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  1. #1
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    Default A short story about string tension

    I wanted to share with you my experience of string tension. I believe it may help some people who have difficulty deciding what tension to choose.

    I'm not going to bore you with the details. Suffice to say that I have gradually increased the tension in my rackets over the years. Sometimes I would get a special feeling from the new stringing, which soon disappeared.

    Recently, I had my racket restrung with BG 65 at 23 lbs, by a good stringer. The first night I played with it, it felt great. Every shot, even the gentle touch shots, came with a slightly metallic "ting" sound. After I got used to this new feeling, I found that I could judge touch shots better - because the racket strings seemed to give me more information than before. All my strokes became more accurate, and smashes were faster. The overall feeling was that my game had suddenly become "crisper".

    The next week, it was back to normal. The special feeling had gone.

    I took the racket back to my stringer. I asked him to restring it at 25 lbs. He thought I was wasting my money - why restring when it's not broken? I'd only played with it twice. Besides, 25 lbs was too high. But in the end, he agreed (after I'd demonstrated that I knew my equipment).

    He was right. 25 lbs is too high for me. My shots were inaccurate, I could generate little power, and I mishit a lot of shuttles. My forearm feels sore today.

    But I had expected this too. Now I know what my limit is; within a week, I expect the strings to have relaxed to about 23 lbs.

    So what's the moral of the story?

    The only way to discover your (current) limits is to push them. I now know that 25 lbs is too tight for me: I can't hit the small sweet spot accurately enough, and my timing or swing speed are not good enough to generate much power.

    That's okay. I'm not a professional, and I'm not surprised that tensions at the lower end of professional preferences are too high for me. I'm not interested in a "mine is bigger than yours" bragging contest about string tensions.

    But I do seem to have discovered a narrow, magic zone of tensions, which produces dramatically better results for me. Too low, and the feeling disappears; too high, and it's also gone. In order to get this feeling, I probably have no more than a margin of 1 lb variation either side.

    I'm hoping that next week, I'll get that special feeling again. Wish me luck

    May I suggest you do the same? I believe that this zone exists for every player, but it's different. It's not difficult to find, however. Here's how to do it:

    • Only change one variable at a time! Try to keep the same racket, stringer, and string.
    • Increase your string tension in increments of 2 lbs. Start with a minimum of 20 lbs.
    • Along the way, you may discover this zone for yourself.
    • In any case, keep increasing the tension until it gets too high for you. You'll know when this happens, because you will suffer a loss of accuracy and power.
    • Do not delude yourself into playing with a tension that is too high. There's nothing impressive about it - you'll just play worse.
    • Once the tension is too high, you MUST reduce it. If it won't go slack by itself, then you must immediately restring at a lower tension.
    • Some strings slacken off more dramatically than others. BG 65 loses about 10% or 2 lb of tension in the first 1-2 weeks. If it feels different after a week or two, then this is probably what's happened. You must factor this into your calculations.


    You need to be methodical about this. I know lots of good players who have no idea what their string tension is. They just let the stringer choose for them. Most of them, I believe, are using too low a tension.

    Try this out. I hope you get the same benefit I did
    Last edited by Gollum; 04-15-2005 at 04:47 AM.

  2. #2
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    good points....

    I usually string my racket with 21 or 22 lbs

    too high it s not flexible

    too low it s not powerful enough

  3. #3
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    I started off 2 years ago stringing a cheap prince racket(cannot remember the model) with 25lbs of tension.. u're right, every overhead clears i made would end up half-court.. then i upgraded my racket to Gosen 3400, still at 25lbs of tension with the same stringer, i had no such problems as i had before with my prince racket.. so i guess the racket also plays a part in this.. it's just a thought though.. BTW now i'm playng LF Ti500 strung with Gosen TecGut Tour (0.66mm) @ 30lbs.. Maybe i'm just lucky not to get hurt playing at such high tension from the start but frankly speaking i havent find my limit yet as far as string tension is concerned but for now i wouldnt dare to go more than 30lbs... maybe one day if i have lots of money & got nothing 2 loose, i might try 32lbs next..

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    love your post, gollum.

    I specially love the bit about changing one variable at a time. This bit of realization helped me a lot back then when I'd experiment with strings, rackets and tensions all at the same time (and end up not happy with any of the results)

    get your fave racket
    use your favorite strings
    gut at a tension that you'd like to try.

    once you find the "proper" combination, you can now experiment a bit with the strings or (never "and") with the tension.

    current faves bg66/gosen pro66 strings at 24lbs
    can't wait to try bg68ti @ 24lbs

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gollum
    I'm hoping that next week, I'll get that special feeling again. Wish me luck
    .....Well here's 2 U, Gollum.... GOOD LUCK!!!!!

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    Gollum - nice observation.. Fortunately fo rme, I have better and cheaper access to badminton equip. than others here, and have been experimenting a lot. I have obeserved the same thing too high and too low tensions cause one to lose power. (Like someone didn't say it before...)

    I have also come to my favorite zone.. I'm still trying to narrow it down.. but currently am between 25 to 27. With .66mm strings (current favorites are Bg 66, Ashaway durakill)

    There is another thread, that asks us to experiment with a high tension, I am also in favor of this. I couldn't belive the distance I got from a backhand with 27 lbs of tension; that is of course when I hit with the correct timing. I was standing in between the long service line for doubles and the end line I was able to sent the shuttle to the long service line for doubles on the other side with just a mediun flick. And this was I shuttle I was holding with the same hand as the racket.

    so experiment people, but as Gollum stated, the scientific way, 1 variable at a time...

    regards and sorry for the long post.

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    omg i am in the same situation right now. i strung it a bit too high for me. probably like 2 pounds. i strung it at 24 and im a 22 ... i made a mistake =[ and tomorrow's my game. how do i get the strings to reduce ?! PLEASE I NEED THIS ASAP !

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    Quote Originally Posted by HappyOne
    omg i am in the same situation right now. i strung it a bit too high for me. probably like 2 pounds. i strung it at 24 and im a 22 ... i made a mistake =[ and tomorrow's my game. how do i get the strings to reduce ?! PLEASE I NEED THIS ASAP !
    Get it restrung if you can. If not just bang it against your hand for 5 - 10 mins and prolly the tension will come down.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FEND.
    Get it restrung if you can. If not just bang it against your hand for 5 - 10 mins and prolly the tension will come down.
    how hard and how do i know its enough >.< i want it to degrade 2 lbs lighter so its 22. i cant get it restrung because tomorrow's my game.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HappyOne
    omg i am in the same situation right now. i strung it a bit too high for me. probably like 2 pounds. i strung it at 24 and im a 22 ... i made a mistake =[ and tomorrow's my game. how do i get the strings to reduce ?! PLEASE I NEED THIS ASAP !
    normally, strings will lose 10% of its tension within 72 hours. So, try it out tomorrow and see if it's ok.

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    omg thank god ..... but isnt 2 pounds a bit hard to lose



    Quote Originally Posted by bluejeff
    normally, strings will lose 10% of its tension within 72 hours. So, try it out tomorrow and see if it's ok.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bluejeff
    normally, strings will lose 10% of its tension within 72 hours. So, try it out tomorrow and see if it's ok.
    Does this apply to all strings?

    I know from experience that this applies to BG 65 (well, maybe not 72 hours, but certainly in a week), since that's the string I normally use. But BG 65 also has a reputation for losing more initial tension than other strings.

    I've also used BG 85, 65 TI and 68 TI, but the last two were factory tensions and hence too low. I can't be sure what BG 85 did either.

    It would be interesting to learn what stringers and string enthusiasts think about the different tension loss between strings.

  13. #13
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    the important thing when you string higher is that you need time to get habit, the racquet is less forgiving, your timing must be more accurate to produce power cause you don't have the trampoline effect like with lower tension

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Benasp
    the important thing when you string higher is that you need time to get habit, the racquet is less forgiving, your timing must be more accurate to produce power cause you don't have the trampoline effect like with lower tension
    Yes, timing, a product of technique, is the key. I was watching a former Hong Kong player coaching some advanced students, and to my surprise a lot of them had the correct timing on their backhand but not the forehand, which he duly corrected. If you have the timing from the correct technique, you can hit the bird very crisply and with power quite effortlessly.

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    I tried stringing 25 lbs, but I totally could not handle it. However, instead of going back down, I stuck with 25, and developed my technique around it. Kind of like forcing myself to hit the bird properly. At the beginning, regions of the arm would hurt, and the strokes that were pure power had no power. But now, it's gotten a lot better. So I guess an alternate way to develop better technique is to force urself using a high tension racket??

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    Quote Originally Posted by BethuneGuy
    I tried stringing 25 lbs, but I totally could not handle it. However, instead of going back down, I stuck with 25, and developed my technique around it. Kind of like forcing myself to hit the bird properly. At the beginning, regions of the arm would hurt, and the strokes that were pure power had no power. But now, it's gotten a lot better. So I guess an alternate way to develop better technique is to force urself using a high tension racket??
    Interesting, you are actually using your high tension racquet as a sort of training racquet. One of my many racquets, an AT800DE, strung with Gosen Tecgut Tour at 28.5/30.5lbs, is also used by me to test if a player can handle very high tension. The AT800DE has a stiff flex, not very stiff, and at these tensions this racquet requires very good timing to hit really scintillating shots. If your timing is just a little out this racquet hits like a ton of brick.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BethuneGuy
    So I guess an alternate way to develop better technique is to force urself using a high tension racket??
    I think this is a bad idea. You needlessly risk injury, when you could achieve the same result, or better, by disciplined practice. High string tension is not going to teach you how to play badminton; a good coach will.

    If it worked for you, fine - but as a general recommendation, avoid this method.

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