How to tell when poly strings go dead?

I've been using my racquet with the same poly strings for almost a year. I got it earlier this year in January, and have been using Lux ALU Power 16L strings. I played about once a week for 2 hours up until June. Then season started in August and ended at the end of September, so I was playing every day for about 2 hours during that time. I heard poly strings go dead with like 12 hours of play time. I'm a 3.5 player, so not super intense. I recently participated in a tournament (just level 8; first one), and my elbow started hurting really bad from serving. I could still grip my racquet when I hit shots, but waiting for a serve return, I couldn't really grip it. I just watched a video and the guy said that if you have elbow problems, it might be because the strings are dead. What are some ways I can tell when poly strings go dead? And is my elbow hurting because dead strings or over swinging?
 

AHJS

Professional
When you start to have to adjust them because they aren't snapping back, they're definitely dead.
 

Roland G

Hall of Fame
When you hit them with your hand or a ball and there is a dull "thud" rather than a "ping". That would indicate to me to change them out.
 

eelhc

Hall of Fame
To me... it's obvious when poly goes dead... I first start launching balls deep then it feels boardy and stiff... It doesn't go dead instantly but the onset + symptoms are quick enough so it's hard not to notice. For me this is around the 15~20Hrs depending on the string, racquet and tension. Poly strung at lower tensions (40lbs or so) seem to last MUCH longer. I prefer soft, low powered frames with Poly strung at low tensions these days.
 

n8dawg6

Legend
two things happen, 1. the strings stretch and thereby lose tension 2. the strings start to notch into each other which limits their movement. not so much with poly but with other strings theres often a coating that wears off too.

i tried being psycho about poly tension for awhile, trying to measure tension loss, replace at the right time, etc. too much of a pain in the ***. youll notice that the strings actually lose tension after the racquet is strung, even if you don't play with them. it can be significant, which is why i always find it interesting when people are talking about the precise weights they string their poly at. if you go out and play immediately after the racquet is strung, it will probably be that weight. but if several days elapse ... youre hitting with a lower tension than you think.

im rambling. point is, i quit worrying about it and let the playability of the racquet tell me if i need new strings. if the sound of the strings changes to a much lower pitch, thats a sign they need to be replaced. if the racquet becomes uncomfortable because the strings have notched and "locked" ... time to get replaced. if control is gone ... time to get replaced.
 

ChicagoJack

Hall of Fame
It's a common misconception, but string "death" isn't about loss of elasticity due to breakdown of the internal structure of the string.

It's really just a matter of two (competing) factors, tension loss and increasing abrasion. When strings get dented, scuffed up, and notched, the mains don't slide as freely. This results in shorter dwell times, and shorter dwell time creates more impact shock.

This explains why half of all tennis players express dead string as stiff, dead, lifeless, arm breaker etc.. The other half express dead string as that moment when the string has lost so much tension you start spraying to the back fence, because you are playing with a mushy uncontrollable trampoline.

As tension drops, the string bed is getting more comfortable. However, the increasing abrasion creates shorter dwell times which increases impact shock. If you eventually get the mushy trampoline, tension loss has won the battle. Door number two is the stiff arm breaker prize which means that the abrasion factor has won and is dominating the feel of the string bed.

Also worth a mention that all strings lose tension within the first few hours and days after stringing, then again after the first few good whacks. There are some recent co-polys which are exceptions to the rule,but in general, poly loses about 20%, Nylon about 10%, and Gut will lose about 5% before settling in and becoming fairly stable. A 6 pound drop for poly is fairly a moderate loss, which can be arrived at fairly quickly.

More detailed explanation here
http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/index.php?threads/does-old-but-unhit-poly-go-dead.531883/#post-9282279

How Tennis Strings "Go Dead" — Part 1
The Change in String Properties with Repeated Impacts
http://twu.tennis-warehouse.com/learning_center/deadstrings.php

How Tennis Strings "Go Dead" — Part 2
Do Strings Lose Elasticity with Repeated Impacts?
http://twu.tennis-warehouse.com/learning_center/deadstringsPart2.php
 
Last edited:

LeeD

Bionic Poster
I suspect INITIAL string tension affects the tension loss throughout it's lifetime.
Poly strung at 70 loses a lot very quickly, and continues to lose a bit throught it's lifetime.
Poly strung at 35 loses a bit very quickly, but doesn't lose a lot over it's next few weeks or months.
 
I don't really want to make a new topic for this question, so anyways. What string tension would you guys recommend? I'm not really sure what factors determine string tension. I use the Babolat Aeropro Drive and last time I restrung, I think I got it at 55 lbs.
 

Doc Hollidae

Hall of Fame
Tension is all preference. However for an APD most typically string somewhere between 50-56ish. Since it's on the powerful side you need to up the tension to maintain some control. I'm stringing my aero pure tour at 56/54 right now.
 

eelhc

Hall of Fame
I don't really want to make a new topic for this question, so anyways. What string tension would you guys recommend? I'm not really sure what factors determine string tension. I use the Babolat Aeropro Drive and last time I restrung, I think I got it at 55 lbs.
This is an impossible question to answer with the information you provided. Do you intend to go back to the same stringer/machine? If not... what type of machine was it strung on? How did the Luxilon play at 55lbs? What conditions do you play in (indoor/outdoor, hard/clay/hartru, temperature)? Given that you played all this time with this setup... You are definitely not a string breaker so you have more options.

Unfortunately your racquet doesn't leave many options when it comes to "softening" it up for more comfort. Any soft string, lower tension on that racquet may have the unintended consequence of having too much power. I know many people who have arm issues with a APD/PD + NG setup because they had to up the tension to get control. For people with a full stroke and arm issues, I am a big proponent of softer frames with strings at low tensions.

I suspect your injury is due to a combination of a dead stringbed and overuse. 2Hrs a day every day for 2 months is an insane amount of time on an old poly strings. My arm would have fallen off after a week.

If your arm is healed up (~4-6 weeks off for most people), you can go back to the same setup provided that you re-string every 20Hrs or so. If you don't want to re-string quite so often, you'll have to find a different setup. Doctors and Physical Therapists love Pure Drives and Aeropro Drives.
 

brettatk

Semi-Pro
I've been using poly for a couple of months and have loved it. I can really tell when it's time to restring because it starts feeling like a board and my arm begins to hurt. Previously I've always used PSGD and would break a string around the 6 hour mark. I've been using softer polys stringing at 60 lbs (16g) and so far haven't broken a string before I needed to restring. I'd say I'm getting more than double out of poly than I was out of SG plus a lot of other benefits. I realize 60 lbs is higher than most string with poly, I've started backing down a little and strung my last two at 57 (16g) and 55 lbs (17g). Hoping to get down to the upper 40's, lower 50's range eventually.
 

Sander001

Hall of Fame
I don't really want to make a new topic for this question, so anyways. What string tension would you guys recommend? I'm not really sure what factors determine string tension. I use the Babolat Aeropro Drive and last time I restrung, I think I got it at 55 lbs.
If you played with the same string for nearly an entire year, I'd guess you could string in the 40's and have the benefit of more comfort, spin and longevity. It may take some getting accustomed to but the long term benefit will definitely overcome the short term loss.
 

alpenglo

Rookie
It's really just a matter of two (competing) factors, tension loss and increasing abrasion. When strings get dented, scuffed up, and notched, the mains don't slide as freely. This results in shorter dwell times, and shorter dwell time creates more impact shock.
So based on your information, I just "revived" some "dead" ALU spin with silicone to let the strings slide again. Wow, what a difference that made, both to shock (boardiness disappeared) and spin! I added just a few string savers to bring the tension up a couple of pounds and they are seemingly as good as new. It seems to me that the string manufacturers could, without too much difficulty, impregnate the string material with a lubricant (isn't there a Technifibre wax-impregnated string?). I suspect they *want* our strings to die prematurely...
 

n8dawg6

Legend
two things happen, 1. the strings stretch and thereby lose tension 2. the strings start to notch into each other which limits their movement. not so much with poly but with other strings theres often a coating that wears off too.

i tried being psycho about poly tension for awhile, trying to measure tension loss, replace at the right time, etc. too much of a pain in the ***. youll notice that the strings actually lose tension after the racquet is strung, even if you don't play with them. it can be significant, which is why i always find it interesting when people are talking about the precise weights they string their poly at. if you go out and play immediately after the racquet is strung, it will probably be that weight. but if several days elapse ... youre hitting with a lower tension than you think.

im rambling. point is, i quit worrying about it and let the playability of the racquet tell me if i need new strings. if the sound of the strings changes to a much lower pitch, thats a sign they need to be replaced. if the racquet becomes uncomfortable because the strings have notched and "locked" ... time to get replaced. if control is gone ... time to get replaced.
holy cow, i was droppin truth bombs waaay back in the day
 
Top