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Tensions & Tips

String Tension & Gauge (width)

  • Lower String Tension = Greater Power

  • Higher String Tension = Greater Control

  • High Tension = Less Durability*

  • Lower Tension = Greater Durability**

  • Thin Strings = Greater Power 

  • Thin Strings = Less Durability

  • Thick Strings = Less Power

  • Thick Strings = Greater Durability

*String breakage is often due to mishits or 'framing' on tightly strung rackets

**Lower tensions can lead to strings moving against each other, causing them to fray and snap in the middle of the racket 

jon stringing.jpg

Click the XLS file link for my recommended string tensions, including many of the main strings and rackets currently being used by club and professional players. Please note that this is personal preference, on an electronic machine (I would suggest adding at least a lb or two for crank/drop weight machines). 

These are not minimum or maximum ranges. 

A Few Pointers 

  • String your crosses from top to bottom to maintain frame integrity. Use an 'Around the World' Pattern if required

  • Test the clamp pressure before starting. Too loose causes strings to slip and loose tension. Too tight, you damage the string

  • A larger head size normally requires greater tension than a smaller head to create the same feel

  • Check the recommended tension range on the racket. They differ!

  • Move strings up and down the string bed when pulling through to prevent burning the strings

  • Keep the cross strings straight whilst pulling tension, keeps the final tension true and consistent

How Much String To Use And What Type

Squash & Racketball

  • Most squash rackets strung with 1 length of string (2 tie offs)

  • Small/mid sized head - 5 arm spans of string

  • Teardrop/large head - 5.5 to 6 arm spans of string

  • Racketball - 6.5 - 7 arm spans


  • Many tennis rackets are strung as a '2 piece' - mains and cross strings are strung separately (4 tie offs)

  • Small/mid sized head - 7 arm spans (3.5 + 3.5)

  • Oversize head - 7.5 arm spans (4 mains + 3.5 cross) 


  • Most badminton rackets are strung as a '2 piece' - mains and cross strings are strung separately (4 tie offs)

  • Generally 3 arm spans for mains and 3 arm spans for crosses will be sufficient

  • Unlike other racket sports, badminton rackets should have crosses strung throat to head (due to head shape)

In Tennis, if you can afford it, natural gut is generally considered the best overall string for comfort, feel and power. Failing that, choose a multifilament or synthetic gut string that suits your arm and your budget. Poly strings are generally a little harder wearing and are good for control and generating spin, especially the shaped poly, but can cause arm issues if strung too tight. Rule of thumb is to drop tension by around 10% on polys and not to use on young players who are still developing physically. Some players, especially pros, will choose to use a hybrid mix to add power, control, durability or feel to the string bed. 

In Squash, many players use multifilament strings as they are kinder on the arm and deliver superior performance. Experienced players will often replace original/factory strings straight away. If you're a tennis stringer, steer clear of using multifilament strings designed for Tennis, as they are harder, less elastic and less powerful than their squash equivalents. And absolutely do NOT use poly strings - the ball will slide off them and poly strings will be very bad for the arm.


In Badminton, most strings are a multifilament, but more of a line and twine approach (fibres are more obvious to the eye, covered in a sheath). Lots of badminton strings are gauged on the sound and hard/soft feel. 0.67mm and upwards is advisable for most players if they're looking  for a bit more durability, as badminton strings are very prone to breaking at the head through mishits. Badminton strings, despite being very thin, are normally strung at similar tensions to squash - between 20lbs - 30lbs, but some top level players go above 30lbs for greater control.

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