Picking a tennis racquet is a crucial decision for a tennis player. From its weight to the grip size to the material, every aspect can influence your effectiveness on the court.
But don’t forget about the strings of your tennis racquet. Neglecting your strings can have a negative impact on your game. After all, the strings are the only part of the racquet that makes contact with the ball.
“String is something that is often overlooked when players are looking at tennis racquets,” Michael Schaeffer, global product line manager for Wilson Tennis, says. “But the racquet is the car, and the string is the engine.”
The type of string and the tension you choose can have a major impact on the performance of your tennis racquet. You also need to be prepared to restring your tennis racquet on a regular basis.
Pro Tips breaks down each aspect of your racquet’s strings to help you reach your potential on the court.
TYPES OF STRING
There is a variety of string types to choose from. Each offers its own distinct benefits:
- Multifilament tennis strings tend to offer greater comfort and more power. These strings are typically made of nylon braided string or wrapped into a single length of string.
- Monofilament tennis strings can be very durable. They can also provide more spin and control. Monofilament strings feature either a single material or a combination of materials extruded to form a single string.
- Natural gut is commonly used by elite tennis players. Made of individual strands of serosa fibers, natural gut offers a strong blend of power and feel. However, this type of string may not be as durable as other options.
- Synthetic gut is typically the most economical tennis string and a good choice for recreational players. These strings are typically made of nylon. It may have a monofilament core surrounded by layers of small filaments. Synthetic gut string offers a good balance of durability and playability.
- Hybrid strings combine two different gauges of string into one racquet. This allows you to utilize the benefits of both strings. For example, you can mix a thinner string for playability with a thicker string for durability.
HOW MUCH TENSION DO YOU NEED?
Tension can have a significant impact on how your tennis racquet performs. When you restring your tennis racquet, you will string it to a certain weight or tension. All racquet frames come with manufacturer’s recommendations on string tension. Most tennis racquets will have the recommended range listed somewhere near the throat of the racquet.
Going with higher or lower tensions can offer unique benefits:
- Higher tensions can lead to more control.
- Lower tensions allow for more power.
“Generally, we recommend stringing between 50 and 60 pounds, with 60 being on the control end and 50 being on the power end,” Schaeffer says.
WHAT IS GAUGE?
This is the measurement of the string, typically expressed in millimeters or gauge numbers. The size of the string can have different effects:
- Thinner strings tend to have improved playability.
- Thicker strings can be more durable.
Tennis string gauges start at 15, which is the thickest string. They can go up to 17, which is the thinnest string. You will also find half-gauge tennis string labeled with an L after the numbers (15L, 16L, 17L). These strings are thinner than the corresponding number, but thicker than the next number. For example, 16L string is thinner than a 16 but thicker than a 17.
HOW OFTEN TO RESTRING A TENNIS RACQUET?
Dedicated to the court? Then you’ll need to restring your tennis racquet a few times a year. Playing with a racquet and not restringing it regularly can negatively impact your game.
“It’s really important that your strings are restrung often,” Schaeffer says. “Because over time, the strings lose tension and are not optimized for the player.”
Schaeffer offers a simple formula to determine how often you should restring your tennis racquet. How many days a week do you typically play tennis? That is how many times a year you should restring your racquet. For example:
- If you play three days a week, you should restring your racquet at least three times a year.
- If you play five days a week, you should restring your racquet at least five times a year.
A little unsure of restringing your tennis racquet on your own? Visit the Racquet PROS at your local DICK’S Sporting Goods for a custom stringing. They can also help with grip replacement.
Still trying to find the right tennis racquet for your game? Check out our tips on how to choose a tennis racquet that complements you on the court.