Squash racket restringing: Tips and tricks for squash newbies
More often than not, novice squash players do not realize the importance of adding quality strings to their racket. The sad truth is that manufacturers of squash rackets generally use cheap, monofilament strings. It’s not until the strings finally break and players have to go in for a restring that they realize how much of a difference the strings can actually make!
String is to squash as sails are to sailing or tyres are to motor racing: you won’t go far without them, and quality makes all the difference. In fact, the manufacturers themselves recommend that you restring your racket the same number of times in a year that you play each week. So, for instance, if you play twice a week, you definitely want to restring your racket at least twice during the year.
So when getting your racket restrung, there are some pointers you absolutely must keep in mind:
1. Choose the right string tension
This is one of the most important decisions that a squash player has to make. A higher or tighter string tension, contrary to conventional wisdom, gives you less power but more control. Similarly, the opposite is true for strings at lower tension. This is due to the fact that at a low tension strings stretch more when they make contact with the ball and then quickly snap back to their original length.
This ‘trampoline effect’ is where the power in your shot comes from. If the racket is strung at a very high tension, there is less stretch in the string to provide power. That being said, tighter strings remain flatter, so you will find that you can control the ball and impart spin onto it more easily. So a quick run down of the facts goes like this:
- More Power – Less Tension (25 Pounds)
- More Spin – Higher Tension (30 Pounds)
- Both Power and Spin – 28 Pounds
2. It’s all about the gauge
Every squash beginner should know how the gauge (or thickness) of the string in one’s racket affects one’s performance on the court. Generally speaking, thin strings are less durable than thick ones. They are more susceptible to damage through notching and through overstretching.
On the other hand, however, thin strings are more powerful than thick ones. This is because they stretch further on impact with the ball. As they recover from the stretch they propel the ball forward: the more stretch, the more power.
Typically, squash strings are available in only two sizes – 17 and 18 gauges. The 18 gauge string has a diameter that lies between 1.06 mm to 1.15 mm. The 17 gauge string has a diameter that lies between 1.16 mm to 1.25 mm. You absolutely must make sure that this is what you get.
Some stringers might try to get away with selling tennis strings to squash players, but now you know better. Make sure you get your money’s worth!
3. Picking the string construction
In squash, the material the string is made of undoubtedly plays a significant role in your overall performance. Monofilament strings are made up of a single material – usually polyester or polyether. These strings give a good compromise between durability and playability.
Multifilament strings, as the name suggests, have no centre core, but are instead made up of thousands of strands of material twisted together. They offer great playability and shock absorption, but they also tend to lose tension faster.
Then you have hybrid strings, which are a combination of two different types of string. The most common set up is to use a monofilament string in the mains and a multifilament string in the crosses. It is generally recommended for young players as it provides good performance and good durability.
4. Factoring in the budget
It goes without saying that the cost of the string will play a major role in deciding what you will finally go with. A single squash string can run you anywhere between Rs. 300 to Rs. 1500.
The price varies based on not only the material (monofilament, multifilament, etc.) but also on the brand (Dunlop, Head, Technifibre, Ashaway, etc.) you choose to go with.
Finally, it may take some trial and error before you find the string that complements your play style, but keep at it and you’ll find that perfect fit in no time!