How to String a Tennis Racket? A Step-by-Step Guide
It’s great to learn how to string your tennis racket. Additionally, this skill can help you save a lot of money and time.
When you can string your racket yourself you can get it exactly how you want it.
Restringing your tennis racket is important to maintain the correct string tension so your racket plays how you expect it to.
Restringing depends on racket usage or if you’ve broken or damaged a string.
To string your racket will probably take an hour or two, but you’ll see the full process below. A professional can do it in under 30 minutes.
Table of Contents
Step-By-Step Guide On How to String Your Tennis Racket
Before we start learning how to string a tennis racket, you’ll need some tools to complete the job.
Things you will need to string the racket:
A tennis stringing machine – If you want to string your rackets, you’ll need a tennis stringing machine. Without it, it’ll be impossible to hold a racket frame in place and tension the strings.
Tennis strings – There are various types of strings available according to their feel and durability.
The string you choose depends on your experience with tennis rackets. The choices are – Natural gut, Multi-filament, Nylon, Synthetic gut, Hybrids, Kevlar, and Polyester.
Awl – It will help loosen the clogged grommets and tie knots. Awl is a needle that unblocks the holes to give strings some room to pass through.
Pliers – It will help you pull the strings instead of using your hands and be helpful in tying knots.
Clippers – You will need cutters, clippers, diagonal cutters, whatever you have to cut the strings.
Tennis Racket – Unless you want to start with an air racket, an unstrung tennis racket is needed.
Ruler or a yardstick – This is optional. If you need to measure the strings, you might need a ruler or a yardstick.
Before You Begin Stringing the Tennis Racket…
Since all tennis rackets can be strung this way, we’ll use the two-piece approach to string our racket.
This is accomplished by halving the length of the string. Using half for the mains and the other half for the crosses.
When you move from stringing the mains to the crosses, you’ll need to tie a knot.
We also tension strings with a manual crank-stringing machine, but your results can vary depending on the type of machine you have.
Before we start learning how to string a tennis racket, we’ll need to do some prep:
- Measure the string correctly: For a tennis racket, you’ll need about 40 feet of string, which most string packages provide.If you’re using string from a reel (which would be more cost-effective), measure about 40 feet and cut it diagonally (later helps put strings through the grommets).
- Straighten it out: Make sure the strings are straight and free of any kinks.This makes it easier to prevent any mess once you begin to string the racket.
It also reduces the chances of the string breaking when you are stringing your racket (for natural gut especially).
- Cut the whole length into half. We will use half of the string for the mains, and the other half for the crosses, so you will have to cut the whole string in half.Holding both ends of the strings in your hands, put them together.
Clip it at a diagonal angle as you run down the length until you hit the center (later helps put strings along with the grommets).
- Prepare your racket: With the help of a sharp knife, cut the broken and frayed strings of your racket if you have not done it yet.It will be easier for you to cut the strings from the middle first and then go for the outwards.
You will also have to check the grommets, whether they need to be replaced or not.
The string must not pass in the grommets through any sharp edges. If there are any blocks, you can use an awl to make them loose.
- Adjust the tension rating of the string machine: This process will differ from person to person depending on your preference and the type of machine you have.You’ll have a scale to change the tension rating with a manual crank machine and drop weight machine. The screen can be used to configure electronic machines.
Most tennis players keep the string tension of 50 to 60 pounds. However, this is a personal choice that you can experiment with to see what is most suitable for you.
Now that you are done with these preparations, it’s time to string your tennis racket. So let’s take a look at the step-by-step procedure of stringing your tennis racket.
Step 1: Mounting Your Racket
First, you’ll need to attach your racket to your stringing machine. However, some stringing devices are more advanced than others.
The mounting device, for example, would have 2, 4, or 6 contact points to keep the racket in place.
Place your racket over the machine and double-check that all the mounts, particularly the head and throat, are properly secured.
Ensure the mounts are secure enough to prevent the racket from moving, yet not too close, the frame is damaged.
Note: When mounting your racket, remember not to block any of the grommets, as it may not be possible to insert the strings into blocked holes.
Step 2: Look for Your Starting Point
Deciding where to begin is the next step. To do so, look at the racket’s throat and count the number of holes there.
If your racket has six holes at the throat, begin at the throat; if your racket has eight holes at the throat, begin at the top.
It would help if you also made a mental note of the holes on the opposite side of the racket match with your starting holes.
Step 3: Insert The Main Strings
Please take one of the two halves of string you cut earlier and put it into your starting holes.
Slide each end of the string through its opposing hole, ensuring both sides have the same amount of string.
The easiest way to do this is to position the string’s two ends through the holes so that only the tips are visible.
After that, you will have to pull on both ends of the string simultaneously. You do not have to bother about using up the whole string as you go towards the end, as it will be of equal lengths.
Step 4: Pull the Main Strings
You have to begin by clamping. Start one of the main strings where you left off, clamping as close to the grommet as possible to avoid tension loss.
Notice you’ll only use this clamp on that side until you’re able to tie the knot. At this point, you can apply tension to the other main string.
The type of machine you have will determine how you pull tension on your strings. Drop weights necessitate the rod to be entirely parallel with a level, horizontal the surface for proper tension.
Every time you tension a string and engage the lockout system, manual machines are cranked.
Electronic machines are completely automated, and tension is pulled by simply pressing a button.
Step 5: Complete the Main Strings
Secure the string in place with a second clamp as close to the grommet as possible with the string you just pulled tension with.
Removing the string from the gripper and repeating the procedure on the other side. Insert the string into the gripper, pull until the desired tension is achieved. Then clamp it in place, repeat on the opposite string, and so on until all the mains are full.
Note: To stop uneven strain on the racket base, never string more than three mains ahead of the opposite side while stringing.
Check for holes missed or shared.
A mark on the frame showing that the hole has been missed is usually enough to know the difference. As a stringer, you can familiarize yourself with the racket string pattern (18×20, 16×19) ahead of time to avoid stringing the racket incorrectly.
Step 6: You Can Now Tie the Knot
Once you are done with the mains, it’s time to tie the knots. Insert one end of the string into the closest available hole with room outside your frame. Then while keeping your clamps in place, draw the string inside.
This might need you to use an awl. Bring the end of the string down one side of the letop string and up the other to tie the knot, passing through the loop you just made.
Tighten the knot with your pliers or insert the end of the string into the gripper, then repeat the procedure for a solid double knot.
Once you’ve completed one side of the main strings, you can move on to the other end of the string and repeat the process.
You can release those clamps after the knots are secure and then cut the extra strings from both sides. (Do it carefully, do not cut the knots)
Step 7: Start with the Cross Strings
Now that the key strings have been completed, we can pass them on to the cross strings.
If your machine needs it, you can now reposition the clamps to fit the cross strings (you will only need one to hold the tension).
First, insert the other half of the string you set aside for cross strings into one of the shared holes at the top (you can tell by a bit larger grommet).
Use one of the three methods mentioned below to tie a starting knot (I prefer the fishing knot).
To meet the opposite aligning hole, weave the string over and under the mains until your starting knot is tight.
If the string you finish on is the reverse of the one you ended on, you did it correctly (i.e., beginning with an over will end with an under and vice versa).
Step 8: Continue with the Cross and Tension
Pull all the string in, moving the string as you go to avoid kinks, and then step on to the second cross.
If you finished the first cross with the string under the main, you would begin the second with an over. If you start with an over for the first cross, you will keep doing so with each subsequent cross until you’ve done.
You have the option of tensioning the string after the first cross, or waiting until you’ve completed several and then tensioning them all at once.
If you want to tension the string after the first cross, insert it into the gripper to pull the desired tension and clamp it as tightly as possible to the grommet. But what I suggest is that before you pull them, you weave a few crosses (no more than three).
You can leave a loop on the outside of the frame after completing three crosses, which you can insert into your gripper to tension the first two crosses and then clamp it.
Step 9: Complete the Cross Strings
Continue stringing the crosses one at a time, after the starting cross strings are tensioned, repeating the process as before.
However, weaving a cross first and then tensioning the previous one by leaving a loop that can be inserted into the gripper is easier. So, thread the string through the correct hole, weave it over and under the mains, thread the string through the opposite aligning hole, leave a loop, pull tension on the previous cross, and clamp it off.
As you get closer to the end, you’ll notice there’s less string, making it more challenging to pull. When this is the case, use pliers.
Step 10: Tie the Knot
The finish line is almost here! You’ll need to tie a knot now that your crosses are finished. This looks a lot like the knot we made for the main strings.
Look for the hole closest to you that can accommodate two strings. Use your awl to enlarge the hole, but go slowly to avoid damaging the racket’s frame or strings.
Put the end of the cross string through the loop you just made, and repeat the process: down one side of the cross and up the other, with the end of the string through the loop you just made.
Tighten it with your pliers until it’s nice and secure, then repeat for a strong double knot.
Step 11: Dismount Your Tennis Racket
The racket must then be dismounted and the clamp removed.
Make a thorough inspection of your work to ensure no missing weaves, kinks, or damage to the racket. You can clip the extra string once everything looks good, but be careful not to cut the knot in all the excitement.
You’ve just mastered the art of tennis racket stringing! Congratulations, you’ve earned it! Take some time to experience the joy of your newfound knowledge.
As you are done with the whole process, I am sure you might have a few questions about your racket. Let me solve your confusion right now.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it necessary to use the same string as my racket?
No, you can use any brand of string.
Many players use the manufacturer’s recommended string(s), but this isn’t the only way to get the best string for your racket.
Only by testing various strings across multiple brands will you be able to decide.
Why did my racket’s string break in an unusual location?
There could be several reasons why your string breaks in unusual places on your tennis racket.
- A grommet that is loose or cracked.
Players often overlook the plastic grommets that hold our strings in place and prevent them from breaking prematurely.
It’s time to replace your head guard and grommet if they’re scuffed, cracked, or breaking away from your frame.
- The racket frame has a crack in it. If you’ve ever thrown your racket on the ground in frustration or hit something other than a tennis ball, your racket frame may need to be checked.
You’d be surprised how quickly some frames can crack and change the way you string your racket the next time around.
- The string has a weak spot. Even if the string has only been sitting around your house for a short period, it can develop weak spots.
The elements can harm the string’s construction, causing it to lose its tensile strength.
What tension/string should I use if I need more control or power?
When choosing the appropriate strings for your game, tension and strings should go hand in hand. There are three main strategies to choose from if you want more control or power from your stringbed.
- Consider using a thicker gauge size. Simply increasing the thickness of a string can significantly difference in your racket’s performance and control.
There’s no need to second-guess switching to a different string; you’ll end up with something you enjoy hitting with.
- Increase the tension.
As I previously stated, higher tension usually equates to greater control.
Simply increasing your tension by 4-5 pounds can mean the difference between a long ball and one that lands 5 feet shorter.
- Change the type of string you’re using. Most players believe that switching to polyester string will give them more control and/or power. This isn’t correct.
If you’re using natural gut or multifilament string, the synthetic gut is the next best option.
If you’re used to working with polyester, you might want to consider a non-polyester monofilament string. These options provide more control without the abrasiveness of polyester strings.
What is the difference between the various gauges?
A string’s gauge refers to its thickness. Most strings will be between 15g and 20g, or 1.05 mm and 1.35 mm.
The thinner the string is, the higher the gauge number on the package, and vice versa.
A 17g, for example, would be 1.25 mm, while a 16g would be 1.30 mm. Thinner strings have more power, feel, and spin potential, but thicker strings have better control and durability.