Loss in string tension can affect the way you play.
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Of all the factors that can influence your on-court performance, tennis racket string tension is one of the most important. With a new, unstrung racket, you must first determine the best string tension to use. This can be a trial-and-error process depending on your style of play. Once you've found the right tension, it's important to maintain it -- any significant loss can adversely affect your game. Determining string tension can be done with several gadgets, including an iPhone or iPad app.1.
Examine your racket and take note of the various markings and information imprinted on the frame. When rackets are made, manufacturers test them to determine the string tension range where the racket performs at its best. This is usually a 10-pound range and is typically imprinted on the throat of the racket. If you do not see it there, check around the inside or outside of the head's frame. Use this range as a guide to determine the tension.
String your racket in the middle of this range, as a starting point, if you have a new racket without strings. After playing with your racket at mid-range and evaluating how the strings perform, you have room to move up or down 3 or 4 pounds of tension to address your needs and complement your style of play. Move toward the higher end of the tension range if you are a power hitter, have an aggressive style of play and need more control. Move toward the lower end of the range if you need more power and depth on your shots. If you are susceptible to elbow injuries, string your racket at the bottom of the range.3.
Learn how to use an inexpensive handheld device designed to measure the string tension in rackets where the strings are already installed. There is more than one device design on the market, but they work in a similar manner. In general, they have two small pins that you center over one of the main or long strings. You then twist the device until the main string is aligned with a specific mark on the device. When aligned, the string tension is indicated on a dial opposite the mark.4.
Calculate your racket's string tension with greater accuracy by using a special iPhone or iPad app. After installing the app, hold your racket close to your iPhone or iPad and tap the strings with the handle of an awl or mallet. The sound from the strings is picked up by the microphone on your device, which then calculates and displays the tension.
- Tension measuring device
- The accuracy of these devices can be affected by factors including string thickness, hybrid stringing and the type of machine used to string the racket. For example, a device may measure at 55 pounds a racket strung with a thin string at an actual 60 pounds of tension on a drop weight machine, and may detect 58 pounds for the same actual 60 pounds on an electric machine. With this relative number and by knowing the difference between the machine set tension and the measured tension, you'll know if your string jobs are consistent. Even so, and whichever one you use, these devices are most effective when you use them periodically to check for any significant drop in string tension -- letting you know that it's time to restring.
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