Today, Andy Brandi of the Harold Solomon Tennis Institute in Fort Lauderdale, Florida provides his expertise on the many options available in strings and tension.
What Strings and Tension Do You Suggest For Your Students?
Choosing the correct string and tension can have a positive impact on your game by giving you better racket playability, power, control and durability as well as decreasing the possibility of injury.
Strings come in different kinds, gauges and textures. For example, there are multifilaments, natural gut, hybrids and polyesters. Gauges come in 15, 16 and 17 gauge.
Mulitifilaments give you a high level of playability. Natural gut gives you the best feel and response. Hybrids give you playability and durability. Finally, polyester gives you durability and control. Some of these strings are soft in feel which is easier on your arm and some are textured to grab the ball and give you more action and control.
Luxilon is the string that is most used in pro tennis and it has revolutionized the game. With Luxilon, players are able to swing away and keep the ball in the court. Some use it in hybrid form to give a little more feel.
Gauge is the thickness of the string. 15 is the thickest and will last longer and be less responsive. Obviously, 17 is the thinnest.
The other factor that comes with the string is its tension. Racket companies recommend tension that they feel will make the rackets play the best. The lower the tension, the more power and less stress on your arm. With higher tensions, you will have more control and the racket will feel deader.
String and tension are very personal. They are as personal as your favorite color. For example, Harold and I both use VS Touch 16 gut in our Babolat Pure Drives. He strings his at 63 and I string mine at 48! The recommended tension is 62. He uses string savers and I choose not to. That is a 15 pound difference using the same string and gauge. I like the racket to do more for me. I want the racket to be lively. Harold likes the racket to be dead, believing he can control the ball better this way.
For younger players, we recommend using a string that has good playability and is easier on the arm. This could be multifilaments or hybrids. As the player grows older, we like them to make a transition to polyester or remain with the hybrids. This will allow them to hit the ball harder and keep it in the court.
My advice is to experiment. Consult your coach or the person that does your racket stringing. Try out different strings. Try it at different tensions. You will know the right one! Remember, it is very personal and no one can tell you how it feels but you.
Best of luck!
Do you have a question for Andy or Harold? If so, please send it to clewis[at]zootennis[dot]com with the phrase Coaches Q and A in the subject line.