How often should you restring your tennis racket?
The most common questions among tennis players are; “When do I restring my tennis racket?”, “How often do I restring my tennis racket?”. Even though these questions are asked frequently, many players don't quite know the answers, and some even keep the same strings on for years, only changing them when it breaks.
The fact is that the strings on your tennis rackets start to lose tension and wear off every time you play. With this wear and tear, keeping the same strings for too long may start affecting your game negatively sooner or later.
When should you change your strings?
Loss of tension
Your string will start losing tension the moment it leaves the restringing machine. All types of strings will lose their tension. In the first 24 hours after stringing, strings can lose roughly 10 percent of their tension. This reduction in tension continues when you start hitting. If you’re a player who uses higher tension for more control, you will have to change your strings once your accuracy of shots gets lower.
Some strings hold their tension well, whilst others lose it very fast. Here are some examples:
Average to Good
Performance of string
Did you know that your strings can go dead? This will cause them to lose their performance characteristics. Polyester strings will lose their snapback effect once the strings go dead, which is a big part of how they help players generate topspin. A multifilament string provides you with power. If the multifilament strings go dead, then your pace and depth of shot will decline.
As a result, if you want to maintain the best performance for your strings, it pays to restring regularly.
How to know when it’s time to change your strings?
There are a few different factors you can keep in mind to help you determine when it’s time to change your strings.
If you are a beginner, some of these sensations will be difficult to detect. However, as you play more and your feel improves, you’ll get better at sensing these changes.
A Loss in Control: Sense of control will decrease as your strings wear and lose tension. If you find it difficult to place the ball, hitting more unforced errors, and hitting long, it may be time to restring.
Difficulty Generating Spin: There will be a reduction in the snapback of the main strings, which leads to the feeling that it’s harder to generate topspin if your strings are losing tension.
Lack of Pop: When your strings are new, they’re also resilient, they can effectively return energy to the ball. As your strings lose tension, your strings will lose their resilience, making it harder to hit with as much power.
Lower Comfort: New strings do a better job of absorbing shock. Over time, the strings will stretch and lose their resilience and provide a stiff or dead feel that can translate to an uncomfortable hitting experience.
The feel and response of your strings will change over time. Each player might describe the changes in their strings differently, but as you begin to detect these changes, you’ll become more confident in knowing when to restring.
It is easy to spot when it’s time to replace your strings, simply by giving them a closer look. Aside from a broken string that requires replacement, here are two visual indicators to look out for.
When you start playing tennis, your strings will rub together and produce friction, which will cause the strings to notch. Looking closely at your strings, you’ll notice that notches form at the intersection of strings towards the middle of your racket. If you see that these notches are getting deep and cutting roughly half to three-quarters of the way through, then it’s a good time to restring.
Natural gut, multifilament, and kevlar strings are composed of tiny fibers that will fray over time. It’s a natural part of the wear for these strings, but it is a great indicator of when you might need to restring as it intensifies. Polyester strings won’t fray because they feature a single solid filament construction. Although synthetic gut strings are often composed of multiple filaments, they usually don’t show signs of fraying.
Factors that affect the frequency of restringing
The frequency at which any given player strings their racquet is going to be different for everyone. However, there are a few factors you can keep in mind to help you determine when it’s time to replace your strings:
- Frequency and duration of play
- Style of play
- Level of competition
- Personal preference
Stringing your racket as many times per year as you play per week rule can be misleading for many players, the concept of restringing based on your frequency is perfectly reasonable, i.e., the more frequently you play, the more you should restring.
If you’re looking for a general rule purely based on frequency, and if you tend to play roughly the same amount each week, you can take the number of times you play per week and double that number to find out approximately how many times per year you should string.
This is a more logical approach, but it’s still not perfect. If you’re playing seven days a week for 30 minutes vs. seven days a week for three hours, you’ll still have to make a judgment call on how fresh, and consistent you want the tension of your strings to be.
Another factor to consider is your style of play. If you hit soft with an eastern grip and you come to the net a lot, then you might not have to restring as often because your strings won’t take as much of a beating.
On the other hand, if you’re a hard-hitting baseliner with a semi-western or western grip, then you might need to restring more frequently since the friction and wear of your strings will be significantly greater.
When you compete at a higher level, it becomes more critical to control the elements of your game that you can control. Stringing is one of those elements, and it’s all about consistency.
When you practice and play matches, you want the tension of your racket to be the same every time, so you’re not compensating for the loss in tension. As such, restringing frequently becomes more crucial at higher levels of competition, such as in professional tennis, where players have fresh strings every time they hit the court.
For most players, budget is key when restringing their racket. You may hit the court seven days a week for three hours a day, but if you can’t afford to restring your racket frequently, then you’re not going to, and that’s perfectly fine.
If budget is a concern, you may consider the type of tennis strings that you’re using. Depending on the material, construction, and gauge of your strings, you can begin to reduce the frequency at which you’ll need to restring.
If comfort is the main concern for you, then you will need to restring your racquet more frequently because dead strings can result in more shock to your arm and may lead to injuries such as tennis elbow or aggravate an existing injury.
The environment can have a substantial impact on the performance and longevity of strings, and various strings respond differently. Excessive heat, cold, and humidity can cause strings to age prematurely and require faster or more frequent replacement.
For example, natural gut strings like to absorb moisture, so humid conditions in Singapore can make it more challenging to maintain them. Polyester strings can lose their elasticity in excessive heat and sun.
As a result, where you live can influence restringing. Regardless of where you live, you can help keep your rackets protected from the elements. Many of the best tennis bags offer pockets or sections with a thermal lining to help extend your strings’ lives.
At the end of the day, it’s up to you, and knowing why you should restring and what happens if you don’t is helpful, but there’s no right or wrong answer.
Cost of restringing
The cost of restringing a tennis racket varies based on the type of string you choose and the labor charges. With this in mind, players can expect to spend between $15 to $65 to have their racket restrung.
The price for a set of tennis strings ranges from just under $5 for an inexpensive synthetic gut, all the way up to nearly $45 for a high-end natural gut.
All stringers will happily string your racquet with a set of strings you provide if they don’t carry one that you’d prefer. The labor for restringing a tennis racquet will cost you between $10 and $20.
Where to restring your tennis racket?
There are restringing services available in many part of Singapore. Most of these stores require you to bring down your racket and collect them once the restringing is done.
Or you could simply go to racketstring.solutions, have a look at all the different types of strings that Sportsshop SG carries, and opt for pick-up and delivery services from the convenience of your home. With options of same day delivery (additional $10) to normal delivery (2 to 4 days), your racket will be collected from you, restrung as per your preference (they provide expert advice too!), and delivered to you within your chosen time frame!
You can drop it off and collect it yourself too from its convenient location at Concorde Shopping Centre (317 Outram Road), just a walk away from Tiong Bahru MRT station or a couple of bus stops from Chinatown and Outram MRT stations.
If you decide to take up tennis as a sport, it’s helpful to be aware that regularly restringing your racket is a normal part of maintenance. Ultimately restringing boils down to personal preference and how the individual player feels about a racket's performance. Many players love to play with a freshly strung racket; others enjoy them more after a break-in period, and some even like strings when they are completely dead.
How often do you restring your racquet? Let me know in the comments below