Why Egos and Incorrect Information About String Tensions In Badminton Could Be Doing More Harm Than Good

  • Paul Stewart Badminton Racket Stringer

Imagine the scene. A young player is chatting to an experienced player at your club about racquets. Invariably at some point the discussion moves on to the subject of string tension. “My racquets are strung at 30lbs” says the experienced player, “the tighter the string the better – that’s what you want.”

Now this scenario has been played thousands of times in club and league badminton and it will continue. The question is, is it doing any damage?

There has been a huge amount written about racquet string tensions in badminton over the last few years. Forums are full of players quoting all sorts of sky high numbers. For those who are new to this wonderful game, or have limited knowledge of this critical element, it is very easy to be taken in by the confident belief that “the tighter the string, the better” or “the tighter the string, the more power you get.”

Is It True, or Have We Been Told A Big Lie All These Years?

If you want a simple answer, then the above statements are untrue. It’s not quite as simple as that though. So let’s separate fact from fiction so that you can then make more informed decisions about your string tensions.

The string tension in your badminton racquet plays a major part in your ability to play shots well. If the strings are too slack, then they fail to perform at optimum level. For now, I’ll assume you are past beginner level and play in a club and you’re a senior (over 18).

Before I discuss what I consider to be “safe” string tensions, perhaps it’s worth getting some of the facts about string into the open.

  • All strings stretch, like elastic, and therefore from the day your racquet is strung, the strings begin to lose tension (known as creepage in the trade).
  • Every racquet has a “sweet spot.” This is an area on the strings which produces the best results from the contact with a shuttle.
  • The lower the tension, the bigger the sweet spot. Consequently, beginners need to play with lower tensions as they are more likely to mis-hit the shuttle. The bigger “optimum hitting area” is therefore essential in their progress in the sport.
  • As a player becomes more consistent, they do not require such huge sweet spots. Their needs change and they now require a faster “response” off the strings and more power.
  • As tensions are increased, the sweet spot reduces. A highly accomplished player, who consistently hits the shuttle well, will generate more power and enjoy the benefits of the shuttle travelling faster off the strings. The tighter strings give them more control.

OK, so we’ve moved from beginner to highly accomplished player. I’m not talking about your first team player here because that will vary between leagues or clubs. What I mean by a highly accomplished player is someone who is representing the area, playing county badminton or even international badminton. They could be tournament players who are playing local and national tournaments. They play to a consistently high standard.

When Increased String Tension Does Not Equal Increased Power

Whenever you increase string tension, there is a point when you do not get the same return in terms of power.  So what is this point of “diminishing returns?” This will depend on the individual. A highly accomplished player may find that their tensions need to be 24lbs before they notice a leveling out on power. A lower level player may find that this is way too high and 20/21 lbs is a max. Whilst it may not seem a great difference in terms of numbers, I assure you it’s massive in terms of how the racquet plays and feels.

Whatever the range, please keep your ego at bay here as it’s so common for players to boast about playing with super-high tensions and yet their performance will be suffering as a result.

Once you have found your maximum tension for power, then you need to decide whether you wish to sacrifice some in order to improve the repulsion characteristics of the string, which basically give you more control of the shuttle.  Let me explain…

As the strings are tighter and the sweet spot reduces, the strings do not absorb the shuttle and then propel it forwards as much (which is where power comes from in the string).  Instead the shuttle moves off the strings quicker, instantly reacting to the movement of the racquet. This produces control.

The lower repulsion and higher control characteristics are what the top players are seeking in order to provide them with the greatest opportunity to exploit the weaknesses of the opposition. They already posses the power required to create openings and recognize that this, coupled with touch and speed form the basis for a top flight all-round game.

So Where’s The Danger?

Every racquet manufacturer provides information on what they deem safe tensions for their racquets. Many players choose to ignore these “early warnings” and have their racquets strung considerably higher.

As you can imagine, exceeding recommended limits is potentially dangerous in two ways. Firstly, the racquet frame may crack or shatter due to the significant pressure on it. Second, when you increase tension, you also increase vibration through the racquet.

The loss of repulsion characteristics means the player may have to put more into the shot to get the same power. This may result in tennis elbow, shoulder or neck injuries, which are now becoming more common because of the higher tension requirements from players.

And that’s where this knowledge can be dangerous. These injuries are serious and can take considerable time to heal. You may need physiotherapy treatment which is costly. My concern here is that young players are being given the wrong information, backed up by over-zealous players in far-east who contribute to the badminton forums. Before you know it, our budding youngsters are sidelined with serious injuries and could easily miss a season.

League clubs overall are suffering through falling numbers. Losing a player for weeks or months through injury can be a major blow to the club. Promotion, relegation or even winning the league may depend on fielding a fully fit side week after week. It would be tragic to lose a key player through injury at a critical time.

How Tight Is Tight – A Guide To Stringing Tensions In Badminton

I’ve been stringing badminton racquets for over 20 years. This has included string for beginners to international players. Having seen the changes in technology from two piece racquets, to one piece composite frames, nano technology and isometric heads, I’ve pretty much seen it all over the years. The development in racquet technology has brought us lighter and yet stronger frames.

This development has also generated a significant amount of testing by international players, looking for competitive advantage. Tensions have been pushed higher and have now entered those usually seen in  squash racquets. Bear in mind squash racquets are significantly thicker and heavier than badminton racquets and therefore they are designed to withstand these tensions.

So here’s my guide to racquet tensions. As with all guides, there are players who will not wish to be classed as a beginner or low level player (there’s that ego again), and therefore dismiss my recommended tension. Also, tensions are so personal. We all play a different game, some are power players, some are great tacticians, some have a very broad range of shots, others have limited shots but have mastered them. Essentially we’re all different. You need to experiment to find the optimum tension for your style of play.

  • Beginner – 16lbs – 18lbs – especially if playing with plastic shuttles
  • Beginner – 17lbs-19lbs if playing with feathers
  • Intermediate – 18lbs -20lbs
  • Advanced – 20lbs-22lbs
  • County/International – 23lbs – 25lbs

As I said previously, this is a guide. I know county players who are happy playing with 22lbs and I also know some who play with 27lbs or more.

Whilst stringers will string your racquet beyond the manufacturers recommended tension, expect them to stipulate that they will not be responsible if the frame breaks.

A Quick Word About Playing With Plastic Shuttles

Whilst playing with plastic shuttles is extremely cost effective compared to feather shuttles, please bear in mind that hitting these shuttles are a major cause of tennis elbow. Plastic shuttles do not fly like a feather. You generally have to put more effort into clearing the shuttle to the back of the court than you do with a feather.

As the saying goes you “stroke a feather and punch a plastic.”

Because there are significant flight differences between plastic and feather shuttles, it is recommended that you lower your string tension to get more repulsion properties from your string and less vibration. If you’re playing with a plastic shuttle and have your racquet strung at say, 24lbs, you may as well play with a board.

As with all sports, a modicum of common sense prevails. I’ve known players who play with both plastic and feather shuttles. Thankfully, they are fully aware of the increased dangers of playing with plastics compared to feather shuttles and use a different racquet, strung 2-3 lbs less than their racquet for feathers in order to compensate.

What About Differences In strings?

Zymax 69 Fire Badminton StringThis article is not written to do direct comparisons with strings but there are a few things worth mentioning.

Generally, the better players are opting for thinner gauge strings like Yonex BG80. It’s a great string, can be strung to high tensions and the players like the “feel” and control they get with the combination of a favoured tension and this string. As it’s thinner, the string will not have the same durability as a thicker gauge string and therefore the racquet will need to be strung more often.

Again, string choice is personal. Beginners need string with durability rather than feel and control because their focus at this standard of play is all about getting the shuttle back and playing rallies.

As the player develops and skill increases, the need for durability reduces. Control and feel become more important. There are strings that bridge the gap between these two opposing needs, namely Yonex BG65Ti, Ashaway Rally 21 and many more.

To find what works for you, you need to speak to your stringer and ask them to record your tensions and chosen string so that you can eventually find the right combination for you. If you change racquets, you may need to adjust again, but generally you’ll only be making minor adjustments to suit.

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Let’s Wrap This Up

Hopefully you now understand that a higher tension does not necessarily equal more power and generally it’s actually the opposite. Please do not be fooled by those boasting of extremely high tensions, they may already be feeling the pain from this and yet don’t wish to tell you about it!

There are definitely dangers in exceeding racquet manufacturer recommended tensions. Beware, you could soon be ending your love affair with your favourite racquet if you choose to exceed the recommended tension. Check your frame for stress lines frequently or you may be in for a shock.

Test to find your optimum tension and string choice. Remember, this is personal to you and you alone. What’s right for you may be detrimental to your club colleague or partner.

Please, do not be lead by others and some of the foolish comments on the badminton forums. Test any changes in small increments of 1lb. Bear in mind that each string is individually tensioned when stringing a racquet, so a 1lb increase is enough to notice a difference.

When you’ve found the right tension for you and the right string, you can then concentrate on enjoying and improving your game without having that little niggle in the back of your mind that you’re missing something.

Enjoy your testing and feel free to email me if you want further clarification on any of the points I’ve raised – it’s always good to hear from you.

70 Comments

  1. Kaushal March 10, 2017 at 1:46 pm

    p.s. I’m using Yonex NBG 99

  2. Kaushal March 10, 2017 at 1:30 pm

    I used to be a good player (intermediate) till my early 20s but then stopped playing. I started agn couple months bk, now in my mid 30s, with an Arcsaber Lite 2i at default tension.
    For the first 6 weeks, daily playing, I really enjoyed d racquet but in d next couple weeks, as my game reached a higher level, I began to feel d racquet ws very low on power n esp as d shuttle got a bit slower, Mavis 2000, I was overcompensating n my shoulder began to hurt. Additionally, my soft net touches were bouncing like crazy
    I decided tht a stiffer n head heavy racquet wd help me n luckily d Mizuno JPX 8.3 ws on sale
    Hvin read this article, n counting myself a low intermediate player, I decided not to string d racquet higher than 20 lbs. Hweve we do not have too many stringers here n d one I visited hd a look at my Mizuno n said he wd not string it lower than 24 lbs! As luck wd hv it, d guy who actually strung it, said he used 26 lbs!!
    Needless to say, I was v jittery playing with my new high strung racquet. Hweve aft playing d first few shots, it felt incredibly powerful n had tremendous control. I hv bn using it over 2 weeks now n don’t feel any shoulder pain or as if I’m stretching it.
    My question is, as someone has remarked above, is it a question of culture, body type and local temperature that ppl in Asia keep, n apparently handle, such high tensions? Other players in our club seem to b hvin even higher tensions, judging by d sound d shot makes, I’m really curious what’s going on here..

    • Paul Stewart March 12, 2017 at 8:20 am

      Yes, you are right. The belief in Asia is that even a beginner should have a tension at 24 of higher, whereas we tend to think of 17-18lbs as a good tension for beginners. We simply respect the other view and crry on. Good luck with your badminton

      • Kaushal March 12, 2017 at 12:04 pm

        Dear Paul,
        Thanks for your reply, I really want to understand what’s happening here.

        Is it because of the temperature or body structure difference?

        An alternate theory I hv is perhaps d type of racquet? I hv a Nanospeed 66 n a Nanoray 95DX (both default strings) neither of wch I can play with because the string tension sends severe shivers down my shoulder ball. Is it that head light racquets are prone to cause shoulder pain rather than high tensions?
        I would like you to weigh in on this.

      • Paul Stewart March 16, 2017 at 2:55 pm

        Head light rackets do not cause should er problems unless you have changed your technique to use this spec of racket. This does happen because the player doesn’t get the same power and therefore begins to throw their should into the shot.

  3. ittim November 21, 2016 at 5:45 pm

    Hi Paul, I’m glad I stumbled upon this post, it may have prevented me making a big error. I’ve been playing on and off for years but in the past 12 months I’ve been playing socially every week. I’ve been using an old Wilson racket and noticed a drop in my play. A friend meant me his yonex to 10 and I found my play improved greatly. So after researching I think I’m about to purchase a voltric 7. Seems to me that is a good all rounder. Part of the deal is a free pro restring. I assumed that a higher tension would be a must but now I see that would be an error. So I was thinking perhaps bg65 set at 22lbs. But I’m not sure if I should go lower or if I should just take the racket with the manufacturer fitted strings? I think it comes at around 21 lbs. I like to play a mix of shots but favour long shots and smashes

    • Paul Stewart November 22, 2016 at 6:01 am

      Tension depends on the type of shuttle you play with.

      I would definintely take up the offer of a free restring as manufacture tensions are reasonably low around 17-18lbs, sometimes lower but rarely higher. If you play with feathers then 22lbs will be fine. If you use plastic shuttles, and given your relative inexperience, 20 lbs max.

      t would help if you invested in coaching as this will bring about the fastest improvement in your game.

      Good luck

  4. milchflash October 27, 2016 at 2:46 pm

    Hi Community,

    im stringing for about 2 years, i play for about 8 years usualy 4x a week and i wanna share some stuff that i experienced.
    At first i wanna leave out some stuff about general badminton material what i think. Little later i go in detail with strings.

    Comparison racket, stringing and interaction

    the stringing is important and makes some differences! However, what realy limits your shots, in power, speed and acuracy is not exactly the stringing, its more the racket and even more your style of movement.

    So the first and major thing is, are you a doubles player or singles. In Doubles you tend to use much faster racketactions and shorter movements quicker reaction time etc. In a singles game you have way more time and space to reach the shuttle. That makes all your movements bigger.
    What does that mean for your Racket?
    headlight or in general light rackets tend to vavour fast driving style. You can position your racket faster, and you can play with lesser reaction time and a short powerfull movement. Speed of movement of body and racket is king here.
    In singles you have more time to do your strokes. Heavy and headheavy rackets move slower but way more powerfull. Also i tend to have way more deceptive shots, because i create more energy with a lesser movement.

    that means the racket you choose limits the way you play and your racket will influence the style of your game. for example with a lighter racket you can way easyer lift a smash or you can way better change the direction of shuttle in driving exchanges.
    The heavyer racket lets you punch out the ball deep from a corner or gives you a little more safety and consistence in your shoots.

    (for example)
    Stringing is kind of the same.
    In doubles you want fast reacting stringing that responses at all areas of the rackethead equal. Harder strings make your netplay and your slow shots whay more precise. Also the points are a little extremer. When you getting a clear atacking chance, you most likely get to score the point. Or you have faster driving game then your oponent,or you can defende your oponents smash. You easyly can give up some power every bit of controle you can get.
    Means little harder strings in double for more controle.

    In singles i would say it is an other thing. I would leave it to preference if you prefere the slightly more acurate shot or if you like it if you can free up the pressure with a little ´lesser energy or a little more lengh on your shots.
    Also my maybe inacurate experience is that lower tension lets you flick shutles from your frontcourt pretty deceptive ^^.

    So as long as your main point of training is to develope your movingskills, racket or body, i would suggest low tension. For people that get anoyed when the ball jumps from every point of your rackethead differently and who wanna play the “perfect shot” i would suggest a harder stringing.
    So lower to harder means 19 – 27 lbs.

    Some stuff about stringing that hasent been mentioned is worth it because of importance.

    Rackets have more cross strings main strings. that means the strain from the cross strings is bigger. Rackets tend to deform because of that reason. A few Rackets do that more a few do that lesser. Factors that i think make a difference but i might be wrong here or there might be ecceptions. Lighter rackes, cheeper rackets, rounder crosssection of the frame tend to deform stronger. It may also be that the stringingmashine makes it worse or other mashines can compensate for what ever reason.

    This deformation also lowers the tension in the cross strings and that has massive influence of the quality on your strhings. If you snap your cross and your mainstrings a little bit sidewise you can check the final tension of each string. I woudl say as a mechanical ingeneer student that you loose energy if one sort of strings has to do a significant more work then the other.

    Another variable here is the lengh of the strings in the rackethead. A longer String will deform more under the impact of the shuttle then the shorter string.
    You see there are some factors that influnce the stringing and the durability of your racket.

    Anpther experience
    the type of string you use can have a differente “elasticity factors” and creeping factors (means unelastic deformation ^^) that can also be influenced by temperature.
    So at what temperature the room is that you strinigng in can also have effect.

    All these effects might play a role or not. Depending on your racket or your string.
    In general. most things get worse the more lbs you take. So you should think about the risk if you leave the advices of manufactueres.

    Hope that helped or interests somone ^^
    Have a nice day

    Fabi

    • Paul Stewart October 30, 2016 at 11:20 pm

      Fabi

      Many thanks for your insights.

      It’s interesting to me which rackets players select and why they choose them. Some just have the belief that the latest, most expensive racket must be the best and that’s what they will use. Sadly, for most players super stiff, head heavy rackets do not suit their play at all. Most players would be better suited to medium flex rackets but these tend to be much cheaper and therefore not within the selection criteria.

      Some players choose rackets on the basis that they want what their favourite player is using. Again, this is poor criteria and there is no guarantee that the player actually uses this racket.

      Very few players choose based on their preferred game. I know singles players using head light rackets and doubles players using super stiff, head heavy rackets. What this shows is that despite there being an “average” player, there will always be a number or will go against the trend. I select rackets based on feel. If they feel goood then I can make them play good. I know what I can play with and what doesn’t suit me at all. However, I had t learn this through trial and error.

      Nobody can accurately advise/guess which racket you should play with so it really makes no sense to seek other people’s opinions. However, by all means, test other player’s rackets as often as possible to broaden your experience.

      I agree that you also need to test string type and tension. Depending on the racket you use, this magic combination can change although it doesn’t tend to change too much. Some players change tension depending on tournament conditions. Slow shuttles may dictate reducing tension, whereas faster shuttles may result in an increase in tension. That said some players simply adapt with what they have.

      At the end of the day, everything is about personal taste.

  5. shourya August 18, 2016 at 5:50 pm

    hi i am using li ning turbo x 10.I want to use a low tension string since i am a beginner.Can I use yonex bg 65 titanium for my racket or should i use other string.If yes then please tell me the string.please reply as fast as possible since I have a tournament coming up.please tell me the name of the string which I should preferabily choose since i play with plastic shuttle and please tell the tension of the string as well.

    • Paul Stewart August 26, 2016 at 8:49 am

      you can select any string you like for your racket. There is no such thing as the best string, only what feels good for you. Your stringer should be able to advise on tension.

  6. hyaweh July 7, 2016 at 4:03 pm

    Hi Paul,

    I have been playing with my NR900 with BG66UM at 27lbs for 2 months now and the strings keep moving out of place after a few clears/smashes, is there a specific reason why it does this and would you recommend that I restring it?

    • Paul Stewart July 20, 2016 at 1:14 pm

      you should expect some string movement. of course it could be that you have a slight slice of the face which is also causing string movement. You need to have someone film you and then watch in slow motion.

      It may be that you need a restring. If the racket was restrung at 27lbs, it would not play at this tension as the strings continue to stretch.

  7. StuartKushon June 29, 2016 at 4:19 pm

    Also, as a clarification. Up above I mention 11×13 lbs as a place where I saw a loss of control. That was in reference to clears and smashes. My rackets start to play inconsistently at those very low tensions, even on power shots. They start to play inconsistently on touch shots at 16×18. With feathers.

    I feel like plastic shuttles respond more consistently to these lower tension, but that’s just a feeling.

    • Paul Stewart June 30, 2016 at 6:29 am

      Stuart

      They are incredibly low tensions. Yes, plastic shuttles will respond better to these tensions. Feathers will be very difficult.

  8. StuartKushon June 29, 2016 at 4:08 pm

    So, I’m back over a year later. I’ve learned some things in the mean time.

    I still stick to my assessment that lowering tension on the string generates more power. However it comes at a clear cost. Low tensions, for me that means anything below 18×20, results in difficult to control bounce in the string bed. This makes serving, drop shots, and net shots more difficult to control.

    Over the past year, I suffered from a tricep injury that lasted many months. I had switched to a heavier racquet zf2 4u, and I was paying a lot of plastic The solution to that injury was a modification to my stroke. Fortunately, as a tennis player for many years the concept of pronation was known to me (although I had not thought to implement it in badminton). I started to use pronation as a mechanism to avoid pain, and low and behold my injury healed rapidly.

    Furthermore, once healed, all of my strokes became significantly more powerful. So much so, that these lower string tension for power became completely unnecessary, and in fact a liability. It was a situation were I need to be gentle on my serves, drops, and net shots, but also gentle on my clears! Sure, the smash power was amazing, but if my angle was too high the shuttle would go straight until it hit something (like the back wall of the gymnasium!)

    Regardless, I understand high tension now. For me, if too low (below 18×20) there is a sacrifice of touch shot and serve control. I currently really like 22×24. It offers me excellent touch shot control, and my forehand clears are very low effort, and don’t go out. Backhand clears require moderate effort for full length down the line, and I really need to work on technique because cross court full length just isn’t quite there all the time at that tension.

    It’s a continuous journey.

    • Paul Stewart June 30, 2016 at 6:28 am

      Hi Stuart

      I’m delightred to hear that you now understand how string tension makes a difference in feel, control and power. With your new swing in play, albeit not grooved yet, I’m sure you will find in time that a higher tension will help you further, on the basis you are playing with feather shuttles of course.

      I wish you well in learning this wonderful game.

  9. PaulDeVries January 29, 2016 at 8:34 pm

    Thank you for response. Does the higher tension also decrease power?

    • Paul Stewart February 16, 2016 at 12:59 pm

      Higher tension doesn’t necessarily decrease power but there is a point where this will take effect. This is why you test and find that point where you get the best power/control ratio.

  10. PaulDeVries January 20, 2016 at 5:16 pm

    My son is an up and coming player – he started a couple years ago and is moving to the top of the local club ladder and has done very well in his high school tournaments. He is 16.

    I must admit that neither him or i have thought about racket type much and stringing at all…so a few questions.

    I think form reading here that as you increase tension you gain control but lose power? is that correct or have i got it backward?

    What would be a good tension for him with feather birds? He uses an arcsabre8 racket and plays a bit of an all-round style…good smashes but not overpowering and an assortment of drops etc.

    Also, what should he do when he starts playing at his school again in the spring? They use plastic/synthetic birds and it drives him crazy in terms of the ability to clear and how slow the smashes become. Should he use the same racket and get a lower tension? It is a little frustrating that he plays in a league for the winter to train with feathers and then goes into the high school time in the spring with plastic birds.

    For that matter, is it time to upgrade his racket and if so, any suggestions?

    Thank you in advance for any advise.

    Thank you in advance

    • Paul Stewart January 20, 2016 at 11:48 pm

      Hi Paul,

      You are correct that higher tension provides better control. However you really need to discuss tension with a good stringer. If your son has a coach then speak to the coach about changing rackets. Sometimes players think a new racket acts like a magic wand.

      In order to be able to help you further I’d need to see your son playing which is asking a lot. So, the best option is to speak to the experts around him (or send me a video via your online coaching membership).

      Paul

  11. JasonO March 5, 2015 at 2:33 am

    Hi Paul,

    Thumbs up for a great article.
    I would like to get some advice from you regarding string tension.
    I’m an intermediate player, played socially twice a week, for 2 years I’ve been using my 6U balance &flex shaft racket @ 27lbs, it serve me quite well, recently I bought a 4U heavy head & stiff shaft racket, I also string it at 27lbs.

    When I used this new racket for the first time I notice a dramatic lost of power in my shots, control wise, drop shots and net play is good. However when I smash it doesn’t feels right. After several games I notice that my shoulder hurts, it then radiate to my arm. I can’t even lift the racket to serve.

    I was wondering is the problem I’m facing is due to my string & racket combination? I didn’t face this problem on my other racket.

    • Paul Stewart March 9, 2015 at 2:02 pm

      Jason

      The issue here is changing from one spec to another with both being worlds apart.

      Rest first and clear your injury. When you play again, use your old racket to ensure your injury is healed. Then test your new racket for a short period e.g one game and see how you go. It could be this wasn’t a good purchase for you and you need something heavier but not necessarily head heavy.

      Paul

  12. StuartKushon October 14, 2014 at 4:59 am

    I meant to say that 15 is the lowest I can go without a loss of power. Also, the benefit of the lower racquet mass is dramatically improved defense.

    The down side is touchy short play at the net, but with time I’ve gotten used to it.

    • Paul Stewart October 16, 2014 at 8:59 pm

      Stuart

      Congratulations on testing properly to fully understand how changes in tension affect the feel of the racket and your shots. It must have been very enlightening to do so. The challenge now is to find the tension which suits you best. You will probably have noticed that there is a point where power doesn’t change but control increases. As you go too high, power can diminish and there is usually greater vibration. At this point you may decide your racket is too tight and ease off a pound or two.

      Good luck

      Paul

      • StuartKushon October 16, 2014 at 10:51 pm

        So my testing was done with Ashaway micro power on 2 pairs of raquets.
        I was the stringer, and I had no method to test string tension. If I say that the tension was 25 this means 24 on mains, and 26 on the crosses. To start, I compared 25 lbs and 23 lbs on the pair, and then I moved down 2 lbs at a time. I would string both on the same day. I tried in pairs (25,23), (23,21), (21,19), (19,17), (17,15), (15,13), (13,11). 11 lbs was the lower limit of my drop weight stringing machine.

        From 25 to 15 I observed and increase in power for every step. From 15 to 13 there was a minor loss, and from 13 to 11 there was a clear loss of both power and control, it was wierd.

        The flip side is that any time there was an increase in power down to 15 there was a loss of control. It’s possible that a 2 lbs resolution on the testing is not good enough to see the control gain without loss of power. Regardless, I’m willing to focus on the control given that I don’t need to worry about power or racquet weight.

        Last thing, I’ve tried some other strings. . . and I can tell you that these results may be a function of the string (i.e. the tension of maximum power might be very different from string to string). However, I did try this on two racquets and the results were the same.

  13. StuartKushon October 14, 2014 at 4:55 am

    Hmm, coming from tennis I’ve been very confused by the badminton communities desire to string at high tensions. Jimmy Connors did this in the 80’s (string tennis racquets over 100 lbs). Today that would be considered insane (many operate below 60lbs). So, here is what I’ve done. I dropped tension until I saw a LOSS of power to understand minimum string tension (15 is about as low as I’ve gone). At that point my back to back clears were going out by some 5-10 feet. Then I dropped racquet mass until my back to back clears at full 100% were going out by around 2 feet. Now my racket with grip and string is 90 grams (apacs lethal 15) as opposed to 102 grams (voltric-5 with string grip and 3 grams lead in handle to move balance point). Both racquets have the same balance point. With the voltric strung at 23 I generate the same power as the lethal strung at 15. Did I screw up somewhere?

  14. Samo September 4, 2014 at 5:18 pm

    Hi Paul,

    Do all your recommended tensions factor creeping?

    For example im an intermediate player and play with medium speed plastics, would you recommend stringing at 20 to 22 to get the 18 to 20 (you suggested) after the creeping has taken effect?

    Rgds,

    Sam.

    • Paul Stewart September 6, 2014 at 5:46 pm

      Hi Sam

      Whenever I discuss tension I factor in string creep. For those reading this that don’t know what it is, string creep is the continued expansion of the string which results in further loss of tension. However, I still quote stringing tension rather than playing tension as that’s much harder to measure.

      Paul

  15. Mark Appleton August 22, 2014 at 10:58 pm

    You should probably only consider going up in tension if you put a premium on control and/or feel, and want more. I am a stickler for both, so I use the highest tension that lets me reach everywhere on court.

    Crucially, though, I spent six years creeping up on it, a pound at a time.

    If you do find yourself wanting to go up,

    1. Ask yourself why – are you bouncing net shots too high, or spraying slices everywhere? Does the racket feel numb?

    What is your current setup NOT doing that you feel it SHOULD?

    2. Make the tension the only variable – same racket, same string (and same stringer, if possible), If you try other strings, you might end up getting the gains you want from a different string without having to increase the tension.

    3. Go up slowly – a pound at a time; if you’re at, say, 22 lb now, a 2 lb jump would be 9%, and that’s a lot.

  16. salman004 May 27, 2014 at 10:15 pm

    Hi,

    Let me share my experience.

    I reduced my VTZF-2 tension from 26lbs to 23lbs (plastic shuttles, BG66UM) and feel that this was indeed a right move.

    But, I’m confused whether I should try 24lbs or 22lbs in my next go? Any suggestions on that?

    Another option is that, I shall keep 23lbs, but try new strings such as BG80 or NBG98.

    Any suggestions on any of these two (BG80/80P, NBG98) strings for an offensive player?

    I’m an offensive player who smashes quite a bit (in both single and doubles).

    Salman
    India

    • Paul Stewart May 28, 2014 at 12:18 pm

      Salman

      I would find the right tension for you before you consider other strings. With plastic shuttles I would test reducing to 21 or 22lbs and gauging whether it’s better or worse for you.

      Good luck

      Paul

  17. Ency May 26, 2014 at 4:33 pm

    Hi Paul,
    Its been great reading your article and your patient response to queries. Thank you.

    In India, its still quite expensive to re-string and we dont get any trial service. Therefore, it becomes important to select your string appropriately.

    I am a advanced intermediate (only doubles) player in my 40s. Was playing once in a week for last year, but have started playing daily since last few weeks with better players. I have noticed strain in my shoulder.

    My style of play is smash from middle of court of fast play at the nets. I am very quick and can return most smashes or fast plays, but am not extremely strong and get tired very fast (maybe my stamina will increase with more play).

    I am currently using nanaray 100 at around 23 (or 24 lbs, i dont exactly remember) BG65. The racket is pretty fast and gives me good feel. Can I improve (or reduce shoulder tension) by using any other string (bg80) or reducing tension?

    I also have an arcsaber islash, which seems to be dud investment. Had strung while buying at 27 (unknowingly) and now is around 23 with NBG 99. There is no power at all and I will be checking control tomorrow. Should I change string or tension on this and what would you recommend so that this racket becomes usable. I plan to use this racket at the later part of my plays when I am tired and focus on control as I have read this racket is great for control and quick play. Please advise.

    I use feather shuttles only.

    From now on I will start keeping log of the strings and tensions.
    Rgds,
    Ency

    • Paul Stewart May 28, 2014 at 12:31 pm

      Ency

      First of all are you testing the shuttles for the right speed. The reason you could have a sore shoulder are
      – poor technique
      – slow shuttles and you are throwing your shoulder into the shot to try and hit harder
      – strings too tight or incorrect racket which means you are trying to compensate.

      Good luck sorting this but begin with shuttle speed.

      Paul

  18. AlexLaw February 2, 2014 at 3:25 am

    Thanks for the advice Paul!

    Hi Paul, I’ve changed to a voltric Z force (3U, G5, 24lbs, BG85). I am slightly stronger than before and will describe myself as a weak advanced player now. The transition from 26-24lb is much better for me. I think it’s probably due to the better racket and the somewhat lower tension. I’ve played with my racket for about 30 hours and the strings are going to go soon. (This is because I play with one intent in mind-smash!)

    I think I am going to try for 23lbs next. My other-self wants to go for 22, but I am not sure.

    A small clash in opinion here:
    I don’t have any knowledge in stringing tensions, but I’ve noticed most club players do play with 21-25lbs with plastic shuttle. (They are mainly intermediate to advanced players.) Could it be almost all of us are playing with the wrong tension? Your table of suggestions state an advanced player should go for 20-22 pounds for feather. If plastic, -3. The final number 17-19 seems a bit too extreme to me.

    P.S. Why do I get random emails about a blog that you’ve written? Also, why no emails when you’ve written a great response to my question?

    • Paul Stewart February 2, 2014 at 4:48 pm

      Alex

      Many thanks for your comments.

      For most club players, higher tensions such as 25lbs + are just unmanageable. There will always be exceptions. I know one very good player who uses 31lbs and plays with plastic shuttles.

      What I talked about in my article was safe stringing. 17-19 lbs for a below average player using plastic shuttles is perfectly valid. However, you have to put this in context with your situation. You’ve reduced tension and felt an improvement. Once you’ve played with high tensions then it’s extremely difficult to make the leap to lower tensions. But for some players 17-18 lbs may be perfect.

      What I have found since writing this article is that tensions are creeping up. Generally for intermediate and advanced players using feather shuttles I’m seeing upwards of 23lbs. Sometimes people are badly advised. I saw this in a club recently when a good player was advising a players from a number of teams lower than him that he uses 28lbs tension in his Z Slsash. He offered to string at 28lbs for this player which was way over his normal tension. I didn’t interfere but this was totally incorrect advice.

      You also need to remember that many manufacturers have recommended tensions of around 24lbs. So stringing outside of this figure invalidates warranty on the frame.

      Paul

  19. AlexLaw November 3, 2013 at 7:22 pm

    After reading your article, I’ve decided to toss my old racket which was so-so (nova 6190 rsl). I was using a 26 pound tension and playing with plastic shuttles and I felt like I was using more power than others to hit shots (that backhand clear is a complete nightmare for me to hit especially when considering my power is somewhat low).

    My friend gave me an Arcsaber 10 a few days ago. I would describe myself as the borderline between an intermediate and advanced player. After the strings break, what tension do you think I should go for? The limit for my racket is 19-24 pounds.

    Many thanks,
    Alex

    • Paul Stewart November 3, 2013 at 10:12 pm

      Alex

      There is no easy answer here because you’ve been used to high tension stringing, but you play with plastic shuttles and you’re struggling for power. Whatever tension you test please expect your strings to feels spongey. Thats not necessarily a bad thing, it’s just what I expect to happen.

      With Arcsaber 10 I would suggest you reduce to 24lbs and test again. You may find further reductions are required and then I’d drop to 22lbs. Eventually you will find your preferred tension for plastic shuttles with this racket but I have no idea what it will be.

      Good luck and I hope you regain your power. PLease let me know which tension you settled on.

      Paul

  20. Newtz_2001 October 29, 2013 at 11:10 pm

    Hi Paul,

    Great article, I see all the problems that you talk about here in New Zealand with youngsters I coach and beginner adult club players alike. I am also a (novice) stringer and agree with being honest with the customer, I’ll give them the tension they ask for but I’ll also try to educate them on what a higher tension will mean for them. Great to have your article to further support my views!

    My question is around climate. I have heard from a top stringer in another city that the top asian players string their racquets so tight because they are playing in much hotter conditions, as well as the obvious reasons for top players opting for tight tension. He went on to explain that the strings expand more in the heat and so will stretch more and behave like strings strung at a lower tension. This seemed logical to me but I was wondering if you had any thoughts or experience coming also from a colder climate?

    Thanks

    • Paul Stewart November 3, 2013 at 10:23 pm

      Mike

      This is a great question. To be honest living in UK does not present too many problems in terms of climate although generally players break more strings in winter. I consider this is partly from moving their racket from a warm environment into the cold, then possibly into warm again. Also where I live the air is damper and therefore does impact string, possibly making some strings that bit more brittle, resulting in the breakages.

      I really can’t answer if string stretches more in hot climates as I’ve never experienced it. I have read somewhere that it does. I think the Asian culture is based around high tension stringing anyway so I’m not sure the climate would change that.

      Sorry I can’t help more.

      Paul

  21. Sabz June 28, 2013 at 5:33 pm

    Thank you very much, Sir. Now I know why such difference is needed. More power to you and everyone in the community.

  22. Sabz June 28, 2013 at 4:16 pm

    Very informative read, Sir. There are a few things I would like to ask regarding tensions though. I have read stuff saying that mains should be a pound or two less than the crosses and this brings me to my question. Should the main and cross tensions be different from each other? If so by how much? In addition, how would the racket head’s shape (Isometric vs Oval) affect these two tensions?

    • Paul June 28, 2013 at 5:13 pm

      Sabz

      Many manufacturers are requiring tension in crosses to be greater than the mains. The reason here is simple. As the cross string are woven into the mains and then tensioned, this further tensions the mains strings. Therefore the stringer must compensate otherwise the shape of the racket head may become slightly distorted.

      If I am stringing a racket at 25 lbs I will string the mains at 24lbs and crosses at 26lbs.

      I don’t know the asnwer to your question regarding the difference between oval and isometric shaped heads, although would summise there is no difference.

      I hope this helps.

      Paul

  23. Ollie June 7, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    I use Forza rackets (Kevlar CNT Power 10000 VS) and they claim the maximum tension is 34lbs. I have my tension from a range between 32-36lbs, depending on what I’ve got coming up. I do break around 1 or 2 per week though. I just prefer the feel with the tighter strings, i do admit it might be a mental thing but even so, that helps massively. I’m a hard hitter so i don’t have to worry about sacrificing power.

    • Paul June 7, 2013 at 5:14 pm

      Ollie

      Many thanks for your comment.

      String tension is as personal as string selection or racket selection. For most players tensions of 32-36lbs would be way too high and the risk on the frame stressing is increased. For others it would be the natural option.

      That’s what I love about this game, there are so many variables.

      Paul

  24. trebor April 11, 2013 at 7:45 pm

    Hi Paul,
    Can you tell me what tension a racket is strung at from new?
    I have had a Voltric 5 for nearly a year and its time for a restring, but i’m not sure what tension to ask for as i don’t know the tension it came with from new.

    Thanks,
    Rob

    • Paul April 11, 2013 at 9:43 pm

      Rob

      All factory strung rackets will have a tension of 20lbs or less, but I can’t tell you exactly what tension they are strung at.

      Paul

      • stewartguitar June 7, 2013 at 12:51 pm

        I bought a racquet from the Yehlex UK website and it came with a tension of 24lb as standard – it wasn’t one of the expensive ones. I broke a string within a week, almost with the first mishit.

        That wasn’t the case with an identical racquet I bought from a local sports shop that felt like it a had a few elastic bands hanging from the frame. My preferred tension is around 22 so both had to be restrung to suit me.

      • Paul June 7, 2013 at 1:41 pm

        In Europe many sports shops offer frame only and the racket is custom strung for you. This is fine if, like you, you know what you want. However, many players haven’t a clue and this is where danger lurks.

        Some of the online retailers offer a free restring which is excellet. The difficulty here is that when you wish to support a local retailer, especially one who doesn’t offer a stringing service, then it’s really tough.

        Paul

  25. quezac November 18, 2012 at 5:58 pm

    Hi Paul,
    I am so happy to have read your opinions/advice on string tension.
    I recently posted a request for string tension advice, mentioning the relatively low tension that I chose, on another popular badminton forum and the initial reply was verging on the insulting, saying that with the string tensions I use I could not possibly have an attacking style of play as i didn’t play with at least 27lbs . Having read your advice I feel much better and I am hoping that you can answer my question.
    O.K. here in rural france the only stringers are in chain sports shops and are unable to give any good advice on stringing. I have(had) a razor v1.0. Factory string tension 10kg, does this mean it is strung at 10kg on the main and cross? From what I’ve read the main is strung with a lower tension than the cross. If this is the case does the 10kg represent the tension of the cross stringing?
    I ask as when I had the racket restrung I think I may have cocked up, I used yonex bg80, which recomends 5-10% lower tension, and not wantiong to increase tension I went for 9kg on the cross strings and only 8.25 for the mains.
    It played great a couple of times intil I had a minor collision and it imploded (will be geting another razor v1.0 as I absolutely love it). I have now read on a site selling this racket that they will not string the racket at less than 9.5kg as the racket will not take lower tensions. The minimum rated tension marked on the racket is 10kg.
    I’ve allways found bg80 to work well for me but maybe if the racket can’t be strung at a low tension I’ll need to change string.
    So, knowing that I’m moving towards lower tensions, have previously used bg80, my game is attacking so i like good “repulsion”, and have a racket that does not like low string tension should I change string, if so what string to use and at what tension on the mains and cross, and what does factory strung 10kg mean for main/cross tension? Here if I ask for 10kg it will be strung at 10kg on both.
    I’m probably intermediate level, won district doubles u19 when I was 16 and 17, but that was over 30 years ago, with an all metal racket which after the match could be used to knock in nails when doing a bit of DIY, yonex blacken. Now knocking on the door of 50 can still hack it at a reasonable club level against players half my age, but with failing body and eyesight need all the help I can get with a slightly larger sweet spot and good power while protecting my arm/shoulder which to be honest are prety worn out.
    If sugestions would be greatly appreciated,
    thanks,
    Mark

    • Paul November 20, 2012 at 3:36 pm

      Mark

      I think you are being fed some poor information.

      Racket manufacturers usually provide maximum recommended string tension guide on the racket which means that if you string at tensions higher than this you will invalidate the warranty on the racket.

      Stringing at lower tension than this will not harm the racket at all and makes sense. The fact you had a collision and the frame broke has little or nothing to do with the tension in the frame as you had not exceeded the recommended tension.

      I know players who use BG80 and they do not ask for a drop in tension because of the string. So if you like the string, then stick with it and test tension to find what works best for you.

      Rackets are strung at two different tensions for a reason. The mains are usually strung -2lbs from the crosses. So, if I want a tension of 24lbs I would ask for 23lbs mains and 25lbs crosses. The reason behind this is simple. As you thread the string through the mains and tension, you are effectively tightening the string again.

      What i suggest is you stick to what you like Mark. You can always help your arm/shoulder with a few armchair exercises (see my video section). When players reach our age in life then they will realise that placement and court craft can still win the day.

      To your success

      Paul

  26. ujjwal September 11, 2012 at 11:40 am

    Thank you very much Paul.Can i get this string to tension 20 or do i need to buy new string.

    Ujjwal

    • Paul September 12, 2012 at 10:38 pm

      Ujjwal

      You cannot re-tension string in a racket, you will have to have it restrung.

      Paul

  27. ujjwal September 6, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    HI,PAUL
    I AM A BADMINTON PLAYER PLAYING FROM LAST 2 AND A HALF YEARS.
    I AM A GOOD PLAYER.MY AGE IS 14 AND I AM USING YONEX VOLTRIC 5.
    I AM 80% PLAYING WITH PLASTIC AND 20% FEATHER.WHICH STRING AND WITH WHAT TENSION SHOULD I USE.

    UJJWAL

    • Paul September 10, 2012 at 3:09 pm

      Ujjwal

      Normally I recommend up to 21lbs tension when you play mostly with plastic shuttles, but with your age too I would consider reducing that to 19/20 lbs. But, you need to test to find what works best for you and nobody can be absolutely sure a certain tension will suit you.

      Once you have tested tensions, then you can test string type. If you use Yonex string you should be fine. See you if you make an arrangement with your stringer to test and whether they will give you a good price whilst you are testing.

      Good luck

      Paul

  28. saikarthikeya August 20, 2012 at 2:09 pm

    it has been mentioned on the racket by the yonex as 15~20lbs. so how much maximum range tension can i keep with out any damage to the racket

    • Paul August 20, 2012 at 3:36 pm

      MOst Yonex racquets have a recommended stringing tension of 24lbs except DX models which are 27lbs. Exceeding these limits invalidates your warranty.

      Paul

  29. saikarthikeya August 19, 2012 at 8:28 am

    Interesting read again, Paul.

    i was playing with CAB8010 ACE could i know up to which range i can increase my string tension with out any damage to my racket

    • Paul August 19, 2012 at 9:05 am

      Take a look at the racket for any signs as Yonex usually have the recommended tensions on the racket itself. If not, ask a Yonex retailer.

      As a general rule, the maximum stringing tension for most Yonex rackets is 24lbs, and 27 lbs for DX models. Exceeding this tension invalidates your warranty. Many pro and amateur players exceed these limits and take the risk. For a pro, if they break a racket, they get a free replacement. The others have to pay, so beware.

      Paul

  30. weezzerr July 21, 2011 at 4:40 am

    Just a question. I recently bought the Voltric 80 after soo many raved review about it (my 1st new & highend racquet..been using low-end headlight Carltons before). It was stringed at 25lbs as i had any idea what tension my old racquet was anyway. (i finally had my old racquet checked and the tension was 21lbs)

    My 1st few session with the new tension? I hate it..my play was a mess…everything went wrong. But i keep trying and finally, after the fifth session (3 weeks later)..i’m finally loving it.

    I was puzzled that i can handle a 4lbs increase in tension and did not have any sored muscles..just really bad badminton play. Is it because somehow, i was required to smash & stroke harder using my headlight carltons that it somehow increased my forearm strenght that i can now handle higher tension? Does that mean i can increase it further once i get used to the ‘old’ tension?

  31. Rich July 13, 2010 at 4:10 pm

    Hi Paul

    Just scanning through your blogs, some good reading and points raised.

    The thoughts on stringing tensions, rights and wrongs is one I am often confronted with as I restring rackets for a few local clubs I play in, trying to get players to understand what’s right for one isn’t for another is like trying to get blood from a stone. Playing at a half decent level Div 1, with and against county players I am at a level where I play with 24lbs with nano95, this has taken years and lots of trial and error as you say to find its what works for me. But when I go and play at clubs with players of a lower standard (no offence to anyone) they all ask me to sting their racket the same as mine as if this is the reason I can hit the ‘Big winning smash’ or the ‘how did you do that net shot’.
    As a lot of these players play with plastics as a norm they cannot understand why I always say you’ll be much better off with the good old BG65TI as this will last you and don’t consider anything above 22lbs. And as I think you say when I pull out an old racket I have strung with bg65 at 22 to play plastics with the looks I get as if I am trying to show them up or something like I can beat them with ‘any old bat’ just goes to show the serious misunderstanding in this very important part of preparation to play in my opinion any way.

    Hope I haven’t rambled on too much I just feel players need to have a better understanding of what they are asking for against what they think they will gain when asking for a restring.

    I have only ever turned down a job to restring when a customer asked for 30lbs on a racket when I checked on the frame it stated recommended 18 – 22 lbs I said I wouldn’t risk it.

    Rich

    • Paul July 13, 2010 at 5:24 pm

      Rich

      Many thanks for your comments. I can only echo your thoughts here – all the scenarios have happened to me. I refused to string the racquet at high tensions too which was met with a rather disgruntled look.

      We do need to continue to remind players about these simple things. The “yours is bigger than mine” attitude is rife amongst younger players. They’re being lead by the rediculous comments on some forums about string tensions.

      One guy wrote to me recently who was a beginner and his coach had recommended 27lbs tension in his racquet. Could you imagine that happening here. It’s worse still if they’re learning with plastics.

      I know of too many players who have suffered injuries because of poor technique and high string tensions.

      Rich, I’m looking forward to meeting you in September at Lilleshall.

      To your success

      Paul

      • Ravitec October 31, 2012 at 9:15 am

        my tension is at 25 ld on my apacs nano 900. i am producing too much power and have too control every shot.

      • Paul October 31, 2012 at 10:40 pm

        Ravitec

        This is the first time a player has said they have too much power. I suggest this is a technique issue rather than string tension. Go and find a coach who can help you resolve whatever technique issues you have – it’s worth the investment.

        Good luck

        Paul

  32. Paul November 24, 2009 at 11:06 pm

    Hi Thomas

    Great questions!

    As you improve your needs will change. When you’re consistently timing the hit, then a large sweet spot on your racquet isn’t required. Your swing speed may only change a little but your technique will determine whether you’re ready to test another tension.

    I’d suggest increase in increments of 1lbs so, depending on how often you play, and your budget, will determine the number of restrings/tests you’ll do in a year.

    What you will find is that your technique will improve again as the racquet gives you more control.

    If you know what tension is in your racquet now, then that’s your starting point. A decent stringer will ask a lot of questions about you and your wants prior to stringing your racquet. They will also advise you on string choice and tension. Make sure you tell them whether you play with plastic or feather shuttles as this should colour their decision on tension considerably.

    Start off low. If you’re playing with feathers and you’ve never had your racquet strung before, then I’d ask for 20lbs tension. Most racquets are strung at a lower tension than this so you should notice the difference.

    Eventually you will reach a point where the next tension increase doesn’t give you any more than you already had. It’s then a matter of preference whether you choose the lower tension or higher tension. Most players tend to choose the higher tension on the basis that they don’t want to take a step backwards. However, if you feel the lower tension is more preferable, then go with it.

    Hope this helps.

    To your success

    Paul

  33. Thomas November 22, 2009 at 5:47 am

    Hi Paul, thanks for a very informative blog!

    Based on what you wrote, can I assume that as I improve as a player, I will then gradually prefer to string at a higher tension? Or is it dependent on some aspects of my improvement, e.g. swing speed and technique?

    Is it also better to start low to high when looking for my optimum tension? And if I’m in undecided between 2 number, should I go with the lower one?

    Cheers.
    Thomas

  34. Paul October 16, 2009 at 10:43 pm

    Hi Nic

    Thanks for your message.

    You’ve raised so many important points. Interesting that you had a shoulder problem and then reduced your tensions.

    I’ve been stringing racquets for over 20 years and have catered for beginners to European and National Doubles Champions. I’m also a member of UKRSA (UK Racquet Stringers Association.)

    If a player asks for a higher tension than the manufacturer recommends, then I’ll do it, subject to them signing a waiver. After all, the risk to me of stringing the racquet is high as the frame could shatter on the machine. I could get a splinter in my eye, be permanently blinded or temporaily lose my sight whilst the splinter is being removed.

    Or, the frame may break and the player expects me to buy them a replacement racquet. Whilst I don’t want to gain a bad reputation, I won’t budge on this one.

    Neither scenario is good. However, a stringer, if they accept the job of re-stringing a racquet, then they should fulfill the players request for string type and tension.

    What a stringer must offer is consistency. There are so many variations on technique and stringing machine. 30 lbs on an electric machine should be pretty close to 30lbs on a different type of machine if they are frequently calibrated.

    There is always a loss of tension (around 10%) from when the racquet is strung. Some stringers allow for this and therefore string slightly higher in order to give you a “playing” tension. Again, as long as there is consistency, you should be fine.

    Many stringers I know keep detailed records of your racquet, string and favoured tension. This way, if you choose to test, they should be able to discuss the results with you.

    Personally, I’d ask the stringer of your choice for transparency. You need to know whether they string at your required tension or make certain allowances. I don’t make allowances, I just string at the stated tension.

    If a player asks for a tension that i think is high, I ask them what has prompted this decision. I then explain all the dangers to them. If they still want to go ahead, then I’ll get the waiver signed and do as they request.

    When they receive the racquet, I’ll also ask them to keep me informed how it’s playing and whether they are suffering any aches and pains.

    I haven’t had cause to turn anyone away for asking the impossible e.g. 31lbs and they only play with plastic shuttles. Thankfully, my clients have listened to advice and tested what’s right for them.

    Most of the league players I string for still have their racquets strung under 22lbs. There are county players whorequire higher tensions, but most league players are very happy with their racquets at these tensions.

    Very few suffer from tennis elbow or shoulder injuries.

    All strings continue to stretch. There is a point where they break through normal wear. Other than that, a mis-hit is the usual cause of a break.

    Yonex BG65Ti is a very good string and my personal favourite. Many players, non Yonex included, use BG80 which is thinner. If you play frequently (more than once a week), then you should have your racquets strung regularly.

    A racquet strung in February will have lost considerable tension by now. If you do play more than once a week, then I’d suggest it is worn out and needs fresh strings.

    Nic, I hope this helps a little. There are always players, like you who have found that they prefer highly strung racquets. I’m OK with that.

    My article was meant to warn players of the dangers of listening to others and assuming more power is gained through higher string tension.

    You’ve opened up this discussion very nicely by commenting on the frustrations a player can have when dealing with stringers that don’t seem to make the grade in terms of customer service (i.e. giving the customer what they want).

    How often should you have your racquet re-strung? That depends on you. If you ever went behind the scenes at tennis tournaments, you’d see that players had their racquets re-strung every day! That’s how fickle or precise they are about their required tension in their racquet.

    It would be interesting to find out how often the top badminton players have their racquets strung. I’m meeting up with the stringer from UK Nationals, so will ask him how often players returned for restrings when there didn’t appear to be anything wrong with their racquet.

    Nic, keep in touch and let me know how you’re getting on. As I said before, have a good chat with your stringer and perhaps tell them what you expect from them in return for your custom.

    Best wishes

    Paul

  35. nic October 15, 2009 at 2:17 pm

    Interesting read again, Paul.

    I have played with higher tensions and got to a point were it was starting to hurt my shoulder, however the stringing I have had done locally drops in tension dramatically and the same strings(BG 65Ti ) now feel a bit too soft.

    You know when you go to the GP and are asked how many units of Alcohol you drink per week? People underestimate their consumption so GP’s standard response is to double your figure , naturally I am aware of this so halve my consumption so he gets an accurate view, but then have a nagging suspicion that he might guess that I am doing this and further compensate. ete etc

    It seems that stringers are put in a similar position, people ask for higher tension than they should be playing at. Some stringers say that they have strung at a higher tension but actually have strung alot lower. I can understand (but not condone ) this as they obviously don’t want to lose the work, but it sets in train a similar set of problems.

    Problems for me started when I played with a friends new racket strung at ’31 lbs’- felt great, no downsides- better in every way than the racket/string I was playing with.. I then tried to get my racket strung at 30. One stringer strung it but when pressed admitted that it was ‘only’ at 27- felt good but I broke a string within the second game and never came to any concrete conclusions. Eventually found a guy that said they would string at 30 and for the first few weeks it felt a bit too tight, then I started to like it. Had some coaching sessions, compared rackets and the coaches racket strung 6months ago at 26lb was much tighter than my 2month old 30lb racket! then to cap it all I found out that the original racket I had tried at 31 had only really been strung at 28 but the owner had been told it was 31. He now has his strung at a stated 27 but who knows for certain?

    It makes it very hard to know what true tension I like or should ask for, should I add 3 pounds knowing the stringer will in his ultimate wisdom take 3 off, add 5 because I know its going to stretch? Conclusion I have come to is that I will buy a machine and have a go myself!

    Paul-what is your response when someone asks for a tension that you think is too high for them?

    And should BG65ti keep on stretching? i have a racket strung at a supposed 24lb in Feb that feels like a fishing net!

    Nic

    • Ravitec October 31, 2012 at 9:18 am

      my tension is at 25 ld on my apacs nano 900. its bp is 325 . is it good or not.

      • Paul October 31, 2012 at 10:38 pm

        Ravitec

        It’s good if it works for you. Only you can decide whether your racket plays well or not. Try testing different tensions to gauge whether the racket feels better compared to the current tension. But, only you can decide whether a change feels good.

        Paul

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