Category Archives: Accuracy
Of course, we are all anxious for the new year to get here and erase 2020 from our memory!
We are designating 2021 as the You Year! So, Happy You Year!
For the last few years Racquet Quest, LLC has put more emphasis on “custom racquets” and 2021 will see this emphasis extended to “you racquets”!
What exactly does “you racquets” mean? It simply means that every racquet that leaves Racquet Quest, LLC is set up for your style of play and personal specifications. Yes, even if the racquet is Off-the-Shelf and not a full custom!
Many really good things are happening next year and we are glad you are going to be with us!
Consistency is a component of almost every successful thing we do each day!
But, what does it look like? Well since this is a tennis centric post it will look like this:
What you are looking at is identical racquets, identical string, identical failure location!
If you find the very end of each string you will see how consistent this failure location is.
This string is a high elongation material so will notice that the ends of the broken strings are very far apart.
This is a good thing since it (elongation) contributes to comfort and power when hitting the ball.
This failure location indicates the player is striking the ball with consistency! That many explain the UTR of 13.3!
What else does this failure location show us?
- Most impacts are not in the center of the racquet.
- The string spacing in this area is a little more “open” which may “catch” the ball and contribute to rotation.
- There are more strings for the ball to “roll” over before leaving the racquet which may contribute to rotation.
Consistency is important in everything we do. Visualize it like the string bed of this racquet and try to hit the same spot each time you do something…anything!
It sure sounds simple but is it? Not really! When talking about tennis preparedness that means having enough racquets ready for the tournament, organizing training sessions, plenty of shirts, shoes, and socks, of course!
But, what’s missing?
Your string is missing! Sure, you have done a great job of getting your racquets ready but I don’t see several sets of the string you use in the bag! Why not? You may believe they will have it at the tournament site, and, if you are using a commodity string, you may be right!
But what if you’re using a high performance string that is set up for your playing style?
- Take a few sets of your preferred string with you. I prefer sets over reels but that is up to you.
- Tell the stringer exactly what you want. That means knowing what you want so be prepared!
- Request that your racquet be strung using two (2) pieces of string and the cross strings be started at the top of the racquet. No exceptions! No ATW’s, No natural one-piece, simply two pieces top to bottom!
Know how to identify the correct stringing procedure and don’t accept anything that is not up to your standards!
Most qualified stingers will appreciate your input and do the proper job for you!
Today a racquet came in that was strung at a tournament that missed the mark! One-piece ATW, sloppy knots, distorted head shape, and a string that is not used by the player!
That is why we are posting this… “Be Prepared”
If you listen to the Racquet Quest podcasts you will recognize this statement!
So, why are we posting it on the website if it is already a podcast? Because it is serious! A racquet came in today that reminded me of why we started GASP! The stringing is so awful that I can’t keep myself from writing this!
The owner of the racquet does not remember at which tournament it was strung otherwise we could contact them and offer some suggestions!
Why is this racquet so bad?
- Inconsistent tension across the string bed
- The accuracy index is 65!
- Virtually no tension in the top cross string…because
- The racquet was strung from the bottom up plus the poor knot
- Stringing of the crosses started at the bottom (starting X at the top is highly recommended)
- Tie offs on the wrong holes
- 8M is better
- Cross over at the lower side
- Probably due to the wrong tie off
- One-piece format
- Inconsistent string tension
- Bad tie off knots
Why is it so hard to do a better job when stringing a tennis racquet? In this case, it appears the stringer has no training. There are errors no competent stringer would make! But, until players refuse to accept this shoddy work it will continue!
The StringMeter is a device used to check the tension of an individual string. There are other versions of similar functionality, but this is what we use, and I will start with that.
Interestingly, this device traces its design to a tool that is used to check mainstay tension on a sailing vessel.
It is clear that our devices are well used, so they must be a “friend,” not a “foe”! And to that, I would say yes! The two (2) units shown here are “calibrated” units. One device is “free string,” and the other is “strung string.” These are different scales and very important for accurate information.
When we evaluate string or stringing machines, one of the most important values is the string tension with only the main strings installed. Using the “free string” scale, we check every main string and record the number.
Once the racquet is fully strung, we can check some center main strings and center cross strings with the “strung string” scale and see the variation. The difference between the two is the “natural ratio” of the racquet.
In addition to the stringing machine review use of the StringMeter, we also use it to calculate our “accuracy index.”
For this, we use the “strung string” scale and check each main string tension from left to right and every cross string tension from top to bottom and compare the actual numbers to the calculated numbers based on a non-distorted racquet. This spreadsheet shows how accurately the ball will come off of the racquet face.
The “efficiency index” tells us how much the racquet needs to change shape to reach that “index.”
These are all essential functions of the StringMeter and String Tension Tester from Gamma Sports.
But, what if the StringMeter or other device is used without knowing what it is telling the user?
This is the “foe” part!
This would be the case if a customer with such a device has a racquet strung at say a reference tension of 55 pounds. The customer then uses the method to check the tension and finds that it is not 55 pounds or even close! The customer is not going to be happy!
If the customer knows what to do, they can check the main string tension as soon as they can after stringing, then, later on, to see how much the string has stretched without regard to the reference tension.
It is what it is!
When the racquet is no longer performing it would tell the customer how much the tension can deteriorate before stringing is required.
So, these devices are very useful for individual string tension but no so much for “string bed stiffness,” which is the total string bed as a ball impacts it.
We will look at some of the “string bed stiffness” devices in a future post.