So why am I starting this racket stringing 101 course anyway?


I was in college and playing on the tennis team when I first became interested in learning to string tennis rackets.  At the time it seemed so technical and a skill that seemed so foreign to me that I didn't really see how I was going to learn.  That same year I landed a job working at a local tennis club in the pro shop and my responsibilities where primarily scheduling court times (28 courts) and taking in rackets for restringing.  One of the teaching pro's was willing to spend some time with me and ended up teaching me how to string.  I will forever be grateful for that opportunity because looking back now some 20 + years later I realize that he really taught me more than just stringing but more importantly he taught me the solid foundation which helped me later in my stringing career.

That same teaching pro ended up opening a tennis shop a year or so later and I was hired on  there part time and that was the best learning environment to get better at stringing.  He was professional in the way he set the shop up all the way down to the electronic stringing machine.  At the club we used a stand up Prince 2 point mounting crank style / lock out machine with clamps attached to glide bar.   At the tennis show it was all about babolat constant pull with 6 point mounting and I could see how this made a difference.  When you first start stringing it really doesn't matter what you learn on because you can't tell the difference anyway, it is kind of like when you  start playing tennis you couldn't tell the difference between a well strung frame from another.  

What I didn't realize at that time was this was the beginning of a life long love for stringing and my mentor / friend would be a great resource for many years to come.  Today he leads a team of stringers at tournaments and continues to excel in his craft.   After a few years working part time at the tennis shop I ended up starting my own stringing business.  I purchased a used Alpha crank style machine that served me well for a few years, I traded up as soon as I could.  I went on to open my own shop with a college buddy and we probably made every mistake there was but it was fun learning.  We purchased a brand new Babolat Star 3 machine and that was our pride and joy.  It was a great machine and by that time I could really see how much better it was than what I was used to and not only that but you start to figure out what features you want to make your stringing easier.  

What made the Babolat stringing machine so great was the feel about it, simple controls, simple one button frame installation and a quality computer component made for a great machine.  Everyone that came in the shop seemed impressed and I think it initially helped with getting our stringing business going.  When we talked about technical things customers listened.  Most of our competitors where using the standard crank style machines still.  Don't get me wrong here the machine is only a tool and only as good as the stringer behind it!

That same year my business partner and I flew to Atlanta for the 'sports super show' where our goal was to also get certified by the USRSA racket stringers association.  When we opened our shop we were quick to join the association so we could put that little sticker in our front window that says "member usrsa' but that really didnt mean anything because anybody that paid there yearly dues would get that sticker along with a stringing book and guide that showed you a number of stringing patterns.  What we were after was the distinction of being a 'certified stringer' at that time it was called a 'CRT' (certified racket technician), today it is known as 'MRT' (Master Racket Technician).  Although by this time I had been stringing rackets for about 4 years, I really didnt have that much experience building up grips, changing out grommets or balancing frames.  I ended up passing and got my CRT status... Later I would go on to become a MRT and kept that active for many years.  

Having this certification is really valuable if you are promoting your stringing business to the retail clients, it gives them a good reference point to judge your ability on.  Out in the real stringing world ( the professional scene) it means absolutely NOTHING! and it is almost embarrassing to mention.  

A few years later I would go on to work for a few of the racket companies as an independent agent / sales professional which was fun and it allowed me to see more about the racket business.  I continued to string and started showing others some.  My big break came when my friend had asked me to string with him at Miami (Lipton) because they were looking for a few more stringers.  He vouched for me that I knew what I was doing and could handle the rigor.  It was a great experience, messed up a few rackets and learned a lot during those two + weeks.  I got to meet some people from the stringing community and corporate Babolat bigwigs as well.

Anyway I have more that I could share here about my history and experience but you get the idea that I have started where you are at now and I have made it to the ranks of professional stringer and have shown others how to do it.

See you Monday, video to come on my Youtube channel and I will post the videos here as well under 'stringing course'  If you are still reading, please be sure to subscribe to the Youtube channel, I plan on putting out some great content to help the beginning stringer.

Take care,


Patrick

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