Just the other day, when I was hitting with a friend, I noticed that my strings felt different. I immediately knew what was going on…I completely forgot that I hadn’t changed my tennis strings and the strings were now in the “dead zone.” The liveliness of a tennis string has a general lifespan, however; the biggest factor of life loss in a tennis string is loss of tension.
There are plenty of obvious signs when a set of tennis strings are ready to be cut at and laid to rest in the trash can:
- The tennis balls are not grabbing or pocketing on the stringbed like the once did.
- No matter how hard you swing, you get no pace.
- Spin is hard to come by – you get general spin from your swing, but nothing extraordinary.
- The sounds is different, ball contact with dead strings is not a “popping” sound, it’s more like a “thud”.
- Your arm starts to hurt – this happens because the tennis strings are not absorbing vibration like they once did and the jarring intensifies because of this.
- Your feelings get hurt – you begin to lose feel of the tennis ball when going for touch shots.
So how do you know when to change your tennis strings and how often? There is a general rule of thumb for tennis players, you should restring your tennis racquet as many times per year as you play in a week – example: if you play tennis 3 days per week, you should change your tennis strings 3 times per year. Which to me does not seem often enough. I typically restring a couple of times per month, however; my situation is different – I’m constantly reviewing tennis strings or I break strings quickly. Professional tennis players restring between their tennis matches, after practices, and sometimes even during a tennis match – I’m not saying you should restring after every time you play (though that’s entirely up to you)!!!
My general rule of thumb for how often you should restring your tennis racquet is…as often as you feel like. It is as simple as that. Hate the tennis string you have in your tennis racquet? Cut them out and replace them with something different.
Here’s a guideline for different types of tennis string durability so you can gauge what will last longer:
- Natural Gut: Typically doesn’t last as long as other types of tennis strings. Since it’s a natural material, the wear is quicker and will more likely break before you’ve lost that loving feelin’.
- Synthetic Gut: Better than Natural Gut, but not by a lot. Basically synthetic is an engineered version of the natural stuff. Tension loss and bland play is obvious a little later in the life of the string, but holds good playability.
- Polyester: Known for durability and tension maintenance, by far the most commonly used string. The poly keeps life longer than the aforementioned strings and at a better price too!
- Kevlar: The grandfather of all tennis string lifers. Kevlar is by far the most durable tennis strings on the market, it takes a lot to get them to reach the “dead zone”. I’m certain that your arm will begin to hurt long before you feel like you need to change the strings. *Do not use kevlar strings if you have arm problems.
I know that not all of us can afford to string as often as the pros, I certainly can’t, nor do I encourage you to change your strings every week. The longer you play, the quicker you will be able to pick up on when your tennis strings are in the “dead zone” and need to be replaced.