STRINGING

Taking old school ideas and treating them to a backhand smash to provide the very best in racket sports equipment.

In this section we share a range of useful information designed to give you insight and advice on everything to do with strings and how to select the best ones to suit your game and budget.

Understanding when to restring your racket is crucial for maximising performance, comfort and feel. Understanding the benefits of restringing as well as the frequency of restringing, plus other considerations such as tension, types of strings, materials, and gauges (thickness) can all lead to incremental improvements.

Fine-tuning racket performance can help any level of player – from a beginner to a professional. Services such as restringing, grip and grommet replacement and in the case of tennis more bespoke modifications like handle build-up, racket matching, customisation and expert string-break analysis can help elevate your game. Border Rackets has the experience to help you.

We hope you find this information useful but if you have any specific queries not answered in this Guide, please contact us here and we will be pleased to advise further.

“Highest quality stringing, using the very best equipment and materials.”

Ken has decades of experience playing racket sports and used to joke that he even wanted to win the warm-up (okay, maybe he wasn’t joking!).

Eventually, he swapped smashing for stringing and now can talk for hours about the finer points of strings.

Ken has been stringing since the 1980’s and took it up again professionally from 2016. He is a Tour level stringer in badminton and tennis. Like all good stringers he believes “the devil is in the detail”.

Overview

Strings are the engine of your racket and expert opinion suggests they account for fifty percent of your racket’s performance. Your racket frame is obviously important, but the string you put in that frame is what connects with the ball or shuttlecock, and it is that which we concentrate on here.

Having a top-quality racket frame with factory strung strings is like having a formula one race car and fitting it with a standard production engine. Strings should rank just as highly in your list of considerations as the racket itself.

There are copious articles and information on the web today about racket stringing. Sometimes it is referred to as “the art of stringing” or the “science of stringing.” Perhaps this is to create greater mystique about what is involved in stringing a racket. In reality most people could learn to string a racket, but it is a skill that takes many years to perfect. We would describe it as “easy to learn, but difficult to master.”

As far as we are concerned, quality stringing is really about a process and employing specific techniques to ensure we maintain the integrity of both the string and frame and achieve a consistent tension.

There are numerous ways to string a racket correctly and these vary from stringer to stringer. There are good practices that should be followed, and there are also incorrect methods and bad techniques. Many stringers are self-taught and sometimes bad habits and techniques can lead to poor string jobs.

Professional stringers have often undertaken professional development with the likes of the European Racket Stringers Association (ERSA), or the UK Racket Stringers Association (UKRSA) and they are certified for their expertise and knowledge by these organisations to provide a higher standard of stringing.

Just as important as producing a good string job is understanding who you are stringing for; be it a junior, senior or performance player. Providing a stringing set-up that complements the player and reflects their requirements, whatever their age or level of play, is essential.

Bringing all these elements together successfully can help a player elevate their game to get the most out of their individual ability. Professional racket stringers bring technical knowledge on many aspects of racket and string technology which can help make a difference.

Natural Gut

Despite the name, natural gut has no relationship to synthetic gut. Made from strands of intestines (usually from cows but at one time also from sheep) this string is a completely natural material. Natural gut is sensitive to moisture and although modern coatings and treatments have decreased this risk, it is advisable to avoid playing in wet conditions.

It is a popular string with pro players as it possesses so many features.

  • Resilience
  • Excellent tension retention (remains soft when strung at high tensions compared to other materials which stiffen)
  • Great playability with power, spin and control all wrapped into one.
  • It also has a decent sweet-spot and good vibration dampening qualities.

The main downside of natural gut is that it one of the priciest strings (2 to 3 times more expensive) and one of the least durable of strings, so generally beyond most players budgets.

Synthetic Gut

This type of string is nylon-based, typically with a solid monofilament core surrounded by multiple layers of smaller filaments. This composition provides all-around performance by combining the solid core for enhanced durability while improving the feel and playability with the outer wraps. It is not known for its ability to generate lots of spin or control, but it does offer plenty of power.

This string type would suit club level players, juniors, and senior players as it is quite comfortable on the arm and is relatively inexpensive.

Multifilament

This would be the next best option to natural gut as it is designed to replicate natural gut’s properties. Not as much feel and power as natural gut, but as an affordable alternative they are hard to beat.

Made from hundreds of tiny fibres that are woven together to create a soft and pliable string. Made from nylon but can incorporate other materials such as polyurethane and Kevlar which are wrapped or braided into a single length of string with an outer coating. When they do start to wear out, they mimic natural gut in the way they fray as the coating wears off and the fibres start to fluff up before they break.

Multifilament strings tend to produce more power and comfort than monofilament or synthetic gut strings and are the preferred choice for players with arm problems offering enhanced comfort and shock absorption. Because they are so flexible, they are excellent at dampening the ball on contact and absorb a lot of unwanted vibrations rather than transferring them on to your arm.

There is a trade-off however and what you can gain in power using multifilament strings you may well lose in terms of control and spin as they do not bite into the ball like a polyester. Multifilament strings also have a propensity to lose tension more quickly than alternatives.

Multifilament’s are also less durable than other string types and it may be advisable to pair them in a hybrid set-up with a more robust string such as polyester. This should give you the best of both worlds; comfort and power combined with control and spin. However, if you are a performance player that is comfortable generating your own power, you may be better off going for a more control-oriented string set up from the outset.

Monofilament

This type of string has been one of the biggest evolutions in tennis over the last thirty or so years. In the modern era pro players prefer this string over alternative synthetic strings as it offers them the opportunity to ‘hit big’ and create massive spin, with great accuracy and control.

Generally referred to as “polyester” or “poly” this type of string is constructed as a single solid core of extruded material. Latest innovations in polyester strings blend polyester with other polymers to also form a solid piece of string. These are referred to as “co-polyester” or “co-polys” and are increasingly developed to provide a softer option to traditional poly strings making them much more comfortable to play with.

Polyester strings do not hold tension for long and tend to die-off quite quickly. Typical playing life might be just 10-12 hours from being freshly strung before tension drops. Pro players may only use them for a couple of sets before changing rackets. Left too long, Poly will simply not play as its designed too and will not provide the ‘pop’ you get from when it is freshly strung.

Monofilament strings have greater durability than synthetic gut or multifilament strings but have less power, feel, and comfort. These strings are ideal for players who can make their own power and benefit from enhanced control and spin. The lower elasticity of these strings requires full, fast swings to maximize their performance and for this reason they best suit advanced level players.

Polyester strings also come in shaped and textured profiles such as triangular, square, or polygonal structures like pentagonal or hexagonal shapes. The theory here is that they help to enhance spin potential by theoretically gripping the ball more intensely when it contacts the string-bed.

Hybrid

Whilst this is not a type of string as such, it is worth mentioning this format of string set-up as it is increasingly common. Hybrid Stringing is the mixing of two different strings in the same racket. This could be different types of string, materials, or even different gauges of the same string. Hybrid stringing has become popular in the last few years due to the rise of polyester-based strings. Since poly strings are stiff and durable, many players have mixed them with softer strings to make for a more playable and comfortable string bed, while retaining much of the poly’s spin and durability characteristics.

Choice of String is Crucial

The right choice of string can turbo-charge your game. Strings are the engine of your racket; they allow you to play to your potential and to get the most out of your equipment.

Different strings inevitably suit different styles of play and indeed some strings are designed especially for power, or spin, or control. The first thing you need to ask yourself is what type of player am I?

Once we establish your game style and level, we can recommend a suitable string and tension to help you get the best results.

If you are looking for advice on strings and stringing, a brief look at the internet, or manufacturers websites, publications and even social media will provide a deluge of information. There is such an overwhelming amount written about racket stringing and strings that to cut to the chase is sometimes impossible. This is where an experienced racket technician can help you climb above the confusion and explain things in terms that you can understand.

By asking a menu of questions we can identify the sorts of strings that would suit you. Our aim is to address any questions you may have and simplify the facts so that you can understand what string material or string construction is right for you.

String technology is a fast-moving niche resulting in evermore complexity and choice. So, what do you choose and how do you make your choices? We will try to explain this simply while at the same time keeping it brief.

Let us start at the beginning.

If your strings are broken, the answer is now!

But if they are not broken but just do not seem to have that zing or pop and responsiveness that you recall from the last time your racket was strung, then the answer is also now.

But do you really want to know – or indeed need to know – that a particular string is made with a special fibre wound twenty times around a core? Put simply, we think you would prefer to know if it will suit your game, your budget and your playing aspirations.

Every time you hit a shot your strings stretch and then recoil back to their resting position. Over time, depending on how often you play and how hard you swing, the strings lose tension and their ability to ‘snap back.’ This results in a drop-off in performance. This is a gradual affect and can be subtle.

With polyester strings, once they stop snapping back into place and need to be straightened after each rally, it is time to consider a restring.

As a general ‘rule of thumb’ for club and recreational level players, your racquet should be strung as many times in a year as you play in a week. So, if you play twice a week, then it would be advisable to have your racket restrung at least twice a year.

Border Rackets stringing team are members of ERSA and the UKRSA. We are qualified to advanced level and are Master Professional Stringers.

Our focus is on providing our customers with the highest possible level of service, ensuring it is consistent, accurate and excellent value for money.

We offer a range of convenient services for restringing your rackets.

Online Ordering:

Book your restring via our website: borderrackets.co.uk then drop your racket off at our shop.

In-Store Ordering:

Drop off your racket in our shop and arrange when you want to collect it with us directly.

Online Mail Order UK Wide Service:

Book a restring online and send us your racket for restringing and we will return it via courier anywhere in the UK with a standard turnaround of 48 hours from receipt.

Venue Drop off & Collection:

This option is to help clubs local to our physical store. We can set up a collection and drop-off schedule including a practical, secure Dropbox where we can collect and drop off weekly (subject to minimum order quantities). Please contact us to discuss further.

String While You Wait Service:

If you have an urgent requirement then you can contact us to check if we can carry out a restring while you wait. We will always do our best to slot your racket in while you wait, but this depends on how busy we are.

Same Day Service:

This service option is designed to get you playing quickly when your favourite racket breaks or needs attention. As your restring will be jumping the queue, this service attracts an additional charge per racket.

Club Stringing Service:

For local clubs who would like a reliable stringing service at their disposal, we can offer an affiliate package to support the club. Having a certified stringer on hand is not only a good selling point when attracting new members but offers peace of mind when club members need their racket restringing. We offer a range of add-on benefits including a free banner for your club, notice board posters, a secure drop box (if needed), and a regular collection and drop-off service depending on demand. We can also be available for club open days and events.

Event/Tournament Stringing Service:

We can arrange to attend your event with our stringing service and pop-up shop. Please contacts us to discuss further details.

Frequent Restring Deals:

For regular customers we offer a loyalty discount scheme – you do not need to do anything, we maintain records of all restrings and will discount your 5th and 10th restring in a 12-month period.

5 restrings per annum receive 50% off your fifth restring
10 restrings per annum receive your tenth restring free