String Guide to the Perplexed

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

  1. BigT

    BigT Professional

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    30 hours of play with poly at the Futures level?

    Here is a video of a fellow TT poster, a high school kid, who IMO, has a real shot at a Top 30 D-1 school:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JrhYnuZFn3M

    I asked him a few questions about his string use:

    These results seem pretty consistant for this level of play, although I personally break strings faster during hitting sessions than in matches (just more balls hit).
     
  2. Muppet

    Muppet Hall of Fame

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    Is the Prestige Pro one of the racquets that falls in the string eater category?
     
  3. BigT

    BigT Professional

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    I don't think so. The point is, even if a guy at this level was using a 93" Prestige and hit the ball flat, he would still break poly rather quickly.
     
  4. BigT

    BigT Professional

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    Indian Wells and a local Futures event

    This past week I had the privilege of seeing some of the worlds best players at Indian Wells. There is also a local Futures event I was able to check out. An observation:

    Players at Indian Wells came on the practice courts with at least 1 or 2 freshly strung racquets, and used 1 or 2 for an hour hit or a practice set. No broken strings.

    In the two Futures matches I saw, two different players broke strings mid match, in the first set. I assume these strings were not fresh for the start of the match.

    I think it all comes down to money; what do you think?
     
  5. corbind

    corbind Professional

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    Good LORD that kid hits hard. My arm would break off using the poly and hitting that hard. His baseline strokes were nice.
     
  6. BigT

    BigT Professional

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    ^^It's these types of hitters that benefit from poly the most.
     
  7. BorisBecker1872

    BorisBecker1872 New User

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    Would your time prescriptions include hybrids? I have poly in the mains and natural gut on the crosses. I must be honest, I've played with the set maybe 10 hours over the course of 10 months and they seem great. Is it a good idea to play with dead poly like this? What tension is the poly at? Originally it was at 53 lbs.
     
  8. BigT

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    If you're using poly as mains, then I would still try to stay within the time/play limits. Otherwise, the poly will go dead and that will be felt by your arm.

    Like mentioned earlier, if you feel you must use poly and will not restring at least twice a month, then use it as a cross. The dead feel is felt much less.
     
  9. mixedmedia

    mixedmedia Professional

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    But is the dead poly cross (say, in gut/poly) still punishing the user "secretly" even if the player doesn't feel it as much/at first?
     
  10. BorisBecker1872

    BorisBecker1872 New User

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    So basically if I want to use poly (and I do like poly), no matter if I play one hour or twenty hours, I ought to restring every two weeks as a precaution of injury as a result of the dead poly regardless of tension of said poly?

    It seems to me that I should finally make the investment of buying a stringer and learning how to string otherwise it's going to be too costly to pay for all that labor bi-weekly.
     
  11. BigT

    BigT Professional

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    Yes, but much less. I will make a more detailed post on mains/crosses soon.

    Yes, the poly will be dead or close-to dead after 2 weeks even if you hit only one hour, much sooner if you hit for 20 hours ( and didn't break).

    I don't know if playing 2 hours a month would justify getting a stringing machine. But if you see yourself as getting more into tennis, and playing often, then I think using your own machine is a great investment.
     
  12. sansaephanh

    sansaephanh Professional

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    So I'm pretty bad. I'd say a high 3.5 player. I just tried BHBR/OGSM @ 56bhbr mains/60 OGMS crosses. I have to admit, my serves imrpoved immensely. My kicks are dam near amazing, though I don't have enough pace as I would like. I'm still having a bit of a rough time trying to dial in my groundies, but I seem to be getting there.

    Back to the main question: Should I be using poly? I feel like i'm benefitting in the way I wanted. More spin and pop on my rebels. I got it! Maybe a little less pop and a little bit of ball pocketing, but I think lower tensions and/or a different cross will fix this to be my go to setup. If it doesn't die on me anytime soon anyways.

    Though I also feel like this poly could be the end of me. I have wrist/shoulder problems, but not for a long while now since I've been working on my form a bit.

    I currently am loving the poly hybrid. Is love a justification for jumping on the bandwagon? My serving results are much better. Though consistency is lower for now and my sweetspot feels smaller.

    Theres also the other factors like technique and fitness.

    I'm at a crossroads. I'm actually leaning towards switching to poly...
     
  13. Rozroz

    Rozroz Legend

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    really? didn't realize poly has a 2 week lifespan even un-played :(
    are there any differences in brands/types/quality polys?
    and- what's the point of stringing my replacement racquet??

    at least i'm lucky to have a 'trampoline death' poly and not the 'armbreaker'..
     
  14. fortun8son

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    I have a client who has been using BHBR17/OGSM17 @50/55 for the last 8 months and loves the way it plays. However, he just started having arm pain. He does leave it in 6-8 weeks in a Six-One 95 16x18 and a YTPP.
    It may not be right for him either. He doesn't hit hard enough.
    I'm trying him out on Intellitour right now (in the Prestige)and I am also considering having him try RIP Control, Red Alert, and Klip Legend.
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2012
  15. BigT

    BigT Professional

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    Although I wouldn't recommend poly if you asked me, if you feel you play better with it, I won't argue. Just restring it often to make sure you do not get any arm issues. You don't want to wait until your arm starts feeling sore.
     
  16. mixedmedia

    mixedmedia Professional

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    Okay, great. I'll be interested to hear what you have to say.
     
  17. BigT

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    'Feeling' and 'how a string feels' cannot be proven as fact.

    I've come to my conclusions based on playing and testing over 100 strings, mostly polys, from all of the price ranges.

    About 10 hours of play or around two weeks time is what I recommend to avoid arm injuries, which are prevalent among poly users who tend to overuse them.

    Obviously, there will be those who use poly for longer periods of times with no issues, but they are IMO the exceptions. If someone is playing with poly 4-5X a week for 3 months, and not breaking their strings, I would question if this person really needs poly.

    I think we would agree that the pros have a better developed feel for the ball then most of us. They mostly use LUX and BAB, the most expensive, 'highest quality' polys, yet they feel the need to change their racquets every ball change or at most, every day or two.
    Why do we think we can use the same type of string for weeks and months at a time?

    All Polys/Coploys = stretched pieces of plastic, beaten over hundreds/ thousands of times. How can they keep their elasticity, resiliency, life?
     
  18. RetroSpin

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    >>Yes, the poly will be dead or close-to dead after 2 weeks even if you hit only one hour, much sooner if you hit for 20 hours ( and didn't break). <<



    I have to disagree with this. Of course, now there will be sneers that I am not good enough to tell the difference or am a powder puff player.
     
  19. fortun8son

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    Recommendations are there to abide by or ignore as you choose.
    Feel free to ride your bike without a helmet, too.
    Odds are you won't need it.
     
  20. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

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    You stated after 2 weeks, the string would be dead regardless of hitting time. That's flat out false just as the poster above me stated. Your bolded section, however, is true. But if you play for let's say, half an hour, and then let the racquet sit for two weeks, that frame will be dead just like the frame of a player who actually hits 3x a week? Or, is the argument this: that 2 weeks is the rough lifespan of poly, and hitting regularly shortens that time period? Either way, I would very much like to see some solid reasoning as this does not make sense. If I've got a frame with full SPP Hex at 42lbs (I just strung this for a customer this morning, so it's the first thing that came to mind), are you saying that if I let that frame sit around for 2 weeks and then hit with it, it will have gone dead on its own accord?
     
  21. Wuppy

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    This is such a specialized realm of knowledge -- namely the "cold flow" and internal cohesion of plastics under strain, that I imagine only a handful of people in the world would know anything about it or could answer the question with any sort of accuracy. I'd be very hesitant to trust any opinions here about the topic.
     
  22. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

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    Perhaps indeed, but I do honestly want BigT's take.
     
  23. Rozroz

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    glad this topic is being expanded here :)
    i will sit back and listen.
     
  24. blip

    blip Rookie

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    BigT, could you add a suggested player type for each string type or vice versa?

    I am not a USTA member but play Ultimate and am currently at 4.5 and are 50/50 in win/losses.

    Current setup is PDR+ with ChampionsChoice; expensive but wanted to try with $25 credit from Ultimate. Other setups I have tried are full bed of Hurricane Feel and BlackCode. I had no issues with either only the bad play once the longer I played them. For both I just adjusted slightly then cut them out later.

    My game is a strong topspin forehand and point contructing that gets me my wins. Everything else is pretty standard.

    So my question is what is my next string? I dont like synth gut anymore bc of string movement and I don't want to restring poly every 10 hrs. I hit the 10hr mark every 2 weeks if not sooner.

    My thought is cheap poly/gut or poly/synth?

    HELP?
     
  25. BigT

    BigT Professional

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    I'm not sure of the confusion. It has been said many times before:
    What would you call a pre-strung racquet that has been on the rack at a shop for a year? It has never hit one ball. Are the strings fresh?

    What about full poly that has one hour of hitting from a month ago. Will it feel the same as poly with one hour of hitting that was strung yesterday?

    The string taking a beating on the court is one, secondary factor. The very stringing (stretching of plastic at 30, 40, 50, 60 lbs, and being held like that (tied off)) is the main contributor to the poly losing it's properties. And that will happen in time to all strings, especially polys.
     
  26. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

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    No no, you're changing topics here. You said the string dies, not loses playability. No one is arguing that. The point is that the strings have exceeded their useful life after a period of 2 weeks or so regardless of play time. That is what you said, not that they don't feel "fresh". I played tennis yesterday with Discho Iontec. The string has perhaps 4-5 hours total on it, but has been strung for about a month I'd wager (I'd have to check my playtest thread). While it did not have the "fresh" feeling, I was not adjusting my strokes to account for dead poly. My SP Tornado hybrid is an even better example. After settling, it played the same for a period of 6 or so weeks, but only having about 6 or so hitting hours on it. Even better example: my hitting partner wanted to test one of my AG100s which I had strung the day before I got my 4D200Ts. WC B5E/gut strung at 52/55. He just gave me the racquet back yesterday having used it for a week (hit with it twice) and made a very detailed account of the differences in playability between it and his racquet. Prior to me giving it to him, the racquet had a bit under 1 hour hitting on it (grip was gross, so I switched frames). After that, it went into my closet. That was in June 2011, and the poly is not dead as of March 2012.

    So I just want to make this distinction clear, because it's unfair to those who are not as involved with strings as we are. Are you saying that poly can be unusable (death) due to time alone, regardless of hitting hours? Or are you simply saying that 2 weeks is a good guideline if you hit with poly? If the latter, then okay. The former however, I cannot say I agree with.
     
  27. fortun8son

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    What do you call a cut flower that is no longer 'fresh'?
    I'd say DEAD!
    Potpourri still smells nice, though. :)
     
  28. corbind

    corbind Professional

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    I'm enjoying this thread. Actually I enjoy any thread that has well-thought-out ideas and something to back it. I'm kicking back and soaking in all the fun here... :mrgreen:
     
  29. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

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    BigT, I hope you understand I am not attacking you or trying to sound macho or know it all. Rather, I just want to clear up what you're saying, because people have taken away from this thread the notion that after 2 weeks, poly is done regardless of how much you hit with it. Any number of players on here know that isn't the case, so I just want to make sure everything is clarified. No antagonism intended :)
     
  30. BigT

    BigT Professional

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    Dead string feel and how much playability a string has lost, is all subjective and is pointless to argue.

    It all depends on the player's tolerance level of lost playability, which happens as soon as the string is clamped.

    RF cuts out at least 8 Gut/Lux strung racquets a day, used or unused. For him, day-old string is not playable or up to his standards. For 99% of us, it would still be considered a 'fresh job'. Can we argue with him?

    When did the 'fresh strings' cease to be 'fresh'? Only after hitting with them?
     
  31. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

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    Okay, nevermind. I don't know how that has anything to do with the question at hand, but it's your thread.
     
  32. TenFanLA

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    A day old string job? That's nothing. I'm SO in tune with my strings that I can feel the poly degradation between 1st and 2nd serves. Seriously speaking I'm sure the pros (as hard as they hit) can tell the difference between fresh and a day old (unused) strings. Fed told some interviewer that it's like a baker who can easily tell the difference between a fresh and a day old bread. On the other hand you have someone like my grandma who couldn't tell the difference between a Lexus and an M5...
     
  33. mixedmedia

    mixedmedia Professional

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    To me, playability loss has two major components, that from elasticity loss and that from tension loss. I believe the former comes largely from play time, while the latter can come from a dormant racquet; however, I think both come from both type of dis/use, just more or less of elasticity and tension loss depending on which type of dis/use.

    PV, I think that it is possible for a racquet to loss elasticity (which leads to death) just sitting there, but it takes a decent amount of time longer. Do you think that a rubber band that is kept stretched out for days will be as springy as when it was first stretched?
     
  34. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

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    I just must be having a bad week on this forum. I'm not even talking about it losing playability or after an indefinite period of time it being prudent to restring. I'm not talking about that, nor did I say that. All I've ever been asking is why it takes 2 weeks regardless of playtime for poly to die? That's it. I haven't argued that tension doesn't decrease over time, or that playability doesn't decrease over time. I just haven't.
     
  35. Rozroz

    Rozroz Legend

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    i'm with you on this.

    BigT says it's a matter of subjectivity, and that Federer would throw-up using a fortnight stringjob, even unplayed.

    but still-
    whether a poly (or maybe a very cheap poly) can actually "CEASE TO EXIST" even untouched in the closet -
    is this a fact? is this pointed only at 4-5 times a week serious players?
    only to extra string-sensitive players?
    to whom?
     
  36. blip

    blip Rookie

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    Guess this is the down side of getting better. If I want to be a beast with poly, I need to restring fast otherwise its a board and I'm changing my game to win. If I use anything else they will snap and I won't have the spin access of poly.
     
  37. pvaudio

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    My good man, thank you. That is all that I have been trying to address. :)
     
  38. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    Seems like there are 2 questions I have:

    1) Does poly die without use just being in a tensioned racket? My experience says no.

    2) Does poly die after 2 weeks being used several days a week during that period? I don't have enough experience with various polys to answer but it seems the general consensus on the boards is Yes.
     
  39. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

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    This is exactly my experience. That's why I'm wondering why BigT suggested that it dies regardless of play time.
     
  40. fgs

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    mikeler,

    while i would say that i know quite several polys which if left strung in a stick for more than two weeks would not be dead by the time they first hit a ball, i can also imagine that some might be well dead by that time without ever having made contact to a ball.

    but on the other hand, having less elasticity than syn guts or multis - and that is by construction! - i can well imagine that a poly having been strung in a stick for two months could have gone dead. i don't think that with most of the more modern polys this would likely happen.

    i have never really got into such a situation with any of our sticks, but i can confirm that for instance when we are leaving for a tournament with my son and i have strung up also his third stick, this will usually be "untouched" for the next three weeks. when it's turn finally comes, the string still plays really nice but keeps up a little bit less - he usually get some 20 hitting hours on his current strings until they break (and don't go dead in this timespan), but on this "third stick string" he usually gets a few hours less, so the string basically dies before breaking. i see it during his practice usually and then instruct him to change the stick and i cut this one out!
     
  41. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

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    But see, this is the problem I have with the assertion. I play usually 2x a week for an hour. That means that, assuming I use the same racquet (and I don't since I have numerous ones), I will have four hours of play time on it after two weeks. The time argument therefore means that it will be dead even if I never used it. Put more succinctly: hitting hours have a minimal effect on the longevity of poly for rec players. Now, when you start upping the playing hours, then sure. But a set time frame just does not make sense. Now, I will say this: if I strung up some poly and let it sit for 6 weeks, would I make a reasoned assessment of its performance as though it were strung only a day prior? Of course not. It will have lost tension by then, potentially notched, etc. All I'm trying to do with my counter-argument is find the balance point of playing hours = time span for poly life. Now, if loss of playability is what's being considered death, then that's completely different and as BigT said, completely subjective. However, poly death has a pretty set definition. Some turn into boards, some turn into trampolines. Regardless, it's that turning point where it's not just a loss of playability but a complete paradigm shift in performance. That's easy to notice (assuming you're familiar with poly).
     
  42. mixedmedia

    mixedmedia Professional

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    Sorry, buddy. I knew what you were getting at and thought I'd focused on it.
     
  43. mixedmedia

    mixedmedia Professional

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    So you just have reservations about giving a set time limit on it? Maybe see my earlier rubber band analogy...although I'm not sure the analogy/example is that good.
     
  44. TenFanLA

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    Here are my guidelines for relatively "dead" poly time...

    Fed, Nadal, Djoko, other GOAT candidates: 45 mins or less of hitting, or 24 hours of standby

    Open, D1, Futures: 2-3 hours

    Over the hill, 4.5, 40yo who thinks he is a lot better than he is: 2-3 hours

    Average knowledgeable, decent player: 8-10 hours

    Starving college student: until poly breaks

    Starving high school student: until poly breaks + the 2 strings tied together breaks

    In other words, everyone has his own "dead" timeline depending on playing level and ability to pay for strings.
     
  45. mixedmedia

    mixedmedia Professional

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    I don't really quite think that's it either. I mean, yeah, the more smack the strings get, the more quickly they die. But the behavior of a string changes before it "dies" (if we're continuing to define dying as a point that is recognizable distinctly--a non-linear change).
     
  46. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

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    Don't lie, you chuckled at the "starving high school student line". :lol:
     
  47. mixedmedia

    mixedmedia Professional

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    Haha, true, I did laugh, but I'm thinking it should be switched with the college student line!
     
  48. Doubles

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    I would agree with this. I restring my rackets every three weeks. I play 5 days a week, two hours a day, and rotate three of them, so I get roughly 10 hours per racket unless I break a string early.
     
  49. BigT

    BigT Professional

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    Poly life- Some final deep thoughts

    Great illustration.

    The one fact in this issue is that since poly has become so popular amongst club players, tennis related arm injuries have sky rocketed.

    In my earlier playtesting days, I always thought that to honestly rate 'Durability', I would have to use the string until it broke. It would take me a little longer to break back then because I was using a more dense Prince Warrior(16x20) and I also crossed the poly with a synthetic.

    More often than not, when I would get to the 2-week period, whether I hit for 10 hours or two, I would occasionally experience some arm soreness which I normally would not feel.

    That is when, how and why I came up with the +-10 hour/+-2 week guideline for me and what I try to recommend to customers. It is precationary. Waiting until you feel pain is too late and not worth it.

    For players with more sensitive arms, 10 hours or 2 weeks may be too much. For less sensitive players, it could be more. But with poly, there has to be some type of guideline.

    I have since switched to a stiffer racquet and gone to full poly with no issues.
    Are there times where I maybe could be able to squeeze out another hitting session or two from the poly? Possibly, but to me it's not worth the risk.

    In addition, six weeks ago, I strung up a fresh full poly job for a match. It was playing great, and at 5-4 first set, (around 35 minutes) we had to stop. I didn't use that racquet since, and for some reason, I didn't cut it out. Yesterday, in the midst of this whole discussion, I decided to hit with it for 5 minutes.

    It was nowhere near the peformance of 6 weeks ago, and had all the symptoms of string that's on it's last legs: no power, extra stiff feel, much more vibration, much like poly that I had used for 10 hours.
     
  50. BigT

    BigT Professional

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    Sorry for the delayed response...

    Yes, getting better and more into tennis has a price. Getting a stringer makes things much easier. If that's not possible, perhaps try a thicker synthetic/multi/gut and cross it with a poly. The poly will still provide good control and less string movement.
     

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