Tennis Industry magazine

 

Passing the Test

Display your expertise, and help your business, by becoming a Certified Stringer or MRT.

Want a surefire way to add to your credibility as a stringer, and to help boost your stringing business? Then you need to check out the certification program offered by the U.S. Racquet Stringers Association. If you string and customize racquets and aren’t either a Certified Stringer (CS) or a Master Racquet Technician (MRT), you’re doing yourself, your business, and your customers a disservice.

Just like other professional certifications, USRSA certification adds to your credibility in the minds of your customers, peers, competition, vendors, and potential employers. This is because they know you’ve passed a test demonstrating your ability to offer the highest level of professional service. And, if you choose to be an MRT, you also have demonstrated that you continue to be up to date on the latest technology.

This means that customers will be quicker to accept your advice and service. Your peers will have greater respect for your opinion when you discuss issues with them. Your competition will find it much harder to undermine your authority in the minds of customers. Your vendors and reps will feel more comfortable recommending your service to players they meet. And, if you find yourself looking for a new job or just looking to add another shop or school to your list of clients, it will be much easier to get your foot through the door.

A lot of shop managers know nothing about racquet service. The only way they will know if you are any good is if you’re certified. It is also common for shops to pay their stringers more if they are certified, because they understand that a qualified professional stringer can keep more customers happy and bring in more new ones.

Among the benefits that Certified Stringers and MRTs can enjoy is a discount program offered by many of the major manufacturers (visit the USRSA’s website, usrsa.com, for more information and a list of participating manufacturers). In some cases, simply taking advantage of one of these companies’ discounts can more than pay for earning and maintaining your certification.

The USRSA’s original stringer certification program was initiated in 1986 to recognize individuals with a basic level of stringing competence. Certification, either as a Certified Stringer or an MRT, involves a comprehensive written test and a detailed practical test. Both measure your understanding and skills with respect to all facets of racquet service, such as installing grommets and string, regripping, handle-sizing, and customizing weight and balance. Additionally, to attain MRT status, you’ll be required to demonstrate an understanding of current frame and string technologies and how those technologies translate to player satisfaction.

To receive an application for certification testing, go to usrsa.com, click on “Stringing,” then click on “Certification.” For current USRSA members, the test fee is $95, for nonmembers it’s $180. The test fee for Certified Stringers looking to upgrade to MRT status is $55 for USRSA members, $135 for nonmembers. (USRSA membership is $99 annually.) For additional information, including applications and study guides, contact Christina Kaus at 760-536-1177 extension 11.

Certified Stringer status carries no expiration date, but MRT status is good for one year from the test date. Maintaining MRT status will require passing an annual written mini-test designed to demonstrate an understanding of the year’s significant new technologies. The mini-test is open book, administered through the mail.

Every month, more and more people join the USRSA or become either Certified Stringers or Master Racquet Technicians, demonstrating to their customers and to the industry that they’re doing everything they can to keep their careers moving forward. Don’t miss out in setting a standard of excellence in racquet service.

 

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