Although many tennis players are familiar with natural gut strings, squash and badminton players tend to know very little about them. Those who have heard about natural gut presume that it is too fragile to use for squash or badminton.
This is not the case at all. In fact, natural gut is equally as durable as some of the best synthetic multifilaments. It also has the benefit of maintaining its elasticity and power much longer than any synthetic. And as a natural, organic, fully biodegradable product, natural gut offers environmental benefits unmatched by any artificial string.
“I’m not a frequent string breaker in any racquet sport,” admits Brent Johner, owner and founder of Calgary-based Racquet Network, the largest racquet store in Alberta, “but I was a little leery about using natural gut for squash even though it is all I ever use for tennis.”\
Like many people, Johner thought natural gut would break too often, especially when used for squash. He expected to be restringing every week or two.
“This has not been the case,” he says. “Natural gut performed far beyond my expectations in squash. It took me about two hours to become accustomed to it. Once I broke it in, I fell in love with it. The power it gives me is consistent from week to week, which is good. And the touch is amazing. I feel it especially on my cross court lobs and semi-lobs. I don’t have to swing very hard at all and the ball goes exactly where I want it to go.”
Natural gut is very stiff when it first goes into a squash frame, he explains. It takes a couple of hours for the crosses to break in. After that, the string bed softens up and the user can begin to experience the benefits. Badminton, on the other hand, requires no break-in time, says Johner. It is ready to play with immediately.
“After my experience with natural gut in squash, I was expecting a break-in period for badminton as well,” he says, “but that was not the case at all. It was game-ready from the very first shot.”
What surprised him most was the power offer by natural gut badminton string. “I had been using Yonex BG66 because I needed a power boost on my backhand drives. The switch to natural gut immediately jacked up the power of my backhands. I feel it has improved every shot I make. This string bed is so lively and consistent.”
Durability has not been an issue for this frequent player either. “I’m not a frequent string breaker by any stretch of the imagination,” says Johner. “So I may not be the best person to ask about this issue. However, I can say that I play or practice squash six hours a week and play badminton two hours per week and have not had a string break in the month since I install natural gut in my squash and badminton frames.”
Over that same period, he notes, he has also not noticed any loss of tension or decrease in power. “My kids are happier, though,” he says. “They always give me a hard time when I string my racquets and put the old nylon strings in the garbage. Now that I’m using natural gut, they can’t complain.”
In addition to its obvious environmental advantages, natural gut also maintains tension a lot longer than synthetic strings. While player can expect to get about eight hours of play out of synthetic strings before they go dead, they will get about 20 hours of play out of natural gut.
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.