Low Tension / High Tension - Spin or not to spin

Discussion in 'Racquets' started by paul500w, Feb 20, 2014.

  1. paul500w

    paul500w Rookie

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    I have read all of the threads about a lower tension string will give you more power because of the trampoline effect. I have also read that a higher tension will give you more control and power because it runs across the string bed more.

    I agree with most of this. The part I am unsure about is the higher tension giving more spin. Logic seems that if the lower string tension flexes more and gives more snap on the side of the ball it would make it spin more.

    The reason I believe this is because I used to use 55pd and I would get a lot of spin on my cut shots and my slices. I could drop a ball right over the net and it would die. I could return a weak serve and spin the ball low and away from the server in the alley. I went to a spin friendly racket but put the strings to a higher 59pd tension. I don't seem to get the spin/cut/slice effect like I once had. I went back to an older racket that was still strung at 55pd and I started getting these shots back.

    Was I mistaken on higher tension gives more spin? I wanted to get others thoughts on this and see what works best for other players who also try for spin but use high or low tension.
     
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  2. Carolina Racquet

    Carolina Racquet Hall of Fame

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    My two cents...

    First of all, type of string matters. With poly/co-poly, you can go much lower in tension and it WILL increase spin because you're getting more string movement and a more drastic snap-back.

    Second, I'd suggest not all spin is created equal. What I mean is you may get a lot of rotation on the ball at a higher tension, but not as much drive. I find at a lower tension, I hit a much heavier spin shot, both topspin and slice.
     
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  3. corners

    corners Legend

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    Higher tension may give more spin in some racquets with very open string patterns. Once you start talking about main strings sliding sideways and snapping back as a mechanism to generate extra spin, inter-string friction and string stiffness combine to determine if the mains snap back too little, just enough, or too much. "Just enough" is where you want to be for maximum spin. It sounds like, in your racquet, with you swinging it, 55 pounds was close to "just enough" string movement for lots of spin and 59 pounds amounted to "too little" string movement for lots of spin. However, if a stronger player were to pick up your racquet, a player with faster swing speeds, he might find that 55 pounds is "too much" string movement because he is colliding the racquet with the ball with greater energy and the strings therefore stretch sideways a greater distance. For him, 59 pounds might provide more spin, whereas for you it's the opposite. This is why identifying the tension that produces "just enough" string movement requires trial and error on the part of the player.

    As you note, there is also the matter of control. Generally, the lower the tension the less control you have. With strings that slide and snapback, lower tensions result in high rebound angles with lots of shot to shot variability in that rebound angle. This results in problems with depth control. This variability is pronounced when facing inbound shots with lots of spin. So there may be a tradeoff between maximum spin and maximum control. But I think is becomes a big factor mainly for some players facing certain types of opponents. (A serve and volley player facing someone with heavily spun passing shots, for example.)

    Also, in the above, I'm talking about strings that are slippery enough to allow the mains to slide sideways during impact and snap back. If you are stringing with syngut or multi forget all this stuff. For those types of strings, which "lock" in place rather than slide and snap back freely, you'll get no extra spin by going higher or lower in tension. Well, there might be a little difference, but this will be due to longer or shorter dwell time, where looser strings hold the ball on the strings a bit longer (greater dwell time) and tighter strings hold the strings more briefly (less dwell time). Dwell time, all else equal, is conducive to spin production.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2014
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  4. paul500w

    paul500w Rookie

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    This is a very good point. I do not have a very fast /hard swing so it makes sense that 55pd tension is sliding and shaping back enough for me.

    My wife thinks I'm a nut for trying different strings and different tensions. I think I may have found my tension, I just need to make sure the strings I like and use also fit me. I have a prince racket with techofiber and a wilson with ripspin.
     
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  5. gameboy

    gameboy Hall of Fame

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    It depends on the string.

    There are two factors involved, the amount of deformation (pocketing) and the speed of restitution after deformation (i.e. Snapback).

    You get more deformation at lower tension (good - more stored energy for snapback to give more spin), but you get faster snapback with higher tension.

    The sweet spot for the optimal spin generation is going to differ based on material used and construction, and how fast you swing.
     
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  6. SCRAP IRON

    SCRAP IRON Professional

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    Do you use a hybrid set-up? I am asking because it greatly increases the variable that you are discussing. In other words, it could complicate your ability to determine the best string set-up/tension for your particular game.
     
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  7. Racer41c

    Racer41c Semi-Pro

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    This could be where your struggling. You'd be much better off evaluating 1 change at a time. Once you introduce a 2nd change, your ability to compare gets extremely complicated. I'd stick with changing tension only first. Once you get it dialed in with one racquet, try that string setup in the other racquet. At that point your comparing racquets and tensions separately.

    And as others have said, the same change in 2 different racquets with 2 different strings will result in completely un-related results.

    Hope this helps, just don't ask me about my 3 different racquets with 3 string setups!!!!
     
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  8. pistolero

    pistolero Rookie

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    Generallly: Consider the way you play, the two extremes being baseline defense prone or volleying offense prone. This works in correlation to the type of racquet you have chosen to play with. Base liners prefer the lower tension range and most often go with a full bed poly, lots of spin and power, not so good for touch and feel. the more offensive player opts for a hybrid poly, or just gut, which allows for better feel as well as hard, flatter shots. They may also increase the tension on the softer string to better the accuracy, sacrificing on power.
     
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