Guide to Squash Strings
|Natural Gut||Great resilience and good control and touch, but costly. Maintains tension over the life of the string. More commonly used in tennis rackets.|
|Synthetic Gut||Cheap, all-round option with reasonable feel and durability.
Example: Prince Synthetic Gut Duraflex
|Monofilament||Cheap and very durable but quite stiff. Originally, a very unforgiving string, but there are now more soft monofilaments coming onto the market which give the strings more playability.
Example: Salming Instinct
|Multifilament||Soft, resilient feel and better dynamic elasticity. More expensive and less durable than monofilament strings.
Example: Ashaway SuperNick XL
A higher tension will give you more control over the direction the ball takes off your stringbed.
A lower tension will give greater power, but with less control.
|Very Loose Tension
(21 lbs or under)
|Uncommon and typically only used by very particular players or professionals.|
|Loose to Medium Tension
|At lower tensions, the ball will go deeper onto the strings. However, because it takes longer to go into the string bed, you can lose ball control. Low tension is subject to more abrasion failures, where strings are worn out from sawing back and forth against each other.|
|The most common string tension is usually around 26 Ibs, which is a good middle-ground.|
|28 Ibs is typically the highest you want for a squash racket. Most rackets have a recommended maximum tension around 30 lbs. High stringing tension is more susceptible to snap (tensile) failures.|
String Gauge (Thickness)
Squash strings are generally available in one of three gauges, or thicknesses: 16, 17 and 18 gauge.
Thicker strings (16/17 gauge) are more durable, hold tension longer, offer greater control but are stiffer.
Thinner strings (17/18 gauge) tend to be less durable, but are bouncier and stretch back further on impact with the ball. This trampoline effect generates more power. Thin strings also dig deeper into the surface of the ball (known as bite), generating better traction for more spin control.
Frequency of Restringing
Racket strings don’t necessarily have to break to need replacing. All strings will lose their elasticity and deteriorate with constant use, and will gradually lose elasticity even if they are not in use. When strings become looser as a result of tension loss, they become less powerful (not more) and they begin to lose their control properties.
If you play 3 or more times a week, it is recommended that you restring your racket at least 3 times a year.
Even if you play less frequently, you should ideally still restring your racket at least a couple of times a year.
What do the Professional Players Use?
|Nick Matthew||Ashaway Powernick 18 @ 28 lbs|
|Mohamed El Shorbagy||Tecnifibre DNAMX 18 @ 26 lbs|
|Gregory Gaultier||Tecnifibre 305 17 @ 15 lbs|
|Cameron Pilley||Karakal Evolution 115 @ 26 lbs|
|Laura Massaro||RAB Sensor Fibre HD 16L @ 29 lbs|
|Sarah-Jane Perry||Unsquashable Tour-Tec Pro 1.18 @ 26-27 lbs|
|Joelle King||Ashaway PowerNick 18 @ 28 lbs|
How to Choose Your String Specifications
Both thin strings and low string tension generate greater trampoline effect and more power. However, string tension utilises the effect to a much larger degree than string gauge.
Power players who are physically strong generally don't feel they need more power, so use a higher tension to enhance control. However, if you string at high tension and you're a hard hitter, you're likely to break a lot of strings.
Players who are less powerful tend to go either way. Many of them string tight for maximum control, while others string loose to put a bit more pace on the ball.
If you have any elbow or shoulder issues you shouldn't get your racket strung too high (27 lbs at the highest), nor should you use a monofilament string.
The best performance string manufacturers are Ashaway and Tecnifibre, but these are also the most expensive and are typically less durable than cheaper options. There are plenty of mid-range options available from other reputable manufacturers.
In the end, it all comes down to personal preference. However, for any recommendations on the perfect string and tension, it is always worth speaking with your local professional stringer.