Knowing when to restring your tennis racquet can be confusing!
Professional tennis players typically restring their tennis racquets every day, while recreational players may restring anywhere from every few times they play, to once a decade, or until their strings break. How often you restring depends on your frequency and level of play, but fresh strings do make a difference in your tennis game.
A tennis racquet loses tension from the moment it is strung. Tension declines over time and with every hit the racquet takes. Losing tension changes the performance of your tennis racquet in several ways.
1. More Power and Less Control When tension goes down, the strings stretch more upon impact. This cushions the ball’s landing, which lessens the squashing effect and flattens the ball. The ball loses a lot of energy when it flattens so less squashing means more energy for rebound. Strings always return most of the energy that goes into stretching them, no matter the tension level.
This power is great if you want it and can control it, and you can improve your stroke by responding to the same situation in the same manner day after day. The problem with strings is that they change over time so that your stroke will change as they change. Since the strings deliver varying amounts of power you will not get into a groove with your stroke.
2. More Dwell time and Less Control When strings stretch more, the ball stays on the strings longer, which is the dwell time. Although it may only increase by a millisecond, this will cause your racket to sweep through a larger vertical or horizontal arc, which will launch the ball on a higher trajectory than you are used to. You may wonder what has happened to mess with your stroke and may make changes when your mechanics are actually correct.
3. Change in Feel and Feedback As strings lose tension, your racquet may start to feel different, like it is dead or losing its punch. Losing “feeling” in your racquet is significant since your feedback mechanism is gone. When the feeling in your hand after a stroke is the same from time to time, this allows you to groove the stroke while a changing feeling will cause you to respond by continually adapting and adjusting your stroke.
The sound the strings make also changes, which is also a form of feedback. Lowered tension in a racquet string may produce a thud, instead of a ping. Losing this auditory feedback can affect your psychology and may change how you respond to the next shot.
Restringing your tennis racquet frequently helps you improve your tennis game by keeping your play consistent. You want to spend your time playing tennis honing your skills rather than constantly adjusting for changing string tension.