Tennis String Tension – (What you Need to Know)
For everyone who is interested in the game of tennis, chances are that you are interested in anything that helps you play better. That would mean that you get to know your racquet, and its (arguably) most important component.
In this post, we are concerning ourselves with one of tennis’ most important components. The string tension of your racquet.
Arguably, the most important aspect of tennis is the grip. But what does a player’s grip mean when the string bed is too soft or too hard. It is important to learn these dynamics so that at least you and every other player will know how they work for you.
The next time you go to restring your old racquet or string up a new one, you can tell the guy at the racquet store the string tension that ensures your winning game.
Tennis String Tension refers to the measurement of how strong or loose your racquet’s string are tied up. It is measured in pounds. A racquet is said to be high tensioned when the strings are strung hard and low tensioned when the strings are strung loosely. Both of them have them have their advantages.
LOW STRING TENSION
Low String Tension usually means that your racquet has a wider sweet spot and more power. Racquets that have a low string tension often have the trampoline effect which translates to more speed and power on shots.
When your racquet is strung low, that means it has reduced tension, and that means that it will be around for much longer and will bear witness as you grow in your game and become a pro.
There is one downside though. What low string tensions gain in speed and power, they lose in control and maneuverability.
The truth is this: low string tensions are for players who need to build their powerbase and get confident in the game. This is possible with a large sweet spot, which is in turn possible with a lost string tension.
HIGH STRING TENSION
Are everything their low string counterparts are not.
Okay, we’ll explain.
High string tension means small sweet spot and less power. It also means loss of trampoline effect. What it means also is a more stable hitting surface for the player, and ample testing ground for the player who would like to send the ball over the net with his own natural strength.
When your racquet is high strung, you better be a pro. Because, even though you have you use your strength, you have room for lots of control and maneuvering. Perhaps that is a good bargain for the loss of power and speed.
One other issue with high string tensions is that the strings are under constant pressure, having been stretched thin. They won’t last as long as their low string counterparts.
The people who use high string racquets are people who have mastered the game and looking to dominate the court by exercising the control that is needed.
What is the appropriate string tension that you need?
To determine the appropriate string tension for your racquet there are a few things that must be done.
a. Stay within the tension range recommended for your racquet.
Every racquet comes with a recommended tension range. To find it, look inside the throat of your racquet. (if you don’t know where that is, see our post on parts of a tennis racquet).
You are likely to find something like 50-66 pounds (this is for Babolat Pure Drive) or 49-59 pounds (This is for Wilson Blade 104). The point is this: all racquets come with a recommended string tension.
What do you do with this information?
It’s best to begin at the middle point of the manufacturer’s recommendation. That means that if you have a racquet with a recommended tension of say 50-60 pounds, you should begin with 55 pounds, and steadily test and adjust your racquet until you find what works for you.
You should note, too that some player may benefit from a string patter that is slightly higher or lower than the recommended string tension.
b. Use one kind of string until you find the right string tension.
Don’t jump from string to string while finding the right string tension for your game. Different strings feel differently. Chances are that if you keep hopping from string to string, you’ll confuse yourself and delay the process of finding the right string tension for you.
But if you find that you have to change string, please be patient. You will find your string tension eventually.
Know these things.
- Nylon strings stretch.
- Kevlar strings feel stiff. So, it is best recommended that you at 5-10% lower to accommodate the stiffness.
- Polyestser strings perform best at low tensions.
c. Know this important point, all racquets feel differently.
This is important for you to know when you are changing your racquet. Do not transfer the string tensions and expectations of your old racquet into the new racquet. What this means is simple: abide by your new racquet’s specification.
TYPES OF STRINGS
1.Natural Gut Strings
These kinds of strings are made from animal guts. They are said to be the most resilient materials used to make strings. Natural strings are very durable because they have the ability to retain their tension.
These kinds of strings mostly use nylon as a raw material. However, they add other materials like Kevlar and Zyex. These kinds of string combine their abilities to offer more elasticity.
These strings are made of nylon and are very durable. They are mostly favoured by people who love to spin.
4.Synthetic Gut Strings
These kinds of strings are made from materials that are not natural like Kevlar, Zyex, Vectran or Polyolefin. They are durable, stiff and make for better game play.
THINGS TO NOTE
- If you have a arm injury, its best to reduce the tension of your string or risk worsening your arm injury.
- If you string your racquet loosely, then you will have a large sweet spot and trampoline effect. But you can’t be too excited. If you hit the ball too hard, you may send it out of the court.
- If you string your racquet tight, you will have more control and be able to exercise your shots perfectly with more finesse. However, just know that your arm will quickly tire.
- Your racquet affects your play. High strung racquets make baseline playing consistent.
What you know of your racquet and its string is part of your strategy for winning your game. Doing this right means taking into account your level of play. If you are still gaining confidence to hit the ball, then it’s best that you consider lower string tensions.
But if you are confident enough to hit that ball and you are looking for control, then the high string tension is the one you need.
Go and win.