Two weeks ago, I changed my tennis strings.
I hadn’t planned to do it so soon as I only play once a week. Also, the strings are only a few months old.
But these were a basic set of strings which I got with my tennis racket.
Anyway, I was forced into changing my strings as one of the strings snapped in a rally. I even hit a forehand winner in the process!
At least I won the point I guess.
I may have had the wrong tennis gauge for my game…
Anyway, it got me thinking about how can you tell if your tennis strings are dead?
In this blog post, I will look at the various things you should look out for to give you a clue, things I will certainly look out for in the future.
1) Movement of the strings
This is one of the biggest clues, and it’s really the final sign that your strings have gone dead.
Really you should be changing them before it gets to this stage.
If you can tell that the strings are moving as you play, in between rallies, then you definitely need to change them.
It means the strings are struggling to stay in place, and it’s an immediate red flag.
2) Developing some arm, shoulder or wrist problems
If you start picking some injuries from playing tennis, something which isn’t chronic, then it could be a sign that your strings are on the way out.
You can develop injuries in your arm if you start swinging harder in an effort to generate more power as the strings get older.
3) Loss of tension in the tennis strings
This is linked to the previous point.
If the string tension starts to fall, you find it harder to generate power in your shots (hence the reason why you can pick up some more injuries as you swing faster to compensate).
One thing I might buy in the future is a string tension tester as this can let you know when it’s time to restring your tennis racket
The Gamma Sports Racquet String Tension Tester is an affordable way to ensure you know when your strings are going dead.
4) You start to lose the ‘feel’ of your tennis shots.
This might seem a bit subjective as many players have different playing styles, but things will just start to feel different when you’re hitting your shots.
Since restringing my racket, I have a lot more power from the back of the court, and for my serves.
Now, I may have had this when I got my racket for the first time with the original string, but with this new string, my shots feel crispy, especially when I hit the sweet spot, and I can generate more spin on my shots for slice and top spin.
So if you feel like you’re having to hit your shots harder to generate enough pace, or if you touch around the net is getting worse, these are clear signs that your string tension is worsening, and it’s time to restring your racket.
5) The ball sounds different when it hits your strings
This might be harder to determine, but you get a satisfying ‘ping’ sound when the strings are new and you strike the ball. When the strings are close to being dead, it’s like a dull thud.
If you’re unsure, start listening to the sound of other people’s rackets if you’re waiting for a game, or warming up.
I tried this the other day and for most recreational players, it seems people really need to restring their rackets more often!
Graham runs the place around here. He likes making a “little noise” about all things to do with tennis and parenting. Check out his about page to learn more.