Category Archives: Inspiration
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.
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.
I have often wondered what players know about the “stringing” process and in particular what goes on after the “string is strung”. So, while Madelyn was here she decided to video me doing what we do after each racquet is strung and just coming off the machine.
Had I known we were going to do this I might have dressed up a little, emptied the trash and fixed the crack in the wall behind the RDC! But I didn’t.
This video is offered as a “real-time” view of what we do with every racquet and is intended for information and fun only. If you have any questions please let us know…now enjoy the movie!
A client just sent me the following statement and I think it has reason to be distributed amongst tennis players searching for “direction” when it comes to string and their game!
“Hah. Trying out these different strings has been very interesting. Over the past week or so, trying the different strings has given me some insight into what my game should be. I think usually people do it in reverse. They try to find the string that tailors to their game. By experimenting with the strings, I realize the direction my game should be going.”
“I’ve been coming to realize that my game is better with control and feel rather than power. Experimenting with different strings have helped me recognize this.”
Do you think this applies to you?
With all the really crazy things going on in this area (Orlando) it is difficult to find “happy” things to talk about. We must, however, continue to fulfill our commitments to our own lifestyle and in some cases, it is the enjoyment of playing tennis.
Tennis racquets motivate me! Sounds strange I know but that is the way it is and I am certainly using this motivation to push back some of other thoughts can ruin my day, and maybe your day as well.
I will try to stay positive by concentrating on what I do, and I hope you will do the same.
Well, I made it to see 2016 arrive! I am not sure why I stayed up but it does commit me to pay attention to what may happen in the coming year.
I think the big story for 2016 is going to be more string related than racquet related. Why? Because manufacturers can “turn around” a string model much quicker than a racquet model, and, there are significant areas for improvement in selecting the correct string material for each player physicality and style.
String characteristics, materials, tensions, and applications are confusing to many and rightly so. This year I want to continue the “educational” effort and invite anyone with something to contribute to speak up.
My motto for 2016 is “Speak Up…Then String Up”
I will be in France for a few more days but when I return we need to talk!
We need to talk about what is real and what is myth when it comes to tennis racquet preparation, including stringing. I have discovered over the years, and more pointedly recently, that there is a huge gap between what we think and what is true.
I propose that when I return we organize a little “symposium” and discuss what we know, and don’t know, about string and the installation process.
This is directed toward clients, retail customers, junior players, and junior players parents, coaches and all those interested in racquet and string technologies.
This will not be a stringing seminar but a discussion! This way, I think, we can all understand based on the same information.
Please let me know if you would be interested in attending this “symposium”, which will be free by the way, and in the Orlando, Florida area.
If there is enough interest I will see that it happens quickly! I hope to hear from you with questions you have that can be addressed during the symposium!
First let me get the “shorts” thing out of the way…I like them! I would like them better with a cool white shirt, but that’s just me.
The next item of business, for me, is the fantastic one hand backhand that serves Stan so well. It makes me wonder why juniors, and maybe some adults, are being taught (forced?) the two hand backhand?
I think I understand the physics invloved in swinging a racquet and I also understand that you can build muscle memory and pure muscle if you train for that (one hand backhand).
After seeing the effectiveness of the one hander it seems more players would request that technique be taught to them.
I am still in Italy but will be headed back to France in the morning to continue discussions with Eric and Carine of ERECA regarding diagnostic devices and some ancillary equipment.
For more years than I can remember the rule of thumb for when to re-string your racquet was never really adhered to for many reasons.
Years ago I constructed a simple formula to calculate the “String Frequency Recommended”. This is now available to anyone by clicking on the “calculator” button on the “home” page of this site.
I have incorporated as much as I know about string and times played per year into the four (4) player categories. So, you will not see these as separate fields.
String Density is approximately how much of the head area is filled with string. I calculate this for every racquet but the values I have noted will be fine for your SFR input.
String Spacing M is the distance between main strings. The more distance between strings the higher the number. So, if the strings are .500 apart that would be input as “5”. If the strings are .400 apart that would be input as “4”, and so on.
String Spacing X is the same as the above.
Using this calculator allows you can to play around with the variables to see which racquet properties will give you the longest string “viability”. Strings loose tension well before they break and this calculator reflects that. This calculator will maintain the best playability if adhered to.
This has been an incredible year filled with challenges, great rewards, learning, and teaching!
One of the greatest challenges is making sure that tennis players of all ages can continue to play without injury. This is especially true of younger players that subject themselves to many hours of training and tournaments.
Along with all that hitting comes the risk of arm and shoulder injuries so this year has been filled with research, design, formatting, and experimenting with various string material combinations.
I would like to thank the folks at Acelon Racquet Sports for their tremendous support of our research, and, of course, continuing trial and error! There are many suppliers of tennis string that have contributed but Acelon has stepped up with an extraordinary array of string materials, and configurations. Thank you Dan!
Ashaway Line & Twine Manufacturing has also played a major role in our string research and our commitment to minimize injuries. The Ashaway Monogut ZX has proven to be an outstanding product in fulfilling our commitment. Thank you Steve!
Our commitment to “injury free” tennis will continue as long as I do this and I appreciate the contribution of many suppliers and players. Without the honest and clear feedback of the players it would be impossible to make as much progress as we did this year.
2015 is going to be a very good year! We will be challenged, rewarded, taught and will teach! I am looking forward to it!
Happy New Year!