Racquet String Pop-Quiz: The Answers Revealed
By Steve Crandall
Vice President, Sales & Marketing
Ashaway Racket Strings
There are two kinds of people in the world - those who get excited about the important questions of life and those who would rather skip the questions and get right to the answers. Recently we popped a quiz in this column and there were 56 readers so eager to deal with questions that they sent in their answers. They were rewarded with a grade and a complimentary set of Ashaway SuperNick® XL Titanium squash strings.
For the rest of you, here are the answers.
So maybe these are not the most important questions in your life; but if you want to improve your squash game, knowing a little bit about squash strings and stringing techniques will help. A more detailed explanation of the theory behind some of these answers is contained in the previous articles posted on our website (ashawayusa.com). In the next column we will break into previously unexplored territory.
- "The larger the gauge number, the thicker the string" is a false statement.
- "String tension should be in proportion to head size, with larger heads calling for more tension" is true.
- The standard length for squash string sets is 30 feet.
- "If you want the ball to explode off your racquet with greater power, you should string your racquet at higher tension," is blatantly false. (It is also counter-intuitive. I am happy to report that most people responding to the quiz answered this question correctly. One of the most important things you need to know about your racquet strings is that tighter strings enhance control, while looser strings enhance power. What good players do with this information, however, varies according to the player.)
- "Braiding, rather than twisting, of the nylon jackets on squash strings produces a textured surface which enhances ball control" is true.
- The acronym for the only national Racquet Stringing Association is USRSA.
- "Multifilament string construction is the most common for squash string" is true.
- The most commonly accepted range in millimeters for a 17-gauge string is 1.20 - 1.25.
- A device to measure string gauge is called a micrometer.
- Of the following countries-USA, Canada, Japan and France-only Canada is not the home of a racquet string manufacturer. (More than half of the respondents to our quiz got this answer wrong. Fortunately, this is a piece of information that is least likely to affect your game-unless you happen to be waiting for a shipment of strings from Canada.)
- The first synthetic material used for manufacturing racquet strings was nylon, not polyester or rayon. (Synthetic string materials continue to be a hot subject. In the near future look for new synthetic string constructions that will further improve racquet performance while allowing for further gauge reduction.)
- Of the following raw materials used in racquet string-Polyester, Nylon or Kevlar, Kevlar has the least elasticity or stretch.
- Of the following-electronic, drop weight and chemical combustion-only chemical combustion is not a type of stringing machine. (It shouldn't be a surprise that nearly 98% of the respondents got this one right.)
- Of the following elements-Titanium, Copper and Carbon-copper is not used in racquet strings.
- "The normal tension range for stringing squash racquets is 45-50 lbs" is false. The normal range is actually 25 to 35 lbs.
- "The core of the string is the source of the racquet's playability and strength, while the jacket of the string aids in durability and ball control" is a true statement.
- Of the following fiber properties-Elongation, Creep, Denier and Moisture Absorption- denier does not affect squash string performance.
- "At a lower tension, a string is more apt to add control to your game," is a false statement. (Déjà vu, déjà vu. See question four.)
- The first synthetic Ashaway string was produced in 1949 (not 1945 or 1952).
- Steve Crandall's first squash tips column appeared in Squash Magazine 1999.
This article previously appeared in Squash Magazine.