Tennis Industry magazine

 

String of Advice

Make sure you know how to help your customers find the string that works best for them.

By Dave Bone

Typical tennis players don’t give their strings the respect they deserve. Far too often, a player spends hours talking with professionals to pick a racquet, only to settle for putting in just any string. But a racquet can only play as well as the strings in it.

Since the strings are the only thing that touches the ball, you need to emphasize their importance to your customers and students. You also need to be aware of some basic string characteristics that players “feel.”

The Specs

All strings have different levels of stringbed stiffness, spin potential and durability. These three characteristics are affected by specifications such as materials used in making the string, gauge, type of construction and string tension.

The Power Question

The power that strings provide is a complicated and misunderstood concept. Very precise lab tests show that while a racquet and the speed at which it is swung have a big effect on the speed of a ball, the strings have almost no effect. A ball leaves the strings at virtually the same speed regardless of tension, gauge, material of the string or type of construction.

Research suggests that while power may not change with the specs, depth of shots will change with stringbed stiffness mainly because of the trajectory of the shots. Simply put, the ball will travel farther at the same speed because it leaves the stringbed at a higher trajectory. Looser strings-a looser stringbed-will cause shots to land deeper in the court, which some players may interpret as giving them more “power.” So, instead of the old adage “looser for more power, tighter for more control,” you really should say, “looser for more depth, tighter for less depth.”

Stringing It Up

Most players probably have a string they’re pretty happy with and are looking for a new string that is close to it yet can provide added benefits. Ask your customer what they want to achieve with a new string, then don’t try to change all the specs at once, just change one at a time and see how they like it.

All of this may seem complicated and involved, but once you start working with your players, using the tools we provide both on the following pages and at racquettech.com, and keeping accurate records, you’ll find it’s not that difficult to keep your players satisfied.

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About the Author

Dave Bone is the CEO of the U.S. Racquet Stringers Association, and co-publisher of Racquet Sports Industry magazine.

 

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