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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Pat Markey

8 things you need to know to be a better racket stringer.

Learning from your mistakes and from the mistakes of others seems to be how we learn with  many things we do.  Truthfully it would initially appear that  learning from others mistakes is easier than learning from our own mistakes, but sometimes when we make our own mistakes it sinks in harder and perhaps makes for lasting change.

With racket stringing, try new ways to be better, don't use shortcuts and be honest with yourself in your ability level.  Here are 8 must know things to improve:

1.  You need to know frame structures, compositions and preparing the frame for stringing.
2.  know what tools / machines are more effective and have proper tools and machines that are calibrated and functioning properly. 
3.  Understand string compositions and characteristics and know what is out on the market and how they relate to tension and racket compositions.
4.  know how to replace grommets, headguards, grips and butt caps.
5.  Understand techniques and how to properly do things to avoid problems later on.  Know your limitations.
6.  know what to charge for your work, don't sell yourself short, understand your competition and work hard.
7.  Know how to handle natural gut strings / prestretching.
8.  Hybrid stringing - know and understand the importance and benefits.

I will spend some time going into detail about these in the days to come.  

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Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Pat Markey

I miss professional racket stringing, I really do!

2004 JP Morgan Chase Open in California. My stringing log 
I was going through old stringing logs and tossing some of these memories out.  It has been 5 years since I have been stringing on tour.  Just last year the Australian Open switched to the Yonex crew of stringers, gotta do a shout out to Julian for doing a great job stringing.  He taught me how to string back in 1991 when he was just getting started with his tennis shop.  I miss being around the tournaments, all the press, activity watching matches, its all great.  I look back at all the good and probably quickly forget all those long 15 hour days standing up, sore fingers and exhausted!... stringing racket after racket.....

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Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Pat Markey

Did you know this about the French Open? 60000 tennis balls and how much tennis string is used, check out this video

Only a few days before the 2016 French Open tennis Championships.  Check out this video from last years French Open, some fun facts and info.

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Pat Markey

How natural gut Tennis Strings Are made

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Pat Markey

Check out the specials here for Natural Gut Tennis Strings for $25.00 per set

KLIP Legend Natural Gut 18: KLiP Tennis String Packages 

KLIP Legend Natural Gut 18: KLiP Tennis String Packages.  Visit the String page for the latest pricing on Tennis Strings and compare pricing here.
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Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Pat Markey

Tennis Racket Stringing Tip - mounting the frame plus more..

For 2016 I have updated my Ebook "25 Racket Stringing tips"  which goes into detail about 25 must know tips and tricks for racket stringing.   I go into detail about stringing tips that I have learned over the past 25 years.  When I learned to string I was taught by someone who was serious about making stringing his career and this helped me to learn the correct way at the beginning and which later developed into good habits.  Some of these tips may seem small or trivial but take it from someone who has strung at professional tournaments, these tips come in handy and may even save your butt when your in a crunch.  There is no room for error when doing this on the professional level!  I have found it is much harder to break a bad habit than just learn it right the first time.  Ok enough about this, let's get started.  If you enjoy this content please think about getting my Ebook and having these all in one place.

MOUNTING THE FRAME incorporates several tips that are handy and worth a mention.  Since there are a variety of different mounting systems on various types of stringing machines I would keep this more generalized by saying that  (1) be sure to secure your frame correctly, check to make sure the frame wont move and that the racket is installed straight and no grommets are being crushed or bent.  You will most likely find out pretty quickly if your frame is not mounted securely .  I have seen stringers and not just newbie stringers forget to secure the frame.  Don't take the chance of damaging the frame.  Also remember that you can 'OVER TIGHTEN a frame just as you can having it not tight enough.  What happens is if it is too tight, you might have trouble releasing the mounts, especially in a Babolat easy mount type system.  frame tends to expand some and push against the mounts so just secure it snug.

(2) Determine for yourself which side of the frame will be your short side - this only applies to when your using the ' around the world ' or 'one piece' stringing method  but keep it consistent.  Once you determine ito choose either LEFT or RIGHT than stick too it.  You might even make a note to yourself on your machine or near your stringing area.  This is important for a few reasons but mostly to keep your stringing CONSISTENT.  (3)  The third tip goes along with this by  remembering  to always have the 'buttcap facing up', the reason for this is that if you can remember to do this the right side or left side will always be the same because you are incorporating tip 2 and 3 here.  We all tend to get into a habit of how many strings we pull on each side before switching, so these little tips will keep you consistent beacuse again THIS IS WHAT STRINGING IS ALL ABOUT - CONSISTENCY.  If a customer brings you three identically frames to string with the same tension than it could matter if change up your stringing and they may not come out the same.

RECAP:  Secure the frame in your machine, check to make sure it is secure before installing any strings.  Check to make sure the 'buttcap' logo is facing up and start stringing on the side you determined will be your 'starting point' short - side.

I hope this helps.  I will be sharing more and be sure to email me anytime if you have questions.
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Monday, May 09, 2016

Pat Markey

The two things that will make you a faster tennis racket stringer. Follow these simple tips here.

Save some time and effort when stringing your next tennis racket.!  Here are the two quick tips.

I ran across the following question recently regarding a soft 'weave' / hard 'weave' and about weaving ahead one string.  The answer to this is also a way to get faster at stringing - stay tuned for the answer.

Question:  "What is the difference between a soft weave or a hard weave?"

Answer:  Generally the terms soft or hard weave pertain to something that occurs during your cross weaving (stringing the cross strings - the ones that go from side to side, the horizontal strings and the  ones to get installed after the mainstrings).  Racket strings are weaved in between each main string and therefore go in an 'under and over pattern'.  When you get one cross string installed the racket stringer will generally pull the string with the machine, clamp it to keep it secure and then will weave the next one.  Every other string will generally be easier  to install if the previous string has not been tightened and this is where weaving one string ahead comes in play.

The idea is to make the cross string installation easier for yourself with less friction and if you weave one string ahead it will be easier to install the cross strings.  Give it a try and see if you have an easier time and can feel which string is the soft weave and hard weave.  STRINGING FASTER TIP 1:  Pre-weave one cross string ahead before you pull- this reduces friction and makes weaving easier and quicker. 

STRINGING FASTER TIP 2:  Pre-weave the main strings!   yes pre-weave all the mains in the racket before starting crosses.  I have gotten mixed reviews on this from previous articles on the topic and I think mostly because change takes time.  If you try it once It will most likely be harder at first until it becomes a habit.  When I started stringing professionally at tournaments I think I was the only one not pre-weaving the mains and I sort of refused at first to adjust my stringing, somewhat stubborn attitude or just for the fact that it can be somewhat confusing at first having all the strings just sitting there loose.  The short of it is this:  Imagine you get the string in your hand, quickly install the main strings, you quickly know if you have enough for the short side (on one piece stringing) and know if the tie off is at the top or bottom to help you determine if you are going to be stringing traditional or around-the-world (you can read my blog on this if it is not clear).  You then start pulling strings, clamping, pulling without having to find the end of the string weave it in and pull and clamp than finding the end of string again and weaving then pulling ext.  I honestly can't imagine stringing rackets without pre-weaving the mains.  One exception to this rule for me is the Prince O rackets because the strings are not secured by grommets and it makes it somewhat harder so I leave them out of this equation.

I hope this made sense.  Please remember it takes some time for this to become a habit, at first it may not seem like it is better or quicker but once it becomes a habit you will start to see the difference.  Although an easy concept it becomes more difficult when trying to explain in a blog post.  I hope to have some video posts up soon that will explain some of these concepts.  If you find this site useful, please share it, if you have questions please comment and if you need some more tips.  Check out my 25 racket stringing tips.


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Pat Markey

Learn from Professional Racket stringers at the 4 grand slams

Watch what happens at the 4 Grand Slam Events.  These short videos give you insight about what happens in the Stringing Room.  I have worked with the top stringers and although it looks easy, it is all about consistent, error free stringing.  Watch these videos and see what tips you pick up!.  See how they use a starting clamp, tie-off, weave and clamp off. 

Here are links to the Grand Slams:

French Open
US Open
Australian Open

The Australian Open 2016 string team was the Yonex team this year which is different from the previous years where the on-sight stringers were the Wilson Team..  The stringer talking on the video is an excellent stringer and friend that taught me how to string some 25 years ago.  If you want to improve at stringing, learn from the best, read and practice.

Please comment if you found this helpful.
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Monday, May 02, 2016

Pat Markey

3 Resources to help your tennis stringing business now.

STAY CURRENT if you want to be considered the EXPERT in your field.  I think this holds true in anything you do from teaching, coaching, to even  Tennis Racket Stringing!

So here are 5 resources that I use and consider important and ultimately -"keep you in the game".  Please note that I am not affiliated with any of these and do not get any commissions for mentioning.  I think they are important and keep these bookmarked.  This list is not all inclusive but ones that you should regularly keep up with.  (They are not necessarily in order of importance, just alphabetical).  My guess is that you already follow some or all of these because they are some core tennis resources.

1.  Industry Publication - In the United States. ' TENNIS' Magazine is connected and pretty much everywhere.  I have been reading this magazine for many years and it appears that over the years it seems to be getting smaller (less pages in print) and this could be for a number of  factors and many readers prefer the Online version .  I still like print magazines and seeing ads that might be important to stringing.  So get a subscription, find a print copy to read at your local tennis establishment, club,etc or spend some regular time with the online version.  You will stay current with equipment, strings, rackets, what the industry want us to know.  Tennis magazine can help you learn about new products and trends and the latest scores of matches as well.  You won't find many stringing tips and I will share other publications for that....and you won't find real technical or professional tour information either, it is geared for the club player but again that is your customer!  So read what your customer is seeing, and be sure to know what strings the industry is promoting and displaying... this can help you gear your product mix better and possibly reach a wider audience.

Note: If you are a member of the USTA (United States Tennis Association) you get a subscription to 'Tennis' magazine automatically.  You may find it laying around your tennis club, facility, pro-shop, etc.  You can also read a free copy at your local library!

2.  Google+ notifications -Lets you keep up with your topic of choice.  Head over to Google (information from the google site states the follows:).  This is a great place to type in topics like 'Racket Stringing' or 'Latest Tennis strings', but beware you will be getting lots of notifications.

Turn email notifications on or off
  1. Go to your Google+ Settings.
  2. Scroll down to the "Receive notifications" section and click each heading to open that section.
  3. Check or uncheck the types of notifications you'd like to receive.
Turn SMS or push notifications on or off
  1. Go to your Google+ Settings.
  2. Scroll down to the "Notification delivery" section.
  3. Under the "Phone" section, choose one of these options:
    • Push notifications
    • SMS notifications
    • Don't notify me
3.  Read Tennis Industry Magazine (formerly known as RSI) -  This magazine is the Industry trade publication for Tennis.  It comes out monthly and you can subscribe to printed copy for a yearly cost or subscribe to the free online edition.  You will find out what is happening in tennis, sponsorship deals, information on new products, new lines of products, stringing tips and other data and research.  As an example the May 2016 issue highlights the 2016 rackets, stringing tips about weaving, USTA teaching pro news, health tips and benefits of Tennis on your health.  Industry awards are noted, new products highlighted and the people watch section tells you about what people are doing.  This has interesting information, string reviews and lots of things that are relevant to racket stringing professionals.

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Sunday, May 01, 2016

Pat Markey

30 Days to your Racket stringing business STARTS TODAY! Day two just added!

I am finally getting this moving.  30 days... Lots of content and knowledge will be shared daily.  Take action today.  Every day I will post new information under the "COACHING" tab on the blue navigation bar. Check back daily for more updates.


Thanks and I hope to see you there.

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Pat Markey

Follow the latest tennis string advertisements and promotions! GAMMA OCHO, Free Head Tennis String for a Year!

Just like with any job or industry, you need to stay current with the happenings about your trade. Your customers will expect you to know what is new and what the trade publications and industry sources are saying. Tennis Magazine is a publication that started in 1954 and has a circulation of over 600,000.  It is probably the most widely distributed publication for the tennis player and fan. Take the latest issue of 'Tennis' Magazine, in the May/June2016 issue there are several things that I would like to highlight here. Aside from the latest on Maria Sharapova's ordeal to the French Open preview there are numerous advertisements and articles that apply to 'Racket Stringers". Again I am going to focus on what is important to the stringer!...

Pay attention to what brands and items are advertised.  If Yonex, Gamma and Head have full page ads then take not of what these companies may have that would interest your customer.  If a customer recognizes Head as an authority in Rackets than knowing about the Head strings would be important - do you see the connection here? 

Gamma has a full page ad promoting its "ultimate Game changer" Gamma OCHO string line - this is not new to this issue by any means, but continues to be something that Gamma is promoting.. Have you heard of it? if not now might be a good time to read up on it.  You should be asking yourself questions like:  What type of technologies does it use?, what type of  player would benefit?  How much does it cost? Does it come in various guages?  Where do you go to find out more info.  Another thing to consider is the cost because you need to think if you can make a profit from selling it.  Just from reading the 'one page advertisement' I can determine that the GAMMA "OCHO" string is an octagonal string with eight edges for extra bite into the ball and that apparently it comes in one guage only.

STRATEGY HERE:  I like to add in strategies that you can employ now and use to your business.  This string might be good for the player looking for extra bite into the ball.  Perhaps they use a poly base string now or not.  SO here is the tip:  If the player is using synthetics, perhaps use this in a hybird.  Put the OCHO in the mains, string a few #lbs. less tension and use their old synthetic in the cross.  This way you are only changing one variable at a time to see if they are getting more spin and bite into the ball.  If they use a poly than perhaps put this in the entire string bed, mains and crosses and keep tension the same.  Helpful?  Let me know.  According to the info out on the web, and the manufacturers website, OCHO only comes in 16g currently as of this writing.  I have written extensively on hybrid stringing and will be updating and providing more resources on this soon. 

 Learning to string rackets is only the beginning to being a good racket stringer!.... The word will get out quick if you can help others and can recommend something to help their game! Ok lets go!.... According to the advertisement: The Gamma OCHO string - is the ultimate spin, power and control. It combines the Multifilament, polyester and solid core technology.

 So I would head over to Gammasports.com and check out what they have to say. If you are not as familiar with the string technology and terminology than head over to Tennis-Warehouse learning center.  Check  Gamma Sports Ocho XP 16G Tennis String, Natural on Amazon to find out good pricing and ordering.

Here are the links to the string on Amazon and the various models.
    Gamma Sports Ocho XP 16G Tennis String, Natural 
    Gamma Sports Ocho TNT 16G Tennis String, Natural  
    Gamma Sports Ocho 16G Tennis String, Silver

As I continue through the pages of the latest "Tennis" magazine I see the full page ad from Head.com.  FREE STRING FOR A YEAR!  Buy any Head Graphene XT performance frame and get free string (the catch:  one set every 3 months).  I would find out more about this, may be a good promotion for your business?

I also noticed the two page spread from DICK'S sporting good regarding a FREE racquet restringing with any Tennis Purchase. I lastly look at the back of the magazine to see if any advertisements are relevant to stringing.  I see a few but nothing that may be time sensitive.  I have noticed that the Tourna brand has expanded from just Tournagrip overgrip to strings and stringing machines.

So be sure to keep up with reading the latest and most read publications so you can share with your customers.

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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Pat Markey

The Gamma X-2 Tennis Stringing Machine

You can get started stringing your own tennis rackets in no time.  It will take you some time to become proficient and comfortable with some rackets or stringing patterns.  The best way to get started is to get a simple stringing machines such as this Gamma x-2, a few stringing tools, some string and your racket!.  There are several other machines in this category as well which we will talk about.

THE STRINGING MACHINE:  This basic two-point mounting system requires only two places to secure the frame.  The drop-weight tension system will easily get your tension set.  This machine utilizes two "flying clamps" (clamps that are not secured on a shaft or base but are secured by the strings themselves. This machine is a table top model but you can get a table and cover as additional items.  For the purpose of learning to string and getting started with a budget to maximize your bottom line, this should do.  Some disadvantages to these machines is that they are not as accurate (tension may not be consistent), the two point mounting does not protect the racket as much as a 6 point mounting system.  It will most likely take you longer with the drop weight machine than with a constant pull machine to complete a string job.  Lastly I feel that the floating clamps are harsher, harder on the strings than the traditional clamps that are connected by a base.  A floating clamp basically connects with the previous string to keep it secure.

TOOLS:   The X-2 does come with an awl (pathfinder tool), straight awl, wrenches and pliers.  The basics to get you started.  There are some additional tools that would be beneficial but not needed as you start out.

GO BUY IT HERE:   Gamma X-2 stringing machine.

COMMENTS:  What I like about this machine is that at around 25 lbs it is pretty easy to store, carry around and set up.  Turntable rotates 360 degrees it folds up pretty compact and would be good for stringing on the road.  This might be the ticket to get you started, learn the basics and the price point is good at $179 Amazon price (free shipping).  Prices only go up from here and once you get started stringing you will start to want more features and gismos on your machine and this will then mean you moved up to the next level. 

GO BUY IT HERE:   Gamma X-2 stringing machine.

HOW TO STRING WITH THE X-2 (see video below)

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