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Restrings

Updated on 18th September 2009 by Paul Heneghan

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How often should you restring your racket?

The recommendation from experts (and me!) is that on average, you should restring your racket after about 50 games. Waiting for the strings to break is not recommended as this is considered an extreme case of wear and the string will probably have lost its tension and elasticity long before breakage occurs.

The 50 game rule works out to be the same number of restrings a year as games you play a week. e.g. if you play three time a week, then you need three restrings a year.

What string should you use?

Most new rackets in this country are bought ready strung. The string is rarely top quality and an improvement in power, control and feel can be obtained by upgrading to a quality string. Gut is still reckoned to be the best, but is difficult to string, very expensive and has a very short life. Many synthetic alternatives exist, two of the more popular ones being Ashaway Supernick XL and Tecnifibre. Supernick is not very compliant and has a textured finish. It is a good medium quality string. Tecnifibre is compliant (like gut), and needs a highish tension to get the most out of it. It is one of the most expensive synthetics, but is very popular with a lot of players.

What gauge string should you use?

The thinnest that you can get away with. If you rarely break strings, go for 1.1mm. If you are a frequent string breaker, go for 1.3mm. If you're somewhere in the middle, go for 1.2mm. Thinner string allows a better power/control compromise. The downside is that it is more fragile and won't last as long. The stringing pattern of the racket also needs to be taken into consideration. Denser patterns require thinner string and vice versa.

What tension should you use?

There is a common misapprehension that high tension gives more power and therefore low tension must give more control. This is not true! High tension gives more control, but at the expense of power. Low tension creates the trampoline effect where the ball is is contact with the racket for a longer period of time, deforms the strings more than usual and the strings impart more energy on the ball because of the longer contact time. Manufacturers usually recommend a tension range, and if you don't know any better, the middle tension is usually a good starting point.

What should you do if you suffer from tennis elbow?

There are a number of things you can do to alleviate this:

  1. Rest - avoid squash for a couple of weeks.
  2. If the pain is intense, try acupuncture - it won't cure tennis elbow, but it will often take the pain away.
  3. Go to a doctor and get given a cortisone injection into the elbow joint. I've been told that this is extremely painful!
  4. Build up the grip on the handle with something like a heat-shrink sleeve, or a Karakal PU standard spongy grip. This allows you to control the racket without clenching so tightly. Replace grips as they become slippy - failure to do this will result in the need to grip the handle tighter to avoid slippage - this leads to tennis elbow.
  5. Consider buying a heavier racket. There are many rackets now available with weights (unstrung) of 130g or less; these pass the shock of hitting the ball into the arm and up to the elbow. Heavier rackets (>150g unstrung) will do a lot less damage to your elbow.
  6. Hold the racket further up the handle, i.e. nearer the head. This is often called the Hashim Khan grip after the World Champion in the 50s who revolutionised the game. You should notice less stress/shock to the elbow and more control. However, the power will go down and so will the reach - you'll need to run!
  7. Use a compliant string. Gut is the best. You could also consider 1.1mm Tecnifibre.
  8. Drop the stringing tension a couple of pounds. This will give less stress/shock to the elbow. It will also increase the power and reduce the control slightly, but that should be offset by the shorter grip you are now using.

Squash

Bow Brand
Championship Natural Gut
- UK 7.0 (USA 18)
- UK 7.5 (USA 17)

The best! Excellent power and control but less than half the life of synthetic string.

Needs to be looked after (doesn’t like humidity).

20.00+

Tecnifibre X-One Biphase

Increased power over Tecnifibre Original/Classic

21.00

Tecnifibre Original/Classic

Probably the best alternative to gut.

1.3mm lasts the longest
1.2mm is a good compromise
1.1mm gives the best touch

Used increasingly by the internationals over the last few years. Tecnifibre string is usually fluorescent green, but it is also available in clear.

18.00

Tecnifibre Duramix
(1.22mm)

Excellent value string.  Slightly stiffer than Tecnifibre Classic, longer lasting and a couple of pounds cheaper.

16.00

Ashaway
Super Nick XL (1.22mm)

A very popular textured string. It is less compliant than Tecnifibre. Used by Peter Nicol.

14.00

Dura Plus Amber (1.33mm)

Cheapest restring available!

9.00

Grommet/Bumper Strips

Typically need to be replaced every two restrings, or whenever damage has occurred. Failure to replace worn/damaged grommet strips can result in early string failure, racket damage and tennis elbow.

6.00
(typ.)

Many other strings available to order - Kevlar, Titanium, Hybrid etc.

 

 


Tennis

Babolat
Powergy
(available to order)

Babolat supply strings to most of the world’s top tennis players. Powergy is one of their top-of-the-range synthetics.

22.00

Prince
Problend 16 Hybrid (1.3mm)
(available to order)

Kevlar mains, synthetic gut crosses - maximum durability string - for frequent string breakers.

20.00

Prince
Duraflex Synthetic gut (1.3mm)

World's most popular synthetic gut.

14.00


Badminton

Yonex BG65

High-quality all-around string.

11.00

Hy Sheep Amber

Good-value popular string.

9.00


Accessories

Karakal PU Grips

Essential for keeping tennis elbow at bay.

1.50

Karakal Overgrips (pack of three)

Can be replaced in seconds. Washable.

3.00

Squash balls

I sometimes buy squash/tennis balls in bulk. I sell these at cost (typically about 30% - 40% less than RRP).
I'm all sold out at the moment!

x.xx


Racket Stringing Patterns

Here is a link to some racket stringing patterns. These are mostly for squash rackets, but there are a few tennis and badminton rackets as well.

Squash Committee