Category Archives: elbow

Our Favorite String

A frequently asked question by our clients at the World Headquarters of Racquet Quest, LLC is “what is your favorite string?”

I am going to tell you what it is, and tell you why it is, and why, I believe, it should be your favorite string as well!

VS Team v VS Team

It should come as no surprise that natural gut is our favorite string!  Well, of course, you say!  It is probably everyones favorite but it is way too expensive for most recreational players!  You are correct that natural gut is everyones “favorite” string, however, you may not be correct about it being too “expensive” for recreational players!

What follows is predicated on the belief that “performance” is the primary factor in selecting a string.

On the positive side:

  • Natural gut plays better longer than any other material.
  • Natural gut is more stable than most string materials.
  • Natural gut is more forgiving (comfort) than most other materials.
  • Natural gut is more eco-friendly than other materials.
  • Natural gut is a good hybrid component.

On the not so positive side:

  • Natural gut is expensive @ $70.00 to $75.00 (installed).
  • Natural gut is more expensive than other materials.
    • Making natural gut string is very labor intensive.
    • Making high quality natural gut is limited to a “few” major manufacturers.
  • Natural gut can be affected by moisture.

And, how do you quantify “plays better”, anyway?  Some players are fine with string that has long since offered any performance!  Some strings have a “play”life of a couple of hours!  So, the player must decide on what is important.

But, if you ask us, natural gut is our favorite string!

 

 

New KT Tape Products!

KT Tape is probably the most recognized gear any athlete can wear! You see it on many world-class athletes typically placed where they may be experiencing discomfort or want to reduce the possibility of such!

Racquet Quest has added three (3) new KT Tape products we believe are essential to better performance.

The new Wave:

  • Clinically proven and FDA cleared device for relief of chronic musculoskeletal pain
  • 250 hours of battery life for consecutive or intermittent use
  • Sensation-free electromagnetic pulses that are safe and effective
  • Flexible loop is easy to place
  • Water resistant, safe to wear during regular physical activity and during sweating

 

 

 

 

The new Chafe Safe:

 

  • Protects friction-prone areas from blisters & hot spots for up to 24 hours
  • Sweat & water resistant
  • Mess-free, non-sticky, & smooth application
  • No clogging of pores

 

 

 

 


The new Anti Blister tape:

  • Designed to help prevent athlete blister, chafing, and hot spot formation*
  • Ultra-durable, flexible, and breathable synthetic fabric
  • Easily conforms to skin and extremely thin to minimize friction
  • Precut 3.5” strips for convenient use in most common treatment areas
  • KT Tape is proud to provide the KT PERFORMANCE + and KT RECOVERY + product lines, supporting athletes of all levels and helping them to perform at their best. Train longer, finish stronger

 

These important products contribute to Racquet Quest’s commitment to keeping our clients playing comfortably forever!

If you are new to KT Tape just click here and you will go to the very comprehensive “how to” page!

 

Dealing with Options, and What are the Options?

The little video you see above is just a reminder that we do not promote polyester based string for underage players!  So, what is underage?  Oh, under 100 would be a good number, I think!

OK, smart alec what are the options?

  • No Polyester

PEEK/Zyex

Well, there are many, however, if the option is only relative to “no polyester” the best option is PEEK material.  This material is usually referred to by the brand name Zyex which is the fiber division of Victrex of England and known by the Ashaway name as well.  This material is normally found as a monofilament construction as is most polyester materials.

PEEK/Zyex offers exceptional durability and energy!

Multifilament

  • Premium Playability

Natural gut still is the number one playing string available.  We use Babolat and Luxilon natural gut but there are other options like Pacific, Klip, and others.

  • Excellent Playability

Multifilament construction can act as a spring and return both performance, power, and comfort.  Typically the more individual fibers the better.  These fibers are usually bonded with a soft adhesive and show signs of “fraying” during use.

Strings in this category include Tecnifibre, Ashaway, Babolat, Head, Yonex, and Gosen and others.  Expect to pay $42.00 + for these strings installed.

  • Playability

These multifilament strings are typically constructed using fewer larger diameter fibers to enhance durability.  The same “fraying” occurs with this grade of string as well however the larger diameter will last a bit longer usually.

Strings in the category include Tecnifibre, Babolat, Head, Yonex, IsoSpeed, Gamma, and others.  Expect to pay between $35.00 and $40.00 for these strings installed.

Synthetic Gut

  • Value

There are probably 10000 strings that fall under this umbrella!  9999 of these strings will be a nylon core with one or two overwraps bonded to the outer surface.  This material and construction has been around for many, many years and has offered great service to millions of tennis players…and is still in major use today!

Strings in this category include at least one, and probably many more, set from every major brand!  If you are really cost-conscious do not overlook this material. Expect to pay $27.00 to $35.00 for these strings installed.

And lastly,  what is our gripe with polyester?  Click on the link below to find out!

Click here to go to a comprehensive post that will explain our position.

As always, our position is “there are no bad strings just bad applications!”

 

What Can String Failure Tell Us – Part Deux

In Part Un we discussed the difference between shanking (mis-hit) and friction failure.  It was obvious that the string was broken.  But what happens when it is not so obvious?

Part Deux, this part, will examine the frictional notching failure of monofilament string and how we can be prepared for it!  To further refine this discussion we will be comparing PET polyester has PEEK monofilament string.  The reason is that each material while both will notch one requires more time to reach the critical dimensional decrease that is a failure!

In almost every Racquet Quest Podcast we talk about tension v string diameter and agree that once 50% of the string diameter is notched away the string is vulnerable!  So a .050 (1.27mm) diameter string that has a tensile strength of 120 pounds at 50% notching will have 60 pounds of tensile strength remaining.

Notched v un notched string

This graph is a string that was broken during use.  The string was removed from the racquet.  The top line is the tensile strength in the area of no notching so you can see that it is pretty strong still and has stabilized due to use.  That stabilization is indicated by the very tight stress/strain grouping.

However, things go sideways when the notched area of the string is put under stress.  The string failed at a force of 63.8 pounds, or about 59% of the used tensile strength.  Not bad!

So, notching is failure-inducing but how long it takes to create the fatal notch differs with string material.  This particular set of strings had about six (6) hours of play.

In Part Trois, we will look at PEEK material under the same conditions!

 

What Can String Failure Tell Us?

Well, in the simplest terms, failure tells us it is time to have the request strung! However, there may be subtleties in string failure that can help us in our quest for tennis racquet performance.

Such as?

Is the failure shear related or tensile strength related? Was friction the major contributor to the failure? Where did the failure occur (on the racquet, not the court)? Was the failure during play or in the bag?

Shear-related failure is when the string breaks very near the racquet frame. This failure is called a mis-hit or shank! It is like cutting the string with a pair of scissors!

Shear Failure

Friction Failure

Friction failure is caused by just that, friction!  Friction is caused by the string moving on each other. That rubbing creates friction and notches the string where it will fail.

If the racquet failed during play and it is not shear-related, the tensile strength of the string was exceeded. If a string has a tensile strength of 120 pounds and the tension is 60 pounds leaving 60 pounds to be used to hit the ball. Some big hitters can generate at least that much force on a solid forehand!

The graphs show the tensile strength and relative elongation of different material.

This graph shows the tensile strength of the string to be about 115 pounds.  Given the movement of this string-on-string, the frictional notching can contribute to relatively early failure based on the hitters force.

This graph shows the tensile strength of the string to be about 155 pounds but it has to travel (stretches) further to reach that force.

So, you can see, with this information we can make better decisions when asked to suggest a string, or strings, for a client!