Tennis Racquet String Tension – Tips on How to Decide
Tennis racquet string tension is a commonly misunderstood issue but a very important consideration for your racquet. What racquet string tension should I use? Well, when it comes down to it, it really is a matter of personal preference, but here are some guidelines and facts to keep in mind. First, there is generally a tension range that is provided by the tennis racket manufacturer and is usually located on the throat of the tennis racket. If you ever find yourself unsure or struggling to decide what tension, a number smack dab in the middle of the recommended racquet string tension is usually a good one to start with. You can then increase or decrease your string tension until you find something that feels good.
Since all tennis rackets recommend different tensions (they are generally somewhere in the 50 or 60 pound range), there is not one tension that can be recommended. You can only use the following guidelines. Lower tension increase power and higher tensions increase control. With a lower tension, the racket acts almost like a trampoline. The ball hits the racket, the strings quickly form a small pocket (relative to the tennis string tension) and your swing and strings shoot the ball out of the pocket. Obviously, this is a little over exaggerated, but it is a metaphor to how the strings respond with a lower tension. This all results in a little less control.
Racquet string tension that is on the high side causes the racquet to act more like a board or “brick wall”. This tight racket string tension causes the ball to flatten out more, which allows the strings to have a better bite on the ball. This, in essence, provides more control. Many players prefer tighter strings but it does have a board like feel that you may not like. It is also important to keep in mind that racket string tension will feel different with different rackets. Some tennis rackets are flexible while others are stiff. Your current tension may feel very different on a different racket even though they have the same recommended string tension.
Tennis string tension really becomes a matter of personal preference and trial and error. And it starts all over again if you get a new tennis racket. So just remember the basics:
1. Higher string tension means reduced power but more control
2. Lower string means more power but reduced control
Now that I have said all of this, I will throw a kink into the mix. These guidelines really apply to those tennis players who are passed the beginning stage of tennis and are a more intermediate or advanced player. A beginner could be hitting balls all over the place but a higher or tighter racket string tension is not going to help them out with better control. A beginner would most likely benefit from a lower tension because the strings will be more forgiving and help with the number of off center hits that they have. I would suggest that a beginning tennis player stick with the mid-range string tension that is recommend for the tennis racket.