Palmer On String
By Steve Crandall
Vice President, Sales & Marketing
Ashaway Racket Strings
I visited recently with David Palmer, who is back in Belgium training after his surgery for appendicitis earlier this year. We talked about the game of squash, and spent some time discussing racket setups and string, in particular. Speaking with the World Champion, who has maintained consistent top world rankings, was a good reminder of how important string can be to a player's game-physically and mentally.
World Champion David Palmer's string choice is Ashaway's PowerNick® 18, which provides a unique combination of power, ball control and dynamic response. He says, "Knowing my string will do its job lets me concentrate on doing mine."
"String choice is a very important, very individual decision," David said. "Each player should try out a number of different strings and setups to find the best fit.
"For instance, I like my racket strung tightly. I string all my rackets at the same tension, and have for the past 5 or 6 years. And, I use a string that maintains tension over long periods of time."
David's string choice is PowerNick® 18, which provides a unique combination of power, ball control and dynamic response. This string is constructed from thin Zyex® filaments which offer the superior tension stability that David demands.
When I asked David if he had any concerns about choosing a thinner, 18-gauge string, he responded, "Although the thinner strings give me good playability, the multifilament design stands up to my playing style."
Even with a very durable string, however, at the top levels of competition-when world championships are at stake-players have to restring frequently. In fact, with the demand top players like David put on their string, occasional breakage is a given, even during a game. When this happens, the mental cost of having to switch rackets midpoint is a real concern. David was reminded of that during the 2002 World Open tournament, when he was tied 12-all in the fourth game and broke a string.
Having to switch to a new racket in the middle of a match can often blow a player's concentration and confidence. However, David came back to top his opponent, taking that game and the next to win the tournament.
"Switching rackets halfway through did not rattle me," David explained. "I play with a string I trust, and I know I can depend on its performance.
"I have all of my rackets strung identically the day before a tournament. I know that the string will maintain its tension in my racket, and let me pick up with a new racket where I left off. You cannot discount the confidence you get from that peace of mind. Knowing my string will do its job lets me concentrate on doing mine."
When I asked David about his goals for the rest of the year, his reply was immediate. "I am looking forward to the rest of the year. I want to come back strong, winning as many tournaments as I can and reclaim number one," David said. "Most of all, though, I want to have fun doing it."
PowerNick 18 is a recognizable red string constructed from thin Zyex® filaments which offer the superior tension stability that top players like David demand.
"My journey in squash has been as much mental as physical. I train hard to make sure I am at the top of my fitness level. We work on strategies to make sure I keep my game versatile, adapting to each competitor and each situation. I am surrounded by a great coach and strong training partners and support here in Belgium. And, I am lucky to have a wonderful girlfriend who takes a lot of the pressure off me by taking care of the details, especially on the road. It is a combination of these things that make me successful. Having a string I can always rely on is also part of that mix."
Zyex is a registered trademark of ZYEX Limited.
This article previously appeared in Squash Magazine.