Category Archives: shoulder
I suspect we all have heard that expression!
It means there is something that everyone tries to ignore, but it is too large to do so!
I recently read an article in Racquet Sports Industries authored by Georgetta L. Morque. The title is “Tackling Tennis Elbow.” Tennis elbow is an important topic and deserves much attention. Georgetta is writing about ways to mitigate tennis elbow after the fact.
Let’s try to prevent tennis elbow, so it does not need to be treated!
When we say stiff, it means a string with less than 4% elongation at 60 pounds which is our testing parameter. Most strings, and for this discussion, strings exhibiting that property will be monofilament PET-based (polyester).
Fully understanding this required a lot of testing, both lab and play, for many playing styles and racquets. To make a long story short, as a racquet technologies business, we decided not to promote polyester strings for most players. That sounds silly, but why take a chance when you don’t have to!
Our success is based on helping you, the player, perform the best you can, so it does not make sense to promote something contrary to that philosophy. Probably 75% of our clients have come to us for something different, so we have a “head start.”
So why do so many players use it or want to use it?
We believe it is because they have not been exposed to alternative string materials. Some outstanding players at the pro level use it, so it must be good, and it is for about 10-11 games. Of course, manufacturers and marketers of polyester string stand to make a nice profit! It is in their best interest to promote products by adding some terminology and material to make the string less stiff.
A polyester string is deficient in power and needs to be walloped, and the harder it is hit, the stiffer it becomes, which is the problem. Developing bodies can’t tolerate that level of impact for long.
KT Tape is probably the most recognized gear any athlete can wear! You see it on many world-class athletes typically placed where they may be experiencing discomfort or want to reduce the possibility of such!
Racquet Quest has added three (3) new KT Tape products we believe are essential to better performance.
The new Wave:
- Clinically proven and FDA cleared device for relief of chronic musculoskeletal pain
- 250 hours of battery life for consecutive or intermittent use
- Sensation-free electromagnetic pulses that are safe and effective
- Flexible loop is easy to place
- Water resistant, safe to wear during regular physical activity and during sweating
The new Chafe Safe:
- Protects friction-prone areas from blisters & hot spots for up to 24 hours
- Sweat & water resistant
- Mess-free, non-sticky, & smooth application
- No clogging of pores
The new Anti Blister tape:
- Designed to help prevent athlete blister, chafing, and hot spot formation*
- Ultra-durable, flexible, and breathable synthetic fabric
- Easily conforms to skin and extremely thin to minimize friction
- Precut 3.5” strips for convenient use in most common treatment areas
- KT Tape is proud to provide the KT PERFORMANCE + and KT RECOVERY + product lines, supporting athletes of all levels and helping them to perform at their best. Train longer, finish stronger
These important products contribute to Racquet Quest’s commitment to keeping our clients playing comfortably forever!
If you are new to KT Tape just click here and you will go to the very comprehensive “how to” page!
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
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!
- 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.
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.
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!
As always, our position is “there are no bad strings just bad applications!”
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”.
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!
|A||Head Speed||PEEK||12.84||12.86||+ .02|
|B||Babolat Pure Aero||Polyester||10.91||9.56||-1.35|
|C||Head Radical MPA||PEEK||4.50||5.61||+1.11|
|D||Wilson Pro Staff 97||PEEK||5.0||7.03||+2.03|
|E||Babolat Pure Aero||PEEK||3.8||5.64||+1.84|
|F||Wilson Blade 98||Polyester||10.0||9.41||-.59|
|G||Head Radical Pro||Natural Gut||3.7||5.15||+1.45|
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!