Category Archives: Health

This is Important!

I was just going through some older posts and came across this “E” Book post and believe it is more relevant now that when I originally posted it!

Take a look because this is important!

What is Soft…er?

What is “Best Overall Performance”?

In our “Recommended Stringing Frequency” calculator we state that this frequency is to get the best possible performance from your racquet.   But, what exactly is “best performance”?

To establish this we need to take you, the player, out of the picture for a moment and concentrate on the racquet and string setup.  the reason is simple:  no two players strike the ball the same way.

We start with “Swing Weight” which is the most important dynamic property of a racquet.  So a higher swing weight will contribute to power and stability, thus performance.

Overall weight is important because you need to be able to get the racquet to the court and out of your bag!  Heavier racquets contribute to energy, stability, and comfort.

Effective Stiffness is important because it represents the stiffness of the string bed (SBS) and the racquet stiffness (xxRA, or something like that).  This number represents the impact each time you strike the ball.  The higher the number, the stiffer, of course.

Of the four (4) things mentioned above we can control the string bed stiffness with ease.  One of the easiest methods is to string your racquet regularly to maintain the effectiveness of the elongation of the string being used.  Elongation relates to energy return in a string and while strings will stay resilient for a long time a well-worn string takes a while to return energy to the ball.

You, the player, of course, determine performance so when using the SFR you can enter a high UTR or Style rating or a low UTR or style rating if maximum performance is not required.

Change It!

It doesn’t matter if this is two games or two months, it needs to be changed!

Overgrips are not expensive, in fact, we install a new overgrip when we do a racquet for a couple of reasons;  we don’t want to touch the old one, and it is part of doing a proper job!  I recently posted “overgrip overload” which showed a big pile of overgrips taken off of one racquet!

Overgrip Overload

This many overgrips is not necessary and can contribute to ugly shot placement!

Don’t be either of these players!

Change it!

New Head MXG 1

Head is introducing two (2) new racquets to the MXG Series, and this is an excellent thing in my opinion!  It is not that we need a bunch of new racquets, but this signals a commitment to the MXG concept.

In case you don’t know, the MXG Series racquets incorporate a “string suspension system” (my words) into the throat of the racquet.  The most notable of this system is the bright silver paint. However, the most important function(s) is the increase in main string length across the entire throat area and torsional stiffness for control.  We now have ten (10) main strings that are the same length in the throat, and this does contribute to “power.”

The Head MXG 1 is a 98 square inch head with a thin beam (22mm) that puts it in the “player” category, but it may need additional weight for big hitters.  You will see all the specifications below.  If you are a player and have shied away from the MXG for head size reasons, this is for you!

Head MXG 1

The MXG 1 demo is available now.  Call to reserve it!

The new MXG 1 is available for pre-order and will available May 11, 2018.

Racquet ModelHead MXG 1
Reference Tension53
Head Velocity MLT 17
Machine UsedTrue Tension Pro
ASPS, FlexFour59.0
Racquet Flex, RDC65
Racquet Flex, FlexFour48
Weight, Grams312
Weight, Ounces11.01
Balance, mm319.0
Balance, Inch12.56
Length, Cm68.5
Length, Inch26.986
Head Width9.51
Head Length13.50
Head Area, cm2649.9
Head Area, Sq. Inch100.7
Number of Main Strings16
Number of Cross Strings19
Ratio Cross/Mains.593
Main String Grid7.20
Cross String Grid9.37
Density (% of head filled with string).658
Average Cross String Space.490
Average Main String Space.445
Dynamic Tension, Kp, ERT34
Dynamic Tension, Lbs/in190.16
First Moment, Nm.762
Polar Moment320.0
Torsional Stability15 (the difference between polar moment and swing weight. Higher is better)
Swing Weight, Kg/cm2305
Swing Weight, Ounces10.76
Swing Weight Calculated317.5
Power, RDC51
Control, RDC51
Manueverability, RDC83
Power, Calculated 1996.9
Head Points7.40
Head Weight, %46.6%
Center of Percussion21.5
Dwell Time, ms9.00
Effective Stiffness28.3
K, Lb/In160.26
Recoil Weight157.54
Twist Weight211.48

MonoGut ZX +ZX Pro…let’s talk about it.

If you have been around Racquet Quest for a while, you know we talk a lot about Ashaway MonoGut ZX and ZX Pro, with ZX Pro being the 17 gauge version. During this post when I use MonoGut ZX it will include the ZX Pro Version, to save pixels!

A few questions need to be answered before we begin:

1. Do you get paid to talk about Ashaway MonoGut ZX?………. No
2. Do you get Ashaway MonoGut ZX free?………. No
3. Do get to spend the summer at a lavish resort in Ashaway R.I. ………. No
4. Why do you do it, then?

The short answer is MonoGut ZX works in so many applications that it is impossible not to talk about it whenever talking about tennis racquet string, arm issues, durability, and performance!

The first thing we need to know about MonoGut ZX is that is not polyester. It is Polyetheretherketone, or PEEK, for short. MonoGut ZX can look exactly like many common polyester strings due to the monofilament format. Monofilament means it is one strand of material and is typically very smooth and shiny.

The appearance is where the similarities end. Without going into a lot of detail, the stiffness of the base material dictates the stiffness of the string, especially in monofilament formats. Every string we get is tested for “stiffness” and entered into our database. This stiffness is converted to Power Potential using proprietary software. Power Potential is easy to understand…the higher the number, the more powerful the string is.

To get to the meat of this topic, we need to know the relative values of these materials.

MonoGut ZX has a power potential of 14.62
Babolat RPM Blast has a power potential of 4.29
LaserFibre Silverline 2 has a power potential of 4.59
Luxilon ALU Power has a power potential of 4.42
Luxilon ALU Power Soft has a power potential of 5.72

There are hundreds of polyester based string, but this gives you some idea as to where they stack up vis-a-vis MonoGut ZX.

Why does this matter? Strings with very low elongation (power potential) get stiffer the harder the ball is hit! So what? So, if you have low power potential, you need to swing harder to get the ball to go as far as it needs to go especially if you are trying to hit with huge topspin.

MonoGut ZX is suited to many playing styles, racquets, and string patterns. That is why so many really good players are currently using it and winning with it.  That is why it is important that we continue to talk about MonoGut ZX!

Maybe it is time to try MonoGut ZX yourself.

Ashaway MonoGut ZX Black

Ashaway MonoGut ZX Pro Natural

Is Racquet Stringing Dangerous?

You probably don’t think about it when you drop your racquet off for service but look what can happen!

That is a very “pointy” awl that has fallen onto my foot!  The shoes are a “meshy” fabric that does not offer any protection from falling objects!









Then there is this…

Time for a New Over Grip?




What is Important?

I spend hours each day dealing with tennis racquets, strings, machines and questions of all sorts!

By doing this I am learning what is important to tennis players but it should not require a one-on-one discussion to learn this, in my opinion.

So, what is important to you?  Here is what I am discovering.

Comfort.  It goes without saying that you don’t want to play tennis if you are hurting!  Players are requesting racquets that are more arm friendly.  But wait, the racquet really holds the string which has a huge impact on comfort.  So should we begin with string?  I think so!

String.  Every string I have has undergone a comprehensive testing procedure to determine elongation which in turn is converted to Power Potential.  The higher the elongation the higher the power potential and the less stiff the string bed will feel when the ball is hit hard, all other settings being equal.  If you have a stiff racquet it is important to select a string and tension that will mitigate the racquet stiffness to some extent.  Every racquet we do has the “effective stiffness” calculated which is the combined stiffness of the racquet and string bed. Once we have the preferred effective stiffness for a customer we can achieve that even if a new racquet is added to the mix.

Durability.  We try to associate the cost of racquet stringing to “cost per hour” of play time.  What is your threshold?  $1.00 per hour or $10.00 per hour?  When considering durability do not confuse “performance” with “durability”!  There are several strings that may not fail for several months however the performance is gone in a few hours.  This is typical of polyester based strings.  So, even if the string is still intact the performance is way gone!

Cost.  The cost of tennis racquets is increasing, sometimes justified, sometimes not but are rising none the less.  If cost is your “driver” some navigation around the market is important, however, we do not suggest you buy the “cheapest” thing you can find without a thorough understanding of what you are getting.  We can assist you in evaluating racquets from any source.

What is “Soft”?

What is “soft”?
In 1994 I did a presentation for the USRSA in Atlanta. What was the topic?

“Understanding String”.

It is now 2016 and we are still trying to understand string! Especially “soft” polyester based string.

In 1994 PolyStar was the only polyester based string I was familiar with. Since then there are dozens of offerings from anyone that can afford to purchase from manufacturers and market the string. If you have a desire to do it I applaud you!

In 1989 I started testing string and calculating “power potential”. Why “power potential”? Because “modulus”, “elongation” and “elasticity” didn’t get to the bottom line of string performance quickly enough! The steps to arrive at power potential are many.

For the testing, several calculations take place including “stretching” the string as in a ball impact. The difference between the first calculation and the “stretched” calculation is the power potential!

I have calculated hundreds of power potentials but have not until now quantified “soft”.

I think now is the time!

Dr. Rich Zarda has done a tremendous amount of work on this issue so we can now distill this work into the following explanation.

So, what is a “soft” tennis string?

Strings in a tennis racquet carry the ball impact load in two ways:
1) Via the pre-load string tension placed in the strings caused by a stringing machine (and the racquet frame “holding” those tensions in place) and
2) Via additional tensions that develop in the same string caused by the elongation of the strings as they deflect with ball impact.

Both of these conditions occur simultaneously and contribute to the string bed stiffness (SBS, units of lbs./in). Racquet technicians measure SBS by applying a load to the center of a supported string bed and measuring the resulting deflection. Dividing the load by the deflection provides the SBS (lbs./in). The lower the SBS, the more power you have (power here is the ability of the ball to easily rebound from the string bed), but the less control (presumably); the higher the SBS, the less power you have but the more control you have (presumably).

One more point about SBS: the lower the SBS, the less the load your body will feel for a given swing. But for an SBS too low (less than 50-80 lbs./in), balls will be flying off your racquet going over the fence; and for an SBS too high (greater than 200-240 lbs./in), the racquet will hit like a board with significantly less ball rebound. So the most common SBSs are between 100-200 lbs./in: a balance between control and power.

As already expressed, SBS is a function of the pulled string tension and the string elongation. Here is what is interesting: For large string elongations (for example, greater than 15%) and reasonably pulled string tensions (greater than 30-40 lbs.), SBS only depends on the pulled string tension and it does not depend on string elongation. Additionally, for this condition, SBS, for these high elongation strings, does not change as a ball is hit with more impact.


But for a string bed with low elongation strings (less than 5%) under low pulled tensions (less than 20 lbs., or tensions that have been reduced due to racquet deformation and/or string tension relaxing with time), the SBS additionally depends on the string elongation and will significantly increase, in a nonlinear ever-increasing way, for harder ball impacts.

In order to achieve a repetitive feel for a player when hitting with a racquet, it is best to have a SBS that is independent of an increasing ball impact force. This will lead to a more consistent playability of the racquet, which includes a more repetitive feel. This desired “feel” implies using high elongation strings (greater than 10%). If low elongation strings are used (less than 4%), the SBS will significantly increase as the ball impact force increases, resulting in a racquet feeling “boardy” for higher impact loads. And low elongation strings will cause un-proportionally increasing load into the body.


As you can see by the graph, elongation contributes to SBS in a big way. The red line indicates a stiff string, about 4%, and the blue line indicates a “soft” string, about 15% elongation. You can see the loads increase dramatically as the impact increases. So the harder the hit the higher the loads on the body.

So to the question asked at the start “What is a soft tennis string?” In the context of the SBS discussed above, I would suggest that a soft tennis string is one whose elongation is 10-15%, and a stiff tennis string is 4-6%. And any string under 4% should be categorized as ultra-stiff.

String elongation (soft, stiff, ultra-stiff),  stringing machine strung tension, and string pattern(s) all contribute to SBS and SBS is an important measure of how a racquet plays and should be adjusted for an individual player, stiff and ultra-stiff strings can lead to less-repeatable racquet performance and player injury.

Soft = 10 -15% Elongation             Power Potential Range = 10.0 – 16.0
Stiff = 4 – 6% Elongation               Power Potential Range = 4.0 – 7.0
Ultra Stiff =  Less than 4%            Power Potential Range = .65 – 3.96

Kinesiology Tape…what is it?

By now all of us have seen various colors of “strapping” over the shoulders, elbows, and legs, of high value athletes, but what, exactly, is it?

KT Tape Kinesiology Tape

KT Tape Kinesiology Tape

It is “kinesiology tape” and has provided much needed therapy to many athletes for many years.   But how?

“This taping method gently lifts the layer of skin and attached tissue covering a muscle so that blood and other body fluids can move more freely in and around that muscle.”

That’s how!

OK, that is how but why?  From a tennis perspective I see a huge value as a means to mitigate elbow and shoulder pain without medicine, either OTC or prescribed.  To me that is a good thing.

With more and more players, of every age, trying to generate the maximum amount of “spin” with power it is inevitable that discomfort, or worse, can occur.

A recent article that I posted by the ITPA, International Tennis Performance Association, confirms that most injuries affect the shoulder and back.  After reading this article and having many conversations with clients I have decided to offer a kinesiology tape for my customers.

KT Tape 20 Pack Container

KT Tape 20 Pack Container

I have selected KT Tape as my primary supplier for reasons that I can’t cover adequately here.  You can take a look at the details at their web site

The KT Tape comes in plain “beige” or some really outrageous colors!  Decorate and heal yourself at the same time!

I invite you to stop by and pick up a sample and try it yourself.  I am using it for an upper arm pain and I like the result.

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