I've done a podcast about strings in the past, and although I hate to admit it, I am far from an expert on nylon, polyester blends, artificial gut and whatever whiz-bang string is popular on the market. Dammit Jim, I'm a tennis instructor–not a racket technician. There are people out there on the web far more qualified than I to explain the whys and wherefores of stringing.
At the moment, I wouldn't mind a little advice about how the weather, more specifically coldness, affects the life of a string. It makes sense that these materials would get more brittle as the weather here on the East coast cools down to the high 40s to low 50s at night. But I have now broken strings in two rackets in my last two hitting sessions and I'm wondering if it is just bad luck, bad stringing or something else I should be aware of.
If you as a player have had any similar experiences, or you are a racket technician, please let me know your thoughts and stories. I'm always looking to expand my own tennis knowledge which I can then share with others.
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When we miss a shot, do we know why? As a commissioned salesmen at one time in my multiple careers, I was told that the sign of a good salesman was not that he closed every deal. That would be great, but it is a bit unrealistic. No, I was told that a good salesman knows why a sale DID NOT happen. He can visualize in his mind's eye just where things went wrong. He may not be able to fix it, but he can at least learn from what occurred and carry that knowledge with him to help with the next potential customer.
I believe that a good tennis player is very much the same. One should know why the shot was missed. Was it positioning, shot selection, willingness to make adjustments, fatigue, or a loss of mental clarity? It could be many things. Even though I cannot take the shot back, here is what I do with my hitting partner (this is of course during practice and not a match): I attempt to make my next feed shot a replica of what I just missed. If my swing was too low, I adjust. If I did not get low enough, I adjust. If my feet were not correct, I adjust. If the racket path was offline, I adjust. I make whatever adjustment I believe would have made the shot successful. And if I hit the shot well, then I have just proven to myself the ability to identify the flaw and make the adjustment.
This would not work on things like a drop shot, etc. as there are limits to a hitting partner's patience. But if you have good rapport with your associate, then they will understand what you are doing and perhaps even admire you for your always striving to improve your game.
While I may not be the cat's pajamas on the dance floor, I'm not afraid to get my knees dirty for great net play on a tennis court. Let's discuss those really-low volleys from the shoe tops that wreak havoc at the net. (see slideshow of low backhand volley)