How to Prevent Snapping a Tennis String

A broken string can cost you your match.

A broken string can cost you your match.

Top women tennis professionals are not the only players who snap or break their strings. This dilemma can also happen to women who play at the recreational level. Strings break for a number of reasons -- wear and tear, type of string, design of your racket or the condition of your racket. If this were to happen to you during a match, without a spare racket, you’d be out of options -- and your opponent would win. However, there are a few measures you can take to keep your strings from breaking and stay in the game.

Restring your racket before a string snaps. Some types of string, natural gut for example, fray when they start to wear. If you notice this, especially in the sweet spot area, chances are the strings will break during your next women's league match. The sweet spot is the area on the string bed where very little shock or vibration is created when the ball makes contact with the strings.

Put a thicker string in your racket. String gauge sizes range from 15 to 18 gauge -- the thinnest being 18 gauge. Although thinner strings play better than thicker strings, they wear faster. Some women tennis players hit hard with a lot of spin and their strings snap often. If you're one of these players, try a 16- or 15-gauge string.

Give hybrid stringing a try; one type of string is used for the main -- or long -- strings and another type is used for the cross strings. The main strings move back and forth when you hit tennis balls, which creates friction against the cross strings. This causes grooves or notches in the main strings and because of this, they typically break first. To avoid this, use a durable string for the main strings. Many durable string combinations are available, but be careful because some are not as forgiving as others. Women who play with a lot of touch might try a 16-gauge synthetic gut string for the mains and a playable string, such as 17-gauge natural gut, for the crosses.

Play with a racket that has a closed or dense string pattern. This refers to the number of main strings and the number of cross strings. Compared to an open-pattern racket, a dense string pattern has more main and cross strings. For example, a racket with 18 main strings and 20 cross strings has a dense pattern. With a dense pattern, the strings don't move as much when you contact the ball. Less movement leads to less friction and notching.

Replace worn grommets. These are small plastic tubes attached to a plastic strip. The strip fits through the holes around the racket's frame. Grommets protect the strings from rubbing against the sharp edges of the frame. With multiple restringing jobs and with age, the grommets can become jagged and brittle. Mishitting the ball near the frame and near worn grommets can cause the string to snap.

Insert string savers, sometimes called string-a-lings, into the strings of your racket. String savers are tiny plastic pieces that are inserted at the intersection of a main and a cross string -- usually in the sweet spot area. The tiny pieces keep the strings from rubbing against each other, which reduces notching. You simply lift a string and put a string saver over the main and under the cross string. Don't worry about breaking your nails; string savers come with an easy-to-use applicator that pries the two strings apart allowing you to slide in a string saver.

Items you will need

  • Tennis racket string
  • String savers
 

References

  • Stringer's Digest 2009; United States Racquet Stringers Association

Photo Credits

  • Scott Barbour/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images