Posted on

Is Your Racquet a String Eater?

Squash Racquet Broken Bumper Guard

Take a good look at the racquet in the image at the top of this article. It won’t take you long to see why the string broke where it broke.

It broke because the grommet for that string hole is both crushed and split. Two holes to the left of that, another grommet is broken.

You can see that we slid the separated grommet down the string to provide a landmark for another image of the same racquet from a different angle which is posted a little further down this page.

If you find that image, you will be a able to see what is happening on the outside of the racquet, which is the other side of the hole where the string broke.

Squash Racquet Broken Bumper Guard
The moment the bumper guard breaks, the racquet becomes a string eater.
Why did the grommet split? Probably because the bumper guard broke. Why did the bumper guard break? Because the player hit the wall.

Did either of these happen because of something the racquet stringer did six weeks ago when he strung the racquet for the client?

Absolutely not. Yet the customer’s first instinct when the string broke was to blame us.

We didn’t use the racquet. We didn’t break the bumper guard. We didn’t split the grommet.

The customer did it. He hit the wall. Hitting the wall broke the bumper guard. Breaking the bumper guard weakened the grommet. The grommet split, exposing the soft string to the hard graphite edge of the racquet frame. Then eventually, the string broke in exactly that spot.

These events may not have happened on the same day. Each may have occurred days or weeks apart. But each event led to the other and the end result was a broken string.

So before you blame the professional who strung your racquet, ask yourself this question: is my racquet a string eater?

If you have a broken bumper guard, your racquet is a string eater. If you have broken grommets, your racquet is a string eater. If your grommets are split but not fully broken, your racquet is on its way to becoming a string eater.

If your racquet is a string eater and you want to keep it you have two choices. Either fix it or be prepared to feed it a lot of string.

Don’t blame us. We will always advise you to fix rather than feed a string eater. In fact, we carry a lot of parts just so you have the option of fixing it.

Outfitting a racquet with a new bumper guard and grommets costs about $20.00, parts and labour included. However, if your racquet is a string eater, doing this could save you many times that amount.

Posted on

Why Do Strings Break?

Squash racquet with broken string
When a string breaks, don’t assume that your stringer did something wrong.
Here at Racquet Network, our stringers re-string nearly 2000 racquets a year. Less than a dozen racquets a year come back for warranty repairs.

This means that 99.994% of the racquets we repair are fine while 0.006% experience premature string breakage.

Yet in almost every one of the 0.006% of cases where strings break prematurely, the customer wants to blame us for doing something wrong. They seem to believe that when a string breaks, it has to be somebody’s fault.

This is a primer for those folks. The purpose of this article is to share our considerable experience about why strings break and to help players understand why this happens to them.

Don’t Take it Personally

The first thing to understand is that it’s not personal. Nobody is picking on you. It’s not a conspiracy.

All strings break eventually. Sometimes they break the first time you use them. Sometimes they last for years. When a racquet is strung, nobody knows how long it is going to last.

Your racquet might be in the 99.994% that are fine or it might be in the 0.006% that break prematurely. There is simply no way to know.

Even a perfect racquet that is perfectly strung by the world’s best stringer with the world’s best string on the world’s best stringing machine under perfect conditions can break the very first time you hit a ball or a shuttle with it. That’s a coincidence, not a conspiracy.

That said, however, there are come common causes for string breakage that we see regularly.

Racquet Maintenance Issues

Most often, the problem is with the bumper guard or grommets on the racquet itself. If grommets are broken, the graphite from the frame will cut through the string. If you are using a soft multifilament string like Tecnifibre ™ 305 or DNAMX, your string life can be extremely short.

The same is true for broken bumper guards. If the string in a racquet is passing over jagged pieces of bumper guard, there is a high likelihood that your strings will break prematurely. This is also true if missing pieces of bumper are exposing the string to wall/floor strikes on the outside of the frame.

Customer Usage

The second most common cause of string breakage is directly related to how customers use string. In squash, for example, we commonly see problems with men who overpower their string by literally hitting the ball much harder than they need to.

In this case, the story goes something like this.

A guy buys a squash racquet with thick, low grade factory string. He plays squash for a while and learns to serve overhand and to hit the ball really, really hard. Since the factory strings that were in the racquet when he purchased it are thick and designed for durability rather than playability, the player experiences no consequences for hitting this hard.

Eventually, however, the strings in the racquet break and the player brings the racquet in for re-stringing. For whatever reason, he decides to go with a highly playable string like Tecnifibre 305 or DNAMX, which are both playable but not very durable. So to nobody’s surprise, he goes out onto the court, pounds his first serve and immediately breaks his expensive new string.

Nobody is at fault here. This is simply physics. The strength of the player overpowers the strength of the string. This string is designed for professional squash players who consistently hit the ball in the centre of the stringbed. It is not designed for overhead pounders who hit the ball hard and off centre.

This is our second most common cause of string breakage; it is a player/string mismatch. The player and the string are both fine on their own; they are just wrong for each other.

This player needs a durable string, not a playable string. Once this is determined, we can advise players in this group to go with a more durable string, like Ashaway ™ Supernick XL Titanium.

The important thing to understand here is that nobody can know that the player and the string are wrong for each other until they try to play together. This is a matter of trial and error. Until they try, the error cannot be detected.


So the next time your string breaks prematurely, please don’t jump immediately to the conclusion that your stringer did something wrong. Given how we do things in our shop, this is highly unlikely and we suspect this is true for most professional stringers. A more likely explanation is that something else is at fault. Just bring your racquet in for us to look at. We will probably be able to figure out what happened and we will probably be able to help put you back into the 99.994% group.

Posted on

How to Save Money on Custom Racquet Stringing

Want to enjoy all of the benefits of custom racquet stringing without paying full price for everything? Try pre-ordering online. Then drop your racquet off whenever it’s convenient.

You will get exactly the same result as when you come into the store and place your order in person, but you will save money every time.

Pre-ordering your stringing this way allows us to save on staffing costs. So we can pass the savings on to you.

As an added bonus, our system will automatically send you a 10% discount on your next stringing purchase if you submit a review within 30 days.

That’s all there is to it. You already know what you want, so order it online and save some money. We will do the rest.

Posted on

A Beginner’s Guide to On-the-Spot Racquet Stringing

Our On-the-Spot Racquet Stringing program is very popular. Simply bring your racquet into our store any Sunday afternoon from 1:00-4:00pm and we will string it while you wait for just $20.00, string and labour included. It’s a great program that has saved a lot of squash, tennis, badminton and racquetball players a lot of money since we introduced it in 2017.

Not everybody is happy about it, though. There are some people who try to game the system and end up genuinely upset when we stop them from getting their way. The purpose of this article is to let everybody know the rules so that we can prevent problems before they happen.

Rule #1 – Nobody Gets Special Treatment

All of the rules are fair. They apply equally to everyone. There are no exceptions. Every week, for example, we have somebody who comes in a few hours early and tries to drop their racquet off. “I’ll be back to pick it up later,” they say. “No. No. No. No. No,” we say. “Nobody takes short cuts. We don’t allow that.” So they end up leaving angry.

Rule #2 – Sign Up Starts at 12:45pm

The sign up rules have been set in stone since Day One of this program. Sign ups must be in person and first come first serve. If the racquet you are getting strung was purchased from us, you can sign up anytime after 12:45 pm. If you did not purchase the racquet from us, you can sign up anytime after 1:00 pm. If you are not in the room when we call your name, we move on to the next person.

Common questions about this… All answered no … Can I sign up early? Can I sign up over the phone? Can I reserve a spot? Can my friend sign me up? Can I leave my racquet here now and come back after 1:00 when it is done? Like we said. The answers to all of these questions is no. So please don’t ask.

Rule #3 – Do Not Leave the Store

Another common question: can I leave the racquet with you and come back later? Again, if you want on-the-spot stinging the answer is no. If you want to run out to the bathroom or go get a coffee, that’s OK. But this is a stringing-while-you-wait program. Not a drop-it-off-and-pick-it-up-later program. If you leave, we will take your racquet off the stringing machine and move on to the next customer.

Rule #4 – No Outside String

Would you take your own meat into a steakhouse and ask the chef to cook it for you so you can save some money? Would you take your own rice to a Chinese restaurant or your own bread to a deli? Of course not. So please don’t bring string to our stringing store. We sell string. More than 150 different kinds of string. More than anybody else in Calgary.

Rule #5 – One Racquet Per Person

Each person is limited to one racquet per day. If you have two racquets to do, you can come on two different Sundays. Nobody walks in with an arm full of racquets and forces everybody behind them to wait. This is a firm limit. One racquet per person per Sunday. No exceptions. So don’t ask.

Parting Thoughts

We started our On-the-Spot Racquet Stringing program so that we could get to know our customers and so that our customers could get to know us a little better. That tends to happen when people spend an hour or two together every few months. However, not everyone is equally good at waiting. In fact, even the idea of waiting is enough to make some people grumpy. If you are one of those people, we strongly suggest our “Just the Basics” racquet stringing program. It’s the same result, without having to wait around the store.