Reducing and Eliminating Tennis String Movement

Broccoli. A newlywed’s cooking. The swine flu. Serena after a loss. A root canal. Potholes. Jelena on a bad hair day. String movement. The Jimmy Fallon Show.

What do each of the above have in common? They are all things that many of us dislike and strive to avoid. While each of us can manage the above annoyances with varying degrees of success, the second to last requires us to work with our stringer. In some instances we need to be prepared to partake in a big slice of “reality pie.”

String movement is the most interesting phenomena that the world of stringing presents. What is described by some as completely unacceptable and excessive, is barely noticeable to others. In most cases it is a matter of personal perception. While the movement may seem minimal to me, it may be driving a customer stark raving mad. It can lead to an on-court distraction which can cause them to lose concentration, points and possibly the match. Worse yet, readjusting the strings can completely ruin perfectly good manicures, eeeghads!!!

So, what can be done? We offer the following options.

1. Learn to straighten strings between points and use the time to focus on game plan. Did you ever watch Maria Sharapova? She is forever adjusting her strings. It is a routine and a routine that serves her well.

2. Ask your stringer to make a tension differential of 4 – 5 pounds between the mains and the crosses. Tighter cross strings tend to reduce string movement. Let’s say you string at 58 pounds. Next time try stringing your mains at 56 and the crosses and 60 and see if this reduces movement for you. For some it may be the answer, while others will still wail…”my strings are moving!”

3. Change string type. In general synthetic gut string users tend to experience more string movement than natural gut and poly-based string users. Some strings begin moving more as tension is lost, thus an attempt to find a synthetic gut that holds tension well may help. Another cause is coating. Some strings use a final coating (like pearlized and titanium) that tend to be more prone to movement. Perhaps your stringer can help you find a synthetic with a coating that does not move as much. Unfortunately the reality is with most synthetics you are going to experience some movement regardless. The question is how much can you tolerate without being driven to the point of distraction?

If the answer to the above question is “none” then you need to consider one of the following. Prince has designed a string called Recoil. It is a premium priced string because it features a special coating that allows the strings to return to alignment after they are struck. The disadvantage is that it offers inconsistent durability levels.  For flat hitters the durability generally exceeds expectations, but those who hit with a lot of power and spin may find the durability less than satisfying.  Retailing at approx. $25.00 – $28.00 per set, (not counting installation), it is an expensive solution. The other solution is moving to a poly-based string offering. While we offer a fine selection of technologically advanced poly-based strings, you must always keep in mind these strings are stiff. They are extremely durable and much less expensive than Recoil but must be replaced frequently. Unfortunately they do not always play nicely with today’s ultra light frames, (leading to arm pain), but in the correct context and possibly paired with a hybrid string, may be the answer you are seeking.

4. Get a new racquet. In many instances string movement is a product of a player using an open string pattern while hitting with moderate to significant spin. Many racquets have 16 mains (the strings that run up and down) while some have 14. These racquets are much more likely to have string movement perceived as intolerable than a racquet with a denser string pattern, 18 mains. If you have not played with a racquet with 18 mains, we suggest giving one a demo. Not only will string movement be greatly reduced or eliminated, but you may find yourself experiencing more control that you ever realized playing with a racquet that only has 16 mains.

Is it possible to eliminate all string movement? Technically, not really, but the extent to which it is noticed can be managed using some of the strategies mentioned above. We invite local players to give us a call as we offer professional stringing services with insight, understanding and a level of professionalism that is not easily found. Guts and Glory Tennis will work with you to solve your unique stringing needs and find a setup that compliments your game. If you are outside of our area, we hope you will use some of the information presented here and let us know how it works for you. Thanks for visiting our blog!

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3 Responses to Reducing and Eliminating Tennis String Movement

  1. JES says:

    Interesting comment regarding Recoil when you note that it “is not the most durable string”. It seems a bit inconsistent with your views in “Prince Recoil – The “Real” Deal” from April 30, 2008 where you noted the DT reading fell by only 13.6% after 55 days and 98 hours of play. That sounds durable to me. What do you mean in this blog when you say that Recoil is not durable?

  2. ggtennis says:

    @JES Sorry that my posts have not been clear and have led to confusion. Clearly not my intent. Your post has helped me to learn that I need to put some additional context in future blogs so that my readers get the entire picture.

    The April 30, 2008 post was based on performance in a racquet of a 3.5 woman who hits a fairly flat ball, but plays tennis in 3 leagues and is on the court almost daily. She was my first customer to try the string. We used it because string movement she received from other strings drove her batty and she was not a candidate for poly-based strings. I was shocked by the tension maintenance of the string and that was the point I was trying to drive home in that post. It’s excellent in this category. I was also surprised at the durability because I had read accounts of it not lasting.

    Since that time, we have sold many sets of Recoil. I found for those with flat strokes durability is perfectly acceptable, but for bigger hitters and especially those who impart spin, for the price it can be worn through more rapidly than you might expect. The DA’s of price and durability was listed in the current blog which is an update to our entry of a year ago.

    Thank you for pointing out the inconsistency. I will edit the current blog entry so as not to add confusion for future readers.

  3. Paul says:

    I just came across this site and love it. Is there any structural problem with stringing the crosses 4-5 lbs higher than the mains if it is within the manufacturer’s suggested tension range? I don’t mind the mains moving but for some reason I find the crosses moving to be highly offensive!

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