Category Archives: Pain

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!”

 

Which Comes First!

We all have heard the question “which comes first the chicken or the egg”?  However, my question is “Which comes first the game or the string”?

I believe they happen simultaneously.  But first a quick story.

In 2005 I was attending a Head product introduction on the island of Mallorca, Spain,  Yes, that one!

The product introduction was exciting but what I am going to tell you about now was even more meaningful.

The Director of one of the top US Tennis Training organizations, at that time, was there and we were discussing teaching techniques and what he said after being in this part of Europe was “we need to start teaching our players how to hit this way!”  Well, “this way” was the way of low-powered strings that were popular in Europe but not so much in the US, yet.

So, it began!  The players could not hit harder, like the Europeans, unless they used the same string material as the Europeans and that was very stiff and mostly PET polyester.

So, the idea was the “egg” and the string was the “chicken”, sort of!  I guess the feeling was that “if Americans are going to compete we must use the same equipment”.

Our history confirms that almost no one plays better with stiff string and durability is suffering!

Now, I believe the professional game can go on about its way but otherwise, we need to consider changing the game by returning to a combination of comfort and playability.

Our history shows us that the “high performance” life span of many polyester strings is about 2-3 hours, or less, maybe about 10-12 games.  We don’t believe this is quite long enough for most players.  But, how do you quantify “performance”?  It may be different things for different players.

There are many components to performance but what if it was associated with UTR data?  Racquet Quest can track UTR numbers and make some determinations based on that data.  If a UTR is stable or increasing it is a good bet that the performance of the player and equipment is OK.  However, if the UTR is slipping it is a good indication that something is not working as it should…but what?

We have found that, in some cases, it is injury or discomfort, that is causing the slippage!  Stop it!  The following data is for a 12 month period and acquired from the UTR website.  Even small positive changes are tough!  But negative changes seem to have an enormous impact more quickly than positive changes!

For example:

PlayerRacquetStringUTR1UTR2Delta
AHead Speed PEEK12.8412.86+ .02
BBabolat Pure AeroPolyester10.919.56-1.35
CHead Radical MPAPEEK4.505.61+1.11
DWilson Pro Staff 97PEEK5.07.03+2.03
EBabolat Pure AeroPEEK3.85.64+1.84
FWilson Blade 98 Polyester10.09.41-.59
GHead Radical ProNatural Gut3.75.15+1.45
This information is provided as a small sample comparison instrument and is not intended to pry anyone away from their favorite setup!  Even if it hurts!

 

 

 

 

2020 is Coming Into Focus!

2019 came and went in a blur!  In a few days it will 2020 and with it will come some exciting new tennis stuff, for sure!

I am not so good at predicting things but I do it anyway!  Here are a few predictions I will make for 2020:

  1. Tennis racquets will become more expensive, but only slightly.
  2. On-line sales of tennis racquets will increase.  See this previous post.
  3. Customer satisfaction with on-line sales will decrease.
  4. Small specialty tennis shops will be the source of information, then #2, and then #3.
  5. Players will stick with a racquet longer, making customizations as needed.
  6. String and stringing will become a more important component of a racquet purchase.  See below!
  7. Tennis related injuries will continue to be a problem for the sport going forward.

    No Underage Polyester, Please!

    Thank you for thinking about the “long term” for all tennis players!

    There are no bad strings just bad applications!

    The right equipment is crucial to the long term enjoyment, and winning, of tennis!

    The local representatives I deal with are committed to our “well being” even though some may feel like they are facing “extinction”!

    An excellent example of what we are talking about just walked in! Two (2) new racquets so poorly strung it is shocking!

    The customer is having serious arm issues with an excellent racquet, with a terrible string setup! But the string setup is probably considered by many to be the ultimate combination, that is RPM Blast in the main and VS Touch in the cross! That combination is coming out in a few minutes!  No more polyester!

    The quality of the stringing is what is so wrong! Had you or I received this racquet, we would have returned it at once! Why? Because it exemplifies the attitude of so many stringers that is “who cares”!

Happy New Year!

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

String Bed Stiffness – A Short Video

It is raining today and it felt like a good time to talk about “string bed stiffness”…so let’s go!

This quick video will make a plea to you tennis players to demand more from your racquet technician so you are getting the most from your equipment.

Thank you for watching!