Please note that I am not an expert. However, I do my research before I do anything. So, I feel I get to know little more than many, who have been around for many years.
I did teach my son to be on his high school varsity team last season. He started playing with me in October 2006 and by March 2007 he was ready. I have stringed our racquets as well as my son’s teammates’.
I am of the opinion that:
1. For most of the beginners, any synthetic gut string is sufficient for their need without risking their arms, shouldered, etc. Just look for inexpensive synthetic gut in a 660 ft. reel for $50.00 or less. It will come to less than $3.00 per racquet. The same string can be used in a hybrid (See below) if necessary.
2. If you find a particular player with a somewhat developed swing, especially with top spin, and he/she is breaking string often, then you may consider a monofilament string (Polyester, Poly, co-poly). (This type of string should be strung approximately 10% less than syn-gut 60lb Syn-Gut = 54lb Poly) Monofilament strings last longer but they are not arm-friendly. A racquet strung with this type of string, especially at high tension, feels like a board. Many players report arm, elbow, and shoulder injuries relating to this type of sting. Although monofilament string afford an appropriate player with a stable string bed capable of producing increased top spin for a longer playing time, for most high school player, in my opinion, should not use this type string on mains and crosses, i.e., they should not risk the related injuries. I found that the alternative #3 gives my son and me a great compromise. If you are interested in use this type of string, a set of string will cost you $9.00 to $18.00. For your purpose, you should buy few sets at a time. There is no point in buying a reel, i.e., the cost saving is not sufficient to justify the purchase.
3. Hybrid is a term used to describe a stinging technique, which utilizes two different strings for the mains and crosses. There are infinite numbers of possible combinations. There are more than that number of opinions as to which combination is the “Best”. (Ha, ha, ha) However, in general, the main purpose of this method (hybrid) is to use two different strings in order to balance or complement strengths or weaknesses of each string. For a frequent string breaker, monofilament on the main will give longevity, at the same time, a softer synthetic gut (see #1 above) on the cross will soften the finished string bed. If you see someone is breaking string often or the main string is pushed to one side when finish hitting for a while, you may try this method. The Poly string main will stay where belongs (more accurately, it comes back to where belongs).
4. There are other types of strings available in the market, including, natural gut, many of them claim to be “ the Best”, “Better than” or “As good as”, however, they appears to be too expensive or specialized to be used by typical high school players. If you have an exceptional player please post again with a question.
I tried a few types of stings in each category. As I said, I am not an expert and there are more opinion than strings in the “String Theory.” (Ha, ha, ha) However, I would like to offer my recommendation, in light of your request. I like 17 gage or 16 gage strings in both categories .
Synthetic Gut – One reel (good for 18 racquets)
Wilson Extreme ($49)
Prince (original or w/ Duraflex) Synthetic Gut ($62)
Monofilament (Poly, Co-poly) – 3 sets
Kirschbaum ProLine III
It is on sale at www.Tennis-Warehouse.com
for $25.00 for three sets
Signum Pro Poly Plasma Pure (AKA “SPPP” Pure)
It is about $9.00 / set.
The way I figure is that for a total cost of, as little as, $80.00 ($49 + $25 + $6 (S&H)) for a reel of synthetic gut and 3 sets of Poly strings, you can string 14 racquets with synthetic gut and 6 racquets with Poly/Syn-Gut hybrid. That is a total of 20 racquets for $80.00, equivalent to $4.00 per racquet.
Make sure to keep record of string tension for each racquet. When a player is not satisfied with a particular string, you should first change the tension to see you can achieve desired result before trying out all kind of strings. Maybe the most important advice I can give is that each racquet should be restrung at least once every year. I remember seeing somewhere that string should be changed every 50 hours of play or every 12 months which ever comes first. It makes sense to me because after an extended time of play, string loses character. It ceases to give power and/or control and/or feel, and/or…
I hope this can give you what you needed. Let me know what you decide to do and how it worked out. You may see other advices with all kinds of string types, brand, etc. I am not offended if you take their advices. Let me know if you have any additional questions.
(Don’t be “Sorry about the length of the post”. However, I am sorry about my lengthy response)