Changing Tennis Racquet Strings - When and Why?

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The first time you step on the court is an unforgettable experience. You schedule a match with your friend at a local club and get rental gear. At the sign in desk, they hand you each a racquet and a pack of yellow fuzzy balls. Yay! You’re ready to play the most fantastic sport ever - tennis! When starting out, you usually play first few sessions with rental gear. Then you catch the tennis bug and decide to take it to the next level. You go to the tennis equipment store and purchase your first racquet. The racquet comes strung from the factory, and you never think about tennis strings again. At least for a while, until they break.

The truth is that recreational tennis players in most cases don't spend much time thinking about tennis strings. They take them for granted as a built-in racquet feature. When you’re new to the sport, you might not be aware that you can change them. All tennis clubs offer re-stringing service, and it takes about 20-30 minutes per racquet. The real question is, when do you need to change strings?

The unwritten rule

Typical answer you’ll hear everywhere is that if you play three times per week, you need to change strings at least three times per year. You’ll hear about this online, from tennis instructors, and fellow club players. Although it can’t be applied to all the players - it’s a good rule to start with. One variation, which is much better for you, would be to change strings at least three times per year, no matter how much you play (or don't play).

So, when to change strings?

The best advice: If you play tennis regularly, more than two times a week, then you should change strings every two months or sometimes even sooner. If you play more than four times per week, then change strings monthly. Advanced players that play club tournaments and leagues, break their strings much sooner than this. These players are used to changing strings bi-weekly as well as before every important match.

Reasons to change strings

Strings are the ones doing all the hard work. They provide you with vital feedback and feeling when hitting shots. Strings generate spin, power, and control. When you put on a new pair of strings, they are strung at a certain tension. From the moment they’re on, they start losing the original tension. Over time, strings just lose their performance attributes. As the tension drops and strings wear out, your control over shots decreases. The amount of power and spin that was originally there is gone. Simply, your whole tennis game and performance suffers. Most importantly, as strings die, you lose the all-important feeling. Shots gradually start to feel clunky, and you sense something is wrong. Like you’re hitting a ball with a frying pan instead of a tennis racquet. Worn out tennis strings can even cause tennis elbow injury in some cases.

As you can see, tennis strings play a vital role in your performance on the court. Change them regularly, as often as possible, to guarantee top racquet performance. Shake off the habit of waiting for strings to break in order to change them, as then would be too late. Your tennis game and body will thank you for it!