The way you string your tennis racquet can have a dramatic effect on your game. If a racquet is strung very tight (58 pounds or more), the ball will not rebound off the strings as much. This means you will have to swing harder to generate a faster shot. By stringing at a lower tension (52 pounds or less), you increase the “trampoline effect” and the ball comes off the strings at a greater speed with less effort.
Using this knowledge, adjust your string tension to your game. If you tend to swing hard and try to generate your own pace on the shot, it makes sense to string your racquet tighter. If you are the type of player who uses your opponent’s pace and relies more on accuracy, touch, and finesse, then stringing your racquet at a lower tension may fit better.
Keep in mind that the type of string you use also effects the reaction of the strings when contacting the ball. Polyester strings are much stiffer and should be strung at a lower tension (approximately five pounds less) than synthetic gut or a soft string. Natural gut has the most “give” so it may need to be strung at a bit higher tension to maintain control. As is the case when choosing a racquet, a lot of this decision making is based on a player’s personal preference.
Experiment with your tension and string type to find what fits best. Keep in mind that regardless of your choice, hitting the ball in the center of the strings is the most important factor in playing good tennis and producing the shot you intended. Watch the ball all the way through the point of contact.
Steve Annacone, USPTA Elite Pro, is the Director of Annacone Tennis (http://www.annaconetennis.com) and MyHamptonsPro based in Sag Harbor, NY (http://www. myhamptonspro.com) and Tennis Professional at Ventana Canyon Golf and Racquet Club in Tucson, AZ. For details on lessons, clinics, or coaching, contact Steve at email@example.com or call 865-300-7323