Poly for 12 year old?

zuzu70

New User
Need advice here. My son got his first full-size racquet (Wilson UL100) last year, and the pro shop racquet specialist, who saw him hit, set him up with Wilson Revolve, I think 17 gauge (I didn't know enough tennis to state a preference). When we got the Revolve cut out, a different stringer, who knows my son, strung it with Luxilon 4G, 16L, at 57 lbs (!) . However, recently I've read several articles warning against using poly for a younger junior, and I wonder if we're putting his arm at risk unnecessarily. He's never broken a string in his life. He is good for a 12 year old and has decent topspin, but his arms are skinny-tiny, no muscle to protect those tendons. He plays against teens with more powerful forehands than his. He says he likes a "crisp" racquet feel, where the ball doesn't sit on the racquet for long, and he plays with no dampener because he likes the feedback of vibration letting him know if he hit off-center...would he lose that crisp feel if I switched him to something more arm-healthy? He has great control with his current set-up but seems to have to work hard to get power. He will probably play on our town's excellent high school team in a few years, if that makes a difference. Thanks in advance!
 

megamind

Hall of Fame
I used a poly when I was 15 and had no arm problems. Before that, I used filament.

There's a pretty big difference between 12 and 15 though, so I dont know if it'll be ok for him.

I'd err on the safe side.

I honestly don't think strings make that much of a difference at that age (there are so many different ways to improve your game).

Also, polys (or at least the more popular ones) tend to be low power, control focused, so if he wants more power, poly might not be the way to go.

I haven't used this personally yet (though I'm planning on getting some in the future), but I've heard good things about it, plus it's safer on the arm than poly

 

megamind

Hall of Fame
looks like the above mentioned string is used by this user's daughter, so might be a good fit for your son as well

Daughter plays high level juniors and has been using ZX for about 3 years now. She won't switch to anything else. These strings don't notch and they last a long time. She has only broken them once in the three years she has been playing. I change them out about every 2-3 months just to have the confidence that they WON'T break.

I used to have a drop weight stringer and it got to be impossible to string them with it as they would always break due to the angle put on the string when pulling tension. So I had to take her rackets in to a shop for stringing. Now that I have an electronic stringer it's no longer a problem.

I have been tempted to try them but they are pricey. But if looking at how long they last the cost may be negligible.
from https://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/index.php?threads/anyone-use-ashaway-monogut-zx.639346/
 

1HBHfanatic

Hall of Fame
57lbs is def. a super bad option, not only for his age (12), but also for that light racquet (9.0oz)
you can keep the poly if your son has a big enough swing and needs the DURABILITY, but 2me the tension would need to be low (in the low 40 lb range, imo),
right now he is getting all the vibration from the ball impact, thats what creates issues over time
wrist issues and arm issues

when it comes to lux.4g, i play it even lower in tensions than my other poly tensions,
example:
I play wilson.revolve@50lbs and would string lux.4g@ 44-46lbs

poly allows you to string low and still retain the control/DURABILITY
when it comes to polys, the main characteristic is DURABILITY with the added bonus of control

i would seriouly look into having him try synthetic gut strings at mid tension for that racket, 55-57lbs, 16g
if he breaks the synthetic gut in less than 3weeks, I would then and only then switch him to 17g poly at low tensions

btw. college level players in my area had me string their rackets FB (full bed), poly @52lbs (frequent tension),, but they also use much heavier rackets
 
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Traffic

Hall of Fame
When we got the Revolve cut out, a different stringer, who knows my son, strung it with Luxilon 4G, 16L, at 57 lbs (!) . However, recently I've read several articles warning against using poly for a younger junior, and I wonder if we're putting his arm at risk unnecessarily. He's never broken a string in his life.
Absolutely no reason to expose your 12y/o to the negative issues of using poly.
If you want crisp feel, natural gut strung 60+ is pretty awesome.

X1-Biphase has good feel and good access to spin.

Poly good stuff: Low powered, access to spin, won't break as quickly as sgut or multi
Poly bad stuff: Stiff. Loses its positive properties very quickly even if strings don't break

I'd protect that young arm while your son is going through a very sensitive age of growth.
 

matchpoint9

Rookie
I do my own stringing and I put multi / soft poly hybrid for my 11 year old son. Specifically, they were Wilson Sensation and RS Lyon. Tension was about 52/48, I think. He likes it but he's getting physically stronger and so he needs to brush the ball more to keep the ball in. Next time I might reverse it and do poly / multi, or up the multi tension to lower the power level a bit. He plays with Pure Drive Lightweight.
 

aaron_h27

Professional
Omg, Luxilon 4G at 57 lbs would play stiff as a board in my racket at 12.5 oz it would be an absolute nightmare in a light frame like that. He will actually lose power if you switch him to poly at that tension, not to mention harsh on his arm. If he's never broken a string he should just use a multi or gut at mid tension. I always recommend gut or gut/poly because those have better playability and are more cost effective unless you have a stringer. The spin difference isn't very noticeable to me, I feel like string pattern, swingweight, balance have more effect on spin than just strings. I bet if Federer played with a full set of gut he'd still be hitting more RPM's than most college players with full poly due to his technique and frame.

String him up Vs touch at 55 lbs and never look back :)

Also as he gets 13 or 14 years old and a bit stronger, move him up to a higher swingweight. 286 isn't going to cut it against strong boys as he gets better. IMO
 

Pneumated1

Hall of Fame
I string my 13-year-old's Microgel Radicals with Klip Gut/Volkl V-Star at 55/52 in the summer but will drop that this winter. And the only reason I let him hit V-Star is because it's softer than many syn guts. He's tall and skinny and rips a 1hbh. We experimented with many strings to find a set up that is optimally plush yet controlled. This is it. Great frame and great string combo.
 

RobS

Rookie
4g at 57lbs in a UL racquet for a 12 year old is probably the worst possible combination available for arm stress and power. I wouldn't consider poly until he starts breaking strings, matures more physically and moves into a heavier frame. At that point I would look at a poly hybrid or a soft poly until he starts blowing through strings every few sessions. 4g is one of the stiffest, lowest powered strings on the market and UL frames don't offer a lot of power to begin with given their relative lack of mass. If your son likes a crisp feel and some feedback, I'd simply get him stringing with synthetic gut. That will be a more playable, easier on his arm and easy on your wallet.
 

zuzu70

New User
I should add that I slightly goofed on his racquet type. It's actually a Wilson Ultra 100L, Strung Weight: 10.3 oz. / 292 grams, Unstrung Weight: 9.8 oz. / 277 grams Swingweight: 305. It's very confusing for there to be so many racquets with such similar names. Anyhow, I assume the advice to get rid of the poly strings is still applicable, unless I hear otherwise.

Thank you all for sharing your expertise. Tennis community is so nice. If anyone else wants to chime in, I'm all ears.
 

Kevo

Legend
In general, poly is for strong players that break strings a lot and need control and durability. No way I would recommend it for a younger player. What's especially telling is that you said he seems to be working hard for power. That is a bad sign.

There are lots of good multis and syn guts out there. If he likes something crisp, then syn gut with duraflex from prince or a similar string would be a good place to start. 57lbs wouldn't necessarily be a bad tension for that type of string, but I'd probably start right at mid tension for the frame whatever that is and adjust from there.

There are some polys that might be ok as there is a wide variety of softer polys out there, but I wouldn't go there without a good reason. I've seen lots of kids move from syn gut or multi to poly in there teens, but these kids are hitting hard and popping strings regularly. At least at that point you figure they have some strength in the arm and joints. I still recommend going with a soft poly at that point. Definitely not Luxilon.

BTW, you can go to twu.tennis-warehouse.com to look up the measured stiffness of various strings so you can see the difference. It's not a perfect measure, but it does give you an idea of the forces involved in hitting with different strings. Lux 4G is 287lbs/in and Prince syn gut duraflex is 178lbs/in. (measurements made at 51lbs tension)
 
I wouldn't use ANY poly for a non string breaking 12 year old. He has nothing to gain from it. He can hit spin with a synthetic gut or a multi as many player did before poly was used. I wouldn't recommend poly for your son (as you describe him) with any racket.
 

bxr

New User
Lux is a bit too stiff for a 12 yo, a couple weeks may be fine, but more than a month, he will feel the impact in the arm or shoulder. (softest Lux would be Element, even that can be stiff if you string it too tight)
Yonex PTP 1.20 mm is another option if he likes the "crisp" feel, again, I wouldn't string poly more than 50 lbs for a 12 yo junior.
Look for arm friendly soft polys, thin (1.15mm-1.20mm), and string it at low tension (45-50 lbs).
With light racquet, it can sometimes be tough to return heavy shots.
Almost every tournament player (11 yo+) uses poly these days, doesn't matter what you tell them, they want that extra "spin" to make them feel empowered...
 

Louis33

Rookie
4g at 57 pounds is way too high of tension for your son. That’s just asking for injury if he continues to play with this setup.

Poly gets a bad reputation for causing injury around here, but I don’t believe this to be true because it actually helped heal my tennis elbow. The key to poly is stringing low. I played with synthetic gut for years stringing a higher and higher tension as I improved and hit harder. I would string around 65 pounds and the strings were stiff off center hits jarring and I developed tennis elbow. I did my own research and bought a few different polys stringing them at 52 pounds and the difference was night and day. Strings were soft and I was able to control my shots with spin. Elbow healed and haven’t had injury since.

4g or any other poly will work well for your son, but needs to be strung appropriately for him. I would recommend starting out in the mid to high 40s and adjusting from there. A good resource is the tennis warehouse string comparison guide to view the string stiffness. The higher the stiffness the lower it needs to be strung. There’s nothing evil about polyester strings they just need to be strung appropriately to prevent injury.
 

Traffic

Hall of Fame
I string my 16y/o son's Pure Strike 98 with Legend/Proline2 @ 57/53 with 60s pre-stretch on the gut. He played with HyperG 18g @ 48# for the past year. (strings cut out every 12hrs)
I string my 12y/o daughter's AeroProLite 100 with Alphagut 2000 @ 54. String 3x a year.
 

SavvyStringer

Professional
Need advice here. My son got his first full-size racquet (Wilson UL100) last year, and the pro shop racquet specialist, who saw him hit, set him up with Wilson Revolve, I think 17 gauge (I didn't know enough tennis to state a preference). When we got the Revolve cut out, a different stringer, who knows my son, strung it with Luxilon 4G, 16L, at 57 lbs (!) . However, recently I've read several articles warning against using poly for a younger junior, and I wonder if we're putting his arm at risk unnecessarily. He's never broken a string in his life. He is good for a 12 year old and has decent topspin, but his arms are skinny-tiny, no muscle to protect those tendons. He plays against teens with more powerful forehands than his. He says he likes a "crisp" racquet feel, where the ball doesn't sit on the racquet for long, and he plays with no dampener because he likes the feedback of vibration letting him know if he hit off-center...would he lose that crisp feel if I switched him to something more arm-healthy? He has great control with his current set-up but seems to have to work hard to get power. He will probably play on our town's excellent high school team in a few years, if that makes a difference. Thanks in advance!
Seems really tight for such a flimsy racket with a poly. I have a friend who's son is also 2 and won a level 2 a while back who I string gut mains with syngut crosses. He typically has about 8-10 rackets done a year and the kid plays 5 days a week easily. He's playing the Vcore 98 SV+ at 52/50. If your kid has not had any soreness or problems, continue on. If you feel that he lacks power consider softer strings. Even a 15L or 16g gut is going to play softer than many 17g poly while still giving you similar durability. Personally once my boys are of age to be playing they will play a syngut or multi until I feel that they generate enough racket speed to sufficiently benefit from poly. If cost is a major consideration, think about getting a machine of your own and at least cut that cost out over the next few years. He can't play if he can't stay healthy.
 

Paul Y

Rookie
My son is 11 and doesn't use full poly. He's currently using a poly/multi hybrid. I highly suggest you have your son string the tension lower in the mid 40s to start if he really like poly.

More questions I would ask though is does he break synthetic gut if so how long does it take? Same question goes for multifiliment.

I understand the community that is against poly strictly because most don't know when to cut it out and that is the issue which leads to tennis elbow.

Keep in mind poly will last you between 12 to 16 hours. That's being generous, my son would normally break his multi in about 6 so I string often.

If you got questions feel free to message me.
 

Kevo

Legend
I understand the community that is against poly strictly because most don't know when to cut it out and that is the issue which leads to tennis elbow.
Where do you get that from? Many polys are substantially stiffer than other strings right off the stringer. I don't think it would matter at all if you strung Luxilon fresh every time you hit the courts. That string at the tensions many people string it is just too stiff for a lot of people. Beyond that, if you have a player who has to cut the poly out then I would encourage that player to look for a different poly or get away from poly entirely. I wouldn't use a string that isn't playable until it breaks. That's one of the two main reasons I wouldn't use Lux Big Banger. The other is how expensive it is.
 

zuzu70

New User
My son is 11 and doesn't use full poly. He's currently using a poly/multi hybrid. I highly suggest you have your son string the tension lower in the mid 40s to start if he really like poly.

More questions I would ask though is does he break synthetic gut if so how long does it take? Same question goes for multifiliment.

I understand the community that is against poly strictly because most don't know when to cut it out and that is the issue which leads to tennis elbow.

Keep in mind poly will last you between 12 to 16 hours. That's being generous, my son would normally break his multi in about 6 so I string often.

If you got questions feel free to message me.
I don't know how long it would take him to break synthetic gut or multifiliment, because he went from his 26" racquet (and whatever syngut it came prestrung with) directly to his fullsize which the guy strung with fullbed poly (Revolve) because I didn't know any better. He did not become a hard hitter until after he got the fullsize racquet, which has only held poly, so I don't really know. So I guess now we string with a non-poly and just see how long it takes. (Reminds me of "How many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie pop? One, two, three, crunch!")
 

Traffic

Hall of Fame
I don't know how long it would take him to break synthetic gut or multifiliment, because he went from his 26" racquet (and whatever syngut it came prestrung with) directly to his fullsize which the guy strung with fullbed poly (Revolve) because I didn't know any better. He did not become a hard hitter until after he got the fullsize racquet, which has only held poly, so I don't really know. So I guess now we string with a non-poly and just see how long it takes. (Reminds me of "How many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie pop? One, two, three, crunch!")
If your jr is playing consistently through the week, it shouldn't take too long to determine how long a multi or sgut will last.

When our club strung my son's racquet with Wilson NXT, it lasted a week and a half.
 

deaner2211

Semi-Pro
Need advice here. My son got his first full-size racquet (Wilson UL100) last year, and the pro shop racquet specialist, who saw him hit, set him up with Wilson Revolve, I think 17 gauge (I didn't know enough tennis to state a preference). When we got the Revolve cut out, a different stringer, who knows my son, strung it with Luxilon 4G, 16L, at 57 lbs (!) . However, recently I've read several articles warning against using poly for a younger junior, and I wonder if we're putting his arm at risk unnecessarily. He's never broken a string in his life. He is good for a 12 year old and has decent topspin, but his arms are skinny-tiny, no muscle to protect those tendons. He plays against teens with more powerful forehands than his. He says he likes a "crisp" racquet feel, where the ball doesn't sit on the racquet for long, and he plays with no dampener because he likes the feedback of vibration letting him know if he hit off-center...would he lose that crisp feel if I switched him to something more arm-healthy? He has great control with his current set-up but seems to have to work hard to get power. He will probably play on our town's excellent high school team in a few years, if that makes a difference. Thanks in advance!
Stop listening to these people saying a soft poly should be good for him. Even the best players in the game do not use a full bed of poly (except Nadal). If he is 12 and is not breaking strings, and working hard to get power, then get him away from polys immediately. Wilson Sensation is a very good string at a good price point. If he likes a crisp feel then string it around 60 pounds. This soft string will save his arm. When he becomes 15 or 16 and hits the ball harder or starts breaking the Sensation in less than 10 hours then switch to a soft poly like Revolve.
 

Tonyl

New User
Natural gut (main)/poly (cross) is also a better choice than full poly if your son breaks multi or synthetic gut quickly in the future. Better safe than sorry.
 

fuzz nation

G.O.A.T.
Agree with the recommendations for considering synthetic gut. This string can be "crisp" at a relatively snug tension (58-60 lbs. in the Ultra 100L), but it's also moderately soft - just not quite so much as multifiber. I use syn. gut (SG) in my own frames all the time. I actually love the feel of 17 ga. SG, but I'll switch to 16 ga. when it gets hot in the summer. The heavier gauge doesn't turn so flimsy when the temps run to the high 80's or low 90's.

I've also made more than one or two local players very happy after switching them into SG from poly that wasn't doing them any favors. I've been coaching local high school teams for several years and many of these kids get into polys because they either seem to be popular or they just let a stringer decide for them.

Depending on the specific SG you choose, a full reel of this string can go for maybe $50 or so - it's affordable stuff. You can pay a stringer just for installation and even re-string before it snaps if your young slugger likes it on the fresher side. As a 12-year-old with a rather light racquet, he's not getting any help from that rig at all in the power department by stringing with a full bed of 4G at high tension (yes, 57 lbs. with a full bed of that poly is quite high).

The poly hybrid that I've had the most success with has been a light gauge poly main - usually 1.20mm - combined with a 16 ga. syn. gut cross. This hybrid seems to "go dead" much less drastically than a full bed of poly might, it brings a degree of poly performance that some stronger players may want, and it's not as harsh or "clunky" as a layout with a heavier gauge poly, especially if that poly is a full bed. This "skinny poly hybrid" has worked quite well for several stronger high school players I've known and also for a couple of local adults who play a strong enough game that they can actually benefit from a poly.
 
In one of my local clubs they don't seem to pay a a lot of attention, if any, to what kind of string they recommend to people, not to mention to players of different ages. People who don't know much, if anything, about different string types usually just get what the cashier, or the stringer, says is a good and popular string. The only question they get is "How many kilos?". Sometimes the choice is made merely based on color. And of course most of the strings available are polys, even though they do have other types as well. I've seen so many kids and youngsters there with full beds of poly.

The guy who strung a racket for me last week had no idea polys can sometimes be bad for you arm, since he had never had any issues with them. Sometimes I get the feeling that the cashiers, and even the stringers, consider me as a somewhat challenging and overenthusiastic customer who asks too many questions and actually wants to see what strings they have in store before deciding and giving them the number of desired kilos. :)
 

Pitti

Rookie
I don’t know much about polys. Just that they kill my arm. But I suggest that a multifilament with monofilament core can be a good option. It gives more control and crisp feeling than a normal multi, more power than a poly and it’s not as rough in the arm.

I’m currently using Tecnifibre XR3, which is way more arm friendly than any poly and crisper than most multis.

I personally wouldn’t take the risk, and would definitely avoid polys with a 12 year old. Maybe poly doesn’t hurt him. But maybe it does. And it’s a huge risk knowing he’s still growing up.
 
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NDStrings

New User
I would suggest a full bed of synthetic gut at 55 lbs. You can always increase the tension from there. That's a very light racquet and it is also pretty stiff. When he can break synthetic gut you can start to look at a hybrid set-up to either ease him back into poly or find the perfect set-up. He doesn't have the swing speeds yet needed for a full bed of poly to snap back.
 
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