Low, low tensions. 30lbs feels great. 20lbs pretty good, too

Discussion in 'Strings' started by TW Staff, Mar 25, 2010.

  1. Dso

    Dso Semi-Pro

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    I think there are many variables. Racquet, pattern, swing speed, etc. I'm guessing most of us don't play like Jack Sock. For me it comes down to experimentation and what works for ME. I was dying to try lower tensions but all my peers were in the mid 50s in various configurations. I went for it and found something I love now. My partner never tried a racquet strung below 50 and was shocked at how it felt. Sometimes you gotta just give things a try. Some of this is so individual.
     
  2. Aretium

    Aretium Hall of Fame

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    The problem I had was the handsy shots and the shots where you didn't have time to prepare. So if I had time, no problem. BUT, every now and then a shot would sail no matter what I tried. No way could I have that play on my mind when playing a big point.
     
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  3. Dso

    Dso Semi-Pro

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    I haven't had a control issue. At least not one that I could attribute to the strings.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2017
  4. Bender

    Bender Legend

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    I play better than Jack Sock.

    In my dreams, but that's just a minor detail, no? :D

    Anyway, back OT, low tensions are mandatory for smaller frames. I know people who string in their 50s even on 90 sq in racquets but I find those racquets perform best when strung in the low to mid 40s when going full poly. It helps preserve the feel of the box beam whilst retaining the benefits of having full poly.

    The only downside I can think of is that it trampolines a bit so touch shots can be a bit tougher, but I can't imagine that the trampolining is higher than natural gut, and people recommend that those should be strung in the mid to high 40s!

    I have yet to try stringing in the 30s, partly because strings are costly and dropping 10 lbs seems like a bit of a risk. I did try Pro Line II at 42 lbs once though, and that played beautifully for about ten hours before I stopped being able to control the ball with it. But I'm not sure if the awesome performance was because PL2 is just a fantastic string (which it is), or because of the tension (it might), or because I was playing well (which I had been for a few weeks straight, regardless of tension).
     
  5. mikeler

    mikeler Moderator

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  6. MarTennis

    MarTennis Semi-Pro

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    I think the under discussed topic is that a fresh string job at elt for competition is probably a good thing, but you would have to restring for the next match. Assuming you like to compete at ELT.

    Sent from my Z955A using Tapatalk
     
  7. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Just gotta get used to the longer contact point/dwell time, and it's all fine on every shot.
    Learning to hit every shot with SPIN helps a lot, no flat blocking shots.
    And of course, aim somewhere below 3' above the net for your hard shots.
     
  8. mikeler

    mikeler Moderator

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    My initial impressions are that I liked it and adjusted right away to it. My slice serve was more wicked with ELT but the kicker was about the same. I was getting more spin on groundies. I didn't get to hit too many volleys tonight, more on that later. Drop shots were not quite as good. Where I really llked it was on my forehand. I just felt like I wasn't going to miss many off that side although I made a few more backhand unforced errors than normal. Getting pulled out wide to the forehand, I felt like the strings had enough pop that I could still do some damage even in a bad situation. The comfort was not as good as I expected but maybe that has to do some with my frame. Even with a worm style dampener it seemed to have more vibration.
     
  9. grip

    grip Rookie

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    And you're using a very open string pattern so it's interesting that you're still able to control your shots at such low tension.
     
  10. Shroud

    Shroud G.O.A.T.

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    Try going up a coupke of lbs. that can help the vibration. Or even going down can help. Each racquet has a tension where the vibes are near the resonance frequency of the frame
     
  11. shamaho

    shamaho Semi-Pro

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    Has anyone come up with the limitation on some drop weight stringing machines where cannot really go below 38lbs sure to the ratchet mechanism?

    If so has anyone come up with creative solution for those machines?

    Excuse my brevity, sent from mobile on puny keyboard and rocking public transport
     
  12. Koby1

    Koby1 New User

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    Are low tension polys a good Idea for beginner players?
     
  13. mikeler

    mikeler Moderator

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    For a beginner, focus on learning proper technique. I started really focusing on strings in my mid to late 30s. At that point, I was looking for any advantage I could get as middle age starts to slowly sneak in.
     
  14. Matthew Lee

    Matthew Lee Semi-Pro

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    Lowest I've ever gone was with the Prince Problend Kevlar and Syn. Gut.
    38 pounds Kevlar mains and 42 pounds Syn. Gut crosses.
    Died after an hour.
     
  15. shamaho

    shamaho Semi-Pro

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    Can't think of a reason NOT to try low tensions...
    But I can see reasons NOT to use medium to high tensions for beginners...

    imho mid to high tensions are for persons with big power and high speed swings needing control... beginners usually employ low speed to mid speed swings, so low tension not only will be comfortable, it will also prevent beginners to "muscle" the ball - thus I would think it could prove helpful to develop proper technique.
     
  16. String Theory

    String Theory New User

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    Dunlop Black Widow 16g at 45lbs in a 98sq inch racquet works for me. It's a trade-off between control and comfort.
     
  17. GN-001

    GN-001 Rookie

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    has anyone tried ELT in a 16x16 string pattern? Thinking about trying it in my speed MPA. I am thinking perhaps luxilon 4G at 40lb in the 16x16 will be the equivalent of low 30s in 16x19.
     
  18. MasturB

    MasturB Legend

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    Also depends on the type of stringing machine. I own a Babs Star 4 and usually the rule of thumb is an electric strings 4-5 lbs tighter than a manual crank/drop. With poly especially the difference is noticeable. At the club I worked at we had a manual, so if someone wanted poly at 52, I would probably string the same setup at 46-47lbs on my Babs Star 4. So perhaps Sock is stringing at 32 but on the electric it's actually 37-38lbs.

    Before I bought my stringer, my local tennis shop would string mine at 55-56 on a crank. Now I normally string 50-51lbs on my Babs Star 4. When I initially strung the same setup at 55-56 on the electric the ball was flying. Stringbed stiff like a ping pong paddle. No grip on the ball.
     
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  19. Karma Tennis

    Karma Tennis Professional

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    I've tried a medium stiff slippery round 1.30mm Poly at mid 30s in a Wilson Steam 99S (16x15 pattern). Serve was good but found it very hard to control on groundstrokes. Launch angle was way too high for my liking on FH. Slice BH was about the only decent shot I could produce but even that took a lot of work.
     
  20. mikeler

    mikeler Moderator

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    I've been using Volkl Cyclone at 30# for a few months now to combat tennis elbow in a soft 16x16 frame. I still prefer the tighter feel of 60# but it does not seem to affect my results on the court much. It seems that footwork, concentration, mental toughness, fitness etc. are just more important for me.
     
  21. mnttlrg

    mnttlrg Semi-Pro

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    Honestly, for me, the purpose of going with low tension is to get access to much bigger spin and somewhat higher launch angle without having to compromise the density of the string pattern, so I wouldn't bother to play 16x16 with it.

    IMO, there is a point where the density of the string bed / size of the head gets spaced out enough that it sort of overspins, loops around, and loses its drive. You end up hitting goofy looper shots without anything on them.
     
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  22. mnttlrg

    mnttlrg Semi-Pro

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    If anyone disagrees with me, I'd love to hear about it. Has anyone successfully tried that setup before, like in a Steam 99s?

    If you end up trying it in that Speed, please bring your results back to the thread! :D
     
  23. cxw0106

    cxw0106 Rookie

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    I string all my Youtek IG Extreme Pro 2.0 with Cyclone 18 or 18L with 40 lbs main, and Forten Sweet 17 at 38 lbs cross. It feels great and I played many matches with it.

    IMO, lower tension is very helpful for generating spin during wrist snap or pronation. This happens when I do forehand windshield wiper or kick serve. My elbow feels less impact to generate the same amount of spin.
     
  24. Karma Tennis

    Karma Tennis Professional

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    The challenge here is the potential loss of directional control because wrist snap and pronation have very small margins of error. A small variation in either can cause a huge variation at the far end of the court.
     
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  25. tlm

    tlm Legend

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    Exactly why would I string poly low and then have to adjust to its super high trajectory and trampoline action. Good for you guys that can use it at low tensions I've tried it and I can play with it but not near as good as high tension. I use full poly at 65-70 lbs and I like it at high tension much much better. Now that I'm playing outside I like Kevlar mains with a poly x's it has even better control than full poly.
     
  26. dak95_00

    dak95_00 Hall of Fame

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    I tried low tension years ago with a Prince Graphite 90 with a 14x18 string pattern and didn't like the high trajectory. It did produce some crazy spin but I couldn't control it. Even though I'd played that racquet since 1988, I've been struggling with the trajectory for awhile.

    I switched racquets a couple of times and found that the Head i.Prestige MP XL with its 18x20 pattern and the Prince Mono with its 16x21 pattern both gave me much more consistent results with trajectory. Recently a 5.0 friend of mine told me he was having shoulder problems so he went to 35lbs with Isospeed Spin 17 in his Babolat Pure Strike Tour 18x20 and loved it. He felt the key to control is/was the tight string pattern such as the 18x20 so I tried it in my racquets. The Prestige is at 35 and the Mono is at 40.

    I only played the Mono and really liked it. I felt like the ball was on the racquet for a long time and I had tremendous control. I'll have to hit with the Prestige and play around with lower tensions. I believe the string pattern plays a huge role in this. As my friend suggested, string gauge will also play a role.

    It should be noted I'm not a racquet or string sensitive player.
     
  27. WYK

    WYK Professional

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    I've found for me that another factor that changes with lower tensions is I can now weight up my racket more and not rocket balls everywhere. I can also put more of that weight in the racket head. This makes a good difference in spin, control, and comfort. I play closer to even balance nowadays. I'm stringing in the 39# range with BBO crossed with 36# 15g wilson poly(revolve/spin, whatever it's called nowadays) on Wilson 97's and a pair of Babo teams weighted to a bit over 12 ounces. I tried a Babo Team at 12 ounces with babolat nylon, and the flat serves were quite good - but everything else was much more difficult to control than the poly combo.
     
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  28. joe sch

    joe sch Legend

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    Agree ... good suggestion if the tension is too low/powerful than leadup and see if you can tame the beast ;)
     
  29. Shroud

    Shroud G.O.A.T.

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    Probably a sweet spot. If you go to heavy you will need to up tension
     
  30. WYK

    WYK Professional

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    There are so many variables in play, you can't really make such a blanket statement. One of the sticks I have used was nearly 13 ounces and strung at 30# with TBH, and played fine.What experiences do you have with ELT's and low tensions?
     
  31. Shroud

    Shroud G.O.A.T.

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    Yeah i should qualify swing weight not jist weight. And by heavy I mean 380-400sw

    I typically talk from experience and not my ass :)

    Was playing as low as 15-20lbs. Sticks back then were 16oz but majorly headlight like 32 points. Pretty sure sw was around 320-330 perhaps. As I went up in sw i needed to raise tension. Now at 400sw i need high tensions or the stick is just way too powerful.

    Have you played with swing weights over 370??
     
  32. WYK

    WYK Professional

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    370 would have been considered average when I played tennis back at age 8, son.

    As for the rest of your diatribe, it makes very little sense to me.
     
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  33. rogerroger917

    rogerroger917 Semi-Pro

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    Awesome.
     
  34. Shroud

    Shroud G.O.A.T.

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    Exactly. And were they stringing those 370sw racquets at 30lbs?? Even given the denser patterns those sticks usually had rec tensions in the 50s.

    Most of the people using low tensions also have low sw too. Its why it works. Go higher in the sw and tensions rise.
     
  35. Attila_the_gorilla

    Attila_the_gorilla Hall of Fame

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    I go to local open tournaments regularly, just to watch. Most of the players are junior age, trying to become touring pros. Have had a chat with a bunch of them about equipment. The ones I spoke to pretty much all say the same thing. When they were less advanced, they used to string tight, cos they were worried about overhitting. Some said around 60-ish, some a bit less. Now at near pro level they tend to string much looser. They did not elaborate why, just one guy said for control. I assume he meant control by topspin.
    With poly and other slippery strings, stringing is a whole different beast.

    When I was more of a beginner, I was stringing multi/zyex around 60 lb. And I used very low powered rackets. This gave me freedom to swing for the fences and still not overhit.
    Eventually as I improved, my focus shifted from just being consistent to actually having weapons. So I started thinking about how to maximize my power without losing accuracy. Ended up raising the swingweight to around pro level, and also using powerful strings. Of course I knew that to be able to hit with pace, I needed topspin, so made sure my strings were not only powerful but also spin friendly. Settled around 40-45 lbs in summer.
    The rest is up to me, the applicator.
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2017 at 11:54 AM
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  36. zalive

    zalive Hall of Fame

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    Low tensions started to make sense with poly, simply it should and must work much better with less elastic strings.

    Just for the understanding, I'm not sure though which head size racquets did you use low tensions with though Shroud? Because with OS racquets such as BLX2 or Profile OS, I can imagine it's exactly as you say and nothing less than high tension will tame it when SW goes high, but what about smaller head size? Less power from the head size, less string bed stretching, I'd guess you can allow more SW than with an OS.
     
  37. FV_Br

    FV_Br Rookie

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    What would be better: Soft Racquet (RA<65) with regular tensions (50-60 lbs) or a Harsh Racquet (RA>68) with low tensions (35-45 lbs) for comfort?
     
  38. apriliano

    apriliano New User

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    None of the above
     
  39. FV_Br

    FV_Br Rookie

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    very precise answer, thank you!
     
  40. Karma Tennis

    Karma Tennis Professional

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    Many decent junior players who are properly advised start out using SG or Multi. It makes sense to string those a lot tighter. As the player develops, again if they are well advised, they will transition to Poly/SG hybrids and then perhaps to full beds of thin gauge Poly and then finally thicker gauge Poly - possibly Poly/Poly hybrids.

    As they transition to Poly they will probably reduce Ref tension. Players that look at SBS rather than Ref. Tensions will never have to focus on tensions. Focusing on optimum SBS requires the player (parent, coach, etc.) to understand the concept of SBS. In my experience, not many do which is to their detriment in the longer term.

    Also, many junior players start out using stiff racquet frames and usually stick to them throughout their development. Stiff racquet frames with stiff string configurations often don't work very well together and can be a cause of tennis related arm injuries in junior players. Most junior players I observe tend to move to lower tensions because they are forced to as a result of physical injury.

    IMO, main reasons why many players don't elaborate is because either they don't understand the important finer points of all of this, or because they don't want others to know that they have suffered physical injuries as a result of poor decisions earlier on.
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2017 at 6:39 PM
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  41. zalive

    zalive Hall of Fame

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    What is SBS?
     
  42. Imago

    Imago Hall of Fame

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    String Bed Stiffness - which actually doesn't tell much about the particular behavior of the mains and the crosses. I prefer individual string final tension.
     
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  43. Karma Tennis

    Karma Tennis Professional

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    Why?
     
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  44. Imago

    Imago Hall of Fame

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    Because of the incomputable difference in final tension between mains and crosses. SBS is different when there is gap between mains and crosses final tension given one and the same RT but different (poly) strings. With K Max Power it can be 1 kg, while with most poly it's min 3 kg ranging up to 7 and more kg when all strung at one and the same tension. And there is also a frame to be factored in. Of course, all this cannot be a big problem when you string low.
     
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  45. WYK

    WYK Professional

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    We were using gut and nylon. Which is not what this thread is about. It's about using poly at low tensions. Chris was experimenting with lower tensions and sharing his findings. Those of us whom also were experimenting were sharing ours. It's not meant to be a debate about high tensions or mid VS low. That is a fairly subjective debate at best. Your last statement is a good example. Personally, I find a higher SW and faster RHS makes better use of low tension poly set ups. I have seen your videos, Shroud(as have many others); you have a fairly slow swing speed. I would not expect you to really benefit from any sort of poly. In fact, I would suggest you go to a smaller racquet and stick with nylon or gut. If you like high tension, gut at 65# in a mid size frame might work better for you.
     
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  46. Shroud

    Shroud G.O.A.T.

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    I had to stop using gut because i shredded it. Was using vs touch/zx iirc. Liked it but it didnt last. I have many vids and its easy to take them out of context. Most of those vids are me messing around or working on something. Anyhow I dont think Inswing slow like you say. Sure compared to pros and d-1 guys but rec players my level?? Dont think so.

    Look at this vid (ignore the buggy whips as I mentioned i mess around) its not a slow swing for a 4.0. Not saying it is fast either but definately can benefit from poly.



    Its good advise for most players the setup you mention. But i like stiff racquets and they only make noodles in 95” frames. If you find a midsize with a 72+ ra let me know. Super hard to find that.
     
  47. 4-string

    4-string Professional

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    Yet another thread derailed by Shroud’s high sw/high tension musings.

    As always, backed up by video evidence that as soon as hitting or form get critized, for some reason are taken out of context.

    You are of course entitled to using high tensions and weights. I just don’t understand why you keep posting this stuff. You know very well how people react to it.
     
  48. Karma Tennis

    Karma Tennis Professional

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    I'm sorry but I don't get your point. Isn't a string bed a string bed? Main strings and Cross strings contribute certain playing characteristics to the overall characteristics of the string bed. But the string bed plays as a string bed. Afaic, the main factor that affects the "feel" of a string bed is the SBS. The composition of the strings and the Reference tensions may offer certain advantages and/or disadvantages. However, imo the "feel" as experienced by the player is a primary indicator used by the player. The "feel" gives them confidence to accept that each freshly strung racquet will play the same as the previous one. I believe the best way to provide consistent "feel" to players is to give them racquets with the same initial SBS. Once the SBS drops below the level the player can no longer tolerate, it is time to provide a freshly strung racquet.

    The main challenge with stringing very low is that the string bed is a lot less predictable. This means the player has to provide a lot more input into the stroke in order to compensate for that unpredictability. IMO, the less the player has to concern themselves with this the more "resource" they have available to them to actually play the game.
     
  49. WYK

    WYK Professional

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    There is no 'but'. You aren't special. None of us are. If you want to play a sport, and play it well, you would take advice from those with more experience. Many of us have done so and are all the better for it. If you want to learn things the hard way, that's your business. I just suggest you don't waste other's time by asking for support and advise if you are simply going to ignore it. But, then again, that's simply advice...
     

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