Today's racket stringing tip is about understanding how the tie off holes are positioned and how knowing this before you start stringing can be beneficial. The goal for this tip is to help you understand how this could save you not only headaches but make things cleaner and more efficient when stringing.
A few key facts you need to know before reading the stringing tip today. Tennis rackets will have 4 tie-off holes, two for the main strings and two for the cross strings. In a one-piece installation you will only use two of the tie-off holes. In a two-piece stringing you will use all 4 tie-off holes. I am also assuming you are not going to make custom tie off holes in different places, this is however something I want to discuss in another post because it is beneficial and a regular practice for many stringers. I am also assuming you know how to string using the 'around-the-world' stringing pattern. I am also assuming you understand the term 'short-side' and understand where the 'head' and 'throat' of the racket are located.
Lets get to it here:
1. I have found that during racket installation into the stringing machine sometimes the mounting system blocks the tie off hole that is located on the side of the frame. If this happens shift the frame in either direction and re-secure so that the tie-off hole is easier to access.
2. Some tie-off holes become worn and even start to break because the grommet gets more wear and the bulk of the tie-off knot sometimes can damage the grommet. Each frame will have 4 tie off holes, examine each and determine if any are worn. If you need to tube the whole because the grommet is worn than try to use the other side of the frame to tie-off your mains. (Only applies in one piece stringing). You will need to know this before installing any strings because you will have to adjust your short side so that you will be securing the knot on the opposite side of the damaged grommet. On a one-piece stringing using the 'around-the-world' stringing pattern you will be securing your tie-off at the head of the racket and on the same side as the short side (Except some Babolat frames).
3. You also want to be aware of where the hole is in relation to where the last string is because you really do not want to have a large amont of string on the outside of the frame. I have seen some examples on rackets where the stringer couldn't find the tie-off hole or it was blocked and they have a 2 or 3 inch piece of string on the outside of the frame before the tie-off hole. The reason this is not best practices is because it looks sloppy, can cause premature breakage and because of the potential of tension loss.
I hope these 3 brief tips help you in your racket stringing.