Are your shots getting a little off? More miss-hits? The solution may be as simple as restringing your racket. Restringing your tennis racket can change your racket fees, and may improve performance.
James Helvey, Head Tennis Professional at Arlington Tennis Center, shares a quick guide to help you make a decision. Choosing a string does not need to be confusing. The first step is simple, select your type of string.
Made from cows or sheep through a complex process. Natural gut boasts elasticity, tension stability, and liveliness. It has a short self life, so it may be a special order, and it is pricey. It is not durable and is very sensitive to moisture. Few players at any level use natural gut.
Great all-around string that provides a crisp feel. It is gentle on the arm and holds tension fairly well. Synthetic gut is a good choice for balance of power and control.
Polyester is durable and a good choice for big hitters, string breakers, and people without arm problems. Polyester has lots of "playability" and holds tension well. Beware of arm problems if you have your racquet strung too tightly with polyester!
Textured string has an added seam or raised band around it to give it texture to produce more bite on the ball, giving it more spin.
Hybrid strings are a blend of two different types and or thicknesses on the mains and crosses, which can allow for more fine-tuning to suit personal taste.
The next two decisions are thickness and tension.
String thickness is referred to in gauges. 16 gauge is the most popular and standard. 15 gauge, or 15L is a little thicker, which helps with durability. 17 gauge is thinner and helps in the control department, but it may break more easily.
Tension has the most impact on "feel" and control, with some impact on power. To keep it simple, start in the lower two-thirds of the recommended tension range for your racket. Lower tension allows more energy to be given back to the ball (more power), but may result in a loss of control. Higher tension reduces energy from the racket (less power), but may result in more control.
Work with a teaching professional to determine what string is best for you and your game, and choose a string that is best for you. The good news is that if you don't like the way the string performs, it's an easy fix by just having it restrung with different options.
For help and more information, visit Arlington Tennis Center, 500 W. Mayfield Road, 76014.