String Tension Effect

 

String tension can change the way a player plays the game.  It is more than a minor factor in power and control.  Aside from swing speed, string tension may be the most important factor in power.

 

If string tension doesn’t influence spin, it can’t influence control through spin. So we are forced to look elsewhere for our connection between string tension and control.  Higher tensions unsurprisingly have the opposite effect to low tensions, with the ball rebounding at a lower speed (as more of the energy of impact is lost to ball deformation) and taking a shallower trajectory. These combine to result in the ball landing shorter in the court, meaning you can swing faster as you have more margin for error. Looser tensions result in just the opposite. Rackets strung below 65 pounds make it easier to generate pace but more difficult to control the ball. Decreasing tension gives more of a trampoline effect, making the trajectory of the shot higher and making the ball land deeper in the court.

 

If the string tension of the racquet is too high, it will cause the shape of the ball to deform upon impact. In the centre of the string bed, the strings are longer and able to provide more cushioning, resulting in less ball deformation and less energy loss. If the tension of the strings is too high, or the ball is hit  off-centre (where the strings are shorter), ball deformation will cause the tennis ball to lose up to half of its energy.

 

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