Does Your Stringer String Around the World?

While it would be sexier and more exciting if I was, for the subject of this post, referring to stringing around the world at Grand Slam and Masters Series events in Melbourne, Paris, London, Monte Carlo, Rome, Miami, and New York, unfortunately I am not.  Instead, I am referring to stringing an Around the World (ATW) string pattern.  Allow me to explain…

Many racquets have string patterns where the mains (the strings that go up and down) end at the throat (bottom of the racquet).  When this happens, a stringer has three options:

  1. String the Crosses Throat (bottom of the racquet) to Head (top of the racquet)
    Stringing throat-to-head, or bottom-to-top, is not necessarily a quality stringing technique, and in some stringing circles, it is considered a major stringing faux pas.  (I’m in that circle.)  I’ll explain in a minute or so.
  2. String a Two-Piece Pattern
    This involves using two pieces of string (approximately 20′ each) – one piece for the mains, and one piece for the crosses.  When two-piece stringing is used, the crosses can easily be started at the head, so top-to-bottom stringing can occur.
  3. String a One-Piece Around the World (ATW) Pattern
    This involves using only one piece of string and altering the pattern slightly to go “around the world” – thus allowing for top-to-bottom stringing of the crosses.  There are several different variations of ATW patterns, but all basically do the same thing…  Leave off a couple of mains, start the crosses at the head, strings the crosses top-to-bottom, and then go “around the world” (around the outer portion of the stringbed) to finish any un-strung mains and crosses.

Why Stringing the Crosses Bottom-to-Top is “Bad”
Even though some racquet manufacturers “allow” bottom-to-top stringing without running the risk of voiding the racquet’s warranty, bottom-to-top stringing can still put unnecessary pressure around the hoop (top of the frame) – pressure that could cause the frame to crack and break.  Is it extremely likely that a modern frame will crack or break from bottom-to-top stringing?  No – assuming the stringer has a quality mounting system and thus mounts the racquet properly.  Is it worth it to me to string bottom-to-top and thus run the risk of cracking or breaking one of my client’s racquets?  Absolutely not.

Also, most shots (for players that are halfway decent at tennis) occur in the “sweet spot” of the stringbed.  The sweet spot isn’t necessarily the dead center of the stringbed.  It usually is located in the upper middle portion of the stringbed.  When stringing bottom-to-top, the crosses that form the sweet spot are the last crosses to be strung, and because of that, these crosses are subject to a great deal more wear and tear throughout the stringing process (having been pulled throughout the entire stringbed).  Therefore, the string that will occupy the portion of the stringbed where most balls are hit will be slightly more worn than it would be if the crosses were strung top-to-bottom.  Will bottom-to-top stringing cause significant wear and tear that could lead to premature breaking?  Perhaps.  Hard to say.  Is it worth it to me to run the risk of exposing my clients’ strings to wear and tear that could easily be avoided?  Absolutely not. 

Two-Piece Stringing or Around the World Stringing
So what do I do if the mains end at the throat?  I either use a two-piece pattern or a one-piece ATW pattern.  Deciding between two-piece stringing and a one-piece ATW pattern basically comes down to personal preference of the stringer.  Neither one is “right”, and neither one is “wrong”.  And both allow for top-to-bottom stringing of the crosses.

When stringing a racquet where the mains end at the throat, I prefer to use a one-piece ATW pattern.  Again, this is not any better or worse than a two-piece pattern – it is just my personal preference.  (Note:  Most Head brand racquets specifically require two-piece stringing.  When stringing these racquets, I always follow the manufacturer’s directions.)

So what does this mean for you?
Knowing this information will allow you to better assess the quality and professionalism of your racquet stringer.  If you have a racquet where the mains end at the throat, pay close attention to the pattern your stringer used.  If your crosses were strung bottom-to-top, you may want to consider finding another stringer.  Of course, you could have a conversation with your stringer and inquire as to why bottom-to-top stringing of the crosses was done, but in my opinion, it is too late at that point.  Your stringer has already demonstrated his/her lack of professionalism.  Seeking a professional stringer would be your best option, and if you don’t have that option where you live, you can always ship your sticks to me.  Check out my Long Distance Stringing Service for more information.

Thanks for checking in. – DH

Filed Under: Stringing

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  1. George Harrell says:

    First, I’d like to say thank you for your videos and other info you put out. I’ve found them very helpful. The one question I still have is why does it put extra stress on the frame to string crosses throat to head?

  2. David Henry says:

    Hey George – I guess it technically doesn’t put “extra” stress on the frame. It probably puts the same amount of stress on it, however, the hoop of the frame cannot withstand the pressure. For example, when the pressure is put toward the bottom of the frame (when stringing top to bottom crosses), the structure of the frame (hoop plus yolk) is stable enough to withstand it. In other words, there is simply more frame structure at the bottom of the racquet to support the stress. Now… I am FAR from a physics expert – just relaying what I’ve heard and read over the years. It is, however, logical – so that is good enough for me:) Take care.


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