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When is it time to restring your racquet?

  • Are your strings fraying or notching? (click photo)

  • Is your arm hurting more than usual?

  • Do you play 2x/week or more?

  • Are your strings more than 6 months old?

  • Are you losing control and "feel" with your strokes?

  • Is it hard to recall when your racquet was last restrung?

  • Did you purchase a new racquet but never restrung it?

  • Has your racquet sat in a closet for months?

  • Do your strings feel dull, flat or dead?

If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, it may be time to restring.

Lee Atwater racket stringing
Lee Atwater tennis

General String Facts:

  • Thinner strings (higher gauge numbers) may help generate more power, spin and "feel" but are less durable and have more tension loss. I recommend string gauges of 16, 16L or 17.  Gauges range from 13 up to 22. Some manufacturers use millimeters rather than gauge numbers.  For example a 16 gauge string is about 1.30mm and a 17 gauge is about 1.25mm. A "light" or "L" string is a bit thinner than the underlying gauge number.

  • As a general rule, string your racquet as many times each year as you play in a week.  But that probably isn't enough for many players.  If you play three or more times a week then every six weeks or so is best to maintain consistent stringbed stiffness and "feel."

  • The longer vertical strings are called the mains. The mains make up about 80% of the racquet playability. The shorter horizontal strings are the crosses. Strings often break due to rubbing against each other which causes eventual fraying and/or notching. Generally the more topspin a person hits, the more string movement they create, thus the more likelihood of breakage.

  • Strings that feel dead, dull or flat have lost tension and can result in a loss of control and feel. As strings lose tension the stringbed stiffness declines and you may become aware of a different feel to your racquet.

  • String durability depends on string gauge and string type, among other variables.  One of the most durable but expensive strings is natural gut. Kevlar is also durable but extremely stiff, and thus hard on the arm. A full bed of pure polyester can also be quite stiff. Then there's synthetic gut (nylon) and multifilament strings (see below) that are softer and more arm friendly strings. Co-poly strings (a poly with other additives) are very popular.  Depending on the additives, they are often softer and more durable than pure poly. A hybrid of co-poly for the mains and synthetic gut for the crosses provides a great combination of durability,  softness, spin and control. Of course there are many combinations you can create.

  • If you're looking for a softer, more arm friendly string, try a multifilament string such as Wilson Sensation, Wilson NXT, Technifibre NRG, YTEX Microfiber, Tourna Quasi Gut or Solinco Vanquish to name a few.  These strings are made of a mixture of filaments like nylon, polyester, Kevlar, Zyex and many other materials; as opposed to a monofilament like a co-poly which is a single, solid extrusion.

  • Generally speaking, true natural gut strings are not for most recreational players because they are costly and subject to weather conditions (humidity and rain), however they are comfortable strings with good power and feel and maintain tension very well. 

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