As professional stringers, we spend several hours each week fixing problems created by amateurs. Most of the time, these errors are minor and can be fixed relatively quickly. Sometimes, however, the mistakes are fatal to life of the racquet and sometimes, sadly, the racquet breaks or cracks before we can fix it.
With this in mind, we offer the following advice to customers who want to save a few bucks using an amateur stringer or who simply want to be loyal to their club stringer. At the very least, we encourage you to avoid stingers who do the following three things.
1. NEVER STRING OVER MAX TENSION
We see this all the time with badminton racquets. Players are told to string racquets at 30 lbs. even though the frame has a maximum tension of 28 lbs. written right on it. Badminton club stringers are especially bad for this. They tend to over-tension everything. The problem is that when you over-tension a new racquet, the racquet’s warranty is instantly voided. So one bad stroke and you are out $300.
Club stingers know this. They know that one hard smash is all it takes to snap an over-tensioned frame. And they are also prepared to sell you a new one when it happens. As a matter of policy, our stringing experts won’t over-tension racquets, especially badminton racquets. That way, if something does go wrong, we can back the customer up and ensure that their racquet can be replaced under warranty.
2. NEVER OVER-TENSION PLAYABLE STRING
This is another common mistake we see from amateur stringers. They take very expensive and very playable string and tension all of the playability out of it. Since the whole point of spending money on a playable string is to experience its superior playability, it makes no sense to crank the tension up to maximum and end up with a string bed that’s stiff as a board.
In a lot of cases, amateur stringers don’t really have a choice. They bought a cheap stringer on e-Bay so they could make a few bucks on the side. Do they know how to use it? Not really. Is the machine capable of precise tensioning? Not really. So they crank every racquet out at the same tension regardless. Whether or not the tension is right for the string is irrelevant. They are getting paid for stringing racquets and that’s all that really matters.
3. NEVER STRING RACQUETS YOUR MACHINE WAS NOT DESIGNED TO STRING
Racquets have changed a lot in the past 10 years. Stringing machines have changed a lot, too. In fact, there are many racquets today that simply cannot be strung on cheap stringing machines. Every time you string an advanced racquet on an outdated machine, you run some risks. The best case scenario is that you risk doing the job poorly. The worst case scenario: micro-cracks that translate into broken frames at some point down the road.
At Racquet Network, racquet stringing is not a sideline. It’s not something we are doing on the side. We are professionals with professional tools. We are up-to-date on the latest technology in both racquets and string. We have manufacturer specifications for all of the latest racquets. And as members of the Yonex stringing team, we take pride in our work.
While we cannot in good conscience recommend that you take your racquet to be strung by an amateur, we hope that the points above have at least made you aware of some of things to watch out for.