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

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

  1. Shangri La

    Shangri La Hall of Fame

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    So this low tension thing is mostly string-dependent, racquet-dependent, or player-dependent?
     
  2. Pwned

    Pwned Hall of Fame

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    I would say...player. It clearly works with a myriad of racquets and strings and it's up to the player to determine if he likes the feel and results.
     
  3. gatorbait01

    gatorbait01 Rookie

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    I was using a Dunlop 500 tour. Similar specs to the pure drive.

    As far as dwell time increasing spin, I've heard that to be true, but I believe if there is an increase in spin its negligible. For example I've tested my rackets side by side strung with prince synthetic gut and cyberflash. Balls that would go out by 2 feet with synthetic gut would land 2 feet in with cyberflash. Now thats my estimation, but there was a big difference, enough to keep me using cyberflash even though I get tired of restring my rackets every 2 weeks. I think a tension of 60 and 50 at most would keep a ball about 2 inches long with 60 lbs, in with 50 lbs due to spin. Not enough to notice and not enough to change anything if I didn't like the feel of 50lbs.
     
  4. blackfrido

    blackfrido Hall of Fame

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    is that for real?
     
  5. ReopeningWed

    ReopeningWed Semi-Pro

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    It is. I liked how effortless depth/pace/spin was for the first hitting session, but I found that I got lazy from being so spoiled from the access to depth.
    As a result, I slowed down my swing, and had little topspin on my strokes as a byproduct, making me play like duck **** until I could readjust.

    I went back to my old tension, there's something about hearing the pop of a well struck ball that I like. Stringing at 35 is the equivalent of the racket's stealth mode.
     
  6. ManuGinobili

    ManuGinobili Hall of Fame

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    It does give a nice tweak to the frame.

    The fact that many of us adjust effortlessly to this new tension means that it's not that radical of a change anyway.

    15kg PolyStar Energy on a Volkl PB9 and it's sweet :) more spin and a bit more power and comfort, control stays the same
     
  7. volleynets

    volleynets Professional

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    No point responding since he is banned but I just wanted to state that at the USO Federer had Natural Gut and Lux at low 40s both.
     
  8. corners

    corners Legend

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    I pointed out in another thread that because Fed is swinging a heavier stick much faster than us amateurs, and at balls travelling faster than we see, his low-40s equates to low-30s, in terms of the lower energy collisions our racquets and balls are a party to. From that perspective, low-30s for gut/poly and, even lower for full poly, are not that radical compared to the setup used by the best player in the world.

    Of course, he only uses mid-40s for an hour or two, max, while our mid-30s tension becomes high-20s after a couple hours of play.
     
  9. volleynets

    volleynets Professional

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    Good point, none of us just switch rackets after 9 games and cut the strings out on those used frames. In that case people who string at 20s must end up with a tension of like 10 pounds in two days??
     
  10. nickarnold2000

    nickarnold2000 Hall of Fame

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    I don't even think he uses one particular frame for an hour during a match because he changes sticks every 7 games - so how long would that be on average?
     
  11. bngnhal

    bngnhal New User

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    up to a couple of weeks ago i played with the old liquid metal radical and used a blend at 52/56, but i recently switched to the new volkl pb10 mid. I was looking for a racket which would give me more depth on my s/h backhand and more pop on my volleys and this racket definitely takes care of that, but something was missing, i didnt feel like i got the full potential out of this racket. then i saw this thread and gave it a try. i first started at 35 lbs and it felt good. i was having some problems with high balls, but then again i have only used this racket for a month. Then i went to 40 lbs and it felt good as well. I guess my conclusion after spending a few weeks with this set up and playing numerous hours on full sets of poly (competition) is that, dont leave the strings in too long otherwise everything starts to wane. After about 6 hours of singles and doubles my strings were dead. So having nice fresh strings strung at low tension definitely works for me and my racket. Maybe it might work just as well on the radical, but i am not looking back. I am going to get another volkl and string it at about 50 and see if there is a difference. I havent played with full poly in a long time due to its stiffness, but maybe this racket is taking some of the punishing effects away from my body. I have a stringer and for me to cut out strings and try something new is not the end of the world, but for somebody else, it can really be costly. It is of my belief that depending on your game, to get the same effect from your racket all the time, you must cut the strings out and replace them on a regular basis. I can definitely tell when my strings are going dead. more often than not i wait a day too long before i cut them out and it costs me in my match play. I like the way loose strings play, but you must take full cuts at the ball and believe in your game and your racket. i cant wait to see how the racket plays at 50 lbs. is it really the string tension, my game play or is it in my mind?????
     
  12. nickarnold2000

    nickarnold2000 Hall of Fame

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    I guess you'll find out soon enough which it is. I'm really enjoying low tension but I'm also using a 3rd gen poly(Tornado) that has very good tension maintenance. I'm taking big cuts at the ball and have the confidence that the extra spin will keep the ball in play - it's like magic! I'm just wondering if I can get more hours out of this setup because it's strung so low. Time will tell. Please post again with your findings. :)
     
  13. Pwned

    Pwned Hall of Fame

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    Building on that^.

    "Typically the ball is in contact with the strings for about 5 milliseconds. A fair amount of spin can be imparted to the ball because of the contact time with the strings and the compression of a tennis ball when struck with significant force."
    http://www.madsci.org/posts/archives/oct98/909841669.Ph.r.html

    So stringing at a lower tension results in more dwell time since the strings are 'giving' more, correct? Which should result in more spin?

    I strung my racquet a bit higher at 46/48 yesterday and was surprised at the difference in spin. Switching back and forth I definitely thought the one strung in the mid 30s was producing more spin. I could visibly see the ball drop sharper, which was definitely nice. The only thing I do not like about lower tensions seems to be the higher trajectory of the ball off the racquet. This has been most apparent on my forehand topspin serve return. I can adjust on all other shots but my forehands have been sailing long a lot.
     
  14. autumn_leaf

    autumn_leaf Hall of Fame

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    i wonder if this has to do with the dwell time as well. since the ball is staying on the string bed longer it would naturally leave later in the swing, this means higher on a topspin shot.
     
  15. bad_call

    bad_call Legend

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    too low and consistency goes. find the magic number if u have time and strings.
     
  16. Pwned

    Pwned Hall of Fame

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    Yeah I am pretty sure that's right. I've found 38 or so to be great for me with SpinX except for the return. Depth and spin is awesome, as is comfort. I have no problems with directional control either. Hopefully when Typhoon settles in after the first hit it will be better, can't say I was too happy with it at 46/48.
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2010
  17. bad_call

    bad_call Legend

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    what racquet are you using for these strings if i may inquire?
     
  18. Pwned

    Pwned Hall of Fame

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    POG Mid Tour version right now. Also used SpinX in my POG OS at ~35.
     
  19. bad_call

    bad_call Legend

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    thanks. are those considered low powered racquets? didn't spend much time with the original POG.
     
  20. Pwned

    Pwned Hall of Fame

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    The OS on TW is: Power Level: Low-Medium. My two OS racquets weigh 12.8-12.9 ounces though so I think they are quite powerful. The mid is definitely not especially since mine weighs 1 ounce less than the OS.
     
  21. Pwned

    Pwned Hall of Fame

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    And then you read things like this:
    http://www.racquetsportsindustry.com/articles/2005/01/does_higher_string_tension_giv.html


    Has anyone tried stringing mains significantly looser than crosses? I'm trying to think how the string bed would react if the mains were at maybe ~36 and the crosses much higher around 50. Would that just result in a net string bed stiffness somewhere in the middle? Or would the way the mains react at ball contact effect spin more but having the crosses stiffer reduce dwell time and lower the balls trajectory?
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2010
  22. MayDay

    MayDay Semi-Pro

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    Wouldn't that much difference between mains and crosses deform your racket?
     
  23. Pwned

    Pwned Hall of Fame

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    No idea, obviously never tried it. But I would like to think it wouldn't.
     
  24. ManuGinobili

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    Yeah over time it would!!
     
  25. Pwned

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  26. ronalditop

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    So after several months of using low tensions, I think I'm going back to the 50's. I have two racquets almost identical, but one strung at 45 at the other strung a 50. With the one strung at 45 lbs I feel the need of using too much spin to keep the ball in, which makes my strokes lose some pace. With the one strung at 50 I feel I can swing more freely without the fear of hitting long.
     
  27. autumn_leaf

    autumn_leaf Hall of Fame

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    wow that link was a wealth of information. i'm surprised too by the range of tension used by pros, but i guess this just proves they're regular people too when it comes to preferences.

    looking at the tension chart though, it's a normal curve. the way it was displayed the 55-59lbs was the peak and decreased in percentages going either up or down.

    looking at it, you can see that there is definitely a larger skew towards higher tension. i'm gonna say this is because people swing their racquets so much faster today and believe high tension would give more control. you can see that 50-65 lbs accounts for ~70%, which i think is where most of the general population is at as well.

    it would be nice if they had this type of info going back to the 70s-90s. would probably see some strong correlations with the changing to graphite racquets, and then the popularity of poly strings.
     
  28. (K)evin

    (K)evin Rookie

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    sorry I haven't been on in a while

    alright thanks screw adrenaline I'll not switching again I'm sticking with alu rough or orignal rough at 40 and then slowly drop it down because adrenaline sucks at 30 lbs
     
  29. DennisK

    DennisK Semi-Pro

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    Ok, switched to Polystar Energy at 42lbs from SPPP 1.18 at 32lbs.

    First impressions are that I'm not enjoying the same amounts of spin and feel compared to SPPP at the lower tension. The same power potential is there, but isn't as easy to access. Directional control does seem a little better.

    Hope to play again today and find out more.
     
  30. GPB

    GPB Professional

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    Okay, after reading the whole thread saying "those guys are crazy"... I'm in.

    As soon as this posts, I'm gonna go string my C10Pro at 35 with Volkl Cyclone 17g.

    I don't have a "normal" string setup, but lately I've been hitting with high-50's to low-60's tensions with MSV mains and Gosen crosses. Before that was natural gut mains with ProLineII crosses.

    Here goes nothing...
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2010
  31. kaiser

    kaiser Semi-Pro

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    Low tensions and string pattern?

    Did anyone notice a relationship between using very low tensions on open vs closed string patterns?

    Intuitively I'd say you could go with a lower tension on an 18x20 than a 16x18 without losing control. Did anyone notice very low tensions to work better on closed patterns? How low worked well for you on a 16x18?

    Thx for your feedback.
     
  32. Pwned

    Pwned Hall of Fame

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    I was using low tensions on both 14x18 and 16x19 and thought it worked quite well. No problems with directional control once accustomed to the tension. I've moved back up into the 40s with a full bed of poly or 50s with a hybrid.
     
  33. stician

    stician Semi-Pro

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    Update:

    It's been three weeks and several matches later. While the set up was initially fantastic on hard courts, my transition onto clay (warm season in NJ) has been a slippery slope. The wheels started get loose middle of last week on a windy day and fell off by week’s end. I don’t know what happened between my ears but confidence has a lot to do with it. It was mentally challenging to adjust my feet into perfect position and managing the angle of racquet face. I started compensating for poor footwork with more whip but it didn’t take long for me to lose consistency, mental toughness and the match ended 6-7, 3-6. Not a bad score line except this is a player I should beat 4 and 2. I move better on a hard court and being in position means I hit with authority and variety. Having another stick in the bag with 55 lbs, all else equal, didn’t help because it was too late. My muscle and twitch memory simply deserted me. The past couple of days I’ve been in front of a ball machine trying to find my rhythm back. I’m almost there but there’s more work ahead before Thursday night’s match.
     
  34. bngnhal

    bngnhal New User

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    having played with string in the 30's -40lb range full poly over the last few weeks a few times per week, i have come to this conclusion. If you are playing against a big hitter, the string gives you a tad extra time for your shot location and you dont have to have the most perfect follow thru on your shots. but if you are playing against a pusher kind of player, you had better have great footwork and nice fast racket head speed, otherwise the balls will be sailing. There just is not much room for error with lower tension on the strings. And unfortunately is it real easy to go mental and wonder why i had chosen the lower tension on the strings when things arent going well. But when everything is in place and the shots are falling, the lower tension is a wonderful thing. so lower tension gives less room for error and higher tension gives more room for errors. that makes sense, right?
     
  35. corners

    corners Legend

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    When I start to go mental in this way I just think "Volandri beat Federer with Alu at 26 pounds in his racquet."
     
  36. jk175d

    jk175d Semi-Pro

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    Chris, I'm wondering where you stand now on the 30lb tension experiment. Are you still stringing your own frames down low or have you moved back up. Now that spring league is winding down I'm going to finally give it a go. I'm just curious if you still think it's the bomb or if you have moved on. Thanks
     
  37. TW Staff

    TW Staff Administrator

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    It has been over two weeks since I last hit in the 30s, but not by choice. I've been testing a bunch of new string that is coming out so I went back up to 52lbs to test it at a regular tension. Not all of it is poly, so the 52lbs across the board was a better fit.

    I plan on moving back down to about 35lbs next week as I have a tournament coming up and want to have the feel dialed in again.

    Chris, TW
     
  38. bad_call

    bad_call Legend

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    Chris - is Jolly in your draw? :)
     
  39. GRANITECHIEF

    GRANITECHIEF Hall of Fame

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    Not unless he's going to be in Avila Bay, CA.
     
  40. jk175d

    jk175d Semi-Pro

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    so did you settle in to 35 then as opposed to 30? As a first dip into this experiment would you suggest 30 or 35? Also, are you sticking with your Volkl string or did you decide another one worked better for you at this tension? Thanks.
     
  41. Shangri La

    Shangri La Hall of Fame

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    Are you suggesting that Chris is playing a 2-man tournament?
     
  42. bad_call

    bad_call Legend

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    is there such a thing?
     
  43. get it in

    get it in Rookie

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    I would have to agree with this post. I have tried 45lbs on a yonex rdis300 using pro supex big ace 17. Against big hitters, it's pretty nice, but against slower hitters it's a nightmare. I really have to get things moving to generate enough spin to keep the ball in. Usually I'll miss by inches but out is still out. Comfort is really nice at 45lbs. I'm going to try 48lbs next.
     
  44. TW Staff

    TW Staff Administrator

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    I'm playing doubles in a few weeks in a local tournament with Spencer.

    I'll be dialing in my preferred string tension over the next week. I really like 35lbs the last time I hit it and I'm going to try that tension with a V-Fuse a gut/cyclone hybrid.

    Chris, TW
     
  45. autumn_leaf

    autumn_leaf Hall of Fame

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    well this thread is certainly interesting. i've been reviewing a lot of older threads talking about low tension. and tension around 35lbs seems to come up a lot for old teaching pros.

    orginally i wanted to see what 50lbs syn.gut would feel like since after the initial tension drop it should fall around the highest power return given tw prof's graphs. but i am aware of the trampoline effect since i've strung at 45lbs before on a dunlop maxply mcenroe to soften it up (didn't more, trampoline + really stiff is awkward). i don't like playing with poly due to shoulder/elbow issues.

    so what i'm going to do is string Spiral Flex at 35lbs and see where it takes me. i recently broke a set that took about 6months ( i am hitting quite a bit harder now in the recent month due to better technique) that was originally strung at 61lbs and estimate the tension to be around mid to high 40s when it finally snapped. i have noticed that there were more vibrations at the end of its life when just tapping the ball on touch shots or just bouncing it, this is one of the reasons why i'm avoiding the 50lb tension.

    so to recap what i'm going to be doing:

    string: Spiral Flex
    string type: syn. gut
    tension: 35lbs on dropweight machine
    previous tension: 61lbs
    racquet: wilson kfive modded to 12+ oz, swingweight ~350+, ~6 pts hl.

    hypothesis: i predict that at this tension i will not encounter much trampoline effect, instead i expect more of a deep dwell time (pocketing). i play fairly flat off the fh side which is my bigger and more reliable shot. i expect the fh to suffer a bit because the lower tension will cause a magnification of technique error due to the ball leaving later off the stringbed. i also expect that there will be a lot of string movement.
     
  46. bad_call

    bad_call Legend

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    had a good hit with BBO at 48 and it was WOW!! never hit so many hard serves that all stayed in...ever. will go lower next time to maybe 45 (conservative by nature...so don't push me) and see how that one plays. :) happy happy happy!!
     
  47. autumn_leaf

    autumn_leaf Hall of Fame

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    okay, so i went out to practice serves and a bit of ground strokes today.

    initial impression:

    The first thing that i noticed was the higher trajectory and spin. this thing gave spin like a poly string without the harsher feeling. my ball usually bounce to around 3-4ft high, today because of the higher trajectory it was usually around 5-5.5 ft without much effort.

    another thing about the extra spin. i was expecting a lot of string movement. . . there was few to none. maybe this is just because it's a fresh job but i was still expecting at least moderate movement.

    sweet spot: the size of the sweet spot definitely increased. i used to do proportional stringing and i think stringing it at this low of tension accomplishes near the same thing because of the lower ratio of tension difference between each string.

    there was a deeper pocketing feel when really hitting the ball, but just tapping it still gave a managable trampoline feel, this is when i'm blocking back high balls to the backhand.

    like other people have stated i also felt more bite on my slice shots.

    so surprisingly, low tension seems to work out fairly well for syn.gut. and as tw prof's graph shows at this low of tension you actually start losing power, and that was also noticeable.

    i have a match coming up monday against a person that has more match experience than me and beat me handedly a year ago like 1-6 in a set. will post later on.
     
  48. kalic

    kalic Professional

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    I just tried Lux Ace in PT630 @ 23x22 kg. It's just 2-3 kg lower than my usual tension, but I completely lost control, without any added power or/and spin. This experiment failed.
     
  49. tennytive

    tennytive Semi-Pro

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    I didn't read this whole thread, but after the first page or two of reviews, I did try stringing one of my rackets with nylon at 50 lb. and the strings move noticeably.

    It does feel more comfortable, but the movement is a minus. Otherwise I'd be tempted to try 44.
     
  50. Bad Dog

    Bad Dog Semi-Pro

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    Yes, most good strings move, which is why the world's touring pros appreciate the opportunity to clear their minds by adjusting their strings between points. :)
     

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