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Steve Crandall's Racquetball Stringing Tips

Everything You Ever Wanted To Know
About String (and more..) Long-awaited Answers to Some Tricky Racquetball String Questions

By Steve Crandall
Vice President, Sales & Marketing
Ashaway Racket Strings

There were 86 winners of the racquet stringing quiz which appeared recently in this column. These daring individuals who sent in the quiz to be graded each received their individual test results along with a free set of Ashaway SuperKill® 17 Racquetball string.

As a group, our contestants got 73% of the questions right. For everyone's edification we'll review the toughest questions here.

  • 36% did not know the standard length for racquetball string sets. A: 40 feet.
  • 45% could not tell us which of the following characteristics (elongation, creep, denier, and moisture absorption) does not affect the performance of racquetball string. A: Denier.

Denier, a term originating in the textile industry, refers to the weight in grams of 9,000 meters of a given type of filament. The lower the denier, the finer the fibers. Many players report that thinner strings give them better feel. But denier does not necessarily relate directly to how thin the string is. A multifilament string may be composed of a number of different fibers, which can range from 15 denier to 1,600 denier. The thinness of the string has more to do with the overall design than the denier of any one of its fibers.

  • 47% were unable to say which racquetball stringing material (VectranŽ, Zyex® or Kevlar®) is not used in body armor. A: Zyex.

Since power is a subject that is near and dear to most racquetball players, you might think that materials used in body armor would make for a super-powerful racquetball string. After all, if a material can stop a bullet, imagine what it might do to a little rubber ball. Unfortunately, this is not a valid assumption.

The materials that make good body armor are very dense and can absorb a shock without breaking or deforming. This kind of strength is called tenacity. Vectran and Kevlar have a tenacity of 20 to 30 grams per denier. The tenacity of Zyex (and nylon) is 6-7 grams per denier.

If you're looking for a string to generate power, the body armor fibers are not a good choice because of this energy-absorbing characteristic. If you are looking for control, they could be ideal. Zyex, which is not strong enough to stop a bullet, will stretch and then redirect a lot of energy back into the ball (the infamous trampoline effect). Interestingly enough, this property is called toughness. So you macho racquetball guys, do you want your string to be strong or tough? They can't be both.

  • 51% did not know the definition of hybrid stringing. A: Stringing with two different types of strings. We started discussing hybrid stringing last time (November/December 2000 issue), and we'll have more to say about it in our next column.
  • 60% could not tell us which of the following countries (USA, Canada, Japan or France) is not home to a racket string manufacturer. A: Canada.
  • And, finally, a full 65% of the quiz participants (be still my heart) did not know the year this column first appeared. A: 1995.

Thank you to all who participated in the string quiz. I hope that those new strings, and the additional stringing knowledge, help win you a few games.

Vectran is a registered trademark of Celanese Acetate L.L.C. Zyex is a registered trademark of ZYEX Limited. Kevlar is a registered trademark of DuPont.

This article previously appeared in Racquetball Magazine.

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