Low, low tensions. 30lbs feels great. 20lbs pretty good, too

Discussion in 'Strings' started by TW Staff, Mar 25, 2010.

  1. Kcraig

    Kcraig Professional

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    More Open Pattern w/ Low Tensions?

    I love the lower tensions, but have never ventured under the 50lb range. Lowest I ever tried (and enjoyed) was 50# on my previous stick-Prince Tour Diablo MP 16*18.

    Are most of you out there trying these uber low (35-45#) tensions using midsize/18x20 patterns such as Chris? My stick is a 100"16x19 and wonder how a full poly at 40# would compare in this more open pattern??:confused:. Anyone try these low setups in the more open 16x19 100'/midplus head? Thanks so much:)
     
  2. Dot

    Dot New User

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    1992 Damn I'm I old!

    Can't find it but i think i recall Jack Groppel looking at this in high tech tennis from 1992?? before poly and likely before some of you were born! I thought 40 was the ideal tension balancing control and power. Any way did try my old prince graphite mid at 45 with syn gut and it is awesome Switching to BLX 18X20 and will start stringing at mid forties (my age!) and creep down as low as comfortable
     
  3. luishcorreia

    luishcorreia Professional

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    Nice thread Cris. I read the TW blog and Im going to give it a go.

    I use a 100sqin vantage frame, with Krischbaum Competition 17, strung at 60 lbls.

    Two months, when I started using this type of string, I strung them at 50 lbls, because I thought that being a mono-filament, that I should lower the tension. It took me a couple of hits to get used to it, but I loved it. Nice pop on groundies, nice pop on serve, on blocking the ball, and very nice spin.

    I'l going to try maybe 40 lbs and go down from there.

    Best regards.
     
  4. michaelavich

    michaelavich New User

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    wishing now that i had not sold my tour10 mid V-engine. low tension poly may have given me what I was missing in that frame...
     
  5. SplitStepper

    SplitStepper Rookie

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    Thats whay happens to me when I try 50lbs!!! It goes against what we've been taught, but I get much more control from 35lbs.

    After hitting for awhile with the strings you can see in the fuzz pattern on the strings its starts on one corner of the frame and ends on the other. The dwell time is insanely comfortable and useful in alot of situations. For me at least.
     
  6. The Pure One

    The Pure One Rookie

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    Excellent question. I strung my racquet with Unique Big Hitter 16g mains and Lux BB Ace 18g in the crosses @ 45 pounds in my modified Yonex RDS 001 ( 98 ) (13 oz. and 27.65 in. long); open string pattern 19 x 16. I will post the results as soon as I can. I did not have the stomach to go 30 or 35 pounds.

    BTW, from Tennis Magazine: The Prince that David Ferrer uses is strung @ 44 pounds with Lux BB Original... and Baggy 46/51.

    http://www.tennis.com/articles/templates/gear.aspx?articleid=3035&zoneid=24
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2010
  7. TW Staff

    TW Staff Administrator

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    Okay, so my racquets sat over the weekend and I took them out again today. I hit with the 10lbs racquet and the 30lbs racquet again, plus one at my regular 52lbs.

    Here's my blog from today's hit:
    http://blog.tenniswarehouse.com/?p=1167

    We shot some video and will try to get it posted soon.

    Cheers,
    Chris, TW.
     
  8. C-XIII

    C-XIII Rookie

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    yes the vibration and also why the rackets have a intended range,I mean obviously they have to set some standards but I was wondering on that. But hell I never really thought of less tension and less stress on the frame. Ill def be trying this out then!
     
  9. thebuffman

    thebuffman Professional

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    what in the living world. now i am going to have to give this a shot. this thread has my mind all messed up especially after reading the article which highlights the low tensions being used by pros. i thought the majority of all pros strung at 60+. boy was i dead wrong!
     
  10. schenkelini

    schenkelini Semi-Pro

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    I can imagine that a follow topic will be what polys play best at low tension. This could go on forever.
     
  11. Bartelby

    Bartelby G.O.A.T.

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    Does the sweet spot get noticeably larger with such low tension?
     
  12. MayDay

    MayDay Semi-Pro

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    Maybe the next hot thing is hand stringing? :)
    Special order some TW hand stringing gloves. :p

    I'm currently trying 45# with Prince Syn Gut Original 17 with positive results. I'll also take the plunge into 30# in a week to see if I get a little more "ball pocketing" feel.
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2010
  13. jk175d

    jk175d Semi-Pro

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    I feel like some of you are missing a key point. A lot of you are talking about your results from stringing in the 40's and even low 50's and saying there's too much trampoline so you don't want to go lower. But from what Chris has reported I gather there is a threshold which is crossed somewhere in the low 30's which creates a totally different set of circumstances and "low tension" effect. So those of you saying you tried the 40's but weren't brave enough to go into the 30's, I don't think you have even touched on what Chris has been experiencing with his low tensions. It sounds like 30's is not more of the same from the 40's and 50's, when you get that low is becomes something new altogether.

    I'm REALLY curious to try this out but I've been playing so well lately with my 52/55 hybrid set-up that I'm reluctant to throw a wrench into the works. I'll probably try 30 on an old frame I don't use anymore though anyway just to see for myself.
     
  14. jrod

    jrod Hall of Fame

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    Agree. I'm still having a really hard time imagining what 30 lbs would feel like, never mind how it plays. I do get the sense that it produces a heavier ball. In fact, there is a fellow I occasionally hit with who strings his frame with poly in this range. His strokes are very old school, yet his ball can be very deceiving in terms of weight an pace. I'm not sure how to describe it but it can be very difficult to handle.

    I'm in the same boat as you...extremely happy with my current set-up. Quite frankly, it's hard to imagine what improvement might result from lowering the tension. I suspect from reading Chris' blog it might lead to a heavier ball, but since I'm not the one receiving what I generate, the feedback is subject to interpretation. I really wish there was a way I could play myself so I could get a better sense as to what it's like to be on the receiving end of my game.
     
  15. Audiophile

    Audiophile Rookie

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    Chris,

    I have been keeping an eye on this thread and reading every blog you have posted. I want to thank you for sharing your experience with me, as well as other members. I think its great to be able to share this type of knowledge with so many.

    I have for years played with sub 50 tensions, but never down to 30. After your posts, I'm certainly going to give it a try.

    Keep up the great work! :)
     
  16. SplitStepper

    SplitStepper Rookie

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    Absolutely.
     
  17. dman72

    dman72 Hall of Fame

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    I think an even more important aspect of this whole thing is the type of string. We discussed this phenomenom back in one of the "Kevlar at low tensions" threads.

    Because Poly and kevlar are not elastic, lowering tensions does not have the same effect with them as lowering gut or synthetic gut. I felt that my kevlar jobs in the low 40's felt very mushy, but actually were way underpowered compared to the same set up in the 50's. This is because they just give when you hit the ball, but don't snap back.

    It's kind of like the difference between a flexible and stiff frame. The flexible frame does not "snap back" enough to have any effect on the flight of the ball in terms of propelling it..it gives on impact decreasing power...the frame returning to its normal shape has no effect on the flight of the ball.

    When you lower tensions on very stiff strings, you get similar effects. But make no mistake, it feels very mushy.
     
  18. endbegin

    endbegin Rookie

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    Can't wait to see the videos, Chris.

    I have always played around 60 lbs but am stringing one of my frames with all poly at 50. Yes, I know it isn't 30 lbs (!) but baby steps ...
     
  19. Xenakis

    Xenakis Hall of Fame

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    Tried stringing up an old frame at 17kg/37.4lbs last night (Yonex RD-Ti 70 Long MP. Gamma Advantage 15L) Played a set with it earlier.

    It's not that low I suppose and the Gamma string isn't exactly a top notch co-poly but it worked ok. Will go lower next time, going to have to take one weight off my dropweight I think as I've run out of scale on the two weight ruler (only goes down to 16kg)

    Definitely more ball pocketing and spin, but I'll need to adjust for volleys and drop shots etc. Very comfortable too which is nice.

    Will try stringing my main frame (Vantage 95 18x20) at about 30lbs next I think.
     
  20. Kcraig

    Kcraig Professional

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    Awesome stuff Chris--but as I stated in my earlier post, all these low tensions are with midsize 95" and tight 18*20 string patterns. I am curious on how this same experiment would work out on a larger head (100") and a more open pattern such as 16*19.:confused: My assumption is that feel would be great, but control would be suffer! Any insight here? Thanks so much for taking the plunge for us all-:)
     
  21. TW Staff

    TW Staff Administrator

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    I'm actually splitting the difference -- midsize but a 16x19 pattern.

    Jason just strung his PB9 at 35lbs which is a 98sq. in. and a 16x19. Will be interesting to see how it hits.

    Chris, TW
     
  22. Shangri La

    Shangri La Hall of Fame

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    Ohh, the madness...

    This is really intriguing. I wonder if extreme low tensions only work with poly strings - what about multi/gut?
     
  23. Kcraig

    Kcraig Professional

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    Def interested in Jason's PB9 results. That stick is very similar to my BLX Open I have modified to 340g. Do you know what poly he is going with? thanks Chris!:)

    KC
     
  24. ClubHoUno

    ClubHoUno Banned

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    I use a hybrid of VS Team 17 mains @ 48 lbs and Luxilon Alu Power crosses @ 44 lbs in my 2 Völkl PB10 Mid's - this is the lowest I've tried in my life.

    I would think a full job of multi or gut should not be strung lower than 50 lbs depending on frame size and string pattern tightness of course.

    But when doing a hybrid of a soft multi or gut with a stiff poly, you CAN go pretty low, but not as low as the 25 lbs or 10 lbs Chris and the TW Team are testing full poly at currently.
     
  25. TW Staff

    TW Staff Administrator

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    I had my Powerbridge 9 strung with Solinco Outlast.

    Jason, TW
     
  26. edberger

    edberger New User

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    After reading Chris' blog, I embarked on this low tension experiment using one of my extra PC600s strung with my regular setup of SPPP & Maxim Touch, except at 35 lb. I normally string at 54/52.

    My first observation of this experiment was that stringing the racquet was actually more difficult at 35 versus 54/52. At such low tension, the mains flop around like rubber bands and makes weaving the crosses more of a chore.

    On the court, my impressions mirrored Chris' (for the most part). The first thing I noticed was that ball pocketing was excellent! I could really feel the stringbed deflection and the ball seemed to dwell much longer. Like Chris noted, spin is definitely an advantage of this kind of setup. The strings really seemed to grab the ball. I don't have very spinny strokes to begin with, but my partner commented that my groundies were definitely jumping off the court much more. Low slices were great...I could really carve into them, especially when stretched wide. Volleys were okay. I didn't need to be as firm to make the ball go. But this brings me to the big disadvantage of low tension (IMO). While spin was great, I felt a big loss in directional control. When I hit the ball flat, or tried to angle it, the results were less predictable than with my normal tension. It was also a little more difficult to control the depth (not because trampolining, but more of uncertainty in the angle that the ball is coming off the strings). Maybe this is something that just takes more time to get used to.

    All in all, a very interesting experiment! I'll continue to playtest this stick to see what else I can learn.

    Keep up the good work, Chris, and thanks inspiring some interesting conversation!
     
  27. rasajadad

    rasajadad Hall of Fame

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    As I've previously posted, I string for a client who uses a Prince Graphite 125 with full gut at 13 lbs. in a 1-piece. He can hit with incredibly well-disguised touch and underspin. A post script to this story is that when he asks me to restring, I simply untie the knots and undo the string recoil it and store it. I just tried reusing it in a friend's racquet (at 55lbs.) He loves it.
     
  28. Jack & Coke

    Jack & Coke Professional

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    Head Classic Mid ( 18 x 20 )
    M: CyberFlash, 1.30 @ 30 lbs.
    C: MSV Focus Hex, 1.27 @ 30 lbs.

    • so far so good, a really fun experience!
    • Topspin FH - very nice! Noticed an increase in errors from my opponents trying to return my lefty kick FH's. Also noticed that I started doing more Nadal-style reverse-forehands. I didn't mean to, things just kinda worked out that way.
    • Slice BH - great bite, and more effective.
    • Spin serves (twist, kick, slice).. jumping! Got some great action on the ball with less effort.
    • Flat serves - heavy, but less consistant (my % went way down)
    • Topspin BH - less consistant, still need to make adjustments to the low tension on this side.. dumped a lot into the net.
     
  29. TW Staff

    TW Staff Administrator

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    I didn't get a chance to do the hand pull tension test today due to being in meetings and running out of time. However, we do have the video done of me hitting at 10lbs, 30lbs and at 52lbs.

    Here it is:
    http://www.tennis-warehouse.com/video/StringTension.html

    Cheers,
    Chris, TW.
     
  30. corners

    corners Legend

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    J&C, Why the textured strings in the cross?
     
  31. Fed Kennedy

    Fed Kennedy Hall of Fame

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    My prelimary test. 45 min of groundies, no serves or volleys.
    Racquet: blx pro tour 18x20
    String: alu power
    Tension: 30

    Racquet was pinging like crazy. I put a worm dampener in it and it went completely silent. Dead quiet. And this frame was cracking with co-poly at 52 and a dampener.

    My spin was just dirty. I had no idea what the ball was going to do until it bounced due to the lack of sound. Also, my flat shots were flatter. Just grazing off the court. Fh and bh slice was dying on impact rather than skinning. CC forehand was the best, I could really angle it off.
    So far, all positive except for the wierd silence.
     
  32. Jack & Coke

    Jack & Coke Professional

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    heh.. cause I have a reel of it :)
     
  33. corners

    corners Legend

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    Ah. My impression is that textured polys really only do what they're intended to do, increase friction between ball and string, when they are in the mains. I also think that Hexs, due to their sharp edges, cut through mains more quickly than a smooth cross. I tried Hex 18L as a full job one time and the crosses sliced through the mains in half an hour - they were well notched after 10 minutes. Never had any other strings break so fast on me (although I've rarely used strings that thin either). Since then I've always put shaped polys only in the mains. Just my $.02.
     
  34. PimpMyGame

    PimpMyGame Hall of Fame

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    I have used a textured string in the cross before, again like J&C because it was lying around. I used it to tame the power of natural gut in the mains to very good effect. However, I'm not a string breaker...
     
  35. jrod

    jrod Hall of Fame

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    Thanks for the video Chris....Watching it I can't tell diddly (big surprise?). Gonna have to try it myself to see. Last week I hit with a guy who hits perhaps the heaviest ball I've had to deal with in a long time. I could feel my frame bending and cupping the ball against him....I can't even begin to imagine what a 30lb string job will feel like against this guy...a "slingshot" comes to mind.
     
  36. Shangri La

    Shangri La Hall of Fame

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    Eagerly awaiting Jason's experience with the PB9.
     
  37. Xenakis

    Xenakis Hall of Fame

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    Played today with my Vantage 95 strung at 30lbs (Gamma Advantage and Black Code)

    Very pleased with it. Definitely pockets the ball well and my forehand was much improved (not been playing that long so tend to overhit my forehand and it lacks spin, this extra pocketing effect made my shots dip down nicely into the court, most of the time anyway.)

    2HBH had more power (my best shot), serve about the same, volleys and dropshots were better apart from some reaching defensive shots that went long (need a minor adjustment there, no biggie.)

    Also was really comfortable to play with.

    I'm sold. Thanks for publishing the experiment Chris, I might try 20lbs next time.
     
  38. TW Staff

    TW Staff Administrator

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    It is really hard to see the spin on video. If anything, I think the video just demonstrates that I can go out and hit the way I would normally hit -- even at 10lbs. Something I did not expect to be possible going into this test.

    Going to go hand pull tension right now, then hit with Spencer. Will post how it all goes.

    Chris, TW.
     
  39. duffman

    duffman Rookie

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    I tried Big hitter blue in a pure storm tour 16 x 20 in 54 and 38 lbs. At 38, like previously reported I could really feel the pocketing and got wicked spin. But I actually didn't find it that comfortable. It vibrated like crazy (I dont use dampeners) and while the intial pocketing felt nice it felt like it got to a point where the poly just stopped stretching and then felt kind of harsh. It felt like the stringbed just bottomed out. I do hit the ball pretty hard and with lots of spin so I tried backing off a bit and with a slower swing speed I didn't have that same bottoming out feeling but I can't play like that. I then went to the 54 lb racquet and it just felt soooo much better. It looks like this will be a short experiment for me although I will miss the pop from serving with the tension at 38!

    I was also very surprised that there was still lots of control to be had with the low tension. The guys I was hitting with were laughing when I told them about the low tension racquet, but very intrigued with the spin generated and the retained control. But like I said earlier the bottoming out harsness feeling is a deal killer for me...
     
  40. Jack & Coke

    Jack & Coke Professional

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    Some quick comments from someone I know who has a lot of experience using various super low tension set-ups:
    • thinks it's GREAT for groundies (increased action for topspin and slice)
    • SUCKS for volleys because the reverse is true.
    • heavy passing shots have traction on your loose string bed and deflect with less prediciton (more difficult to control). Thus, you are left to being more conservative and "blocking" back heavy passes with your volley (which is a weaker shot)
    • had great results with low tension in singles, not so much in dubs.
    • tough on low volley digs, which are the most important ones in dubs.
    • can only really "attack" soft balls when at the net
    • for dubs, a compromise is need.. (i.e. don't go super low in tension since volleys are more frequent and critical)
     
  41. Ripper014

    Ripper014 Hall of Fame

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    I have tested low tension off and on since the 80's, and everytime I find that I struggle with control issues. The dreaded slingshot issue... now again I am tempted to try it this time with a poly.

    As far as low tensions and being unable to volley... well the most famous low tension player I know is perhaps the best volleyer ever, and not surprisingly in my opinion the best doubles player to ever pick up a racket. Yes none of us have his talent, but I would not say it couldn't be done.

    I am just waiting for a string to break and I will try test a low tension poly string job.
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2010
  42. Jack & Coke

    Jack & Coke Professional

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    Just to be clear.. I believe the comments my friend made were regarding his experience with ultra-low tensions (i.e. sub 30's) and the volley stroke.

    I played dubs the other night (Head Classic Mid 18 x 20, 127 mm, 30 lbs.), with no increase in difficultly at the net. Then again, I was cognisant of my low tension set-up, and probably made micro adjustments out there without realizing it.
     
  43. TW Staff

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    I strung my Volkl Power Bridge 10 mid at 35lbs and I have been testing this tension for just over a week now. I love the feel at 35 vs my normal 53 lbs and I am surprised by how controllable the low tension is. I have noticed an increase in spin potential and my backhand slice stays lower to the ground and is more accurate. The string that I have in my Pb10 mid is Luxilon M2 at 35lbs and my other racquet has Solinco Revolution at 53. Today was the first day that I tested serving with the low tension and my first serve percentage was astonishing. I don't want to give the tension the credit, only because I made an adjustment on my serve. For the time being, I am going to continue using the low tension cause I love it.

    Danny, TW
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2010
  44. TourTenor

    TourTenor Professional

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    Chris, Thanks for the video and interesting tests. Here are a few questions and comments ...

    How were hard first serves at 10 and 30? It sounds like spin is easy and flat is not. Specifically, was first serve directional control an issue for you? If so, it seems that hitting spots in the service box would be tough.

    Did your partner react to the 10 and 30 versions differently because he wasn't used to it? I would imagine that it was all new to him and that he would find it more comfortable with some time.

    And, how was the string movement at the lower tensions? I really hate moving strings after every point. I would guess that at 10lbs you would have some serious spaghetti issues!

    I look forward to hearing more about your experiment. I am also wondering about string longevity. I would think the 10lb version would tend to last the longest however, maybe not ... as there might be more sawing of the strings at the lower tensions???

    Cheers.
     
  45. Pwned

    Pwned Hall of Fame

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    Because of this thread I tried Genesis SpinX at ~38lbs in my POG OS and definitely like it. When I switched back to my other racquet strung at 55 with SpinX the stiffness and lack of power was immediately apparent. I had about 15 straight balls land in the net or short. Even with the softness of SpinX the difference was quite large. No control issues with 38 and my serve was popping nicely. I have been doing well with the low tension and volleys too. Going to go for ~32 next string job. Very little to no string movement. I don't really have to fix them ever.

    BTW SpinX rocks.
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2010
  46. luishcorreia

    luishcorreia Professional

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    Hi.

    Just went to trainning today with my 100 sqin vantage frame with my Krishbaum Competition string at 40 lbs. My regular tension is 53lbs.

    I liked the added power. I was getting more depth! Just felt like I and a bit less control. I had to try and spin tthe ball more and hit it higher over the net to get it in the court.

    I could tell my hitting partner was getting in trouble with the added spin.

    I wonder if this is a linear progression...or a curve one! If I drop the string tension more..will I get an increase of power...or is the relation non-linear?
     
  47. luishcorreia

    luishcorreia Professional

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    I just think..this phenomenon is due to most people using syntectic strings.

    If we where using poly's..the stringbed with such a low tension with be uncontrolable, right?

    I remmeber not long ago a lot of threads on this forum about how to control the Babolat Pure Drive power....

    How would you say now about the pure drive with a lively poly string ..strung at 30 lbs? It would be like a cannon, right?

    I think we would need to have match play experience and reports on this low tension thing.

    One thing is to hit with 20 lbs...another very different is to play a league game with 20 lbs.
     
  48. Pwned

    Pwned Hall of Fame

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    Poly strings are usually lower powered....
     
  49. luishcorreia

    luishcorreia Professional

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    I mean to say "multi-fillament" ..not polys, sorry. :)
     
  50. Pwned

    Pwned Hall of Fame

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    Im sure they would be too powerful for a majority of people. I quite like the range with the poly I am using.
     

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