A restring guide for club standard tennis players

A quick restring guide to help club standard players decide on which string and setup to use to get the best from their racket. This guide is suitable for the majority of club players who play between 1-3 times a week. If you are a chronic string breaker then this guide is not for you.

You should ideally restring every 2-3 months to get the maximum benefits from your strings. If you are more of a social player then replace your strings as many times per year as you play per week. Always remember that even when you aren’t playing, strings are losing tension constantly.

restring guide

Type

If you are a club standard tennis player and you are not breaking your strings every month, always go for either a synthetic gut or a multifilament string. These both offer good power, control and tension maintenance. They are arm friendly, unlike polyester. A multifilament string (similar to natural gut) will perform better in all of the above areas, but will generally break quicker.

Natural gut is the “king” of string and is unrivalled in terms of performance and arm comfort. It plays exceptionally well until the string breaks, where as the above strings lose tension quite a bit sooner. However, the high cost of gut puts a lot of players off, but it is worth trying at least once in your playing lifetime!

Budget

Synthetic gut is the cheapest string and most of my players really like it as it offers good playability and durability. A multifilament is more expensive, as it offers better playability, but it does not usually last as long as a synthetic gut. However, it lasts long enough for the majority of my players who play once or twice a week.

A typical synthetic gut restring starts from £15, a multifilament at £20 and natural gut at £40. If you are not breaking strings frequently, it is worth paying a bit more for a multifilament.

Gauge (thickness)

I recommend starting out with a 16 / 1.30mm gauge as this offers good durability and feel. If you don’t think you are going to tear through your strings in a hurry go for a 17 / 1.25mm which will offer a little more playability. If you are a hard hitter and want to use a multifilament string, try out the thickest gauge, which is a 15L / 1.35mm. This will give you added durability, whilst not compromising on performance.

Tension

A good place to start is at around 55lbs. Lower tensions provide more power, last longer and are easier on the arm. Higher tensions do the opposite, but have been claimed to offer more control. There have been debates about whether high tensions do actually provide players with more control. From my experience, they make it easier for you to hit topspin and be a bit more consistent with your shots.

A lot of club players struggle to hit with enough power and a lower tension will allow them to do this with less effort required. If you have a low tension in the 50s and you like the power and feel, but you are struggling a little bit with control, you could always string it a pound or 2 tighter next time.

The trend these days is to string at a lower tension. Most professional players string in the 50s, some in the 40s and a few in the mid / high 60s! The main thing is that it all boils down to personal preference and it is worth experimenting with. I prefer a tension of 52lbs personally.

Brand 

Babolat, Prince and Wilson are the leading brands and have solid reputations. Interestingly, a lot of string is produced in the same factory and just has different branding on the string! My favourite brand is a UK company named RAB, who offer the same quality strings (better in my opinion) as the leading brands and often at a cheaper price. They are the choice for many of the top stringers in the UK.

From my experience, be wary of dirt cheap brands as they can produce low quality string which results in poor tension maintenance and quick string breakages.

Like my Facebook page Mike Herd Racket Restringing for more tips about strings and rackets.

Mike
LTA Licensed Level 4 Tennis Coach.

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