Women use a motion for their serves and groundstrokes that generates less power than the typical movement men use. Based on how you string your racket, you can increase the power on your shots, if that’s your main stringing goal. If you’ve got adequate power and need more control or have tennis elbow issues, you’ll use a different tension.
Tennis manufacturers make three types of racket: beginner, intermediate and advanced models. Changing the head size, stiffness, length and balance point, manufacturers can change how much power and control the racket delivers. Many women’s rackets have larger heads, are more flexible and are longer to help maximize power. Each racket comes with a recommended string tension range on the handle, based on the type of player the racket is designed for. The recommended string tension range is usually about 10 pounds. For example, the range might be 55 to 65 pounds.
You might be surprised to learn that tighter strings provide less power. Think of jumping on a trampoline or jumping on a tennis court. The more flexible trampoline will rebound you farther. Tighter strings create less rebound, but give you more control. If you need more power, string your racket toward the low end of your racket’s recommended tension range. This will also reduce impact shock if you have a tennis elbow problem. Less-skilled players who have less power usually string their rackets at the lower end of the recommended string tension range. Strings that are too loose can cause you to spray balls all over the court, so consider starting at the middle of your recommended tension range and decreasing your tension by two or three pounds each re-string.
If you’ve got a strong serve and deep, forceful groundstrokes, you might want more control over your shots for more accurate placement. For example, right-handed women with strong, two-handed backhands who primarily play doubles from the ad side might see mostly backhands during matches. You’ll have less room to hit your shots than in singles because you’ll have to avoid the net person. Tighter strings will give you more control to hit in the restricted area where you’ll be hitting most of your shots. To increase your control, string your racket toward the higher end of its recommended string tension range. Advanced players usually generate enough power and desire extra control, and therefore string their rackets tighter.
The type of string you use and whether you hit with excessive topspin or flatter strokes will also come into play when determining string tension. Tighter strings maximize the optimal hitting area in the center of the racket for creating topspin. Choose a string designed to provide maximum topspin, if you need to string your racket looser to get more power or avoid arm pain. If you have both poor control and little power, you might be better off going with a racket that provides the control, using looser strings to give you power. This will be especially helpful if your late and off-center cause you arm problems. Intermediates should string their rackets in the middle of the recommended tension range.
Sam Ashe-Edmunds has been writing and lecturing for decades. He has worked in the corporate and nonprofit arenas as a C-Suite executive, serving on several nonprofit boards. He is an internationally traveled sport science writer and lecturer. He has been published in print publications such as Entrepreneur, Tennis, SI for Kids, Chicago Tribune, Sacramento Bee, and on websites such Smart-Healthy-Living.net, SmartyCents and Youthletic. Edmunds has a bachelor's degree in journalism.