Customising Rackets - What's it all about?
There are a number of reasons why people buy rackets, be it squash, tennis, racketball or badminton. They buy based on a number of factors, including:
How it looks
How it feels (weight, balance, grip)
Which Pro uses it
A brief trial with their friend’s racket
Because their current/old racket has broken or is on the way out!
How many people actually receive a new racket which plays nothing like what they thought it would, based on their reasons for buying it in the first place?
It’s not uncommon in Tennis for decent rackets to be sold unstrung, with manufacturers aware that the discerning player would most likely rip the original/factory strings out anyway. Tennis players will often use lead tape to fine tune the balance of their rackets, sometimes even resizing their grip (which is actually pretty good fun to do). Tennis players will also use hybrid string set ups, with different string compositions (gut/multifilament/synth gut/poly/braided) in mains and crosses, often at different tensions. I’ve got some good experience of this, and for Tennis it certainly works – but can take a bit of fine tuning for a player to decide what they like.
In squash, however, rackets generally come strung with factory string, or if you buy top of the range rackets from certain manufacturers, you might be lucky enough to get the string you’d normally choose - Tecnifibre with 305 or DNAMX in their flagship rackets, for example. However, the tensions will often vary due to the length of time the strings have been in the rackets, storage conditions and (most commonly) some pretty shocking stringing at the factory where only every 5th string may be tensioned! Do a YouTube search and you’ll see some interesting content!
I’m currently stringing a lot of new rackets with strings that players would normally chose to have their rackets restrung with, though I still like to string based on the style and skill level of a player too, so will offer advice on what I think will best suit their game. It makes a huge difference to the racket you’ve just spent a lot of money on. At the end of the day, the strings, not the frame, make contact with the ball... well, most of the time! Like with Tennis, any squash racket can be re-balanced or have its grip resized too, but this happens less frequently.
For me, stringing isn’t just about replacing broken strings, it’s about making the racket play even better – why replace when you can improve?! Some quick fixes for players looking to maximise their game:
You want more power - use a lower tension (20 - 24lbs)
you want more control - use a higher tension (27 - 30lbs)
You want an even mix of power and control (24lbs - 27lbs)
Make allowances for head size - smaller head, drop the tension a bit (string bed is smaller)
You're a touch player - braided strings, like ashaway supernick xl, might suit your game
You like playing a powerful, fast paced game - a multifilament like TF 305 might be best
The above is subjective! Different strings suit different people.
If you want to find out more about stringing/racket setups get in touch. I’ll look at options to suit your game.
ERSA Master Pro Stringer