Tuesday, April 16, 2013

String dating

Kristianne Bontempo | Towpath Tennis Employee | Legit Tennis Fanatic

We want to finish our stringing posts with answering a question that many players try to ignore--what string do you want in your racquet? This could be a very overwhelming topic but we tried to simplify it in terms that anyone can understand. Welcome to string dating! There are plenty out there to choose from (some you wouldn't dare to use again) but once you find that special 'spring,' you just know you've found "the one."

Most popular: Nylon is synthetic gut, synthetic gut is nylon. People used to bash nylon for its poor playability, but it's been much improved since it was first introduced. In fact, the majority of recreational players use a nylon string since it's the most versatile in regards to playability and durability.

What we say: We call this the default string. There's nothing wrong with having the default string but you're basically settling. It really limits your choices and if you want to improve your game it helps to find what's optimal for you by stepping outside of your safety zone. Let's put it this way, would you continue dating somebody if they're just so-so? If you must, you can try such synthetics as Prince Lightening, Dunlop or Gamma guts but lets be honest, we know you can do better.

Best playability: Natural Gut may be on the pricy side but it's pricy for a reason-it's the best! Often used as a cross string, natural gut has great control and feel, and because of its texture it creates a good bite for spin. Also, natural gut is less stiff so it's ideal for those suffering from tennis elbow or a shoulder injury.

What we say: Because natural gut isn't the most feasible string because of its price (around $60), we recommend going for one of the ultra playable synthetics such as Wilson Sensation, Gamma Livewire, or Prince Premier. It may not be your Prince Charming but it's almost just as good.

Best durability: Polyester may not have much power and may feel like a dead weight to some BUT it does have the added durability that the professionals love. Poly is ideal for string breakers, but because of its added stiffness it is not recommended for beginners or those with arm stress. To reduce stiffness, many players use poly as a hybrid string by adding a softer nylon or natural gut as a cross string.

What we say: You're dating the elite-you know the type of guy your dad wants you to date. It may not be for everybody but take a risk and find out why the pros love their poly. Such top recommended poly strings include Babolat RPM Blast, Gamma Moto, and Luxilon Big Banger.

(The deal with string gauge: The smaller the gauge number the thicker the string. String gauges range from 15-19 (thick-thin or durable-playable) but we typically see 16/17, which we recommend as the average.)

For your convenience, the next time you're in to restring check out our stringing chart that gives you a list of strings to choose from and their benefits. We hope your search proves valuable for your game and you never know, you might find something you truly love.

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