Even hammers break. Strong as the they are, they will all break eventually. So it shouldn’t surprise anyone that racquet strings break too.
Like hammers, they can break when they are old and worn out after lots and lots of pounding or they can break when they are new, fresh out of the package. They probably shouldn’t. But if you hit a hammer hard enough the first time you use it, a hammer might break too.
So what can you do to prolong the life of your strings and get the most out of your investment?
Step One is to learn to play rather than pound the ball. Contrary to the way some players think, hitting every shot as hard as you can is not the right way to play any racquet sport. Hard shots have their place but rarely will they make up more than 10% of your total shots in a game or match.
Even serves should not generally be pounded. In tennis, a first serve might be hit hard, but the second serve should not be. The second serve should be a spin serve which is rarely hit with 100% of your full force. Even the first serve, which is often flatter and harder than the second serve, rarely sees top players hitting the ball as hard at they can.
Step Two in preserving the life of your strings is to take care of your frame. Split or broken grommets are string eaters. When they are whole, they work to prevent the string from touching the sharp edges of the graphite. When they split or break, the graphite cuts through the string like a hot knife through butter.
Step Three in preserving the life of your strings is to string at lower tension. While it is true that constant friction at the crosses may cause the strings to saw through each other, modern materials and engineering minimize this. Strings today are designed to glide easily over each other. As a result, they are much more likely to break when exposed to extreme force under high tension.
Players today have more choices than at any point in history. They can play with natural guts, synthetic guts, polyamides, polyesters, co-polys and more. In our store alone we carry more than 150 types of string. But all of these myriad choices have one thing in common; like hammers, if you hit them hard enough, they will break.
So as carpenters take care of their tools, players must take care of their strings. No self-respecting carpenter swings as hard as he can at every nail. And no self-respecting tennis player should swing as hard as he can at every serve. The key is to apply force skillfully in order to maximize the effectiveness of the tool.
The following questions may appear on tests related to this article. Use them to test your reading comprehension and prepare for the CERTIFIED EXPERTS TEST – RACQUET SERVICE.