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Take it Easy on the Tension!

For nearly thirty (30) years I have been stringing racquets using tension settings much lower than the prevailing “normal”.  There are a few reason for this.  I use a totally unique stringing machine(s), I pre-stretch every string, and I use vario tensions within the total racquet pattern.  Now it is becoming the “norm” to use lower tensions.  Why?

During the past fifteen (15) years string materials have changed to the extent that lower tension settings are virtually required!  This requirement has been met with disdain, reluctance, disbelief, animosity and other thoughts and actions!   In most cases, therefore, the racquet technician continued to use the same tensions regardless of string material.  Well, that is changing and none to soon!  But why is it important?

In the past strings were very elastic and exhibited high elongation which means the string will stretch as the ball hits it and absorb some of the shock associated with high tensions.  Most of the “newer” materials exhibit substantially less elongation and in fact become stiffer as the load is applied meaning the shock associated is going to be higher.  This can lead to “uncomfortable” and possibly damaging impact over time.

If you are considering using polyester based string please be prepared to “take it easy on the tension” and lower your tension request to the fifty (50) pound range (22.6kg).  Also, ask your racquet technician to pre-stretch the string.  This will increase the elongation and stability of polyester based string.  There is no scientific data to support the fear that pre-stretching will damage polyester based string as long as the elastic limit of the string is not exceeded.

Of course the object of the stringing procedure is to provide a racquet that will compliment the needs of the player.  Period!  So any technique you use must satisfy that requirement.

My advice is to try several string and tension combinations and decide for yourself.  Your racquet technician should be in a position to help with your transition to a new string and tension.  Please call me if you have any questions.