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How well do you know your racquet and tennis strings?

Tip from Emil

I often talk to people about different strings and often times they have no idea what the difference is between different types of tennis strings. Here is a little guide that hopefully will give you a better idea next time you look for a string.

String Type:

Nylon Solid Core:

+ Pros: least expensive & most durable

- Cons: Stiff. Doesn’t cushion ball well.

Nylon/Polyurethane multifilament’s:

+ Pros: Top shelf synthetic. Excellent feel & shock absorption.

- Cons: More expensive - $15 - $30

Natural gut:

This is the stuff that Federer uses 😊

+ Pros – Good pop, control & comfort.

- Cons – Most expensive ($40+). Made from cow intestine. Breaks easily.


+ Pros – Takes power off shots so you can hit harder. Durable but not stiff.

- Cons – Loses tension quickly. Hence why you have to get it restrung more often.


This is a popular option that I do often times.

+ Pros – You use one type of string for the mains and one for the cross - blend qualities for custom feel. It is durable.

- Cons – It feels a bit stiff at first.


The next thing that a lot of people are not familiar with is the weight distribution in the racquet head.

Head Heavy or Head Light?

Head Heavy Racquet:

+ Pros – You get more power.

- Cons – Much harder to maneuver at the net.

It is usually best for players who rally from the baseline.

Head Light:

+ Pros- Easier to maneuver at the net.

- Cons – Less power from the baseline.

Best for servers, volleyers, and all court player who take full swings.

Balanced Weight:

+ Pros – Best of both worlds.

- Cons – Doesn’t excel in any one area.

Usually best for all-court players.

What is a String Gauge?

It refers to the thickness of the tennis string. Most strings on the market are between 15 gauge (the thickest) and 18 gauge (the thinnest). The thinner the string, the better it will play-you'll get more "feel" and control because the string bites into the ball. The downside: Thin strings break more quickly. My advice would be to start with a 17 gauge first and see how it goes.

What tension should I put?

Great question! 55-65 pounds is a common range. The higher you go the more control you get, the lower your tension the more power you get. Find the perfect balance by experimenting a few times.

Open or Closed String Pattern?

Another good question here. What is the difference between the two? Well there is a difference and it is always good to know that. So, the Open pattern (16 main – 20 cross) because there is more space between strings that adds spin to the ball by allowing the strings to bite more deeply. The more topspin the harder you can hit the ball and still keep in the court.

Closed pattern (18 main – 20 cross) – Less space between strings adds control in directing shots. You will need to brush up on the ball more to add topspin.

What is the difference in racquet head sizes?

Usually racquet head sizes are between 95-110 square inches. Generally, larger heads generate more power and have a larger sweet spot. On the other hand, smaller head sizes will provide less power but more control. If power is what you are after, then you should go with a larger head size, if control is more important to you than smaller head size is the way to go.

I hope this mini guide is of help to you so go ahead and check your racquet’s specs to see what you have and if that is the right racquet for you. For more tips and videos please follow me on Twitter @CoachEMethod

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