String Tensions Generally Too High?

A fellow stringer, LoneStar Stringing Co., was stringing at the BMW Tennis Championships this spring and made the following observation:

Our average tension so far has been 49lbs, with only 1 player not using Gut or Poly(Phau). Its amazing to see that Americans typically are stringing their racquets 5-6lbs higher than others. What does that tell us?

To me, alot of people string too tight. Because most people — from hackers like me to the more proficient college players I string for — worry most about controlling the ball, they naturally go up in tension seeking that control. But there are so many trade-offs to that, including touch/feel and also the arm problems associated with high string tensions.

But how do you get people to experiment with this? Sometimes by accident. One of our players used to string at 65# with all poly. I gradually worked him down to 60# all poly. One day, he grabbed the wrong racket and was playing with it when I walked up. He said, “This racket feels really good. It feels tighter.” I grabbed the racket to look at the sticker to see what it was strung at when I noticed he had the wrong racket. It was strung with poly mains and synthetic gut crosses at 55#. Much softer stringbed, but felt better to him so that’s what he uses now. Started the year all poly at 65# and ended it with a hybrid at 55#.

Moral of the story? Get low!

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