Category Archives: Juniors

What is a “mis-hit”?

I posted recently the sad results of a mis-hit but I don’t think that term has been properly discussed. So, let’s talk about it now.

In the post I also mentioned the word “shank” and in fact, that may be more descriptive of what happens.

Mis-hits DSC02449or Shanking is the “hard” collision of the ball hitting the string and the racquet frame at nearly the same time. This impact causes huge shear loads, like a scissor, and is accompanied by an “impulse”. That means the load is applied over a very short time period, or, in other words, a sharp blow.

A reasonable question, then, is “why does it usually break around the top of the racquet?” The short answer is that the top of the racquet is moving faster than any other part of the racquet with great leverage , therefore, the load has no place to go except into the string. If, however, the mis-hit occurs around the side of the racquet it can “rotate” in your hand and mitigate the load. That is why we see very few failures around the side of the racquet.

I have found that most mis-hits happen with younger players that are very aggressive naturally and are, at the same time, experimenting with different strokes, serves, grips, and spin. All of these things can cause mis-hits and the string failure associated with them.

In most cases mis-hits can be eliminated, by the player, through concentration on impact location, such as trying to hit the center of the string bed, however, on occasion, seldom I hope, the concentration is not there or the desire to return a shot takes precedent over concentration!

String News

As you know I do a lot of string evaluations for myself, my customers and some manufacturers. I do this to have a clear understanding of what a string does at various tensions in various racquets ,and, also in a “controlled” environment!

So, if you ask me for a recommendation my answer will based on data, and, of course some anecdotal evidence. I know most manufacturers try very hard to place the string into the correct category but sometime they simply miss!

There is an ongoing conversation(s) regarding the categorization of polyester based strings relative to racquets and player stature.  This may, for example, look like; “If you use Racquet “X” and are under fourteen (14) years old do not use “XYS” string at tensions higher than 40lbs (18.1 Kilo)”.

Linearity Graph

It is well known that it is very “tricky” to use polyester based string for most younger players that are experimenting with stroke production and still do not have the physical strength to really take advantage of what polyester may offer. For the record I do not recommend it.

Durability is always an issue so when I ask for “playing time” it should be in hours, not days or weeks, but hours. It is a big help to know what portion of those hour are training or playing. It is obvious that one (1) hour of training will be more “destructive” than one (1) hour of tournament play.

The more we know about string the better the choices can be.  It is my imperative that the string matches/enhances the application. Tennis Warehouse, the premier online source for tennis stuff, is also very active in the effort to enlighten players in the selection of the string they order. We can do this!

What do you think?

Ready for the Eddie!

The “Eddie Herr”  is the largest Junior international tennis tournament in the world, and Jack Anthrop is ready for the Eddie!

Ready for the Eddie!

Ready for the Eddie!

Jack is using a Head Graphene XT MPA (16×19 format) fitted with Ashaway Monogut ZX.  Jack has been using this string for several years and is having really good results as evidenced by his main draw selection into this tournament!

Good luck to Jack, and Maya, (don’t have a picture) and all the participants from all over the world, in this very important tournament!

The Eddie Herr International Tournament is held at the IMG facility in Bradenton, FL beginning November 26 and continuing through December 6th.  This tournament has been the “springboard” for players like Roger Federer, Andy Roddick, Maria Sharapova and many other professional players over the years.

Junior Tournament Players Deserve Better!

No, this is not about cheating! At least on-court cheating.

This is about cheating the players that have their racquets strung at tournaments!

Tournaments are tough enough on parents due to travel, scheduling, equipment, and racquet stringing. Many times the player must have a racquet, or racquets, strung during the tournament.   If, and when, the racquets return to me I see, in too many cases, they are not getting their money’s worth! They are being cheated!

The problems range from poor workmanship, bad knots, cross-overs, to incredibly inconsistent string beds. Inconsistent string stiffness from side to side and generally too “soft” or “hard” string beds are common as well as serious racquet distortion.

Does this mean the player is going to loose? No, of course not,but it is not giving the player the best performance they, and their racquet, are capable of.

I know the cost of stringing at a tournament is generally not “too” high but not getting what you pay for is very expensive. These poorly strung racquets need to be re-done and that is an additive cost that makes playing tournaments even more expensive.

I urge that tournament directors, parents, and players demand better stringing at the tournament site. And, if the racquet is not properly done it should not be charged. The problem is the person picking up the racquet may not know if it is right or wrong, good or bad!

I know some of these “stringers” try very hard but they may not have equipment required to affect a really good result. Other “stringers” simply don’t know, or care about, what they are tasked to do. It shows!

Players: make sure your parents know you need racquets strung before you go to a tournament.

Parents: have as many racquets as possible prepared by your regular racquet technician before the tournament. This can actually save some money!

Players: don’t accept racquets that are not properly done. Don’t blame the racquet for poor performance if you accept it!

Parents: don’t pay for racquets that are not properly done. Let me know if you are not sure what to look for.

Parents: take at least three (3) racquets to every tournament.

Parents: if you think you are not getting the quality you deserve send me the tournament name and I will reach out to them and suggest they attend the Annual IART Symposium where all stringers learn how to do a better job…for you!

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