tough but not many strings can stand up to the shear load and impulse of a mis-hit, aka “shank”.
I have discovered over the years that the shanking failure occurs more often amongst tournament level women players! My theory is that with stiff strings, that doesn’t return much energy, the player’s strokes have to be harder, and if the shot hits near the frame, it may cause the shanking failure.
This kind of failure can also be associated with decreased footwork as a player gets tired. Reaching “way out” for a ball instead of getting set up for it can put the impact zone right at the tip of the racquet and a shank occurs.
String failure(s) in this area used to be blamed on a “bad grommet’. A bad grommet is hardly likely anymore with the much better materials being used. It is still possible, however, and you need to keep grommets in good repair!