Restringing Factors to Consider
The frequency at which any given player strings their racquet is going to be different for everyone. However, there are a few factors you can keep in mind to help determine when it’s time to replace your strings:
- Frequency and duration of play
- Style of play
- Level of competition
- Personal preference
Let’s dive into each separately.
Frequency & Duration of Play
While stringing your racquet as many times per year as you play per week rule can be misleading for many players, the concept of restringing based on your frequency is perfectly reasonable, i.e., the more frequently you play, the more you should restring.
If you’re looking for a general rule purely based on frequency, and you tend to play roughly the same amount each week, we’d recommend you take the number of times you play per week and double that number to find out approximately how many times per year you should string.
That means if you’re playing seven days a week, you should restring about once a month. Here’s a look at how that breaks down depending on how many days per week you play.
Based on my experience, that’s a more logical approach, but it’s still not perfect, and you end up with roughly the same recommendation if you’re playing five to seven days a week.
Moreover, if you’re playing seven days a week for 30 minutes vs. seven days a week for three hours, you’ll still have to make a judgment call on how fresh, and consistent you want the tension of your strings.
With that in mind, let’s dive into some other factors to consider.
Style of Play
Another factor to consider is your style of play. If you hit soft with an eastern grip and you come to the net a lot, then you might not have to string your racquet as often because your strings won’t take as much of a beating.
On the other hand, if you’re a hard-hitting baseliner with a semi-western or western grip, then you might need to string your racquet more frequently since the friction and therefore wear of your strings will be significantly greater.
Level of Competition
As the stakes increase and you compete at a higher level, it becomes more critical to control the elements of your game that you can. Stringing is one of those elements, and it’s all about consistency.
When you practice and play matches, you’re going to want the tension of your racquet to be virtually the same every time, so you’re not compensating for the loss in tension.
You may want to vary the tension of your racquet depending on conditions or how you’re playing on a given day, but it becomes more critical that you know what to expect from the tension change.
As such, restringing frequently tends to become more crucial at higher levels of competition, such as in professional tennis, where players often have their racquets strung fresh every time they hit the court.
For most players, their budget is simply a fact of life. You may be hitting the court seven days a week for three hours a day, but if you can’t afford to restring your racquet frequently, then you’re not going to, and that’s perfectly fine. Of course, budgets will vary for every player, but it’s worth considering.
If budget is a concern, you may also want to consider the type of tennis strings that you’re using. Depending on the material, construction, and gauge of your strings, you can begin to reduce the frequency at which you’ll need to restring.
If comfort is a concern for you, then you should restring your racquet more frequently because dead strings result in more shock to your arm and may lead to injuries like tennis elbow or aggravate an existing injury.
The environment can have a substantial impact on the performance and longevity of strings, and various strings respond differently.
Excessive heat, cold, and humidity can cause strings to age prematurely and require faster or more frequent replacement.
For example, natural gut strings like to absorb moisture, so humid conditions in Florida can make it more challenging to maintain them. Polyester strings, on the other hand, can lose their elasticity in the excessive heat and sun.
As a result, where you live can influence restringing, and regardless of where you live, it can help keep your racquets protected from the elements. Many of the best tennis bags offer pockets or sections with a thermal lining to help extend your strings’ lives.
If you’re playing tennis and learning for fun and your coach or instructor tells you that you should restring your racquet every other week, but you’re really not all concerned with the variation in tension, then wait until you’re ready to restring.
At the end of the day, it’s up to you, and knowing why you should restring and what happens if you don’t is helpful, but there’s no right or wrong answer.
These factors, combined with the chart I shared earlier, can help you come up with a frequency that makes sense for you.