Poly, arm pain, TW University, Steam, and more.

Discussion in 'Strings' started by wmilas, Jul 2, 2013.

  1. wmilas

    wmilas Rookie

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2010
    Messages:
    242
    I thought I'd start a thread on my experience with arm pain, my move to a steam stick, the move to a full poly setup, my experiences, and how it relates to the current TW article on how strings go dead.

    So I've played the last 4 years with Yonex RDiS 100's. I started out initially with multi mains and crosses. In a quest more spin I dabbled with full bed poly. Poly in this stiff frame eventually led to tennis elbow. Did the rehab, switch to all gut, TE became manageable.

    I then found the TW forums and started to read up on strings. Switched to gut mains with MSV CoFocus crosses and spin was better than all poly and my elbow loved me. I could get 12-16 hours before I popped the gut which was very acceptable to me as I string myself.

    Fast forward 2 years and the 99s comes out. I buy a pair and start to experiment with strings. Becomes evident very fast that nothing except poly in the mains is going to work. I can pop gut in under an hour, multi shreds and pops in under 30 minutes. OGSM lasts maybe 2 hours but stops sliding in under an hour.

    So, the quest for an arm friendly poly setup starts. I'm looking for a fairly soft poly main, that can keep its tension. I'm looking for a cross thats smooth and hard but yet still soft enough to not give me problems.

    I went to the TWU and pull up the top 8 poly strings that have the lowest stiffness ratings. I try them out. I settle on BHB7 for the mains because it seems to hold its tension the best and feels soft. This takes weeks of experimenting. I was using OGSM as the cross because its cheap by the reel, I know how it feels, and I can evaluate the mains compared to each other and not compared to the cross. The downside with BHB7 17 is that it pops right around hour 4. As I string myself this isn't terrible, but I move to 16 so I can get 6 ish hours out of it.

    I ten start to work on the crosses. Although OGSM works over time it "roughs up" and the mains stop sliding as well. BHB7 is very soft and grooves. The OGSM does not which is good and creates a rail effect. However since the OGSM gets rough and pebbly feeling the friction goes up.

    I tried the other 7 strings that I tried as the main in the cross and settle on Polyfiber TCS 17. It plays a lot like OGSM in the cross. Its controlled. Its softish. It losses tension very fast as a main, but its seems fairly stable as a cross. must importantly it doesn't "rough up" or dent at all. The BHB7 slides on it till it literally saws itself through and pops.

    These are two of the softest polies out there and the arm effect, for me, is just as soft as gut/msv on the RDiS. I get more spin that the RDiS because of the open face. I have to restring more often and the feel at the net isn't as good. Overall I'm happy.

    What I wanted to do though is discuss WHY this is. After reading the professors article on strings going dead I was thrilled to see 2 of the strings he tested are BHB7 and TCS. What I noticed as that BHB7 does indeed hold tension the beast as I personally experienced. I also saw that its has a higher angle of deflection. I noticed this with the steam but I thought it had to do with the open face. I'm not sure I get enough hits in under 6 hours to get to the far end of the graph but I'm sure some is from the string.

    I find it interesting that the static CoF goes up the highest with the BHB7. I surmise that's because its so soft and has a tendency to groove. I think that's why my quest for a slippery cross was so important. Based on the way the professor described it its directly offset by the fact it doesn't lose tension as fast thus causing the string the play similar to it starting point. Two forces at play.. Higher friction but less tension offsetting each other. I think for people who want strings to play uni-formally through the life of the strings these forces need to offset each other as much as possible.

    In the past I experienced arm pain from Polys that locked in place. I'm sure of this. I find that the more string movement there is the "softer" this feels on my arm. When I tried some of the harder polys as long as there was movement the stiffness wasn't as much of an issue. I think this is key. I think that after poly ages, the stiffer polys that lock into place are the main culprits. I don't know if its because the energy channels down into your arm instead of going into string-ball movement or if you swing harder trying to pop the mains out of the channels to get the spin you need. I really don't know. I DO know in my case that the locking of the mains and crosses is what "hurts".

    So and the end of the day, for me, with my swing speed, in my frame, BHB7 with TCS crosses plays the same till breakage. As the professor stated there are multiple forces opposing each other. I think its entirely possible there is no "best setup" for everyone. Since swing speed and frames differ along with arm tolerance I think optimal string choices differ for every case.

    I encourage people to read that article then go out and put it to use to figure out your best string setup if indeed you are looking for a poly setup.

    Those are my experiences with the whole thing. Hope it helps someone.
     
    #1
  2. corners

    corners Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2008
    Messages:
    5,441
    The softening effect that comes with freely moving main strings is presumed to be due to the fact that when the mains are free to move that dwell time is increased. All else equal, longer dwell time means less shock. Similar principle as flexible vs. stiff racquet.

    I'm glad you found a combo that works for you. The reduced number of cross stings in the Spin Effect patterns mean that overall stringbed stiffness, and specifically the stiffness of the crosses taken as a unit, is less than with more crosses. So one could use a stiffer cross string with a 16x15 pattern than with a 16x19 pattern and still have a softer string bed. It appears that you've found this out in switching from gut/copoly in a conventional pattern to copoly/copoly in the 16x15.

    This is also probably why lab tests have shown that the reduced-cross patterns generate more spin but about the same rebound speed as conventional patterns. Normally, when the main strings slide and snapback rebound speed is reduced. This appears to be because some of the main string energy that normally would have contributed to rebound speed is instead used to spin the ball (during the "snapback" phase). However, the reduced cross-string stiffness of a 15-cross pattern means that the ball is flattened less and therefore more energy goes into the cross strings and less into the ball. Anytime this happens you get a faster rebound because the strings return energy at greater than 90% efficiency while tennis balls return only about 50% of the energy that goes into flattening them.

    This, of course, is also why flexible strings like natural gut rebound the ball at faster speeds than stiff strings like copoly. You probaby noticed one of the graphs in the paper you mention that shows how the stiffness and energy return characteristics of various strings interact to provide greater or less rebound speed and rebound efficiency (coefficient of restitution.)


    With very open string patterns combined with slippery strings we get to eat our cake (spin) and eat it too (ball speed), although some players may find the frosting melted (loss of control).
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2013
    #2
  3. newyorkstadium

    newyorkstadium Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2012
    Messages:
    585
    A string that loses little tension but gains a lot of static COF will change. The increase in COF will decrease spin, lower launch angle, and stiffen the stringbed parallel to the strings. This will cause an increase in stiffness and harshness.

    Perhaps the low tension loss was enough to reverse the increase in friction without causing a mushy stringbed, like high tension loss does. So a poly with low tension loss, or a poly with low tension loss and a high increase in friction, may last longer before going "dead".

    Alternatively, people on here have come up with the suggestions of lubricating poly or pre-stretching poly, to prolong the lifespan.
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2013
    #3
  4. Magic of tennis

    Magic of tennis Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2011
    Messages:
    407
    Location:
    USA
    I have same arm problem so I have been using multi strings for many years. now I got tired of stringing so often so, I started using poly on main and multi on cross for the first time last week.

    Now I am looking for soft poly for my arm just like you. What is BHB7 stand for?

    Is BHB7 better than Ashaway monogut zx in terms of durability and playability? I know Ashaway monogut zx is more softer than many other polys and multi strings according to TWU.
     
    #4
  5. edwincen

    edwincen Rookie

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2009
    Messages:
    292
    I found Yonex poly tour pro is soft enough and maintaining its tension quite ok.
    Or maybe you can try V.I.P ball basher black, its an unique triangle poly, tension lost is very minimal.
     
    #5
  6. newpball

    newpball Legend

    Joined:
    May 28, 2013
    Messages:
    5,355
    Location:
    Northern California, USA
    My take on it is:

    Polyester = careful!
    Polyester with arm problems = stupid!

    And I don't care if the excuses are:

    "But it is soft poly"
    "But I restring often"
    "But it is only in the crosses"
    "But I changed to a less stiff racket"

    I believe that a lot of tennis injuries are chronic, degenerative, they never get better, you have to live with it and care for the arm, if you don't do that it will only get worse and eventually you will no longer be able to play tennis.

    But that's my take on it.......
     
    #6
  7. maxpotapov

    maxpotapov Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2009
    Messages:
    2,519
    Location:
    Ukraine
    Excellent article!
    "Soft" means sliding freely, I knew that!
    Even full bed of syn gut makes my arm ache and get tense/tired, as soon as srings lock in place. And then I have to flatten my strokes to give my arm tendons a break
    Thanks for your research!
     
    #7
  8. Ramon

    Ramon Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2011
    Messages:
    3,576
    Location:
    Florida
    Interesting comments on the Steam 99S. The TW review never mentioned the shortened string life, but it makes perfect sense. My big concern was about the unpredictability of such an open string pattern. Add to that the shortened string life and being forced to use poly mains because of that, I think I'll skip this racquet.
     
    #8
  9. drgchen

    drgchen Rookie

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2011
    Messages:
    341
    Location:
    Ohio/Michigan, USA
    BHB7- Tourna Big Hitter Black 7.
    Had high reviews on RSI/USRSA playtest.
    I agree it is a softer poly, I string this tighter than the other polys. Still, feels and plays like a poly. Don't know about comparing it to Ashaway...likely quite different.

    BHB7 seems to break faster than some of the older generation polys...String for a junior who breaks it in a few sets...
     
    #9
  10. wmilas

    wmilas Rookie

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2010
    Messages:
    242
    I believe your second paragraph is spot on. The two forces are close to canceling each other. I took a new string job and pulled the mains and let them snap back. Did the same with a string job that was very close to snapping. The worn job still slid pretty well but not as good as the new job. The mains were a bit looser though. Like I said I think the system is pretty close to equilibrium.
     
    #10
  11. wmilas

    wmilas Rookie

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2010
    Messages:
    242
    Big hitter black 7. Its pretty economical by the reel

    It plays totally different than zx. It still plays like a poly. I have a pretty well developed western forehand and 1hbh. Poly helps me keep the ball in the court. If I string gut I string in the 60's. Basically as high as I can get away with without breaking it. I still can't swing full out on it. I string the bhb7/TCS combo at 54 and the control is nice with still a bit of pop. You might want to start lower.

    As far durability I only get 6 ish hours out of the bhb7 but that's really due to the steam eating the strings. I've never tried zx as a main so I can't compare it
     
    #11
  12. Chotobaka

    Chotobaka Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    May 19, 2012
    Messages:
    2,483
    I've seen so many people who have been playing many years who are in this boat. The degenerative aspect comes with the combination of age and use and is tough to overcome. You almost have to become your own PT to keep things together for the long haul.
     
    #12
  13. wmilas

    wmilas Rookie

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2010
    Messages:
    242
    Talked to my sports therapist when I went through my rehab. Her input was that ANY stress on an injured tendon will cause inflammation. Therefore if you have a injured tendon then gut will inflame it just as fast as poly. From my experience this seems correct. I had to take time off and rehab it before I could play with any string type.

    The whole point of my post was to relate my experiences with my specific swing speed and racquet.

    I can tell you this though. A soft poly that moves is less jarring on my arm than full OGSM that has locked in place.

    I think it's too simplistic to say that poly is "bad". I think you need to know what qualities make it arm unfriendly so this same mechanics don't pop up in other types of strings.
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2013
    #13
  14. wmilas

    wmilas Rookie

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2010
    Messages:
    242
    Yup. That's exactly my experience. As soon as it locks it starts to transfer more energy into my arm.
     
    #14
  15. wmilas

    wmilas Rookie

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2010
    Messages:
    242
    That's interesting. That not what my PT said. She was of the opinion that people never heal the arm fully AND do preventative exercises so the tears that occur never go away for some people. This has nothing to do with the string at that point but has everything to do with not taking care of your body as it relates to beings physical athlete.

    The important part is to get fully healed THEN figure out what caused the initial tasting so that it does not happen again.

    To me it was a combination of:
    1) catching high velocity balls too late. Had to recognize this and shorten my back swing
    2) stiff frame
    3) based on the research done by tw possibly playing with locked poly
    4) not doing the correct tendon building and stretching exercises.
     
    #15
  16. phanker

    phanker Rookie

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2013
    Messages:
    184
    Excellent posts OP!
    Thanks for a great starting point for me as I'm about to embark something similar.
    Did you try any Kirschbaum strings? They seem to be good candidates as they're soft and pre-stretched.
    I was going to start with them and go from there. I also am using the Steam 99S.
     
    #16
  17. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2004
    Messages:
    43,438
    Agreed! :)
     
    #17
  18. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2004
    Messages:
    43,438
    When my full bed of syn gut or multi or a hybrid of the two lock in place, that's when I get the most spin out of my stringbed. The less string movement the more spin for me. This is consistently what I've experienced with my stringbeds for almost 40 years. And it makes total sense to me. If the strings don't move, all the energy of my swing is going towards spinning the ball rather than moving the strings.
     
    #18
  19. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2008
    Messages:
    19,660
    Location:
    Central Florida
    Buy an Exo Tour 16x18. All strings start moving after a few minutes to an hour max.
     
    #19
  20. maxpotapov

    maxpotapov Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2009
    Messages:
    2,519
    Location:
    Ukraine
    And that's exactly why it feels so stiff and tireing. Sandpaper would brush the ball even better so what?

    Besides, it is snap back that adds spin, so when strings move around it is not necessarily a good thing for spin production. Resilience/elasticity of the mains is needed as much as smoothness of the crosses.
     
    #20
  21. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2004
    Messages:
    43,438
    But when my strings don't move and don't snap back (because they never moved in the first place), that's when I get the most spin. And how do I know my strings didn't move and snap back to their original positions without me knowing it? Because if I forcibly move the strings with my fingers, they stay where I moved them and do not return to their original positions by themselves.
     
    #21
  22. Chotobaka

    Chotobaka Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    May 19, 2012
    Messages:
    2,483
    Hey Skippy, I referred to degenerative injuries. You know, bone on bone; no cartilage; degenerative, slipped and missing discs; bone spurs, built up scar tissue, etc. Stuff that happens to people who have been at it hard over the years.

    Absolutely nothing to do with your simplistic, canned, kneejerk comments.
     
    #22
  23. maxpotapov

    maxpotapov Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2009
    Messages:
    2,519
    Location:
    Ukraine
    Let me guess... Windshiled wiper forehand?
    Anyway, we talk about arm pain, not just spin production.
     
    #23
  24. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2004
    Messages:
    43,438
    Nope, I drive through the ball. Classic eastern forehand. :)
     
    #24
  25. maxpotapov

    maxpotapov Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2009
    Messages:
    2,519
    Location:
    Ukraine
    Then what kind of spin are you talking about? Up to 500 rpm?
     
    #25
  26. Sander001

    Sander001 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2012
    Messages:
    2,378
    Location:
    In the place where there is no darkness.
    Anecdotally, I'll somewhat agree.

    Got tennis elbow from a single day of over hitting. Lasted for about a year but played through the pain, continuing to use full poly strung in the 60's[tried other strings during that time but felt no increase in comfort].
    I'm sure the recovery would've been shortened had I stopped playing completely but I didn't want to do that.
    But I did stop for a few weeks, did some exercises for the arm and am back to 100%.
     
    #26
  27. zaskar1

    zaskar1 New User

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2010
    Messages:
    59
    poly and arm pain lots of reasons

    i would say, if you are experiencing arm pain, stay away from high tensions
    and poly

    stick with lower tension and multifilament or gut strings


    z
     
    #27
  28. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2004
    Messages:
    43,438
    Don't know because I've never measured it. But it's enough spin to move my strings all over the place when they are new and still have that slippery coating on them, but once that coating wears off and the strings lock-in, they don't move nearly as much - and that's when I get the most spin.
     
    #28
  29. Doubles

    Doubles Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    May 4, 2010
    Messages:
    4,289
    Location:
    Approaching the net
    Is this turning into another thread that's going to be locked because of a string snap-back argument?
     
    #29
  30. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2008
    Messages:
    19,660
    Location:
    Central Florida
    I would hope so.
     
    #30
  31. JT_2eighty

    JT_2eighty Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2009
    Messages:
    2,477
    Thanks for sharing. I think poly-poly hybrids are a great way to fine tune a poly setup.

    I've been tinkering with a handful of full poly hybrids this summer, as playing in the heat I find full poly to give the best control, and playing a lot on har-tru I'm not using my usual gut/poly that I enjoy for the indoor season. Poly-poly hybrids allow you to tweak different relationships of the stringbed: stiff main, soft cross OR soft main, stiff cross, etc etc. The possibilities are quite endless, but also effective in fine tuning your setup to your particular game.

    That said, a few great ones so far for me have been:
    Tour Bite / Typhoon, 38/35lbs. Amazing control and spin, feel is average, much better than Tour Bite at 50lbs, which was only good for 2 matches, versus this 38/35 setup that has been great for 5 and counting. Baseliner setup, mediocre for S&V / doubles. Great control and spin on serves and groundies.

    Polystar Turbo / Strike, 53/50lbs. Very soft and powerful setup, but easy spin to keep the ball down. Great all-court setup, nice touch at net, mediocre tension stability. Versatile poly setup that flat hitters will enjoy too. Spin and control not nearly as great as Tour Bite main. Far superior comfort and feel.

    Both setups I initially tried at 50lbs, the Tour Bite17 was way too stiff for me and my racquet, while the Turbo was too soft. Even now with Tour Bite 17 at 38 lbs and Turbo at 53 lbs, Turbo is still a more comfy setup. I went as low as 31 on Tour Bite, and 38 was a happy medium. Turbo on the other hand I want to try even higher, as the tension loss is the only negative. Turbo remains comfortable until it breaks; very stretchy/gummy poly unlike any other.

    Yes, if you have arm pain, I would not advise any poly at all, even in crosses. So for those without arm pain, these are some interesting poly/poly hybrids that I like, and I've tried at least 8 different configurations so far. They are completely different in playability, power, control and feel. This speaks to how versatile various polys can be.

    For the Steam racquet however, I think Turbo would break after an hour or two, it is very soft. Tour Bite should hold up well, as it is very durable and very stiff too--allowing it to be strung quite low and still have amazing control, but my tensions also reflect a flexy 18x20 which does not eat strings like stiff open patterned sticks. So yes, more examples of how crucial a racquet's interaction with certain strings can change dramatically. I can drop to very low tensions and still have high control due to the 18x20 flexible frame. Tour bite was quite playable at 31 lbs!
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2013
    #31
  32. Doubles

    Doubles Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    May 4, 2010
    Messages:
    4,289
    Location:
    Approaching the net
    Well aren't you just a master ruseman?

    [​IMG]
     
    #32
  33. wmilas

    wmilas Rookie

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2010
    Messages:
    242
    I'm honestly sorry I bothered to start this thread.

    I spent a lot of time trying different frames, picked a frame, then spent hundreds of $ on different strings and thought I'd share my experiences. Also spent some serious time in rehab with a PT fixing my arm.

    Then i get comments from muppets like Chotobaka. Somehow posting how I personally fixed my TE causes the juveniles to come out and post.

    Pathetic.
     
    #33

Share This Page