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Rabbit
02-05-2006, 02:13 PM
I purchased the book Technical Tennis from TW and I've been reading parts here and there. There is some really interesting information regarding strings. The authors say that:


No particular string or gauge lends itself to spin.
Strings do not go dead.
The most important characteristic of any string in relation to the racket and your game is stringbed stiffness.
Tension and string elasticity are the components of stringbed stiffness.What the book says is that the loss of tension is what gives the impression that a string has gone dead. In other words, the string never loses its elasticity. It retains that characteristic forever. If it lost elasticity, then it would sag, which clearly it does not.

The book says that if one feels that a particular string, say a poly, increases spin, it is because of other factors. Because, in this case, a poly is stiffer than other strings, it takes more effort to generate the same amount of power or ball speed than with other strings. This causes the player to take a fuller cut at the ball and consequently generate more racket head speed. This results in more spin. The product of this is more spin, but the real culprit is not the string, but the change in the stroke mechanic that the string had on the player.

The book points to the real component of playability as stringbed tension, that in combination with various factors of the racket. For instance, rackets with more open string patterns are inherently softer than rackets with denser string patterns. In my case, I play with a frame that has an open string pattern which means it is softer. I then find that higher tension ranges help make the stringbed stiffer which gives me more control. When you combine this with lower inherent ball speed, then it makes me swing harder which generates more racket head speed...you get the point.

Add to this the fact that my frame also has big grommets which also make the frame play softer. The variables that enter into this equation are dizzying when you try to abosrb them as a whole.

The book breaks down the various components of racket, string and ball. When combined, there is a reason that these things work. It is not, however, the reason that I always thought. It is a simple, yet at the same time very complex relationship that all works together to provde a topspin shot.

I post this because there are some truths that are evident to me. Most of the arguments about string gauge, tension, racket weight, and other tweaks of the game are really dependent more on the player than anything else. The book explains that pros generally prefer smaller headed frames because they are able to swing the racket much faster than recreational players. A smaller headed frame is easier to move on the long axis than a large headed frame. (This was a discussion not long ago, why more pros use small headed frames.) The net of this is that there is a larger margin of error with a larger headed frame (big shock).

The book also says that frame weight and swing speed are the two components of power. A heavier racket is inherently more powerful, however, if you can't swing it as fast, then you will not get as much power. So, a racket with slighlty less weight that is able to be swung faster will produce more power in the hands of a recreational player. The effect on the arm is largely anecdoatal according to the book.

The book is a good read, but parts read like stereo instructions. I will endeavor to persevere regarding the book.

CheapStrings
02-05-2006, 08:46 PM
Technical Tennis is a simplified version of The Physics And Technology Of Tennis which I also have but is over my head. Technical Tennis has good information but I find a lot of people will argue with many of it's facts, e.g. they believe they generate more topspin with lower tensions.

I think the book is worth reading a couple of times. Although most of what it says won't directly lead to improving my game, I like to know what causes what.

Midlife crisis
02-05-2006, 09:28 PM
Also, many of their main points which seem to go against traditional understanding are presented in the articles available from the RSI online articles. They've already covered the string gauge/spin potential thing, as well as power versus tension and the ball speed versus racquet weight versus the ability to swing.

Here's the main page for their online articles:

http://www.racquetsportsindustry.com/issues/index.html