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Ask the Stringer: Do You Use a Different String Based on the Weather?

Ask the Stringer: Do You Use a Different String Based on the Weather?

Q: Do you recommend a different string/tension based on the weather?

A: Some players—and many pros—do use different tensions based on the temperature and humidity. It's a bit less practical for amateur players since they usually don't have loads of spare racquets and professional stringers on call every time they take the court; however, if you do have enough spare tennis racquets (multiple racquets of the same model are best) you can certainly have a few of them strung up at varying tensions for use in different weather conditions.

In general, strings will play a little bit stiffer on cold days so it's not a bad idea to reduce your "warm weather" tension by 2-3 pounds if you're expecting to play in cold weather. Like most other string questions, it's important to keep in mind that every situation (and player) is a little different. A 2-3 pound reduction is a good place to start, but if it feels like too much—or too little—don't be afraid to experiment!

Did you know that we employ two professional stringers, including a Master Racquet Technician? That’s the highest level of achievement that United States Racquet Stringers Association (U.S.R.S.A.) offers. Do you have a question for one of our stringers? Ask it in the comments below and we will provide with an answer as fast and accurate as our on-site stringing.

Ask the Stringer: Is There a Way to Measure Tension Loss in My Strings?

Ask the Stringer: Is There a Way to Measure Tension Loss in My Strings?

Q: Is there a way to measure tension loss in my strings?

A: There are several commercially available products that can be used to test the tension of the strings in your racquet. Some of them are simple spring-loaded "dials" that twist the strings to get a reading. More high-tech products cause the strings to vibrate, and then measure the vibration frequency to calculate tension. It's important to note that these products don't necessarily provide accurate measurements since there are a number of variables (other than string tension) that affect the readings. Things like string gauge, string stiffness, and even string pattern can have an effect on the measurements produced; the end result is readings that may or may not accurately reflect the actual tension of your strings. However, these products can help you track relative tension loss with ease. The best course of action is to use the desired instrument to measure the tension immediately after stringing. Take note of this "baseline" measurement and take readings periodically as time progresses so you can track how much tension your strings have lost over time.

Did you know that we employ two professional stringers, including a Master Racquet Technician? That’s the highest level of achievement that United States Racquet Stringers Association (U.S.R.S.A.) offers. Do you have a question for one of our stringers? Ask it in the comments below and we will provide with an answer as fast and accurate as our on-site stringing.

Ask the Stringer: When Should I Replace My Strings?

Ask the Stringer: When Should I Replace My Strings?

Q: When should I replace my strings?

A: As a general rule of thumb, you should replace your strings at least once a year, even if you're only playing sporadically. Your strings lose tension and elasticity over time, even if you haven't hit a ball in a few months.

If you play more regularly, you should have your racquet restrung more frequently. The more specific rule is to get your racquet restrung as many times a year as you play—on average—in a week. So, if you play three times a week, you should get your racquet restrung three times a year.

In the end, though, every player's situation is a little different. Following these general guidelines is a great way to make sure that your strings stay fresh and don't negatively affect your performance on the court, but it's also important to try and be cognizant of how your strings "feel." If your strings feel loose or "dead," then it might just be time to get a restring.

Did you know that we employ two professional stringers, including a Master Racquet Technician? That’s the highest level of achievement that United States Racquet Stringers Association (U.S.R.S.A.) offers. Do you have a question for one of our stringers? Ask it in the comments below or send it to us and we will provide with an answer as fast and accurate as our on-site stringing.

Ask the Stringer: How to Choose which String & Tension to Use

Ask the Stringer: How to Choose which String & Tension to Use

Q: How should I choose which string and tension to use?

A: Everyone is always searching for the magic string and tension that will transform their game or alleviate a case of tennis elbow. I have seen virtually every type of string or string combination and tensions ranging from 35 lbs to 75 lbs (yes, these are tour professionals). The choice of string and tension is a blend of whatever an individual thinks they need from their strings.

For instance, string breakers may want to focus on durability while tennis elbow-sufferers may want shock absorption and playability. Ultimately, there is a trade-off between durability and playability that every player must consider. The more durable a string is, the less playable it is and vice versa. Fortunately, there are plenty of strings to choose from and there's certainly a string out there for every player.

Frequent string breakers looking for durability should consider monofilament strings (also generally called "polyester," even though they aren't all technically made of polyester). Monofilament strings' one-piece construction makes them very durable, but also pretty stiff. Players who hit heavy spin like them as well because they don't move around as much as softer strings. The main disadvantage to monofilament strings is their stiffness and their generally poor tension maintenance. Some monofilaments are softer than others, but they are not a great choice for young players or players who suffer from any kind of arm discomfort.

Players with arm pain or players who just don't break strings frequently should take a look at multifilament strings. Unlike monofilaments, multifilament strings are made from bundles of smaller fibers all wrapped together. Multifilament strings tend to be soft, easy on the arm, lively, and generally offer good "feel." Multifilament strings' softness doesn't make them ideal for frequent string breakers, but they offer great performance for many other players.

Players looking for a bit of both worlds can consider the increasingly-popular hybrid string job. Most commonly, hybrid string jobs combine a half set of durable string (monofilament) on the main strings with a half set of playable string (multifilament) on the crosses. Hybrid stringing provides some durability without being as harsh as stringing with a full set of monofilament string. Hybrid stringing can be a great stepping stone for juniors or any player who wants to get more durability but doesn't want to make the jump to a full monofilament string job. To make things even better, you can easily create your own hybrid blend or choose from one of the dozens of prepackaged hybrids.

Players who are just looking for an inexpensive string job should take a look at synthetic gut strings. Composed of a solid core with a few multifilament wraps around the outside, synthetic gut strings are usually under $7 and they offer a nice combination of playability and durability.

Tension is a great way to make some minor adjustments to the way your racquet plays. Higher tensions provide greater control while lower tensions offer more power. If you're not sure which one you want, try starting off in the middle of the racquet's recommended tension range. As you play with the racquet you will get a better feel for how you want to adjust the tension next time you get your racquet strung.

In the end, the most important part of picking a string and tension is finding what you like. With literally hundreds of options out there, the key is not being afraid to experiment!

Did you know that we employ two professional stringers, including a Master Racquet Technician? That’s the highest level of achievement that United States Racquet Stringers Association (U.S.R.S.A.) offers. Jim, one of our stringers, is also a member of the prestigious “Wilson Stringing Team” which comprises the exclusive on-site stringers at the U.S. Open, Australian Open, and Sony Ericsson Open in Miami. If that wasn’t enough, Jim is also recognized as one of the fastest racquet stringers in the world, with a personal best stringing time of 7 minutes flat.

Do you have a question for one of our stringers? Ask it in the comments below and we will provide an answer as fast and accurate as our on-site stringing.

Ask the Stringer: Stringing Machines

Ask the Stringer: Stringing Machines

Did you know that we employ two professional stringers, including a Master Racquet Technician? That's the highest level of achievement that United States Racquet Stringers Association (U.S.R.S.A.) offers. Jim, one of our stringers, is also a member of the prestigious “Wilson Stringing Team” which comprises the exclusive on-site stringers at the U.S. Open, Australian Open, and Sony Ericsson Open in Miami. If that wasn't enough, Jim is also recognized as one of the fastest racquet stringers in the world, with a personal best stringing time of 7 minutes flat.

Each week, our professional racquet technicians will answer your stringing questions.

Q: Which stringing machine is best to buy?

A: Which stringing machine to buy is a matter of volume and budget of the buyer. Some people buy a machine just for their own frames and some plan on generating income from home. At a minimum, I suggest a machine with a "fixed" clamping system where the clamp holding tension on the string is fixed to the base of the machine. Other that that, the rest is up to the buyer. While a drop-weight tensioning system is the least expensive and slowest means up pulling tension, it is very accurate once the user learns the proper way to use it.

Q: How often should someone check the accuracy of his or her machne?

A: On tour, we check the machines accuracy every morning. Of course, our clients performance and confidence in our work is of much greater consequence when compared to a recreational player having a weekend hit. In my shop and at home I calibrate every month or two. It very rarely changes.

Do you have a question for one of our stringers? Ask it in the comments below and we will provide with an answer as fast and accurate as our on-site stringing.

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