Polyester string has taken the Pro Tour by storm. Some of the top players in the world have expressed their enthusiasm about playing with poly, so that leaves us with one question: can recreational players use it too?
Polyester string is well known for its control, topspin capabilities, and durability. These are three factors that are vitally important to many hard-hitting, aggressive players—but what about the weekend warrior?
Poly gives players more control because of its stiffness. When playing with stiff strings, the ball has a longer dwell time on the racquet as opposed to if you were playing with softer, more flexible strings. The stiffer string bed allows the ball to flatten out and stay on the strings longer, giving the player extra time to generate more spin. This also allows for more accurate shots and the most control for players with the fastest swing speeds. This feature is great for high-level players, but the more control a string offers, the less power you’ll get from them. This isn’t a problem for hard-hitting players as their strokes provide enough power, but for recreational players, power can be the more important feature.
In addition to the control the stiffness gives you, there is also the threat of possible injury. Stiff strings are not recommended for players with tennis elbow as they are too hard on the arm. Overall, softer multifilament string is better for players recovering from tennis elbow and players with less power behind their strokes.
Now, whether you’re #1 in the world or playing in a 3.0 league, everybody wants their strokes to have heavy topspin. You can do this by perfecting your stroke mechanics and getting your racquet head speed fast enough when you hit the ball. The reason poly is great for hitting heavy topspin is because it’s smooth and quick to snap back into place. However, most recreational players are still working on correcting their stroke techniques. They also don’t have a fast enough swing to hit the ball hard with topspin. When evaluating whether to play with poly or not, take into account your current racquet head speed. If you find yourself naturally hitting the ball flat, using polyester string won’t change that! It’s up to you to perfect your technique and quicken your stroke.
In addition to offering the best topspin and highest level of control, poly is one of the most durable strings on the market. This is because it’s made of one single string rather than thousands of woven fibers. Most players with fast strokes and lots of power love this quality because they tend to break strings more frequently, and poly prevents that. This is also a very cost-effective quality of polyester string, because strings can get expensive if you break them often. The one downfall to poly being durable is it doesn’t always keep its tension as long as you may think. The strings can become dead if you let your racquet sit for too long, or if you go too long without breaking a string. Because most recreational players don’t have as much power behind their strokes as high-level tournament players, poly is not recommended because they don’t hit the ball hard enough to break the string, causing them to lose tension and go dead in their racquets.
So should you use polyester string?
Polyester string is great for pros and high-level tournament players, but if you’re a recreational or intermediate player you may want to stick to a multifilament string. Once you perfect your stroke mechanics and learn to put speed and power behind your swing, try poly and see if you can reap the benefits!