Category Archives: Elongation

String. What is important?

The essential function of string in your tennis racquet is to return energy to the ball as it collides with the racquet. It is evident that if there is no string or a broken one, the racquet can not do what it is intended to do, and your shot is going nowhere or worse, everywhere!

There are about thirty (30) string brands, and each brand has about ten (10) different models, and maybe three (3) different colors, so there are nine hundred (900) possible selections! Nine hundred is way too many strings!

You and we need to consolidate string data so we can make the right decision for you, your playing style, and your physical capabilities.

We test every string for elongation, creep, (stability), with a little bit of elasticity data observed. This testing returns our exclusive Power Potential© for each string, and that is the basis of our decision-making process. Naturally, the higher the elongation, the more power the string will return to the ball, and conversely, the lower the power potential, the less power that “can” be generated. You can observe this fundamental by dropping a tennis ball on a concrete floor and then on a strung tennis racquet from the same drop height and see which one bounces the highest.

I use “can” because power, to a great extent, comes from how hard you swing the racquet, which, of course, brings the prospect of overdoing it and subsequent injury! A low power string demands a more powerful swing that involves the entire arm, hips, and legs.

Low power, in the form of a stiff string, has been associated with control, therefore, the increased use of stiff strings. However, with stiffness comes another downside, and that is stability. Stiff strings typically lose tension quickly and need to be changed frequently. So here is the real problem; the string may not be broken, but it is not playing well at all. There is a difference between durability and performance! If your goal is long term performance, a stiff string is not the answer.

What, then, is the answer?

Choose a string with an elongation of 10% or higher! Oh, great! You say. How am I going to know that!

Well, beginning January 1, 2020, I will be posting the power potential of every string we have tested over the years! There are over 500 items on the current list sorted by brand. The color coding is RED if 5% or less, GREEN if 10% or higher, and BLUE for everything else. Note, however, that natural gut is included in this data and will probably not reach the 10% Power Potential© threshold, but is still the best performance string available.  This is due to the dynamic properties of the natural fibers, so, until there is a separate classification gut will be included as is.

A previous post, “What is Soft?” goes into graphical detail.

As new strings are added, some older ones may be deleted because they are no longer manufactured. However, some very old ones may remain due to their “legacy” status. This chart is a preliminary format but will get us map toward the right decision!

Click here to see all the current power potential data.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pssst…want to try something?

If you read our recent post about “How to Demo a Racquet,” you may be incentivized to do it!

So while you are at it try one of our performance racquets setup with MonoGut ZX or ZX Pro (thinner) to get the maximum performance from the racquet.

Ashaway MonoGut ZX and ZX Pro have been one of our most popular strings for well over five (5) years!

Top players have been using it, but now the word is spreading that is not just for “the good player” but for everyone! We are very sensitive to injuries and injury prevention, so that is why we recommend MonoGut ZX to almost all players. The durability and feel of this string are unique, and, MonoGut ZX and ZX Pro is a monofilament but is PEEK and no polyester.

As with any string, some will not want to change, but if you are looking for a new racquet, why not demo a racquet setup with MonoGut ZX or ZX Pro?

MonoGut ZX & ZX Pro

Ashaway MonoGut ZX and ZX Pro come in Black and Natural and 16 (1.27mm) and 17 (1.24mm) gauge.

What is Elongation?

In dictionary terms it is:

“the amount of extension of an object under stress.”

In tennis terms, it means the same thing when talking about tennis racquet strings.

How much does a string stretch under the reference tension load or otherwise stretched (impact)?  The proliferation of wrist, arm and shoulder injury has brought attention to the property of “stiffness.”  The problem is that your stiffness may be different than my stiffness, so there needs to be an “index” associated with each string, in my opinion.  I have that data on over 500 tennis strings, but that is just me.

The images show the results of high elongation (left) and low elongation (right) string upon breaking.

Several years ago a player asked me “where is the string that is missing?”  Well, it is not missing.  The ends you see should be connected!

If the string has little elongation when it breaks there is nothing “pulling” it apart like the high elongation string. So each time you hit the ball, the string either elongates a bunch or it doesn’t.

In the case of the high elongation string, on the left, it absorbs a good portion of the “shock” associated with a hard hit, whereas the low elongation string, on the right, lets your body do the absorbing to a great extent.

So, it is reasonable to use very low reference tensions for low elongation string (35 to 45 pounds; 16 to 20.5 Kg) and higher tensions (45 to 60 pounds; 20.5 to 27.2 Kg) for high elongation strings.

You may ask, “how do I know how stiff a string is?”  If you see the word “polyester or co-polyester” it is likely that string wil be stiff compared to natural gut, most nylon based multi-filament construction, and PEEK (Zyex) material.  In my opinion, there is no “bad” string just “bad” applications.  If in doubt…ask!

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