Are polys really that bad....

Discussion in 'Strings' started by klementine, Jul 23, 2011.

  1. klementine

    klementine Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2008
    Messages:
    4,118
    Location:
    DcMdVa
    for your joints and tendons.... or is the more important issue off-court strengthening and proper stretching?

    I realize that polys are harsh... and send 'bad frequencies' through the body (if that concept even exists)...

    but I can't help thinking that most players (especially recreational) don't focus on exercise off the court and stretching properly before and after play.

    BTW- Not a big poly guy... really hate most of them... I play/ed with mainly multis/synguts... but the polys I do enjoy are very soft ones... such as BBAce, SPPP and hybrids such as M2Pro. Really would like to try some more of the softer ones that are coming out nowadays.

    I used to be an exercise 'nut' (before I got back into tennis and was younger) and try to exercise regularly now (time permitting) ... but I always take 5-10min. to stretch before and after play and have never had an issue with my shoulder (aside from using a super-stiff 'tweener racquet when I got back into tennis... which was strung with a multi @ mid range)... needless to say I put that stick down immediately.
     
    #1
  2. parasailing

    parasailing Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2009
    Messages:
    3,467
    If you are coming back to the sport, I would suggest a soft multi or natural gut combined with a flexy racquet until your body gets use to it.

    Then I would maybe consider hybrid but it would be a bad idea to go straight to a full poly setup. Every one uses poly because that's what the pros which to me doesn't suit beginners or people coming back to the sport.
     
    #2
  3. Delano

    Delano Rookie

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2010
    Messages:
    184
    If you're considering a full poly setup, I recommend reading an interesting blog post:

    http://ggtennis.wordpress.com/2011/03/17/the-definitive-guide-to-stringing-polys-and-co-polys/

    The first time I tried full poly, it did hurt my arm (and this was using SPPP, known as a fairly arm friendly copoly). However, I was stringing it in the low 60s (10% lower than my normal string tension with synthetic gut, as recommended).

    I agree with this blog entry that low 60s is far too high for poly. It took me a really long time to realize how low you can go with string tension on fully poly. I play with it at 48lbs now, and I don't experience any of the arm pain I did at 62lbs. Plenty of people would go considerably lower than 48, even.

    I really liked the analogy on ggtennis to the dangers of over-stretching the spring in a ballpoint pen. If you only stretch it a bit, it will retain its elasticity and snap back into position for years. But if you over-stretch it badly a single time, the coil will never return to its original shape. Their opinion seems to be that polys can be overstretched in a similar way - at which point they become dead strings that lose the benefits of poly and just hurt your arm.
     
    #3
  4. dozu

    dozu Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2004
    Messages:
    4,546
    yes they are that bad..

    and per my experience... doesn't really matter what tension, they all die after 3 hours, then it's hell time for the elbow.
     
    #4
  5. Torres

    Torres Banned

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2011
    Messages:
    4,766
    Bit of both really. Polys are harder on the tendons in the arm because of the reduced elasticity. So all those forces go onto the lateral epicondyle insertion - which is tiny relative to the degree of forces going through it when hitting a tennis ball. No wonder it accumulates microtears over time...

    That said, the thing that really amazes me is how little strengthening and preventative work recreational players do. Deep tissue massage of the forearm muscle to remove knottiness and adhesions is crucial. As are repeated stretches and holds of the forearm (wrist cocked 90 degree downwards) to maintain the muscle and tendon length. And finally, eccentric extension exercises of the forearm to strengthen the muscles and tendons. All of that takes less than 10 minutes a day.
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2011
    #5
  6. kchau

    kchau Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    May 31, 2006
    Messages:
    792
    i dont understand how people use such low tensions, the launch angle would be ridiculously high. i can't even stand using 50lb poly on my k95's
     
    #6
  7. Tennis Is Magic

    Tennis Is Magic Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2011
    Messages:
    583
    I know, right?!
     
    #7
  8. Smasher08

    Smasher08 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2010
    Messages:
    4,108
    Location:
    The 6
    Klementine,

    I don't think it's just a matter of stretching and conditioning: it also has to do with the shock that poly (poly mains esp.) transmit into your soft tissue and tendons -- especially if you have any hitches in your shots.

    If you don't have any hitches and generate plenty of racket head speed, they'll probably be perfectly fine.....
     
    #8
  9. BobFL

    BobFL Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2007
    Messages:
    3,692
    Location:
    Orlando
    Polys should be strung low/er and racquet head speed must be high. It is a different tennis. They are not for everyone.
     
    #9
  10. klementine

    klementine Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2008
    Messages:
    4,118
    Location:
    DcMdVa

    I got back into tennis a little over 4 years ago... but that's sound advice.

    I was trying to say (in relation to polys) that #1. Rec players don't get enough off court exercise/stretching and #2. I had experienced pain from a stiff,light frame strung with a multi not a flexible frame strung with a poly.

    Low tension polys take awhile to get used to... but they are SWCHEEETT!!!!


    My problem is with my frame... being so flexible... a multi felt terrible in there... but the M2Pro and now Beast are just heavenly... they're like stiff multis. I don't know if it's because I hit-out in front and flat... but I have never experienced elbow problems..... shoulder? YES. and I reiterate that I have experienced pain with a stiff, light frame strung with a really soft... I think it was NRG2 and GammaPro. (4years ago).

    That was before I took lessons.... but we didn't really work on my serve, since he thought it was fine... minor adjustments, more groundstrokes/footwork/grip/volleys. I guess I had retained something from my childhood years of playing.


    I don't know about 'deep tissue' massages.. I ain't in financial Federer territory, YET!!!.... for now P90-X is killing me and I'm getting some killer results.

    It is an adjustment... you have to bend and get down even lower... if you're a flat-hitter like me.


    I also think frame flex has something to do with it... Topspin players need to watch-out for polys more than traditional strokers IMO.


    +1
     
    #10
  11. TonyB

    TonyB Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2006
    Messages:
    2,779

    I went from using synthetic gut in the mid 50's to using a soft poly (Polystar Energy) strung at 30 lb. without any adjustment whatsoever. Fact is, I get more power with more spin -- just ridiculously penetrating shots now using the same stroke mechanics.

    If you "don't understand it", then you probably haven't tried it. Trust me, there's nothing to fear.
     
    #11
  12. tlm

    tlm Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2004
    Messages:
    7,513


    There is some truth to what you are saying, but under normal conditions you can string some polys with some rackets pretty low. But now that the heat of summer is here i have had to raise the tension by quite a bit.

    It surprises me how much difference there is in power now that it is hot, if you play in the evenings once the sun is off the court it is not to bad. But if you play with sun on the court with it hot like it is now the ball will really fly.
     
    #12
  13. klementine

    klementine Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2008
    Messages:
    4,118
    Location:
    DcMdVa
    ^ It's not that the ball travels faster in heat.... higher elevation plays a role in that.... but when it's hot out... the ball has a tougher time slowing down.
     
    #13
  14. dozu

    dozu Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2004
    Messages:
    4,546
    how bad is it? it's from the moment you put it on till the moment you cut it out lol

    1) when you put it on as mains, not too bad, but have fun weaving them as crosses.

    2) now finally you have a fresh job, you go out and have a hit.... hey, not too bad, crisp power, lots of spin, great control, you are sold (like I was LOL)... enjoy it while it lasts, for 3 hours or so (for me, if I hit against heavy pace, it's more like 1.5 hours, maybe less.)

    3) now comes the dreaded moment, the zombie stage.... sweat spot shrinks to the size of a quarter, hits on the edge feel truly awful.. sometimes, the reaction is so dead, the ball literally dies on the strings and bounce forward 3 feet... not to mention, elbow, shoulder all starts to feel it, it's like hitting the ball with a 2X4.

    4) time to cut it out, say you cut the other string - gut/syngut whatever, it snaps back a few inches... then cut the poly, it snaps back 1 CM... you are like What the F#$#$%^ ! that's how dead it becomes.

    give it a try, you will enjoy every moment of it lol.
     
    #14
  15. klementine

    klementine Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2008
    Messages:
    4,118
    Location:
    DcMdVa
    ^ Dozu... are you referring to 'real' polys... such as PHT...BBO... and ALU.... because I tend to agree with you... I even hated them in a full bed before they went dead...

    But where do you stand on strings such as M2Pro and Recoil and others?? which I consider to be stiff multis or soft polys.

    I actually love those.... and they fit well in my frame... something like a 52flex.... and don't lose their feel as quick as polys.... much better tension maintenance as well.
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2011
    #15
  16. MayDay

    MayDay Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2009
    Messages:
    455
    dozu,

    What strings are you using now? (Your "goto" string?)
    What tension?

    I'm trying Babolat PH 16 at 30lbs and liked it a lot, but do I start to find the short string life annoying.
     
    #16
  17. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2004
    Messages:
    43,441
    I also think it's because when it's hot out the high temperature makes the strings lose tension and become softer and more resilient and thus more powerful. So it's a combination of the balls traveling differently and the stringbed reacting differently.
     
    #17
  18. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2004
    Messages:
    43,441
    I'd bet that would happen even if you cut a fresh stringbed of poly. Can anyone confirm?

    I say that because when I string poly on a dropweight machine, the weight doesn't even drop a single centimeter. Usually with a syn gut or multi, the weight will drop from about 60 degrees to 0 degrees (horizontal) at least once (more resilient strings will require several rachets so several drops like this), as the string stretches due to its elasticity. With poly, it has zero elasticity nor resiliency so the weight does not budge even one degree because the string doesn't stretch at all.
     
    #18
  19. Tennis Is Magic

    Tennis Is Magic Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2011
    Messages:
    583
    I strung my racquet using poly at 45 once, since so many posters here seem to love it. Then I go to hit with my coach, and he recommends I string at least 55. He said a lot of my shots were good looking shots, but they were sailing on me due to the low tension, and I couldn't have agreed more. I was hitting technically perfect groundstrokes and serves that were missing long by multiple feet that would have easily been in (groundstrokes would've been in 3/4ths court, serves that would be in by 2-3 feet on average). I restrung at 60, and it felt a lot better. I can't string all polys at 60, but I can string a good % of polys at 60 and get an acceptable amount of control. With thinner or softer polys, it's still rather springy and have to up the tension, but I really can't fathom how people can string that low (especially Federer using gut mains). The ball just flies off the racquet so far, and I really lose confidence to swing the racquet, and when that goes, the racquet head speed is gone, and it's all a crapshoot.

    If I was using a player's racquet, I might be able to swing 50, but in my current racquet? I'd be hitting doubles off the fence. You guys say stringing polys low is magical, try stringing high and experiencing the "can't miss" feeling, no matter HOW old the strings are.
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2011
    #19
  20. dozu

    dozu Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2004
    Messages:
    4,546
    so far my poly experience has been - polylon, PH, scorpion, SPPP, PL2, Bluestar, and maybe a couple of others I can't recall... they are more or less the same in terms of playability and string life.

    haven't tried M2Pro and Recoil.... to me, the gold standard is gut, once price goes above $15, it doesn't make sense to get the 'imitation' anymore.. nothing performs as well as gut, and the real thing will probably hold tension 2-3 times longer than the man made stuff.
     
    #20
  21. dozu

    dozu Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2004
    Messages:
    4,546
    when I play for bragging rights, gut is my go-to string..... but the past few days I have found OGSM/nylon combo to be performing surprisingly well on my DNX10 frame, so the rest of the summer will play more extensively with this combo as it actually has the potential to become my go-to set up.

    the go-to thing is very much dependent on the frame.... I tried OGSM years ago on a softer frame and hated it :)

    tension:

    Tonic Gut / OGSM set up - 57 lbs, (loosen the top 3 crosses to 54)
    OGSM / Nylon set up - 56 lbs (loosen the top 3 crosses to 52)

    frame is DNX10 mid. (slightly modified with 4-5 grams of lead at 3/9 o clock, removed rubber grip, 1 layer of gamma supreme overgrip on bare pallet... static weight 12.45 oz, balance (not sure, maybe 5pt HL)
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2011
    #21
  22. dozu

    dozu Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2004
    Messages:
    4,546
    I use a drop weight also.... when the weight drops down, it does bounce a little bit..

    anyways - if you cut a fresh poly job... I did it a couple of times, (you know, sometimes you hate the set up from the get go:) ) .... it does snap back 1-2 inches from the cut point.

    this makes sense... a fresh poly job plays so nice, compared to a dead job, there has to be a vast difference in tension.
     
    #22
  23. Bud

    Bud Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2007
    Messages:
    31,167
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    To OP: If you want to try a nice mild poly, go with Isospeed Baseline. It's very soft and inexpensive. Cut out after 12-15 hours of play. No arm issues.
     
    #23
  24. Fuji

    Fuji Legend

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2010
    Messages:
    6,591
    It for sure depends on the poly when stringing at low tensions. When I was on a Poly kick, 40lbs was awesome for me with a lot of the softer co poly's.

    The only thing I noticed was at higher tensions, the poly would loose so much tension it was almost stupid. I strung at 52lbs, and after a few hours, it felt like it was at 40lbs. I much preferred the feel of FRESH poly at 40, rather then the dead awful feeling at 40.

    Which racket are you using btw? :)

    -Fuji
     
    #24

Share This Page