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Thin is in and Soft is Where its at

Believe it or not, there are more than 500 strings on the market today. And you thought choosing a racquet was a real challenge. I have to say that for some, whether it be a stringer selecting string for his/her inventory or a player deciding what to put into his/her new wide body or longer racquet, choosing a string has never been so mind boggling. New types of racquet technology and the discovery of new materials and construction methods for strings have led us to this point of confusion. But take heart, there is hope, because thin is in and soft is where its at!

Just like the days of fashion model Twiggy, thinner is definitely better. Why is this so? And... what does a thin string do for you? Overall, thinner strings offer the player better or enhanced playability. Generally speaking, thinner strings dig deeper into the nap of the tennis ball resulting in increased control. Thinner strings will also produce more spin and tend to generate more power. They also produce greater elasticity and this in itself will reduce the amount of shock that is transmitted to the arm during ball contact. Thinner gauge strings are ideal for the wide body as well as the longer racquets that we are seeing on the market now. There must be a down side to this wonderful discovery. Well, there is one big trade-off. It is called durability. And durability may affect your pocketbook. If switching to a thinner gauge means that you restring every two months instead of every four, then is obviously going to cost you more money. You will, in a way, have to pay for more playability. If you are a huge string breaker, you may want to try a string like W. HammerLast 19. This is a prepackaged hybrid string consisting of a 19 gauge main string made of technora crossed with a 16 gauge synthetic gut. The main strings are very thin and offer you most of the benefits discussed above, but are made of a material that is much harder to break. One finds improved playability without sacrificing too much durability. It should be noted, however, that some players feel there is a definite lack of 'feel' with these types aramid fiber main strings.

If you have never broken a racquet string, or are a very infrequent string breaker, then you should feel pretty safe. Most manufacturers offer many different types of strings in a variety of gauges ranging from 15L to 19. Try a thinner gauge and see what kind of impact it might have on your game.

Continue on to learn what most good players agree is the best playing string available. 

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