One of the most common and frustrating issues in tennis is when your racket strings just snap on you.
You’re in the middle of a game, you hear this super light pang noise, and then you’re left with a busted racket.
Happens to all of us, but over time and with some quick fixes, you can minimize the likelihood of it ever happening to you again.
We’re going to break down the reasons why it happens, and include some solutions that you can take with you for the rest of your tennis career.
Tension is a big one here, and many tennis players end up stringing their racquets far too tight when they’re trying to maintain their equipment.
Let’s get started with a little lesson on your game moves and how they’re affecting it.
Topspin and Slice
Your topspin and slice game is causing some major damage to the strings.
You’re going to have to switch up your game to prevent this from happening.
Look at the current methods and styles you’re using to return the ball to the server, and find a way to alter them.
You want to hit the sweet spot of the racket, not near the edges every single time.
Your precision is going to help you out here.
How to Know When Your Strings Are Broken
It’s not as visible as you might think.
Sometimes the break can happen in the inlets along the edge of your racket, making it virtually impossible to spot alone.
Other breaks will be wildly visible and will look like the ball just tried to crash through your racket strings like it were a bullet going through glass.
If it’s not so visible, apply pressure to your racket’s surface.
Can you feel anything unusual?
Because your racket is either strung with one or two strings in total, the breaks will be different depending on the stringing method.
This is important to remember if you’re the one who’s always stringing it up.
Place your hand on the center of the racket’s string surface, and apply gentle pressure.
You’ll be able to feel where it buckles in the frame.
You don’t want to put too much pressure on this and break it, but this will tell you if they’re truly broken or not.
Sometimes you just need to tighten your racket, so diagnosing this problem is key.
Should Tennis Strings Move?
Yes, they should have some give to them, but not much.
Tennis racket surfaces are either made up of one or two strings.
The inlets along the inside of your racket will stretch the string(s) out across all these different spots.
Those who have never strung a racket before usually tend to assume that each individual string across the grin is, well, an individual string.
The tension wouldn’t work properly if this was the case.
When you place your hand on the racket’s surface, there should be some give as you apply pressure.
The higher the tension rating on your racket, the less it’s going to budge, but you still need to be able to see a little bit of giving when you apply pressure.
It will be slightly lighter for big rackets over 100 square inches with a 45-55 lb rating, and for 65-70+ lb ratings, you should feel a lot of tension.
This is based on player preference; not everybody is comfortable using a tennis racket at this tension level.
How Much is Too Much?
That has to be defined by the manufacturer who made the racket.
For most rackets, they’re made out of aluminum for the frame, and you need to have less pressure than the frame materials can handle.
Most aluminum frames are hollow, which is how they keep their lightweight 8-12 oz total tennis racket weight, but include additional elements to keep pressure off and prevent the racket from breaking/snapping.
Your manufacturer settings are there to define the best way to use the racket, not the only way.
If you reached peak tension on a racket, being what the frame could manage before breaking, the first ball that you sent flying back would damage the racket from all that stress during impact.
For this, manufacturers actually set the tension lower than what it can take, so a Wilson Open US junior racket will have a 35 lb tension setting, but with the durable aluminum frame and additional internal components, it can probably hold up to about 75-90 lbs of tension for that racket head size.
Stick with manufacturer recommendations for optimal playing power and performance.
How to Fix This
There are a few options on how to fix your racket.
You’re not going to find anything magic, but combining some of these methods is sure to preserve your racket strings from breaking on a constant basis.
1. Switch Out Your Strings
Even if they’re not broken, it’s time to switch them out for something else.
Most strings used in rackets nowadays are crafted out of nylon, and while those are all well and good, they’re not as stretchy as polyester, the other common type of string.
If your racket came with nylon strings and now they’ve broken, you might just have a wicked forehand.
Polyester strings have more give to them, meaning they’re going to output some of that shock from the kinetic energy of the ball instead of internalizing it all.
This could actually help you with your long-term game sense by giving a bit more oomph to your outgoing shots and serves.
2. Use a Stringing Machine
Stringing machines get the job done right, and remove a lot of human error from the equation.
If you’re stringing by hand, then you might end up with some strings being too tight, while others too loose; it’s just going to throw everything out of balance and make it an absolute mess.
The impact isn’t going to know where to go.
Stringing machines make it consistent, and also cut down on the time it takes to string.
That’s important because who wants to perform a tedious task for over an hour?
If you could afford it, you’d likely hire someone to string your rackets for you (because we sure would).
Stringing machines cut down on time so you’re more likely to give full attention to detail throughout the entire process and get a better level of tension on your racket.
3. Lower the Tension
Is this breakage thing a common occurrence?
It’s time to lower than tension and let it breathe a bit.
You might just have a really awesome forehand and a backhand game that’s causing a lot of pressure on the strings.
Even if you are going to switch to polyester, you can still lower the overall string tension on your racket by 5-10 lbs to help you out.
This is obviously going to change the way your racket feels when you make contact with the ball.
You might notice less vibration in your arm, as well as a slight change to how far you can lob the ball.
High tension rackets are best suited for badminton, but tennis balls (especially if you’re using heavy-duty) can cause a lot of damage to the strings when the tension is too high, and you’re delivering powerful shots.
4. Try Hybrid Patterns
Hybrid stringing patterns use multiple strings, usually two, to weave a specific pattern into your tennis racket.
Weight is distributed differently with these, so you’re going to feel less vibration and tension on your wrist, and overall less on the strings as well.
When you use a single stringing method, the ball transports all of its kinetic energy into one solid piece of string.
With a hybrid pattern, depending on the impact zone, that’s cut in half.
Simply put, it divides the tension to different strings so that you’re not stressing out the entire racket each time you make contact with the ball.
Hybrid stringing patterns can, at the very least, give you a few extra months of wear and tear before you have to restring your racket.
You should only have to restring your racket 1-2 times per year for casual use, 4-6 times per year for heavy-duty use.
Keep Your Gear Maintained
Do your best to keep your gear maintained, even in the off-season (such as if you live in a snowy climate and only have access to outdoor courts).
It’s ridiculously important to inspect your equipment even when it’s not in use.
Having the right tennis racket stringer and the proper amount of tension on your racket, as defined by your manufacturer, will be your saving grace.
Remember the brief, memorable lessons we discussed on how to know your racket tension and keep it in the right range, and you’ll do fine to continue cracking shots over your opponent’s heads.Last updated on: