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How often do you restring your racquet?

Many recreational players wait until they break a string and for many that’s too long. For best performance, the rule of thumb is, restring as often per year as you play per week, but at least three times a year.

Racquet strings lose tension over time and you will not get the same performance out of your racquet after hitting with it for three months as you did when you first had it strung.

What strings to choose?

Racquet customizers, take stringing to new levels, blending types of strings and tensions in hybrid fashion. They will interview you, and even watch you hit to determine what type of string and stringing would be best for your game.

Not an option for you? Try doing your own personal game assessment. There is a string out there for everyone, each designed for specific needs. Educate yourself and try something new. You will likely see improvement in the feel and nature of your shot-making.

Tension and Gauge: Go with the recommended tension for your brand of racquet for best stick performance. You can make some fine adjustments here but recommended is just that. There are many variables in racquet string, among them gauge (19 being the thinnest and 15 the thickest), and fabrication (synthetic blend to gut) and within those categories a myriad of choices.

Here are some recommendations; most are 15 or 16 gauge.

String breaker? If you break strings frequently you may want to try a thicker, synthetic string. Try Prince Pro Blend or Hybrid Power EXP; Luxilon Big Banger Original 130; Wilson Ultimate Duo; Babolat Pro Hurricane; or Gamma Zo Magic 16.

Looking for more spin? The thinner the better for bite on the ball; 16 gauge is best. Try Prince Hybrid Spin EXP or Topsin Plus; Luxilon ALU Power Spin 127; Wilson Super Spin 16; Babolat Pro Hurricane Tour; or Gamma Zo Twist 16. Keep in mind that if you break strings easily these might not be the best choice for you.

Tendency to tennis-elbow? Go with gut which has a natural resiliency that puts less strain on your arm and elbow. Try Prince Natural Gut or Babolat VS Natural Gut. Gut is pricey however so if your budget is restricted, try Gamma Rx 16 with Zoricon gel that absorbs vibration; Babolat Xcel or Babolat Addiction; Prince Premier LT; Luxilon Super Sense 125; or Wilson NXT Tour 16.

Want some help with power? Try Gamma TNT2 Tour 16; Babolat Pro Hurricane Tour; Wilson Hollow Core; Prince Poly EXP; or Luxilon ALU Power 125.

Looking for more control? According to Susan DiBiase at Babolat, control is most often dictated by the tension at which your racquet is strung. Thicker gauges however (15 for example) offer more control as there is more string surface in contact with the ball. They recommend their Babolat VS Touch 15L or Xcel 16. Try also Luxilon ALU Power Flouro 123; Gamma Zo Tour 16; Prince Recoil; or Wilson NXT OS (this string is pre-stretched so it holds tension well).

Older player with slice and placement game? For the player who’s game is not all about power try Luxilon Ace 112 (very thin); or Wilson NXT Tour 17 or 18. Natural gut is an excellent choice as well (see recommendations above under tennis elbow).

Blends/hybrids are a growing trend in racquet stringing. By combining a durability string and comfort string you can get additional benefits. You can use a very thin Poly on the mains for example and a medium thickness comfort string on the crosses. This combination will give you spin and control.

Your choice of string can add to the total stringing price but you can order a few packages of the type you like from a tennis retailer and keep the packages on hand in your bag. That way you only pay for the stringing service when the time comes and you get exactly what you want on your racquet.

If you find something you like, make note of it so you can find it again. No sense in guessing every time you string – you want your racquet to feel like an old friend every time you pick it up. What you string with does make a difference.

Moraira Tennis offer a complete stringing and racket customization service.

Tel: (0034) 687240402 or e-mail