String Guide to the Perplexed

Discussion in 'Strings' started by BigT, Jan 9, 2012.

  1. BigT

    BigT Professional

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    In the past few years, it seems that there are more and more posters here that are very new to strings and confused about some of the basics. Plus, I have gotten many emails through the years with questions that come up often.

    I hope to use this thread to answer some of these issues. Playing and stringing and a pretty good level for 20+ years, hopefully some will benefit from my experiences.
     
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  2. BigT

    BigT Professional

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    I am 6'1", 175lbs...What shoes should I get?!

    No, that question is not in the wrong section. Just like it is impossible to answer that, so too is the question:

    'I use XX racquet. What strings?'
    or
    'Best strings for XX racquet'

    There are probably 2-3 threads started like that a day, and what's even funnier: you have 10 posters trying to answer.

    Just like my height and weight tell you absolutely nothing about my feet and what shoes fit best, so too, a racquet cannot tell anyone which strings are best for the racquet.

    Strings need to fit the PLAYER:

    Level, style, strokes, etc.

    Case in point: 2 guys use an Babolat APD. One plays a huge topspin, aggressive net playing game. Another is a golden retreiver, pushing from side to side. They do not need the same strings.

    That is just one example of many.
     
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  3. fortun8son

    fortun8son Hall of Fame

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    Good point.
    'What's the best poly(multi,syngut,etc.)' is an unanswerable question.
    Specifics, please.
    What frame?
    What style?
    What have you used before?
    What tension?
    Hybrid or fullbed?
    What did you like and not like about it?
     
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  4. fgs

    fgs Hall of Fame

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    "the best" can only be determined by the individual player himself. even if i know the player very well, his playstyle, his stroking mechanics, his "string history" it is difficult to come up and say "my friend, this is THE BEST string for you."

    under the circumstances described above one can issue some recommendations, thus narrowing down the number of options. if he/she rather likes softer strings than it makes no sense suggesting a very stiff playing one, etc.
     
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  5. Chyeaah

    Chyeaah Professional

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    With the introduction of hybrids, the average player will never find the "best" just the "better".
     
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  6. fgs

    fgs Hall of Fame

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    hybrids definitely increase dramatically the number of options, but with more than 800 types of string out there, i wonder if anyone would have found the "best" either.:)
     
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  7. BigT

    BigT Professional

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    Who should use poly? part 1

    This is one of the most common, misunderstood subjects around, and I will not be able to answer all the issues in one sitting.

    Just based on many first-time customers that come my way, I would say that at least 60% of the people out there that are using poly, should not be. From the posters here, it looks more like 75%.

    Poly is for players that have developed a fast swing speed and that can consistantly hit higher powered shots. I would say unless a player has reached at least the 4.0 level (should be more like 4.5), he should not even consider using poly.

    For example, a few weeks ago, a father of a 10 year old called me and asked for a string recommendation for his son. I told him, for a 10 year old, any standard synthetic or multi would probably do. He began asking about poly, saying that his son is very strong and hits very hard. I asked him how often his son breaks his normal 16g synthetic. He answered, "Maybe once a month of playing about 3-4 times a week". Luckily, he listened to me. Tried out a set of a good synthetic, and 2 weeks later ended up getting a reel.

    To conclude, if one is not breaking a basic 16g synthetic gut in about 10 hours of play or less, your swing speed is probably not fast enough to justify using poly.
     
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  8. corbind

    corbind Professional

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    I assume you're saying use poly if you are a string-breaker. Yet it seems many poly users use it not because they break strings but because they want the big, loopy topspin shots.
     
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  9. Chyeaah

    Chyeaah Professional

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    Seriously? I cant break 16G syn gut. It doesn't work unless your opponent is a really hard hitter as well.

    And also depends on your racquet, if you use a Pure Drive and have a fast enough swing speed as stated by you you will hit all your balls out.
     
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  10. westpac690

    westpac690 Rookie

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    As far as the whole poly issue goes, some of these racquets put out on the market are designed for it. Pure Drive's are too powerful for anything BUT poly, no matter what your level. Head Extremes, the old K Factor racquets, etc.. Just too powerful for synthetic gut or multis
     
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  11. BigT

    BigT Professional

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    The thing is, poly itself doesn't give you big, loopy topspin shots. If you already have big, loopy topspin shots, then poly helps controlling them.

    I see a lot of slap happy, wreckless players swing for the fences, and actually hit the fence with many of their shots. Poly doesn't miraculously bring those shots down. That is why I put 'consistantly' in bold print in my previous post.
    If someone cannot keep a decent paced rally with decent depth and shots within 3' over the net, for at least 15 shots, he should work on his stroke before thinking that poly will come to the rescue.
     
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  12. fgs

    fgs Hall of Fame

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    westpac690,
    you assume that all the pure drive users and wilson open users and head extreme users do have a full and fast swing and hence need to mate these powerful sticks with poly to tone them down and hit the court - under these circumstances your assumptions are right. but you might be surprised how many rec players with abbreviated strokes do swing these sticks, and these don't need poly if they want to make the ball make it over the net.
    nevertheless, most of them do use poly because they don't know better and also because their stringer has an easier life selling them "the rafa-string" or "the roger string".:)
     
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  13. BigT

    BigT Professional

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    String breakers usually break string often because they have faster swing speeds and hit the ball hard, usually with lots of spin, and usually hit with other players that do the same. So it's obvious that string breakers are the best candidates to use poly.

    These same players are the first to benefit from the control and spin poly provides.

    But if poly does not break, does that mean they should be played with forever?

    Most pros switch their racquets every ball change, others wait at the most a day or two. What makes us think that we can play with poly for weeks or months at a time?

    Being that I have a sensitive arm, and have tested dozens of polys from many brands, I think that 10 hours of play or two weeks since stringing is a good time to cut out the poly. It could be a little more or less for others, but since using this formula and using full poly, I have not had any arm issues.

    Conclusion: Do not use poly if you're not ready to cut it out after a reasonable amount of play or time.(+-10 hours or +-2 weeks)
     
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  14. fortun8son

    fortun8son Hall of Fame

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    Another good candidate for poly is the light, head heavy, oversize, fan pattern stick.
    These things eat up nylon strings and the string movement is very annoying.
    I just strung a Head MG 12 with SPPP1.28 @50lbs.
    Fine print on the frame actually recommends Sonic Pro.
    The junk that comes on these prestrung frames is almost unplayable.
     
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  15. polytheist

    polytheist Rookie

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    Um, yes it does. Have you met poly?
     
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  16. BigT

    BigT Professional

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    L-Tec: The Official Poly of 3.5 Level Players

    Maybe this should have been a thread on it's own, but since there are already about 6 threads on the first page regarding these strings, I chose not to add another one.

    Another poster was raving about these strings and stringing methods, saying they were lasting at least 40 hours of play, with the same great feel throughout. I had then asked him how long it takes him to break 16g synthetic gut, and he replied 'Forever'.

    Nothing against this poster, and yes, to him, I'm sure the poly feels the same throughout 40 hours of play. But should he be using poly in the firstplace?

    A new shoe company can come out with a revolutionary new outsole that they say will last 2 years, and a granny that plays doubles on the weekends could make a thread about how it's true for her and all her friends. But to any tennis player it will be the same 2-4 months as all the other outsoles. Because outsoles wearout, no matter what they make them with.

    There is a reason why pros switch racquets as often as they do, and it's not because they have not yet found out about these strings or stringing methods.
     
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  17. alidisperanza

    alidisperanza Hall of Fame

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  18. TenFanLA

    TenFanLA Hall of Fame

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    I am not fully convinced LTec/JET is the magic string/method and I have to see it for myself (I'm playtesting.) But to be fair there were 2 much higher level players (ex-D1, Open/Futures) who said that LTec maintained high quality of play for 30+ hours.
     
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  19. alidisperanza

    alidisperanza Hall of Fame

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    I hate to be offensive here but please don't make blanket statements like this until you actually have had some valid experience with what you're taking about/ have some sort of empirical evidence that states otherwise.


    Another thought that comes to mind is the Ti S6. I have a few customers that love it with poly in it.


    The low-poly phenomenon has opened up the string to a whole new spectrum of users. @ 55lbs+ in a 100sq inch frame or smaller, I agree that one has to have the bat speed to effectively access the spin production of poly. At lower tensions, a player doesn't have to swing as fast to "bend" the string and get a similar result. Obviously, technique has a huge part to play in it but this lower tension not only is proving more comfortable but accessible.

    Regarding the header of your post, the L-Tec phenomenon is still an emerging concept and yet to be put through the ever-so-rigourous-T.T. User- Tests. We'll see what comes out of it.

    Heck, as I mentioned before, some people like the dead/boardy feeling of poly even though they "shouldn't" be hitting with it.
     
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  20. BigT

    BigT Professional

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    UCLA plays Pepperdine this Tuesday @UCLA. Both are top D-1 schools and both use Solinco. From my experience, Solinco strings are heavy and thick and have better durability than many others.
    Try going there and asking the players how many hours of hitting their strings last before breaking. UCLA's #2 from last year, who I hit with once in awhile, said his Revolution 1.25 lasts him at most 7-8 hours, and that's in a Prestige.

    Now a Futures player is claiming to get 30+ hours?? Don't believe everything you read.
     
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  21. arche3

    arche3 Banned

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    1.25 I consider a thinner string IMO. I am using ltec mains at 1.28 and they actually feel and play as 1.30 and I think they run thick. I can easily break 1.25 mains in 6 hours as well. And I am 45 years old.
    My ltec broke at around 24 hours today. The flat 4s cross really delayed any deep notching. I can easily see some string jobs with ltec going 30 hours without break at a very high level of play. The 0s/4s hybrid is very stout in terms of wear. More so than many other polys. I think its the flat wide cross.
     
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  22. TenFanLA

    TenFanLA Hall of Fame

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    Yeah that does seem a little far-fetched, unless he's the 6.0 version of Fabrice Santoro.
     
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  23. mixedmedia

    mixedmedia Professional

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    I bet they run thick to slip in a little extra durability.
     
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  24. alidisperanza

    alidisperanza Hall of Fame

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    A plausible explanation... Hmm *goes to dig up calipers*
     
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  25. mixedmedia

    mixedmedia Professional

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    And the result?
     
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  26. mixedmedia

    mixedmedia Professional

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    And maybe measure that SS when you get it, for fairness sake. :)
     
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  27. alidisperanza

    alidisperanza Hall of Fame

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    I don't have any L-tec yet. SS measures pretty true to form.
     
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  28. mixedmedia

    mixedmedia Professional

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    Oh yeah, haha, forgot about that.
     
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  29. BigT

    BigT Professional

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    $20 for 6 hours of play is still not exactly good price/performance IMO. I am currently getting 6-8 quality hours from 'no name' polys, and they are less than $3.50/set by the reel.
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2012
    #29
  30. TenFanLA

    TenFanLA Hall of Fame

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    I doubt that LTec at $20 a pop would win any price/performance awards. But if it gives me 6 hours of ALU-like play it's worth it for me personally. Of course if it goes 20 hours, at $1/hr it should at least be able to throw its hat into the price/performance ring.
     
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  31. danno123

    danno123 Rookie

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    I like using poly for three reasons: (1) it does add a little bit of spin to my shots and topspin shots that would have been a little bit out now fall in; (2) it will not break in the middle of a match; and (3) because I cut it out after 10-12 hours, I get to experiment a lot, which is fun for me. Like you, I use a "no name" brand of poly that's fairly inexpensive but works well.
     
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  32. timmeh

    timmeh Rookie

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    Where I live, it costs $40 for synthetic string and labour, and $65 for poly string and labour.

    Now you can see that even if I am suited to poly, it is just not feasible to replace my string every 10 hours. That is $6.50 per hour just for strings.

    So my question is, how can I play with poly in the most cost effective way? Which polys last the longest? If I blend a poly with a synthetic gut will it last longer?

    Here are the prices for restringing if you care to look at the options: http://www.uqsport.com.au/index.html?page=46152
     
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  33. Overheadsmash

    Overheadsmash Semi-Pro

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    Big T I like to put babolat 15G gut in my mains and cross it with Lux savage white. This combo feels good for about two months playing three times a week for 1.5 to 2 hours. It's expensive though. Can you point me to a good syn gut in place of this?

    Here's my info:

    3.5 using 95 inch 11.3 oz stick - string tension is 52 on mains and crosses.
     
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  34. danno123

    danno123 Rookie

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    Buy a stringing machine. Seriously. It costs me less than $5/stringing. I'd probably quit the game if I had to pay the prices in that link. I break typical syn gut every month or so and multis don't last long at all. I'd be divorced if I paid $30 every time I had to restring a racket.
     
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  35. alidisperanza

    alidisperanza Hall of Fame

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    Holy cow. That's an expensive string job. With the strings available I would go with Sonic pro strung at lower tension. Your stringbed will feel pretty comfortable and should last you a long time.

    I'm assuming you're talking about VS Touch 15L? It's tough to replicate that particular feeling, the string is some of the best stuff on the market. My suggestion would be to try a cheaper gut and see how you like it. While the playing characteristics won't be as plush as VS, you'll still have that gut feeling. (check out Klip or Pacific) Another alternative would be to try out multifilaments-- I'm not a fan of them in general but NRG2 is tolerable
     
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  36. Overheadsmash

    Overheadsmash Semi-Pro

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    tried NRG2 once and did not like it, but I know several who love it in a full stringbed. Is there a syngut that has a "textured" surface to it so it bites into the ball better? I'd like something that comes in a reel for less than $75 U.S.
     
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  37. BigT

    BigT Professional

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    I feel your pain.

    How much do they charge just for labor? Perhaps getting the string on your own and bringing it to them would work. Otherwise, maybe try other home stringers? I know there definitely should be a few around, as I have been sending many strings to Brisbane and Queensland lately during the Australian summer.

    The best option though, as others have stated, would be to get your own stringer. That literally gives you limitless options to try and see what works best, and saves a ton of money.
     
    #37
  38. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    Agree with nearly everything the OP has posted about poly use, and who is getting the benefits of it.

    I would say about 70 to 80% of players I string for are getting zero benefits of poly other then the string being more durable.
     
    #38
  39. ATP100

    ATP100 Professional

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    Sorry, your thread is turning into a typical string thread.

    (A joke)
     
    #39
  40. BigT

    BigT Professional

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    Although gut is unique in it's feel, at the 3.5 level, I think a thick 1.35 or 1.40mm(15g) multi could work just as good for you.

    Any reason why you're using poly crosses?
     
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  41. Overheadsmash

    Overheadsmash Semi-Pro

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    Yes - for one it's cheaper (Lux savage is 13 dollars U.S. a set versus 32 for the gut - I just use babolat tonic 15G), and the Lux Savage is hex shaped and I noticed a big increase in my ability to generate spin with that in the crosses. I love the feel. Also, when I first used full gut, it was too hard to control. Putting the Savage in the crosses (I also use Gamma Zo Tour Rough in the crosses) gave me the feel of gut and added some control. If fact, as soon as I did this, my "dwell time" - my ability to keep the recquet on the ball - increased dramatically as did my ability to control spin and direction.

    So, right now, it costs me $45 for two string jobs (I string myself so just pay for the string) But, if I could find something that ends up costing $10 or less per string job I would be happier.

    Stringing with a Stringway ML120 by the way and I love it. It's fun and now my 11 year old daughter is starting to string her own racquets.
     
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  42. alidisperanza

    alidisperanza Hall of Fame

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    Dare i say it... Gamma *whispers* Rough *whispers*. You'll certainly be making the stringer work for their money!:twisted::twisted:
     
    #42
  43. Overheadsmash

    Overheadsmash Semi-Pro

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    I string my own sticks. The gamma is not a problem at all actually - Zo tour rough is good string. In fact, gamma makes some good stuff.

    Now, I tried some Solinco Barbed wire as a cross once and THAT was hardest string to weave ever. I hated it so much I threw away the other half of the package!
     
    #43
  44. alidisperanza

    alidisperanza Hall of Fame

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    Wow. You're the first person to ever say that! Gamma rough is no walk in the park after stringing several racquets. I definitely agree though, Barb wire is probably the poly equivalent.
     
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  45. Overheadsmash

    Overheadsmash Semi-Pro

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    My reel of Forten Sweet just came in. That stuff is like a limp noodle. Going to be easy to string that. It's a big reel and there is almost no coil memory. Going to try it out in my Dunlop AG 500 Tour after work!
     
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  46. alidisperanza

    alidisperanza Hall of Fame

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    Yeah, sweet and OGSM are probably my favorite strings to run through-- very easy to work with.
     
    #46
  47. dre

    dre New User

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    BigT - I'm currently trying to find a string for my playing style and looking for some suggestions. My string of choice was the B5E in the extreme mp and leaning toward the BHB7. I'm not completely satisfied with the overall performance of the B5E, but it is a good string.

    Style:
    - I have a big, fast swing and need spin / control in the extreme mp.
    - western forehand / 1handed backhand.
    - good flat serve / better kick serve
    - mix of serve&volley / baseline

    Any thoughts are appreciated.



     
    #47
  48. BigT

    BigT Professional

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    ^^What level do you feel you play? What is lacking with your current set-up?
     
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  49. dre

    dre New User

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    BigT - I'm playing usta at 4.0. And my 4.5 in my local league.

    Ultimately, I'd like to generate more spin and pace on both sides, while maintaining control. I understand technique is a huge part and working diligently on my game. At times, I find myself swing too hard with the B5E.

    Im currently experimenting with a reel of msv hex. I'm trying different tensions and hybrid setups. With the hex, control is good and spin production is ok, not as noticeable as the B5E though.

    A few people have also suggest switching sticks to EXO3 and using multis. Not convinced thats going to be the best solution.

    thanks !
     
    #49
  50. BigT

    BigT Professional

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    Like you said, more spin and pace generally means get some more racquet head speed. That might solve your problem.
    If you need help, maybe trying crossing your poly with your favorite synthetic or multi. That might get you some more power without sacrificing too much spin.
    Switching racquets should only be done after you've tried several string options.
     
    #50

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