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Boj
07-11-2011, 11:01 AM
I am finding that I get a lot more control when my racquet is strung at a lower tension. Is that normally the case?

This defies what I used to believe was true, (lower tension = more power) and (higher tension = more accuracy).

My understanding is that with a lower tension the player would get more of a trampoline type effect that would promote power. I imagine that with a lower tension the ball would be in contact with the strings longer therefore alllowing more control.

I currently play w/ Babolat Pure Storm GT racquets, which have a suggested tension range of 55-65. I most recently strung one of them w/ Wilson NXT 16 @ 55 lbs, which feels pretty good, but I'm tempted to go even lower.

I read somewhere that to get "optimal performance" I should be stringing that particular model at 60 lbs. What do they mean optimal performance? Is there more to this than personal preference?

Is it common to string below the suggested ranges?

Tennis Is Magic
07-11-2011, 12:10 PM
I am finding that I get a lot more control when my racquet is strung at a lower tension. Is that normally the case?

This defies what I used to believe was true, (lower tension = more power) and (higher tension = more accuracy).

My understanding is that with a lower tension the player would get more of a trampoline type effect that would promote power. I imagine that with a lower tension the ball would be in contact with the strings longer therefore alllowing more control.

I currently play w/ Babolat Pure Storm GT racquets, which have a suggested tension range of 55-65. I most recently strung one of them w/ Wilson NXT 16 @ 55 lbs, which feels pretty good, but I'm tempted to go even lower.

I read somewhere that to get "optimal performance" I should be stringing that particular model at 60 lbs. What do they mean optimal performance? Is there more to this than personal preference?

Is it common to string below the suggested ranges?

"Power" and "control" are simply a manufacturer's terms for displacement, across the x-axis of the court, of the ball at a given tension. Assuming there is a direct correlation between string tension and control, there is a positive correlation of control to higher tensions, and a negative correlation of control to lower tensions. But, that's not always what control is. Control is a set of characteristics that allow you to place the ball across the three dimensions of the tennis court at your discretion. For some people, it's a crisp response, to others, it's a ball pocketing response.

tl;dr: this is just a generalization, do what works for you.

kchau
07-11-2011, 12:14 PM
you string with what you are comfortable with.

its not the racket, or the string, just the player.

look at federer and old sampras, both same rackets, similar playing styles at one point

federer strings <50, and sampras strings ~70 if not higher.

OldButGame
07-11-2011, 12:25 PM
Yeah,..I agree that its somewhat individual, in terms of what You are comfortable with. There has always been the 'conventional wisdom' that states more tension more control/ less tension more power (less contril).
Personally I've moved to 48lbs as my default tension,...works better than anything higher for me. I know that large numbers of people (search threads) going the route of 'stringing very low tension' in the last couple years.

Boj
07-11-2011, 01:20 PM
Thanks for the responses. I appreciate the insight. Makes me feel good to know that a guy at the top of the game, like Federer, plays tensions as low as 50. I'd be interested to see how common this is among the pros. Sounds like it mostly comes down to personal preference.

pvaudio
07-11-2011, 07:59 PM
"Power" and "control" are simply a manufacturer's terms for displacement, across the x-axis of the court, of the ball at a given tension. Assuming there is a direct correlation between string tension and control, there is a positive correlation of control to higher tensions, and a negative correlation of control to lower tensions. But, that's not always what control is. Control is a set of characteristics that allow you to place the ball across the three dimensions of the tennis court at your discretion. For some people, it's a crisp response, to others, it's a ball pocketing response.

tl;dr: this is just a generalization, do what works for you.
This is way too over the top; it's not complicated at all.

pvaudio
07-11-2011, 08:01 PM
OP, I'm with you. I used to string in the low 60's for "control". I've found that using poly in the high 40s gives even more control than before. You get more spin, more feel, more comfort and definitely more power. At the same time, you won't be launching balls. It's a great setup.

pvaudio
07-11-2011, 08:02 PM
you string with what you are comfortable with.

its not the racket, or the string, just the player.

look at federer and old sampras, both same rackets, similar playing styles at one point

federer strings <50, and sampras strings ~70 if not higher.
This is true. Federer plays I believe high 40s and can rip his forehand as hard as anyone on tour, but James Blake also can rip his forehand as hard as anyone (it going in is another discussion) and he uses full ALU strung near 70.

kchau
07-11-2011, 08:03 PM
OP, I'm with you. I used to string in the low 60's for "control". I've found that using poly in the high 40s gives even more control than before. You get more spin, more feel, more comfort and definitely more power. At the same time, you won't be launching balls. It's a great setup.

never worked for me, during winter, around low 60's temp, i was able to deal with 53lb full poly, but as the weather got warmer, 53 lb would go out by about 6", im up to 56 now.

it depends on the playing style too, lower tension also creates a higher launch angle.

OldButGame
07-11-2011, 08:11 PM
OP, I'm with you. I used to string in the low 60's for "control". I've found that using poly in the high 40s gives even more control than before. You get more spin, more feel, more comfort and definitely more power. At the same time, you won't be launching balls. It's a great setup.
Totally agree,...I think I'm pretty locked into 48lbs,.....(possibly to vary slightly based on the string..:? )

tlm
07-11-2011, 08:30 PM
You can have decent control at lower tension, but it will never match higher tensions. I know it is popular for many to string polys at low tensions like high 40's to mid 50's and it can work pretty good with some rackets and strings.

But any of you using lets say 52 lbs, i dare you to raise it to 60 and then tell me you don't have more control at the higher tension.

Backhanded Compliment
07-12-2011, 12:02 AM
You can have decent control at lower tension, but it will never match higher tensions. I know it is popular for many to string polys at low tensions like high 40's to mid 50's and it can work pretty good with some rackets and strings.

But any of you using lets say 52 lbs, i dare you to raise it to 60 and then tell me you don't have more control at the higher tension.

Im with you on this. Im restringing full poly at 56 from now on... when the tension drops below 50 I just cant punish the ball in the same way. I need a certain crispness as I grew up playing with heavier smaller headed rackets and I just need that response. When I string syn gut its always 62-65 and I find a soft co-poly at 56-58 provides that crispness too. I use 56 since arm pain is also worth mitigating though I use a decently flexible frame.

pvaudio
07-12-2011, 06:22 AM
You can have decent control at lower tension, but it will never match higher tensions. I know it is popular for many to string polys at low tensions like high 40's to mid 50's and it can work pretty good with some rackets and strings.

But any of you using lets say 52 lbs, i dare you to raise it to 60 and then tell me you don't have more control at the higher tension.If you mean a reduction in power, then yes. That's not the definition of control, however. Cutting the power so that you can swing harder isn't granting you more control, however, being able to manipulate the ball as you wish is a sign of control. At lower tension, poly just works better. It just feels wooden at high tensions, and the control drops because there's less feel and spin. You're simply relying on the low power of the stringbed to keep the ball in.

tlm
07-12-2011, 03:13 PM
If you mean a reduction in power, then yes. That's not the definition of control, however. Cutting the power so that you can swing harder isn't granting you more control, however, being able to manipulate the ball as you wish is a sign of control. At lower tension, poly just works better. It just feels wooden at high tensions, and the control drops because there's less feel and spin. You're simply relying on the low power of the stringbed to keep the ball in.

I would think that most people would agree that a reduction in power does mean more control. It is no different than getting more control from a players type frame compared to a granny stick. It is not true that poly just works better at lower tensions, it depends on the poly, racket and player. It is also not true that all polys feel like a board at high tensions, actually i have found that to be the case just as often with multis or syn. gut. There is a certain point were these strings will board up, but yet some of the polys at the same tension in the same racket will not board out.

One of my hitting partners who is a 4.5 level player uses the blx 90 with bb ace strung at 70 lbs., thats right 70 lbs, and it does not feel stiff or boardy in any way. But there are many syn. strings that would be dead as hell if he would try them at the same tension. I know i will hear how this can't be or this is crazy, but all i can say is try it and see. So this proves that all polys at high tension do not play dead.

There is a difference in a brand new string job at low tensions compared to one that has even a few hours on it, brand new even lower tensions can have pretty good control. But most players don't string more than once a week or even close to that. So that new low tension frame is going to turn into a rocket launcher with some time on it. Why do you think that most pro players only use a new string job for less than an hour? Because they want the control that the new higher tension string job gives them.

MuscleWeave
07-12-2011, 03:37 PM
I read somewhere that to get "optimal performance" I should be stringing that particular model at 60 lbs. What do they mean optimal performance? Is there more to this than personal preference

Could they be refering to the "optimal performance" of the player (lol)? I would agree that that sort of reasoning would be flawed, but what else could they have meant?

Boj
07-13-2011, 12:33 PM
Just dropped one of my racquets off at stringer. Dropping from 55 to 50. Hopefully, I will see some difference. Reluctant to go too low too quick....

kchau
07-13-2011, 12:37 PM
racquets? i would have just tested 1. not more than 1.

Boj
07-13-2011, 02:57 PM
Just dropped one of my racquets off at stringer...

Just one for now...

Tennis Is Magic
07-13-2011, 07:37 PM
This is way too over the top; it's not complicated at all.

What part of that was complicated? :D

westpac690
07-17-2011, 05:32 AM
You can add me to this list. A few months back I decided to upgrade my strings and after hitting with a few different set ups I decided on NXT Tour 17 and LBB Alu Power 125. My previous hybrid was strung at 64 lbs, so that's where I started with the new one. I had no spin or depth, and absolutely no feel. I've since been re-strung at 61 and 59 lbs. Each time having increased spin and control. Completely opposite of what I had come to believe about strings.
One conclusion I'm starting to come around on is that "conventional wisdom" in tennis isn't always conventional. The complete lack of control due to no feel for the ball at the higher tension came as a surprise to me.

fgs
07-17-2011, 06:23 AM
i think that there is a general correlation between higher tension - lower power - more control and lower tension - higher power - less control.
but, there are a lot of variables which can alter this balance - it is not only the stringbed but the pattern that will make a big difference. you can have a 16 mains stick with 6 central mains very close to each other, closer than you will see them on a 18mains racquet - they will behave differently, you will have "more control" on the 16mains patter, as deflection will be probably less.
the physics is clear - the launch angle will be higher on the lower tension, but then comes the main variable - THE PLAYER. depending on his stroke mechanics the player might be more or less sensitive to "launching angle". a flat striker might have more problems controlling a softer stringbed with a higher launching angle than a heavy spinner, and we could go on almost endlessly.
some will find better control at lower tensions, some will find it at midtensions and others will find it at higher tensions. it depends on the playing style, the stick, the strings and other variables we very much too often don't even bother to mention - the court surface and the balls.
move me from a low bouncing court (wet claycourt after heavy rain for instance) to a high bouncing court (indoors clay court with not much watering) and i'm going to be quite out of control for a while until i adjust to the bounce.

tlm
07-17-2011, 06:45 AM
Now that the weather has warmed up my same tension that was fine indoors and outdoors when it was not so hot no longer works.

I have had to raise the tension to compensate for the hot weather, now my control is back. Even though i use poly strings the heat still makes them more powerful, plus i think the balls get more lively in this heat.

But by raising the tension my control is where it should be again. Once the weather cools off i will be able to drop the tension back down and maintain the same control. Just another example of how higher tension does give better control.

tlm
07-17-2011, 06:52 AM
i think that there is a general correlation between higher tension - lower power - more control and lower tension - higher power - less control.
but, there are a lot of variables which can alter this balance - it is not only the stringbed but the pattern that will make a big difference. you can have a 16 mains stick with 6 central mains very close to each other, closer than you will see them on a 18mains racquet - they will behave differently, you will have "more control" on the 16mains patter, as deflection will be probably less.
the physics is clear - the launch angle will be higher on the lower tension, but then comes the main variable - THE PLAYER. depending on his stroke mechanics the player might be more or less sensitive to "launching angle". a flat striker might have more problems controlling a softer stringbed with a higher launching angle than a heavy spinner, and we could go on almost endlessly.
some will find better control at lower tensions, some will find it at midtensions and others will find it at higher tensions. it depends on the playing style, the stick, the strings and other variables we very much too often don't even bother to mention - the court surface and the balls.
move me from a low bouncing court (wet claycourt after heavy rain for instance) to a high bouncing court (indoors clay court with not much watering) and i'm going to be quite out of control for a while until i adjust to the bounce.



There are variables but when we are talking about each individual player the different string patterns do not matter. I am using the same racket and same string with the same strokes mechanics, so this does not apply.

Now that it has warmed up i have had to raise the tension to maintain my control. If i lowered my tension more it would just make the control that much worse.

fgs
07-17-2011, 07:03 AM
again, basically you are right.
the point is that starting from your strokemechanics, same stick, same strings and let's forget about court, balls, wind and others, you have a certain angle of deflection that "feels" right for you. that is the stringbedstiffness that gives YOU the feeling of control.
if you have high temperatures, than obviously you'd need a few more lbs in order to obtain the same deflection = control.
but as some have been arguing that they found better control at lower tensions, then things got relative, as they have been comparing your experience with theirs. even with same sticks and strings, your optimal angle of deflection might not be the same with another person's, due to the different strokemechanics.
some feel "in control" at 50lbs, some will do so at 70lbs - both are right. what i mean is that under these circumstances it is not correct to tell somebody that for him particulalry stringing higher would get him "in control" as it could possibly be that he needs to string lower to be "in control".
once you have dialled in on your control stringbedstiffness, on hot and humit conditions you will need to go higher, an cold conditions you'll go lower, that is universally correct.

westpac690
07-17-2011, 07:27 AM
For me, I do not feel the ball on the strings that well on the higher tensions. Certainly I do feel when I make contact with the ball, but there is no translation from the strings to my hand in terms of "there is the ball and this is what I want to do with it," and topspin is extremely difficult.
Maybe the extra split second on the strings due to the lower tension lends itself to more feedback from the strings to the hand. Whether that's true or not, that's how it comes across to me. And topspin is waaay easier to achieve. I tend to gauge how I like strings/tension on how easy I can hit my kick/topspin serve. If it's too short in the court with little bounce, the strings are too tight, if the ball goes long the strings are too loose.
I also noticed I can hit my slice serve wide easier and with better accuracy at the lower tension.

tlm
07-17-2011, 08:15 AM
again, basically you are right.
the point is that starting from your strokemechanics, same stick, same strings and let's forget about court, balls, wind and others, you have a certain angle of deflection that "feels" right for you. that is the stringbedstiffness that gives YOU the feeling of control.
if you have high temperatures, than obviously you'd need a few more lbs in order to obtain the same deflection = control.
but as some have been arguing that they found better control at lower tensions, then things got relative, as they have been comparing your experience with theirs. even with same sticks and strings, your optimal angle of deflection might not be the same with another person's, due to the different strokemechanics.
some feel "in control" at 50lbs, some will do so at 70lbs - both are right. what i mean is that under these circumstances it is not correct to tell somebody that for him particulalry stringing higher would get him "in control" as it could possibly be that he needs to string lower to be "in control".
once you have dialled in on your control stringbedstiffness, on hot and humit conditions you will need to go higher, an cold conditions you'll go lower, that is universally correct.



I agree one of my problems is i hit a high trajectory with a lot of top spin. So as it has warmed up it makes the trajectory even higher which cause my shots to go long. But i also agree that there is a limit, once the tension gets to high you do lose the feel of the ball which can effect your control.

I preferred my lower tensions i was using when it was cooler outside for the better feel of the ball. But now in this heat i have to give up some feel to maintain good control.

Power Player
07-17-2011, 10:30 AM
Fed also can string looser because his racquet is a 90. I did the same when I had a prestige..full poly at 48#s was fine.

I have a 100 now and I prefer to hybrid in the high 50s. If I was doing full poly still, I would drop it to 50#s or so. It is all preference and how your swing path is.