2022 Squash Stringing Review
With over 1,000 squash rackets strung in 2022, I had a great opportunity to gather some data. As we know, data is King.
The good news is that nearly 60% off restrings were performed due to strings breaking in the middle - so people hitting the ball consistently in the right place!
The next most common reason for replacing strings, more than 20%, was due to them being worn (this includes those who just wanted a different colour or to switch to a different brand). It's encouraging that people change string before they break them, well certainly for those who have strings in rackets for more than 2 or 3 months where the tension would have dropped and the strings will have deadened, with the player just getting used to it. Nothing better than a fresh set of strings!
Just under 15% of restrings were due to strings breaking at the head and the side, essentially from mishits and sometimes damaged grommets or jagged paint work on O and Speed Ports on Prince Power Rings. Unbelievably, a few people even managed to mishit the ball and break strings at the throat (not an easy feat)! It's important to look at the causes and solutions. Often I'll recommend Ashaway strings for chronic miss hitters, due to the line & twine construction, they're far more forgiving around the frame than most multifilaments. However, Ashaway can have a tendency to break a little quicker in the middle of the string bed, especially when strung loose, as most models (aside from MultiNick) are rough and grate against each other. In this instance, a smoother and more waxy string like most Tecnifibre models may work better. But it does also depend on style of play and how 'choppy' your action is. Little piece of advice for those breaking strings around the frame. Most are caused by trying to hit the ball hard and flat off the side walls. Try opening the racket face and lifting the ball off the wall. A far more effective shot and kinder on the strings/racket.
Around 10% of restrings were performed on brand new rackets. This was mainly for professional and highly competent players who are very particular about their setup. As I always say, the strings in your racket can be just as important as the frame.
A whopping 68% of restrings were with Tecnifibre strings, with 305 1.20 being the most popular model. Ashaway next up with 14%, followed by Karakal with just under 10% and Unsquashable with 5% share. The remaining 4% was split between other manufacturers including Dunlop, Head, Kirschbaum, RAB etc. The vast majority of players and pros I string for use Tecnifibre, Ashaway and Karakal - using many of the models.
Tecnifibre topped the list of rackets I strung in 2022, with the mighty Carboflex variants leading the way. Part of the reason is because they're very popular and highly playable. Another reason is that the rackets are very durable, meaning that in a racket's lifecycle they are likely to last long enough for quite a few restrings! Karakal followed behind, with the Raw 2.0 Pro Joel Makin edition proving very popular. Head, Dunlop and Unsquashable all still popular with the likes of Prince slipping further behind. Personally I find this very sad as Prince were THE brand of the 90's. It seems their racket (and financial) fragility a few years ago has had an impact.
Predictions for 2023. Customisation, balancing and dropping tensions! I think there'll be quite a few decent players dropping towards the early twenties. I've noticed the tensions creeping down a little from the last time I did a review, with the average tension being 24.5lbs (down from just over 25lbs from the previous year). The lowest I've strung at this year has been 18lbs and the highest 30lbs. The average gauge (thickness) has also gone down from just over 1.19mm to 1.185mm with the lowest gauge being 1.10mm, the thickest 1.30mm.