Coaches Look To New Material Technology To Aid Team Stringing Needs
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Tom Rankin
105 Hemlock Drive
East Greenwich, RI,
08/04/05 - Ashaway, RI -- If you thought picking the perfect string to fit your game was complicated, you ought to try picking for an entire team. That's the dilemma coaches face: multiple players, multiple and changing skill levels, and the ever-present pressure of tight budgets and too little time. And just as no single string is right for every player, no single solution to the problem of team stringing is right for every coach. But some new string material technology is beginning to help.
"I have guys who break strings every single practice," says Bob Hansen, Men's Tennis Coach and Chair of the PE Department at the University of California, Santa Cruz, whose team just won this year's NCAA Tennis Triple Crown. "They can't get through one match without breaking one or two sets." This, he says, is not just an issue of expense, it's also an issue of time for his busy students who string their own racquets and need to study as well as practice. "So for us, the durability issue is huge."
But Bob also faces string needs for players across all skill levels. In addition to coaching, Bob teaches basic tennis classes and, during the summer, runs a very large tennis camp. "In our class racquets, we just need something that lasts." But as players gain in strength and skill, they develop particular needs and preferences, which Bob tries to accommodate as much as reason and budget allow.
The string he has had the most success with across the broadest range of players is MonoGut(r), recently introduced by Ashaway Racket Strings. MonoGut is a new type of string, designed to provide a superior combination of playability, durability, and value compared to more traditional multifilament synthetic gut. Manufactured from a proprietary blend of several polymers, MonoGut is extruded with a fluorocarbon emulsion coating that provides surface friction for superior bite and also facilitates stringing.
"This new type of synthetic gut is ideal for players who bang the ball and break string," says Steve Crandall, Ashaway's Vice President of Marketing. "They are always looking for value in both price and performance, and while traditional synthetic guts are acceptable, this new monofilament will last much longer and provide superior response right up to the final hit."
Another coach who has had success with MonoGut is James Martin, President of the South Carolina Tennis Coaches Association. James works with younger players between the ages of 12 and 18. Unlike Bob Hansen, James strings all the rackets for his team himself, at night after he gets home. So in addition to performance, string durability is a very personal issue with him.
Most of his players use MonoGut, usually as a hybrid with synthetic gut or Kevlar, though some use only MonoGut. "Players love the MonoGut," he says. "The biggest reason is that the strings are able to slide a little more than the synthetics, so they don't get notches as fast as synthetics and that gives us a lot more durability. We also get a lot more bite on the ball and a little more punch in our serves. So it's been perfect."
Bob Hansen, too, has had success with hybrids, though he is not a fan of Kevlar, and suggests that MonoGut be strung slightly tighter than other brands as it tends to loose some tension immediately after stringing. He also likes to provide his players with more variety and even has a couple players using an Ashaway racquetball string in their rackets. "They love it," he says. "It really lasts and plays very fast."
Both Bob and James try to provide string for their players as much as possible, and have found that dealing with a single supplier helps spread their budgets. "Pricing is a factor," says Bob, but more important is the supplier "having enough different kinds of string so a coach can call and say, 'What do you have for this kind of player who likes a string that's quick and resilient,' and be able to get the string quickly."
"The string we used most this year was Ashaway," Bob continued. "It was a very, very good year. I think it was the first year in NCAA history of Division III Tennis where--since they've gone to a team format--one team won the Singles, Doubles and Team Title. It was a great year for us. We did it at home, we had huge crowds--I like a lot of things that happened this year, including Ashaway."