Restring or Not to Restring, That is the Question
Broken strings are probably the most common reason for restringing a racquet, but there are many other reasons to restring. Strings may lose their “life” or resilience; they may become dead. Strings may become too loose. You may want to play with a different type, gauge or tension as your game changes. How about changing color to match mood?
Main Strings = Vertical Strings
Broken strings usually involve the “main” or the longer vertical strings. These strings carry more tension and undergo much more movement than the looser horizontal “cross” strings. The “main” strings “grip” the ball as you are adding topspin or slice. These actions force the main strings to rub back and forth against the “cross” strings causing the string to wear. Eventually, the strings wears so thin, it snaps at the next ball you hit (had it not broken you would have hit a winner!). Thus thicker strings will last longer, but will give you less control than the thinner gauge strings. Also, strings made of tougher materials (e.g. Kevlar, polyester) tend to wear less, but usually give you less feel.
Cross Strings = Horizontal Strings
“Dead” strings are simply strings that have lost their life or resilience. They are flat and no longer stretch and recoil as they once did. We recommend restringing regularly. For example, if you play twice a week, you should restring twice a year. If you play thrice per week, you should restring three times a year.
Strings lose tension with increased frequency of play. The more you play, the more the strings will loosen. At some point you will notice a change in the way you hit the ball. Looser strings will give you more “power” and less control. The Kevlar and polyester strings tend to stretch less and retain their tension longest.
You Are Improving! As you play more and improve your game, you will periodically want to change the type, gauge and/or tension of the string as your skill improve.
Injury to the wrist or elbow can sometimes be helped by switching to a thinner gauge and softer string that you are using now.