End Of Year Stringing Stats (Squash)!
This year I've strung somewhere in the region of 750 - 800 rackets, with around 500+ being squash rackets. As I've strung a few rackets, across most brands, I've compiled some data which hopefully you'll find interesting!
Firstly, let's start with the the most popular string manufacturer... Tecnifibre is the most popular string manufacturer, with over 50% of rackets I've strung now containing TF strings, with Ashaway being the closest. The most popular TF string model being 305 1.20, followed by Ashaway Super Nick XL Micro. In 3rd Place we have Tecnifibre X-One Biphase which is making a resurgence since the new orange model came out (it also seems to be a lot more durable than the previous red version).
Given 305's place in the market, with it being the most used string on the PSA tour by a fair distance, it's only natural that most of the players I string for opt for this string. I've actually noticed that it's off-centre breakages have gone down this year considerably - with far more strings getting to the 'fluff stage', before breaking in the middle of the string bed, as opposed to around the frames. If you get your racket strung by a competent/qualified stringer who has access to the latest TF strings, they are far more durable than those from reels of 2 years or so ago.
The makes of racket I've been stringing most are EYE, Karakal, Tecnifibre, Unsquashable and Dunlop.
With 56% of Unsquashable rackets being strung straight from the factory and around 30% of other rackets being restrung before they've even hit a ball, there's a growing trend of customising. I think this is partly driven by the trend in manufacturers releasing signature rackets along with the average player becoming more educated in string setups and how customising can help their game progress.
The average tension I've strung at over the last 12 months is just over 25 lbs, showing that most people seem to prefer a mid tension. It's very rare that I string a racket towards 30 lbs. The modern style of play dictates that players need accessible power at a moments notice. Volleying whenever possible to take time away from the opponent and having a shorter swing to help accomplish this are bedrocks of the present game, so having a bouncier string bed certainly helps. Average string gauge sits at around 1.19mm - between the most popular TF 305 (1.20mm) and the X-One Biphase (1.18mm), which I think is about right. Generally speaking, the majority of Ashaway strings I use are 1.15mm (Ultra Nick 18, SuperNick XL Micro, Power Nick 18).
Since my last end of year stringing blog, I was asked to present the reasons for restrings, so I compiled a radar chart, showing the reasons why people wanted/needed their rackets restrung, including where strings were breaking.
Most rackets i strung had around 10% - 20% of string breakages off-centre (side/top), where as a not inconsiderable 45% of Prince rackets suffered breakages around the frame, mainly at the head of the racket. A big factor behind this is that as the rackets get older, the paint tends to chip around the O's/Speed Ports leading to jagged edges that cut into the string, or the grommets wearing badly on rackets like the Airsticks/sovereigns. Sadly, I don't get to string too many of the newer Princes, as the newer frames don't seem to outlast the strings, so couldn't comment as much on paint chips/jagged edges etc.
Predictions for next year...
I can see the average tension decreasing further, maybe to around 24 lbs as the game gets even more dynamic.
Unsquashable Tour-Tec Pro 1.18 string to make a big impact if they release it in a brighter colour (I rate this string, a good alternative to Tecnifibre/RAB Sensorfibre)
Players carrying rackets with them strung at different tensions (I think this is a good idea, to add more options if you need to change your game).
Some top pros switching from Harrow to other brands (Eye, Dunlop, Tecnifibre, Unsquashable)?