Category Archives: shoulder

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!

 

 

 

 

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!

Dr. Goodman visits the World Headquarters!

We were thrilled to have Dr. Brad Goodman visit the World Headquarters to produce a session for his Doc-Talk-Live program!

Dr. Goodman is a tennis player who wants to know more about equipment in an effort to protect his body and beat his opponents.  You can catch this episode here: Doc Talk Live

In addition to the session Dr, Goodman was given the opportunity to “stretch” both a very stiff string and a very “stretchy” string, something that he, and many others, have not done.  Needless to say he was amazed at the difference.

Dr, Goodman’s visit was a great opportunity to have a real conversation about tennis equipment.  Please let me have your comments!

 

Will Poor Stringing Save the Life of Polyester?

OK, here’s the deal.  I have written about this several times and each time I decided that it was a waste of time, so it goes back into a file somewhere!

The time is now that we really need to understand more about stringing as a consumer and what we can do as racquet technicians to make the life of a player better, more fun, and safer.

This a quick story to set the premise of the rest.

Several weeks ago I received a freshly strung (24 hours) racquet to perhaps make a few modifications to the racquet.  The racquet was strung by the player, a very good junior with a high ranking.  The racquet was 18×20 with a full bed of polyester at 53 pounds.  When I asked why the response was “I have always done it this way”.  Fair enough!

The string bed stiffness (SBS) using the Beer’s ERT300 was 23, the SBS using the Babolat RDC was 29, and the SBS using the FlexFour was 50.  If you are familiar with these data, you know the numbers are quite low.

The racquet had only one mis-weave and one crossover, but it was severely distorted, i.e., very wide.

For a quick comparison, a properly strung racquet would have numbers like 36, 58, and 67 respectively.

So, the “softness” of the string bed when improperly strung was something that may not transmit as much shock to the body as a racquet that was properly strung at the requested 53 pounds and has a higher SBS!

Therefore a poor stringing may save the life of polyester based string!  It may not be good for performance or racquet integrity but it seems that very few players care!

So what do we do?

For years I have been advocating for the use of a finished SBS instead of a “reference tension”.  Why?  Because each stringer and stringing machine probably produce a different result.

If a player comes to us and requests an SBS of 37 (Beers ERT300 for example), we can adjust the stringing machine to produce that SBS number.  Our machines may be set at 40 to achieve the requested 37, and another shop may have to set their machine to something different.  The object is to arrive at the finished SBS, and it is up to the racquet technician to be able to do that!  The result will be a better performing racquet that will last longer.