You’re doing more harm than good.
A lot of people talk about how fast they string rackets.
Pros need their racket fast - but they only play with those strings for 5 games.
Regular tennis players like us play on the same string for weeks, or months.
When I started fixing cars as a teenager, I would take hours to change the oil in my car. I never understood how a shop could claim to do it 10 minutes - or how they could do it correctly.
I would lay on the concrete driveway, patiently waiting, watching every last drop come out. Tilting and rocking the car, finding that perfect angle, getting all those impurities sitting at the bottom of the oil pan.
I knew I would have an advantage.
Around here, we like to talk about how slow we string rackets, and here's why you should too.
KEEP IT CLEAN
There are a lot of clay courts around here, and a lot of that clay ends up in the grommets.
Cleaning the racket doesn’t just make it look nicer, but it reduces friction causing dirt and debris from damaging or nicking the new string.
This is especially important when stringing natural gut or multifilament strings.
Cleaning the racket ahead of time will reduce cross contamination of dirt and oils to your machine and hands, too.
You feed a string through a racket 35-40 times during the stringing process.
The faster you do it, the more friction you cause.
This friction leads to friction burn, and prematurely wears the string surface before it even sees a tennis ball.
"Poly is more fragile than multifilament strings, to a stringer."
Going fast also increases kinking and twisting.
And this isn't natural gut we're talking about. Despite its durable reputation, poly needs to be handled gently during the stringing process.
Poly is more fragile than multifilament strings, to a stringer. Multi and gut are composed of stretchy, resilient twisted fibers that spring back to life.
Once poly is kinked, that section is permanently damaged, reducing the comfort duration of the string.
You can soften a shaped or square edge by yanking around a corner. You can dent and kink the string.
So pull it through. Just do it nice and easy.
I cringe if someone pulls tension too fast. It’s like a piece of me dies inside.
No, the poly string won’t break - that’s not the issue.
"For poly strings, you only have one shot to get it right."
For poly strings, you only have one shot to get it right.
If you tension too quickly, you permanently sacrifice the comfort and stretching abilities of the string.
If you pull tension too quickly, you can also overshoot the tension set on the machine.
WAIT TO CLAMP
After you’ve pulled your tension slowly, don’t just clamp right away.
Pause for a moment - it’s not ready yet.
Pausing before clamping allows the string to equalize over the run you just tensioned, and let’s the poly chains settle into a nicely aligned place before you rudely interrupt it.
Once the string has had a few seconds to breathe, now you're good to go.
Yes, patience is required, but you have to understand tennis is all about finding those micro advantages.
So, how fast do we string a racket?
As long as it takes, to do it right.