How are you guys able to spend so much money on natural gut?

Surely it made a difference, you can't sit here and say ALU Power plays the same after 20 hours. You can adjust to anything really. Hell I could play with natural gut strung at 30 lbs but why would I is the question?
It felt different but it didn't affect my match results.
 

IowaGuy

Hall of Fame
That is what we see at the collegiate and challenger circuit as well. Have seen women in the top 120 do the same thing. Play til it breaks.
I have been stringing three frames a month at $4 a frame. Cost is low and racquets play well the whole time.
Well, as they say here on TTW, YMMV :)
 

aaron_h27

Semi-Pro
That is what we see at the collegiate and challenger circuit as well. Have seen women in the top 120 do the same thing. Play til it breaks.
I have been stringing three frames a month at $4 a frame. Cost is low and racquets play well the whole time.
Obviously a player should re-string however frequently their budget allows, but i dont believe that a professional would use poly for weeks without cutting it out. They probably break strings once or twice a session which is about the time they go dead anyway.
 

aaron_h27

Semi-Pro
Yeah I'd start a match with old strings, break them, switch to a freshly strung racket, remind myself to aim higher, and continue playing at the same level.
Just b/c u like playing with dead poly doesn't mean everyone else should.

If you can't afford to re-string then you have no choice but to adjust your strokes like you said
 

Dartagnan64

Legend
Obviously a player should re-string however frequently their budget allows, but i dont believe that a professional would use poly for weeks without cutting it out. They probably break strings once or twice a session which is about the time they go dead anyway.
What a professional does should have absolutely no bearing on what a rec player should do. Pros hit harder, play for higher stakes and have sponsors. All that influences their choices and is completely different than the rec experience. It's far better to look at what college players do before sponsors and high stakes and pro level power levels become an influence.

I totally agree that racket and string concerns are far overblown on these forums. But you find obsessive types in every hobby who feel unless they are doing something like a pro they are robbing themselves of some magic benefit. When in reality, saving cash for lessons would make far more difference.

In my view all racket and string choices should come down to 2 decisions:
1) is the set up healthy for my arm so that I can play as much as I want
2) does the set up fit the style of game I wish to play

I've never seen a player improve his match results or NTRP by switching strings. I've seen plenty of folks wreck their arms with the wrong strings. Too many people are willing to sacrifice their health for a modest bit of extra spin that is irrelevant to winning tennis.
 

aaron_h27

Semi-Pro
What a professional does should have absolutely no bearing on what a rec player should do. Pros hit harder, play for higher stakes and have sponsors. All that influences their choices and is completely different than the rec experience. It's far better to look at what college players do before sponsors and high stakes and pro level power levels become an influence.

I totally agree that racket and string concerns are far overblown on these forums. But you find obsessive types in every hobby who feel unless they are doing something like a pro they are robbing themselves of some magic benefit. When in reality, saving cash for lessons would make far more difference.

In my view all racket and string choices should come down to 2 decisions:
1) is the set up healthy for my arm so that I can play as much as I want
2) does the set up fit the style of game I wish to play

I've never seen a player improve his match results or NTRP by switching strings. I've seen plenty of folks wreck their arms with the wrong strings. Too many people are willing to sacrifice their health for a modest bit of extra spin that is irrelevant to winning tennis.
You do realize D1 college players are basically professionals? So those string choices aren't the best either for a rec player. And when you say rec player are we talking 3.0 or are we talking 5.0? So it definitely depends on the level of the player

but I agree with you, a player should use what works for his/her game without arm issues but nothing wrong with experimentation.

i think having the right equipment for your game can give you confidence to maximize your potential. But if you're trying to use equipment to make up for lack of conditioning, technique, match play that's an issue.
 

Dartagnan64

Legend
You do realize D1 college players are basically professionals? So those string choices aren't the best either for a rec player. And when you say rec player are we talking 3.0 or are we talking 5.0? So it definitely depends on the level of the player
Which is why I just said "college players" the vast majority of which are playing tennis to get an education.

Any level rec player is not making money at the sport and therefore has no incentive to prioritize performance over health or cost. Fragile egos exist at all levels and are the prime driver for obsession.
Only important difference between a 3.0 and a 5.0 in equipment is how fast they break strings. A 3.0 with full poly will still be a 3.0. A 5.0 with full NG will still be a 5.0.


i think having the right equipment for your game can give you confidence to maximize your potential. But if you're trying to use equipment to make up for lack of conditioning, technique, match play that's an issue.
Or you can choose to believe that equipment doesn't matter and it all comes down to fitness. That will save you some experimentation and likely improve your game more. Believing too much in equipment is flawed viewpoint and its one that marketers are all too happy to exploit. "You hit that ball long because the strings and racket were too powerful!" No, you hit that ball long because you didn't get your footwork right and your unit turn in time and hit too much off the wrong foot. But racket and strings are easier to replace than footwork.

If you choose to believe you can play well with any racket and every bad game you have is entirely due to flaws in technique and conditioning, you will be well on your way to changing the right things.

Fooling with rackets and strings is fun but it shouldn't be an obsession.
 

aaron_h27

Semi-Pro
Which is why I just said "college players" the vast majority of which are playing tennis to get an education.

Any level rec player is not making money at the sport and therefore has no incentive to prioritize performance over health or cost. Fragile egos exist at all levels and are the prime driver for obsession.
Only important difference between a 3.0 and a 5.0 in equipment is how fast they break strings. A 3.0 with full poly will still be a 3.0. A 5.0 with full NG will still be a 5.0.




Or you can choose to believe that equipment doesn't matter and it all comes down to fitness. That will save you some experimentation and likely improve your game more. Believing too much in equipment is flawed viewpoint and its one that marketers are all too happy to exploit. "You hit that ball long because the strings and racket were too powerful!" No, you hit that ball long because you didn't get your footwork right and your unit turn in time and hit too much off the wrong foot. But racket and strings are easier to replace than footwork.

If you choose to believe you can play well with any racket and every bad game you have is entirely due to flaws in technique and conditioning, you will be well on your way to changing the right things.

Fooling with rackets and strings is fun but it shouldn't be an obsession.
EDIT: Not worth it.
 
Just b/c u like playing with dead poly doesn't mean everyone else should.

If you can't afford to re-string then you have no choice but to adjust your strokes like you said
I'm not unusual in this respect. Many D1 college and Futures/Challengers players would tell you the same thing.
 

aaron_h27

Semi-Pro
I'm not unusual in this respect. Many D1 college and Futures/Challengers players would tell you the same thing.
Many college players/futures players do not have the financial means to re-string frequently, nor the time so they will often opt to play with dead poly as yourself, adjusting their swing as needed. So yes many players do play with dead poly out of sheer necessity. That's a known fact.

if you think a high level player would rather play a competitive match with dead poly over fresh poly and see no dip in performance that's where we'll disagree.
 

Dartagnan64

Legend
Many college players/futures players do not have the financial means to re-string frequently, nor the time so they will often opt to play with dead poly as yourself, adjusting their swing as needed. So yes many players do play with dead poly out of sheer necessity. That's a known fact.

if you think a high level player would rather play a competitive match with dead poly over fresh poly and see no dip in performance that's where we'll disagree.
I think many a high level player doesn't care as much as some people on this forum. I know several that don't obsess like the string and rackets crew here do. Certainly many do, but its far from ubiquitous.

EDIT: Not worth it.
struck a nerve, did I. My job here is done, ;)
 

USPTARF97

Hall of Fame
Surely it made a difference, you can't sit here and say ALU Power plays the same after 20 hours. You can adjust to anything really. Hell I could play with natural gut strung at 30 lbs but why would I is the question?
Collegiate players using Alu or any other poly don’t play with the frame for 20hrs. 6-8hrs is about the max before they break the strings.
Used Alu Power for years and always played with it until it broke. Actually preferred how it played after several hours. Was magic in the 6.1 ncode 95. Used to pick up a few frames and play with the one that felt the loosest. Players using their rackets for an hour or three are people who get their strings for free and someone else is stringing them.
Watched a collegiate player from Alabama play a match in an open level tournament last year. Had a stack of Babolat frames none of which had been recently strung. Went through them and set two aside to play the match. Played at a level none of us will play.
I have, however been concerned playing with Gut/poly, how quickly the tension drops off with an already powerful set up. 3hrs later it is very different. The cost of this set up is expensive and has me going back to full poly setups that stay controllable until they break at about $4 a frame.
 
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IowaGuy

Hall of Fame
I have, however been concerned playing with Gut/poly, how quickly the tension drops off with an already powerful set up. 3hrs later it is very different. The cost of this set up is expensive and has me going back to full poly setups that stay controllable until they break at about $4 a frame.
Gut/poly - I have also noticed that the gut gets "stickier" with time as the coating wears off, and because it is less slippery, there is less snapback (which means less spin).

So, for me, gut/poly not only loses tension over time (rocket launcher!), it also loses spin over time. The combination of both of these makes it hard to control, after the ~8 hour mark.

I don't see how this wouldn't affect someone's tennis match, but YMMV...
 

aaron_h27

Semi-Pro
Collegiate players using Alu or any other poly don’t play with the frame for 20hrs. 6-8hrs is about the max before they break the strings.
Used Alu Power for years and always played with it until it broke. Actually preferred how it played after several hours. Was magic in the 6.1 ncode 95. Used to pick up a few frames and play with the one that felt the loosest. Players using their rackets for an hour or three are people who get their strings for free and someone else is stringing them.
Watched a collegiate player from Alabama play a match in an open level tournament last year. Had a stack of Babolat frames none of which had been recently strung. Went through them and set two aside to play the match. Played at a level none of us will play.
I have, however been concerned playing with Gut/poly, how quickly the tension drops off with an already powerful set up. 3hrs later it is very different. The cost of this set up is expensive and has me going back to full poly setups that stay controllable until they break at about $4 a frame.
Topspin Shot said he knows several players who use poly for WEEKS without cutting it out so thats why i said 20 hours.

What you're saying makes more sense, if you're breaking poly in 6-8h use it till it breaks as you would see very little performance drop off.

As for your example with the guy from Alabama, dead poly does not suddenly turn you into a 3.0 player, if you're a good player no string will take that away from you.

I just know for myself that when I play with a non ideal string job I miss a FEW more shots than NORMAL and that can make the difference in a close match.

Some people are just not sensitive to tension loss, dead strings depending on how they stroke the ball, how much spin they use, etc...but to sit here and say it makes NO difference for a high level player is just something i won't agree with.
 

USPTARF97

Hall of Fame
Topspin Shot said he knows several players who use poly for WEEKS without cutting it out so thats why i said 20 hours.

What you're saying makes more sense, if you're breaking poly in 6-8h use it till it breaks as you would see very little performance drop off.

As for your example with the guy from Alabama, dead poly does not suddenly turn you into a 3.0 player, if you're a good player no string will take that away from you.

I just know for myself that when I play with a non ideal string job I miss a FEW more shots than NORMAL and that can make the difference in a close match.

Some people are just not sensitive to tension loss, dead strings depending on how they stroke the ball, how much spin they use, etc...but to sit here and say it makes NO difference for a high level player is just something i won't agree with.
Do you think that could be mental with respect to noticing the tension is a bit different and then losing confidence in shot making? There is a slight difference with full poly backing off in tension but not enough to make it tough for upper level players to hit their spots which are smaller target areas. Recreational players are normally just trying to hit one half of the court.
 
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aaron_h27

Semi-Pro
Do you think that could be mental with respect to noticing the tension is a bit different and then losing confidence in shot making? There is a slight difference with full poly backing off in tension but not enough to make it tough for an upper level players to hit their spots which are smaller target areas. Recreational players are normally just trying to hit one half of the court.
I'm a 4.5-5.0 player, I played in college, taken many lessons, and no it's not mental. When my tension drops out of my preferred range I miss a few more shots than normal, due to the loss of control. ITS PHYSICS. Again this is my stroke, not yours!

Would I suddenly lose to a 3.0 player because my tension is too loose? No, but I can notice a difference.

If it was all "mental" why would anyone even bother asking for a certain tension? Just let the stringer string it at whatever tension and you adjust your stroke!

Nadal noticed immediately when his racket was strung with 16G RPM blast instead of his normal 15L. It's not mental dude. When tension changes or strings go dead you have to adjust your stroke. Otherwise go play with a 10 lb racket if you think its "all mental"

Maybe a weekend hacker might be able to play with dead strings and not notice a difference but high level players like consistency.

I'm done on this topic, honestly.
 

USPTARF97

Hall of Fame
I'm a 4.5-5.0 player, I played in college, taken many lessons, and no it's not mental. When my tension drops out of my preferred range I miss a few more shots than normal, due to the loss of control. ITS PHYSICS. Again this is my stroke, not yours!

Would I suddenly lose to a 3.0 player because my tension is too loose? No, but I can notice a difference.

If it was all "mental" why would anyone even bother asking for a certain tension? Just let the stringer string it at whatever tension and you adjust your stroke!

Nadal noticed immediately when his racket was strung with 16G RPM blast instead of his normal 15L. It's not mental dude. When tension changes or strings go dead you have to adjust your stroke. Otherwise go play with a 10 lb racket if you think its "all mental"

Maybe a weekend hacker might be able to play with dead strings and not notice a difference but high level players like consistency.

I'm done on this topic, honestly.
But once you have the frame strung at your dialed in tension, the tension loss as long as it isn’t extreme doesn’t cause more errors for most 4.5-5.0 players. I notice a bit more spin and little higher launch angle but not enough to change racquets every 1-3hrs. If I had string and stringers at my disposal then why not? Change frames every set. Would be nice.
Trained many upper level players and once they are dialed in on tension the string isn’t the issue.
Back to the topic, I can string three frames with full poly for $16 or string one for $18 with Gut/poly. Changing frames every 3hrs which one makes sense?
You and I agree more than you realize on the actual topic of this thread.
 
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aaron_h27

Semi-Pro
But once you have the frame strung at your dialed in tension, the tension loss as long as it isn’t extreme doesn’t cause more errors for most 4.5-5.0 players. I notice a bit more spin and little higher launch angle but not enough to change racquets ever hour.
If you're playing with poly for weeks the tension loss would be extreme though? You think Poly only drops a few lbs over weeks of hitting?

If you string poly at 52 lbs and it reads 38 lbs 2-3 weeks later thats a big difference and not only that the poly would have lost it's elasticity by then too.

I'm not saying you need to change rackets every hour but im also not recommending you play with poly for weeks at a time.
 

IowaGuy

Hall of Fame
But once you have the frame strung at your dialed in tension, the tension loss as long as it isn’t extreme doesn’t cause more errors for most 4.5-5.0 players. I notice a bit more spin and little higher launch angle but not enough to change racquets every 1-3hrs. If I had string and stringers at my disposal then why not? Change frames every set. Would be nice.
Trained many upper level players and once they are dialed in on tension the string isn’t the issue.
But many poly strings can have nearly 50% tension loss?!? That seems extreme to me! http://twu.tennis-warehouse.com/learning_center/comparestrings.php

Might work when a big hitter breaks the string in a couple of playing sessions before the major tension loss sets in. OTOH, for someone who plays with it for several weeks it seems like that much tension loss would significantly change the launch angle and power level of the racket...
 

USPTARF97

Hall of Fame
Depends on hours of play rather than how many weeks. If you play 2hrs a week than 3-4 weeks most will be ok. 6hrs of play a week and one week to a week and a half per frame. The poly I use is all in the 20-30% range in terms of tension loss. Hyper G, TBHB7, TBHBZ for example. 6-8hrs I am good.
It’s all fairly subjective depending on what frame you are using. When I played Lux Alu until it broke with not much control loss I was using 93”-95” control oriented frames many that were 18x20. If you had an oversized powerful frame or a 16x18 open pattern that could be a different story.
 
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Sardines

Professional
Everyone says natural gut is best, but it costs waaaay more than other strings and also breaks sooner than poly.

Im currently using a poly/poly hybrid which costs around 15-20$ plus stringing which is 10$, so total of 25-30$ and I tend to break strings fairly often and when I play my usual amount of tennis per week (currently not playing much) I string on average weekly, so thats 100-120$ per month.

If I would be stringing gut/poly, it would cost around 35$ plus stringing which is 10$ so thats 45$ total, and the gut would break much sooner since poly is more tough, so if I would be stringing 6-7 times per month that would be 270-315$ per month, just for strings!!!
Stupidity, vanity, obsessive compulsiveness comes to mind! haha I'm joking of course! Still the cost/benefits analysis is pretty basic. For me, the benefits outweigh the costs for me, and I'm very fortunate to be able to afford it. Added feel, a little extra power and less shock, as well as slightly increased twist and swing weight, are great things money can buy.
As for the tangent this thread has taken, I played D1 and my university had 2 stringers (one perm and 2 part time students) on staff and provided Alu Big Banger. At every NCAA championships, there were onsite stringers who did restrings. I'm not privy to any fees paid by the teams but I certainly never paid for restrings. And this was 20+ years ago.
 

USPTARF97

Hall of Fame
Stupidity, vanity, obsessive compulsiveness comes to mind! haha I'm joking of course! Still the cost/benefits analysis is pretty basic. For me, the benefits outweigh the costs for me, and I'm very fortunate to be able to afford it. Added feel, a little extra power and less shock, as well as slightly increased twist and swing weight, are great things money can buy.
As for the tangent this thread has taken, I played D1 and my university had 2 stringers (one perm and 2 part time students) on staff and provided Alu Big Banger. At every NCAA championships, there were onsite stringers who did restrings. I'm not privy to any fees paid by the teams but I certainly never paid for restrings. And this was 20+ years ago.
For sure, D1 teams are provided string and normally frames. D2 is the same with string. NCAA championships sets up much like a pro tournament in terms of stringing.
All I know is it takes some coin to play day in day out with Gut/poly. You guys see many collegiate players using Gut/poly?
I’m thinking I haven’t seen any. Long term Gut/poly duration is not reality for upper level players. They break it fairly quickly.
 
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Mongolmike

Hall of Fame
I don't buy any NG, I have a herd of goats that I nominated as "donors". So yeah, a little up-front cost, but at least the NG string is fresh! And the lawn gets mowed/chewed/fertilized. Kind of an environmental thing too when you think about it.

Oh, and I tried cat-gut long ago, but did you ever try herding a flock of cats? Man.... they have sharp claws and pointy teeths!
 

USPTARF97

Hall of Fame
Gut is expensive but it lasts longer and you don't need to string as often so it all evens out in the end.
I think that depends on a number of factors: level, pace generated, racquet head speed, amount of spin generated, grips, string pattern (16x18 or 18x20), type of poly cross, etc. Doesn’t last that way for everyone.
 
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Simon_the_furry

Hall of Fame
I have yet to break a set of Luxilon NG in my DR 98, it lasts me 6-8 weeks (40 hours) before the tension gets TOO loose, I'm still trying to find that perfect tension

I play at a 5.0 level with a fair amount of topspin.
How? I'm a 4.0 with heavy topspin on my forehand and I go through Alpha Gut 2000 in well under 10 hours.
What are you doing to make it last so long?
 

mad dog1

G.O.A.T.
It's extremely close to it, though. Very similar feel and similar construction, with tons of tiny fibers in a durability coating comprising the string.
Syn gut and multi is not close to premium gut IME. Premium gut just holds tension better, remains playable and lasts longer.

For the record, I’m primarily a full poly user.
 

mad dog1

G.O.A.T.
Hm. I was always under the impression multifilament was quite similar to natural gut as far as durability.
Hell no! I snap multis in 1-4 hours depending on brand in 16/19 patterns. I once broke 16g NXT within 45 mins of rallying. Gut lasts much longer than any multi Ive tried
 

USPTARF97

Hall of Fame
There is big difference in longevity between Gut/poly and full bed Natural Gut. Also a big difference in price. Full bed gut I have never been able to control.
The best thing I have found for string duration is playing with 18x20 frames. My stringing has come to a screeching halt since I started playing with 6.1’s again.
 
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ashridge

Semi-Pro
Everyone says natural gut is best, but it costs waaaay more than other strings and also breaks sooner than poly.

Im currently using a poly/poly hybrid which costs around 15-20$ plus stringing which is 10$, so total of 25-30$ and I tend to break strings fairly often and when I play my usual amount of tennis per week (currently not playing much) I string on average weekly, so thats 100-120$ per month.

If I would be stringing gut/poly, it would cost around 35$ plus stringing which is 10$ so thats 45$ total, and the gut would break much sooner since poly is more tough, so if I would be stringing 6-7 times per month that would be 270-315$ per month, just for strings!!!
1) For starters, you don't have to spend $35 just for strings on a Gut/Poly hybrid. I can do a Babolat Tonic/Poly hybrid easily for $19-$20 worth of strings, even much cheaper if I used an "economy" grade of poly. I use an intermediate grade, something that costs around $10 for a set.

2) I think you might be very surprised at just how durable a Gut/Poly hybrid is. I don't know how often you break strings, but I hit a lot of spin and I will break a set of 16 gauge synthetic gut in about 4 hours. I've got a Gut/Poly hybrid in a Prince Graphite II (14x18, very open pattern, tough on strings) and the 15L Tonic Gut mains have a little over 20 hours of play on them now. They have some noticeable fraying in the sweet spot, but don't look like they are close to breaking. Wouldn't be surprised if I get another 10 hours out of them. If you look at it that way, the Gut/Poly hybrid is actually *CHEAPER* than a set of synthetic gut that only lasts me 4 hours, especially if you figure in the cost to have your racquet re-strung with Synthetic Gut 7 times before the Gut/Poly set-up breaks even once. I string my own racquets, so I don't have to pay someone to do it, but there is a *time* cost involved also, and I'd much rather play with a set-up for 30 hours than for 4 hours and have to re-string. I've tried several different Gut/Poly hybrids, in several different racquets, and the Gut mains have been durable in every test. Now Gut mains x Gut crosses are *not* very durable if you hit much spin, and that would indeed get very expensive, but Gut/Poly is a completely different animal, at least for me, and I do hit a lot of spin.
 
For those who play Gut mains / Poly Cross, what do you do at the 10 hour mark when the Poly is dead?
Do you just cut out the Poly? Or do you just keep playing until the gut breaks at 30 hours?
 

ashridge

Semi-Pro
But pros are beasts, specially goats, hows your experience?
I get as much spin with Gut/Poly as with *some* full beds of poly, though not quite as much as with others, just depends on the poly used, and the tension. Way more spin with Gut/Poly than just a full bed of Gut or Synthetic Gut though, for sure.
 

ashridge

Semi-Pro
For those who play Gut mains / Poly Cross, what do you do at the 10 hour mark when the Poly is dead?
Do you just cut out the Poly? Or do you just keep playing until the gut breaks at 30 hours?
I cut out the poly while the racquet is mounted on the stringer and I re-string only the poly crosses. Some people say you shouldn't do that, others say no problem. Hasn't caused any problems for me, and it breathes new life into the playability of a Gut/Poly hybrid when putting in some fresh poly. I get loads of control back again.
 

ashridge

Semi-Pro
natural gut strings get notches/fray really fast and stay where the ball moved them after the last shot after 1h of play (while the slick mono-polys return to their original position), this is what i experienced using völkl cyclone in the mains with babolat tonic+ in the crosses. i have the impression that the control suffers due to that. if i could restring them every 7 to 9 games, i would use them.
In a full bed of Gut that is true, but with Gut mains and Poly crosses, that is not the case.
 

ashridge

Semi-Pro
Never tried that and I don’t think I need to take that extra care. Without any care; I can go 6 months without restringing. Trust me, my next string job is going to be VS Gut 15L and prince Tour XP 16. That will last me all summer. Gut poly has been a revelation for me and is amazing how long it stays fresh.
Prince Tour XP is my favorite poly for a Gut/Poly cross, and also happens to be my favorite poly in a full bed, when my arm can tolerate full poly. I string it up very low in a full bed (37x33) and get awesome pocketing and great spin. Pretty comfortable on my arm until the mains start notching bad at around 4 hours, then it's less comfy on my arm and the performance drops also.

By the way, have you ever tried Babolat Tonic Gut (15l), and if so, can you tell much difference between it and VS Touch 15l?
 

ashridge

Semi-Pro
So it isn't the tension that's the problem then? Because looser strings are softer. Though it's possible poly loses elasticity and gets harder on the arm, I don't know.
I think people who have played much with full poly absolutely would say it loses elasticity, and older people like myself (42) can certify that it definitely does get harder on the arm after it wears out and loses elasticity. I love the performance I get from a full bed of Prince Tour XP, the pocketing, spin and control are amazing at low tension, but the mains start notching heavily after about 4 hours, they stop snapping back straight after every shot, and I start feeling it in my arm a lot more at that point. Performance also drops at that point, control, spin, and pocketing feel all drop after the mains start notching noticeably, at least for me.
 

Simon_the_furry

Hall of Fame
I think people who have played much with full poly absolutely would say it loses elasticity, and older people like myself (42) can certify that it definitely does get harder on the arm after it wears out and loses elasticity. I love the performance I get from a full bed of Prince Tour XP, the pocketing, spin and control are amazing at low tension, but the mains start notching heavily after about 4 hours, they stop snapping back straight after every shot, and I start feeling it in my arm a lot more at that point. Performance also drops at that point, control, spin, and pocketing feel all drop after the mains start notching noticeably, at least for me.
It depends on the poly too. Some get hard and boardy (Wilson Revolve), others just turn to mush (Isospeed Cream).
 

ashridge

Semi-Pro
Which is why I just said "college players" the vast majority of which are playing tennis to get an education.

Any level rec player is not making money at the sport and therefore has no incentive to prioritize performance over health or cost. Fragile egos exist at all levels and are the prime driver for obsession.
Only important difference between a 3.0 and a 5.0 in equipment is how fast they break strings. A 3.0 with full poly will still be a 3.0. A 5.0 with full NG will still be a 5.0.

Or you can choose to believe that equipment doesn't matter and it all comes down to fitness. That will save you some experimentation and likely improve your game more. Believing too much in equipment is flawed viewpoint and its one that marketers are all too happy to exploit. "You hit that ball long because the strings and racket were too powerful!" No, you hit that ball long because you didn't get your footwork right and your unit turn in time and hit too much off the wrong foot. But racket and strings are easier to replace than footwork.

If you choose to believe you can play well with any racket and every bad game you have is entirely due to flaws in technique and conditioning, you will be well on your way to changing the right things.

Fooling with rackets and strings is fun but it shouldn't be an obsession.
As someone who has done a *ton* of experimenting with different strings (because of a sensitive elbow) to find a good mix of comfort and performance, I can say unequivocally that equipment is a huge factor in performance, especially at higher levels of even rec play. Is a bed of full poly going to turn a 3.0 player into a 5.0 player? No. But for me, a 5.0 player who hits a lot of spin in my game, playing with a full bed of poly vs. a full bed of multi or syngut can make a noticeable difference in my winners to unforced errors ratio. Tennis is a game of inches, and when a swing that sends a ball from a bed of syngut a foot long, brings the same ball down just inside the baseline from a full bed of poly, it is a big deal over the course of a match, or a league season. Your average rec player (even 5.0) doesn't hit 3,000 rpm on their strokes, though (even on their highest spin shots), and for them, the difference between a full bed of poly and a full bed of multi or syngut just isn't going to be as noticeable. I usually have a mix of stringjobs in my bag during a match. Recently I have been playing around with some Gut, Multi and Syngut set-ups (for benefit of my elbow), and I'll play the first set with one of those set-ups and just can't generate the kind of spin I need for my game and I'll be missing a lot of balls long. In the second set, I'll pick up one of my racquets with a full bed of poly in it and instantly notice a huge improvement in control, and spin, and the difficulty my opponent has dealing with my ball. It's not a placebo effect, believe me. I'm not saying pros aren't superstitious, a lot of them are (watching Nadal cycle through his OCD drives me crazy), but there is a performance difference between different types of equipment, and there can be a noticeable difference between the same equipment fresh off the stringer vs. when it's been played with for a few hours (or 7 games as with Federer).

I recently played a full match with a full bed of Prince Premier Control and compared my Playsight stats from that match against the match I played next week with the same racquet but a full bed of Prince Tour XP poly. On average, I was generating about 500-700 more rpm with the Tour XP than with the PPC. That is not an insignificant amount of spin, and has a big effect on performance at this level.

I can't play with full poly all the time, though, even at low tensions, so I'm still experimenting. Even Gut/Poly gives me a little soreness in my elbow sometimes. I'm currently in the early stages of trying out a Babolat Tonic/Tecnifibre Multifeel hybrid, because I was really impressed with how the mains snapped back every time on a full bed of MF, but a full bed wasn't durable for me. So far I've only got an hour on the Gut/MF hybrid, but the Gut mains are staying straight, I'm getting noticeably more spin than with a full bed of multi or syngut, it's pretty comfortable, and so far the MF crosses are showing more wear than the Gut mains. We'll see how long it lasts. It's not as much spin as Gut/Poly hybrid, but it's not *far* less.
 

aaron_h27

Semi-Pro
I have had no issues with gut mains not snapping back in a full bed, although i string at a high tension. i rarely if ever have to adjust my strings. i put coconut oil on them when they get dry and thats about it. no string savers
 

ashridge

Semi-Pro
I have had no issues with gut mains not snapping back in a full bed, although i string at a high tension. i rarely if ever have to adjust my strings. i put coconut oil on them when they get dry and thats about it. no string savers
What brand and gauge of gut do you use, how often do you re-apply the coconut oil, and does that do anything to the balls? We have coconut oil for cooking purposes in our home, that is some thick and goopy stuff.
 

aaron_h27

Semi-Pro
What brand and gauge of gut do you use, how often do you re-apply the coconut oil, and does that do anything to the balls? We have coconut oil for cooking purposes in our home, that is some thick and goopy stuff.
I use Luxilon NG 1.30 gauge, I string 62-65 lbs depending on how im feeling. I apply the coconut oil when it feels dry maybe every 2 hitting sessions. Not a heavy amount so it doesn't effect the balls
 

ashridge

Semi-Pro
I use Luxilon NG 1.30 gauge, I string 62-65 lbs depending on how im feeling. I apply the coconut oil when it feels dry maybe every 2 hitting sessions. Not a heavy amount so it doesn't effect the balls
Do you just put some oil on a napkin and rub it on the sweet spot, or do you apply it a different way? Do you think it increases the life/durability of a full bed of gut, or just helps with spin production because it keeps the mains snapping back straight?
 

aaron_h27

Semi-Pro
Do you just put some oil on a napkin and rub it on the sweet spot, or do you apply it a different way? Do you think it increases the life/durability of a full bed of gut, or just helps with spin production because it keeps the mains snapping back straight?
I just put a little on my hands and rub it over. Not sure if it helps durability but i think would help with friction a bit
 
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