Racquet Tech: ATW and Box Patterns
Commonly used by advanced stringers, Around the World or Box Patterns call for careful planning.
The string tickets at most professional tournaments provide the basic information for the technician to string the racquet. Along with the string type and tension, there is usually a designation of “2 Knots” or “4 Knots,” indicating if the player has requested a 1-piece or 2-piece job. If two knots are designated and the frame’s pattern has the mains ending at the throat, the technician will know that a Box Pattern must be employed.
Although many manufacturers allow for crosses to be installed from bottom to top, you will notice that almost always, the two-piece instructions show the crosses starting at the top. This is because top-to-bottom stringing places less stress on the frame. At most pro tourneys, this is standard procedure.
Around the World (ATW) patterns are as varied as racquets and there is certainly not enough space here to detail them all, so I will just emphasize some of the basic principles to consider.
Usually, the pattern used is dictated by the pattern and skips in the original pattern of the frame, but even then there are several different ways to accomplish it. On a certain pattern, some technicians may install the top cross string and two bottom strings before filling in the remaining crosses, while others would install two at the top and one at the bottom. My point is there is no set pattern, but there are some key points you need to employ.
1. Plan Ahead — Before you start, decide what will be the most efficient pattern for this frame. Your goal is install the majority of the cross strings from the top working down, but you also want to minimize the runs of strings on the outside of the frame. Make sure your method will be aesthetically pleasing as well as functional.
2. Plan Ahead, Part 2 — Often you will find that you may need to be clamped on two strings on the same side of the racquet, so make sure you have a starting clamp handy to supplement your machine clamp and make sure it can be placed where needed (no machine supports in the way, etc.).
3. Be Careful — Mis-weaves or duplicate weaves are the most common errors in ATW patterns. Know how many total crosses are in the pattern. Even-numbered strings will all employ the same weave and odd-number crosses will all be the same but opposite of the evens. Since you won’t be installing the crosses in order, this can cause problems that are not easily caught until you are all but finished, so check and double-check as you go.
See all articles by Bob Patterson
About the Author
Bob Patterson , the founder of the RacquetMAXX customization service, is a Master Racquet Technician with more than 20 years of experience. He was RSI's Stringer of the Year in 2005. He is Executive Director for the U.S. Racquet Stringers Association.
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