The Great String Experiment

Three weeks ago, I had one racquet strung at the dramatically lower tension of just 35 pounds; and at the recommendations of Rick Flach and Brent Abel, played exclusively with that racquet to give it a fair trial.

The trial is over; and the winner is …. Lower string tension!

It was not a difficult as I thought to get used to the ball “jumping off” my racquet. In fact, it seemed that my ground strokes went about 4-5 feet longer than they had. And since I had been hitting about 4-5 feet too short in the court, that made them about right!

Sure, every now and then, a ground stroke or volley would fly too long; but in general, I could swing much easier and place the ball deeper in the court.

Easy on the Arm

And due to two weekend tournaments, I ended up playing 19 consecutive days (today will be the 20th). That is even more than I normally have done; but due, I think in part, to the softer string tension, I have no arm problem.

According to people I have played against, they can see a “significant increase” in the speed of my serve (with no greater effort on my part) + my topspin forehand ground strokes have more “bite” on them.

During the trial period, I did test my other racquet (which has been strung at 48 pounds for a year now); and it did feel like I was putting on an old and comfortable shoe. But I could definitely feel the extra vibration on my arm (even at that relatively low tension).

So, that second racquet is now being restrung also at 35 pounds; and I will play with both at least till the end of the summer to see if will be my new standard.

Anyone else stringing lower and feeling a difference?

8 thoughts on “The Great String Experiment

  1. George, What racquet are you playing with these days?

    Tommie – I am using a Volkl Powerbridge 3 (110 sq inches); which i believe is no longer being made. george

  2. George, what stings are you using ? I would expect Big Banger to play stiffer than a poly even at 35lbs. I may have to consider this as my elbow and now shoulder arthritis are making it more and more difficult to play..

    Chris – i am using Gamma ZoVerve 17 (a poly) in the mains and TNT 16 in the crosses (with string saver inserts). george

  3. I did a similar experiment in the past, using several identical racquets strung at 5lb increments. It took me a bit of trial and error to find my sweet spot combination of string tension to match up the racquet and the string types. My personal sweet spot was using Babolat VS Gut strung at 50-55 lbs. I did notice that the lower tension (45 lbs) was causing me to break strings more frequently, which I had to conclude was from greater string movement across each other. I would have thought the higher tension would be more prone to breakage but it didn’t turn out that way for me. I tried putting String-a-Lings in the break area intersections but gave that up quickly since it changed the feel of the strings too much. I only went down to 45 lbs tension testing, so perhaps I should try lower tensions again when I do finally break down and buy a new racquet to replace my very old but fav Volkls.

  4. going to give it a try, George – will let you know how it works – thanks for the info

    Lenny – Please let me know. Geo

  5. George, I’m going to try it too. I’ll let you know how it works. Please keep us updated on everyones trials. Thanks, Dave Spilseth

    Dave – I think it will suit your game! Let us know. Geo

  6. Interesting to me. I’m at 52 mains, 50 crosses, was going to to try 45-45. How about differences between poly, synthetic gut and natural gut?

    Nick – Maybe somebody more knowledgeable on strings can better comment; but my understanding is that the poly strings are not affected as much by the lower tension as are the guts. (i think). geo

  7. Thanks for the information– I just changed to the new Head PWR 112. and It plays great at 55 pds. However, I am going to string one with SYN gut at 50lbs. Let you know. Rick

    Rick – keep workin’ your way down! and let us know. george

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