Category Archives: Tips
Several years ago, when we were beginning to increase the use of Ashaway MonoGut ZX and ZX Pro, it was not unusual to get a call from a client saying, “my coach says I should not be using polyester!” We could not agree more, and you are not using polyester!
You are using PEEK polymer! This string material was, and still is, referred to as Zyex with polymer production capabilities of Victrex in England.
Given the appearance of MonoGut ZX, Babolat Origin, and a few other non-polyester monofilament strings, it is not easy to distinguish these from stiffer polyester material strings. So know your string!
Single strand (monofilament) strings will have a gleaming surface unless they have been through a “roughing” process. So will monofilament strings of different materials. It is hard to tell just by looking, and that is what can create some confusion on behalf of the coach and subsequently, the player. So know your string!
If your racquet technician does not put a label on the racquet that identifies the material (or string), then be sure to ask what material you are using. The material choices may be natural gut, Zyex (PEEK), Nylon, and Polyester. The string construction may be referred to as a monofilament, multi-filament, single wrap, etc. however, the material will probably be one of these four.
Know your string! If you are unsure, contact your racquet technician or “Ask John” on this site, and we will try to help.
Management is not just for adults! Juniors that play tournaments need to have some management skills! During this coronavirus slow down it is a good time to learn some of these management skills.
We see many different management slip-ups such as no racquets for the tournament tomorrow! All racquets have broken string and are at the bottom of a bag nobody wants to stick their hand into!
Juniors Management Tip #1:
Every Monday takes every racquet out of the bag. If one or more are broken leave them out of the bag.
Juniors Management Tip #2
To get some idea of how much longer the string may last simply try to move the 5th or 6th cross string by pulling up toward the top of the racquet. If you can not pull the cross string up it is time for stringing. If you are able to pull a cross string up pay attention to the “snap” it makes as you push it back into location. A serious “snap” indicates a deep notch.
Monofilament strings typically fail by notching which makes it difficult to move the cross strings. If your string is a multi-filament and looks like the picture on the left it is time to string!
What if neither of these conditions exists?
Every racquet in your bag should have a tag indicating when the racquet was last strung and if it has been more than one month it is time to string, period!
Just for fun you can go to our SFC function and get a good ideas as to how many times per year yu need to have your racquet strung.
When we do the testing and “number taking” for our demo racquets, we try to think as the consumer may think and include comments that may help the consumer make the best decision.
We do not want to make these posts so dull that you go to sleep, but data is essential, so we are going to include it…so stay awake!
Data is particularly relevant to the Prestige Series from Head.
This review is for the Prestige Tour, and it points to the differences between Prestige racquets that may go unnoticed or misunderstood.
The Prestige Tour is a 99 (645 cm²)square inch racquet with an 18 x 19 string pattern. If you have read the post on the Prestige MP, you may wonder, what’s the difference?
You may notice that the Prestige Tour has one (1) fewer cross string. Not a big deal. You may see that the Prestige Tour has one (1) square inch larger head size. Also, not a big deal. What you may not notice is the Prestige Tour has an in-plane stiffness of 400, and the Prestige MP has an in-plane stiffness of 359. That is a big deal! Even with a bigger head and fewer strings, the Prestige Tour has a higher string bed stiffness than the Prestige MP. The higher the in-plane stiffness, the less the racquet will “bend” during impact.
The Prestige Tour is more stiff overall (62 v 58) than the Prestige MP, and the 21.5mm beam contributes to that stiffness.
So, take a look at the numbers for this racquet to see if you can find other exciting differences!
Racquet Model Head Graphene 360+ Prestige Tour
Reference Tension 55 lbs - 24.9 kg
Victrex PEEK fiber Experimental 7718
Machine Used True Tension Professional
ASPS, RDC 55
ASPS, FlexFour 71
Racquet Flex, RDC 62 - After stringing
Racquet Flex, FlexFour 49
Weight, Grams 325
Weight, Ounces 11.46
Balance, mm 327
Balance, Inch 12.87
Length, Cm 68.6
Length, Inch 27.008
Head Width 9.56
Head Length 13.12
Head Area, cm2 635.3
Head Area, Sq. Inch 98.5
Beam Width, mm, Shaft, Center, Tip 21.5, 21.5, 21.5
In Plane Stiffness, Pounds/In 400.0 Lbs/In.
In Plane Stiffness, Kg/cm 181.4 Kg/cm
Number of Main Strings 18
Number of Cross Strings 19
Ratio Cross/Mains .690
Main String Grid 7.81
Cross String Grid 10.00
Density (% of head filled with string) .724
Average Cross String Space .526
Average Main String Space .396
Dynamic Tension, Kp, ERT 35
Dynamic Tension, Lbs/in 195.7
First Moment, Nm .819
Polar Moment 334
Torsional Stability 18
Swing Weight, Kg/cm2 316
Swing Weight, Ounces 11.15
Swing Weight Calculated 347.5
Power, RDC 46
Control, RDC 55
Manueverability, RDC 76
Power, Calculated 1929.2
Head Points 4.88 (negative = head heavy)
Head Weight, % 47.7%
Center of Percussion 20.8
Dwell Time, ms, No Swing 8.58
Efective Stiffness - lbs 29.1
K, Lb/In (SBS) RDC 176.3
Recoil Weight 150.9
Twist Weight 222.7
End Weight 131.7
Tip Weight 195.3
9 O'Clock 100.7
3 O'Clock 101.4
Butt Cap 124.0
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!