I used to string my racquets close to 60 pounds. Then I read about how many touring pros use extreme low tensions with polys to increase spin. I've been steadily lowering the tension and now am playing with 27 pounds on the mains and 24 pounds on the crosses. I am really enjoying it and haven’t lost the touch for drop shots or drop volleys. What are your thoughts on low tension polys?—David T.
You should be commended—it’s not just anyone who can play tennis with a lacrosse stick. Actually, all kidding aside, there’s nothing wrong with playing with extremely low tensions, especially when it comes to polyester strings. In fact, it is becoming increasingly popular. Conventional wisdom dictated that playing with very loose strings meant significantly compromised control. But many players have discovered in the case of polyesters it actually increases the playability.
For one thing, a lower tension provides more flex and naturally softens the string bed, offsetting some of the inherent stiffness of many polys. This raises the comfort level, which can be a real negative of some models. It also lessens some of the harsh feedback outside the sweet spot, making it more arm-friendly. This is especially true when using thicker gauges and/or a stiff, powerful frame.
A softer pocket can also make it easier to hit with depth. The ball will sink into the strings a fraction longer which helps promote a higher launch angle. Swings don’t have to be quite as fast to achieve a deep shot. The downside can be a drop in precision. However, for many players it’s a worthwhile tradeoff.