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Holabird Sports
Old 2003-10-17, 18:15   #1
Dogboy
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Default Losing tension?

Man I'm learning so much about strings and stringing from everyone here, so I"ve got a couple of tension questions, if differant strings are losing 3% to 10% of their tension after string and I like to play with a tension of lets say 60 lbs should I bump my tension up by 3-10% so it will settle down at 60 lbs, and will it stay there for awile? Will I really notice a 3 or 4% loss of tension? Will pre stretching really help?
I've tried a few of the Polys out and they all seem to have the same feel and sound, I hit hard and fast got a big arm so it does't seem to be a better change than kevlar but everyone saying poly is losing tension fast. Is this really so? Should I stick with my kevlar (sorry can't say Kevlar anymore) Aramid, they hold tension where you put it, doesn't it?
All of a sudden it's all becoming so confusing!!!! I've got enough to worry about, like the guy on the other side of the net...
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Old 2003-10-27, 20:17   #2
jeffkupers
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Default Re: Losing tension?

Pre-stretching tradition synthetics will help some, but maybe not enough to notice.

If you have a healthy arm and shoulder, I'd stick with kevlar. Nothing holds tension better than kevlar but it can be harsh on your arm. As a player, I always loved the consistency of kevlar. But after developing arm trouble, I've had to use synthetic guts for years. The beauty is I break a string a set so tension loss is not a factor! lol

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Old 2004-04-04, 17:37   #3
Jay Cee
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Default Re: Losing tension?


I have long studied the problems of loss of tension and have acquired considerable experience and formulated a few basic principals. Low loss of tension means better playabilty for more time. Here are my observations and some practical solutions :

1) All strings lose tension, leading to loss of control of the ball, causing vibrations in strings and frames. The most important factor causing loss of tension in the strings should be attributed to the method of stringing, not necessarily to the quality of the string.

2) MULTIFILAMENT strings maintain elasticity, even after a loss of 4 - 6 lbs of tension (after 2 - 5 hours play), the string is no longer playable for a good player (because of loss of control, he will cut it out), but other players keep the string for months. NYLONS are initially too hard, then fine for a few hours play, then unquestionably bad, but most players keep the string until it breaks. Perhaps only 25% of effective playing time is satisfactory, as for the rest . . .

3) A good HYBRID with a polyester main and a nylon cross, can double the playability time of a polyester for a pro player (4 - 8 hours), and can give from 2 to 6 months relatively stable playability with a tension loss of about 2 - 4 lbs maximum (after 6 months) for the average club player.

4) Braided "KEVLAR" strings have no elasticity and do not hold tension at all. This absence of elasticity in the mains limits just how far the ball can push into the string bed. With a NYLON or a thin POLYESTER in the crosses, the main string gives that hard feeling, which improves the control, but the power is generated by the crosses.

5) A result of stringing hybrids with polyester mains is the observation that HYBRIDS hold the tension better that one piece strings. By isolating the tension on the mains from the lack of tension on the crosses, the main strings are stabilised. With a "stringmeter" compare the tension on any of the strings. Strung at 60lbs mains and crosses, the tension on the mains varies from 52 lbs. to 64 lbs. In the crosses, only 42 to 46 lbs. This difference of about 25% to 35% is normal and is allowed for in the racquet frame construction. A difference of 20-30% between mains and crosses is required to avoid frame deformation.
When stringing hybrids and single strings (same mains/crosses) in TWO pieces, the strings holds their tension much better than when strung in ONE piece, as long as the loss of tension on the knots is minimal.

6) The loss of tension on the last string before the knot can be from 10 to 20 lbs. This depends on the distance (that must be as short as possible) between the clamp and the knot. Be aware that any loss of tension on the last main (or cross) string, will lead to an overall loss of tension.
By increasing the tension by 8 lbs. on each of the last 2 strings before the knot, the loss of tension is minimised. (idem for the last 2 crosses before tying off)

7) As you know, more tension = less power, but more control. Working on solutions for Pros who need to generate more power without loss of control, has led me to lower the tension in the mains by up to 5 lbs. So from a tension of, for example 60 lbs. in both mains and crosses, we have have only 55 lbs. in the mains and 60 lbs. in the crosses and it works!!

8) I usually string, on an average 2 lbs. less than regular tension in the mains then + 4 lbs. in the crosses. So, for any string, be it a nylon, a poly, mono or a hybrid, if generally strung at 60 lbs. mains and crosses, try 58 lbs. mains and 62 lbs. crosses. I have found that the result is more power, more comfort, more control and longer efficient playability. No apparent negative effects.

Perhaps there are also a few other players and stringers who have come to the same (or different) conclusions, and thanks to this fantastic web-site STRINGFORUM.NET, (thanks Joe, it is really a source of inspiration for me) I have the opportunity to share my views and my findings with you.

I am willing to reply to any comments, questions and/or observations, so feel free to give me your thoughts.


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Old 2004-04-28, 08:06   #4
Hawkeye2
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Default Re: Losing tension?

Hi Jay Cee,

inspiring Posting, well written and full of interesting information !

Just one question. As you say, a difference of 20-30% between mains and crosses is required to avoid frame deformation.

If you lower the tension of the mains 2 lbs. and increase the tension on the crosses bei 4 lbs. isn't there a danger of exceeding or better under-run this recommended difference ?

In your example of a usual 60 lbs. stringing job, the measured tension on the mains would fall to 50 - 62 lbs. assumed average 56 lbs., tension on the crosses would increase to 46 - 50 lbs, assumed average 48 lbs.

The difference then would be just about 15 % !!!

I did not measure the tension, I'm just calculating...

Isn't there an increased risk of racket deformation by stringing with your method ?!

There are some Yonex Rackets, where the recommended tension on the crosses should be 4 lbs higher than the mains, but concerning other rackets I've never heard about it.

By the way, in your opinion, what's the reason for the big tension loss in the crosses ?

The friction of the mains ?

Usually it's said to string the crosses about 2 lbs. lower than the mains because crosses are shorter, but in my experience the crosses have definitely considerable less tension than the mains.

Bye


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Old 2004-05-01, 09:36   #5
Jay Cee
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Default Re: Losing tension?

Hi Hawkeye2,

Thanks for your comments.

The only frame that I have noticed a tendence to be deformed by excessive tension in the crosses is the HEAD Prestige Classic 600 which is very soft and easily deformed in both directions, insufficient tension in the crosses and it become "round" and too much tension and the sides become straight. For other racquets you can increase or decrease the tensions even more than a difference of 5-6 lbs but I don't see any advantage in doing so.

Stringmeters are great little tools in the hands of an experienced stringer who knows how to interpret the readings and not become neither too alarmed by the read-out, nor over-react to the surprising differences in the tensions on individual strings. What it does give you is a means of comparing tensions within the same string-bed. It is possible to see that there are huge variations of tension from one string to another. There are many reasons for this, what is important is that you try to understand what leads to these differences, what is the effect on the entire string-bed, and if this effect can be estimated as negative to the efficiency of the performance of the strings then what can be done to either overcome the problem, or at least try to limit it.

When I observe that there are differences of tensions on the mains from 50 to 62 lbs, that does not mean that the average tension would be about 56 lbs. In fact the average tension would probably be close to 60 lbs. The problem is that the last mains before bthe knot will probably have a residual tension of about 50 lbs (if the stringer did a good job - but it could well be less than 30 lbs).

So to answer your question, the average tension in the mains would probably be about 58 lbs and if there is an average of 46 lbs in the crosses then the stringer has done a good job, more than likely there would be less. So the difference would be 20-25%.

Let's return to the problem of early tension loss for the player. If the mains are tied off at each side and the tension loss on each of the knots can be on average equal to a loss of 12 lbs on each of the last 2 mains before the tie off, the total loss of tension is about 48 lbs, leading to an overall loss of tension on the mains during the first 20 minutes of play equal to 48lbs divided by the number of mains (for ex. 16) = 3 lbs. By increasing the tension by 8 lbs. on each of the last 2 strings before the knot, the loss of tension is roughly compensated.

Because the overall loss of tension the player will have a feeling that his racquet has progressively softened during the first 20 minutes. To compensate this, often the stringer will raise the initial tension by a few lbs, because players prefer to find the right tension once the strings have settled. The only problem with this is that if he is playing a match will a newly strung racquet, the playability is totally diffrent from the racquet that he was previously using and it will be inconsistant for several games, long enough to lose the match.

Regularity in tension is the key to confident play, loss of tension imposes improvisation and the player can suffer from loss of confidence in his game. The mental attitude of a player is fundamental to his capacity to win. A player with a momentary loss of confidence will probably lose to a player who knows that he can play his game to the maximum. Loss of tension means loss of control, loss of confidence and loss of the match.

I had not heard of the Yonex Rackets, where the recommended tension on the crosses should be 4 lbs higher than the mains, but they are very methodical in their approach to competition tennis requirements and I applaud them for this recommendation.

In fact the friction factor in the mains has only a small incidence on the tension loss in the crosses, the real reason is not hard to find if you care to think about it. When you put the mains into the frame, they are strung in a straight line from one end to the other of the frame. By putting the crosses in, you push the mains up and down therefore slightly increasing the tension on the mains. The problem is the lower the tension and the thicker the crosses, the longer the distance they have to cover to go from one side of the frame to the other, over and under, they go the long way round to get there. This extra length in the cross strings is transformed into an important loss of tension. With thinner crosses strung at higher tensions than the mains this phenomena is largely overcome.

You are correct is saying that "usually it's said to string the crosses about 2 lbs. lower than the mains because crosses are shorter", but in your experience the crosses have definitely considerable less tension than the mains, in mine as well, the difference is that I have tried to do something about it. Maybe now there will be some other stringers who will be curious enough to try this method. I hope so, their players will be delighted.
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Old 2004-05-03, 07:24   #6
Hawkeye2
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Default Re: Losing tension?

Hi Jay Cee,

thanks again for your comments !

I will try out your stringing method as soon as possible.

Bye
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Old 2004-05-25, 14:00   #7
LD Silver
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Default Re: Losing tension?

Thank you so much for your recommendation, Jay Cee!

I like the "crispy" feeling when stringing the crosses with more tension.
It also seems to improve power and control.
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Old 2004-05-31, 09:01   #8
Jay Cee
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Default Re: Losing tension?

LD Silver,

Since more than 10 years of applying this method as a professional stringer, every player that I have strung for asks me to string this way when he comes back for a retring.

I have never had a player tell me that this way of stringing is not an improvement for his game.

What is amazing is that very few stringers seem to believe that a higher tension in the crosses is a possible solution and they generally refuse to try it, they prefer to criticize and continue doing their own thing.

Thanks for your positive comments, at least I have helped one more player to get the most out of his string.

Spread the word that it works, maybe we can bring the light to someone else.
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