Changes Offered At 5th Annual GSS Symposium
The Grand Slam Stringers Symposium will celebrate its fifth anniversary in September. This year, the Symposium — with educational and hands-on seminars and presentations for racquet stringers, customizers and technicians — will move to Saddlebrook Resort in Tampa, Fla., and follow on the heels of the USPTA’s World Conference.
The GSS Symposium will start on Saturday night, Sept. 24, with a “meet and greet,” says owner and founder Tim Strawn of Roanoke, Va. Seminars and presentations will run from Sept. 25 through 28.
“Our event begins on the day the USPTA’s conference ends at Saddlebrook,” Strawn says. “In the past, since our Symposium was in October, it was difficult for USPTA members to attend. But this year, we’ve tried to make it much easier. And special discount rates apply for USPTA members who choose to stay and attend the GSS Symposium.”
The first GSS Symposium took place in New Braunfels, Texas, in April 2007, with 21 attendees from as far away as Spain and England. The event moved to downtown Disney World in Orlando, Fla., in 2008, and attendance quadrupled, Strawn says. It’s been held in October in Orlando since that year, and attendees have come from not only around the U.S., but also from Brazil, France, Spain, England, Denmark, Canada, Puerto Rico and the Republic of Korea.
Over the five years, sponsors have included Wilson Sporting Goods, Alpha Sporting Goods, Babolat, Prince, Head, Gamma, Weed Tennis Racquets, Unique Sports, Kirschbaum and Wise. The U.S. Racquet Stringers Association joined the GSS in 2008 and over the past three years, USRSA Executive Director David Bone (also RSI’s co-publisher) has been a seminar leader, judge for the Prince speed-stringing contest, and conducted USRSA certification each year (which he will do again this year). Other seminar leaders have included industry experts such as Ron Rocchi of Wilson, Mark Gonzales of Alpha, John Gugel, and Grant Morgan.
“Starting a new industry event five years ago was quite a challenge, but we’ve really come a long way,” Strawn says. “I have to thank folks like Dave, Ron, Mark, the people at Babolat, and many others for all their support. We’ve managed to develop and grow a fun event for stringers.”
Courses at the GSS Symposium have included basic stringing, a four-hour course on advanced stringing presented by Wilson, working with natural gut, racquet customization, machine repair & maintenance, string technologies, marketing, and customer service. There also is an open stringing room where attendees can try out a variety of stringing machines from various manufacturers.
Strawn has several additions planned for 2011, including:
- On-court session for customizing racquets
- Round-robin tennis event
- Session about the newly launched GSS Alliance website (gssalliance.com)
- Racquet record, a Mac-compatible data program
- Working with the Babolat RDC machine
- Stringing for racquetball and badminton racquets
- ATP training with the Saddlebrook head tennis pro
- Session on evaluating loads and stresses in racquets during stringing, when hitting a ball, and when removing strings from a racquet.
For more information about the 2011 Grand Slam Stringers Symposium, or to register, visit grandslamstringers .com. Discounts apply for those registering before June 30.
What Stringers Say About the GSS Symposium
- “I attended the first GSS Symposium and it was the first time I’d seen this many experts in my field together at one time, all anxious to share their knowledge. And the networking opportunities are also there, as I’ve gotten referrals for tournament stringing. I’ve attended every Symposium, and am looking forward to the experience again this year. — Matt Steverson
- “It’s the most effective way to improve your stringing skills. The seminars are conducted by some of the best racquet technicians in the world. You are now part of the ‘stringing community.’” — Ed Matheson
- “I have attended the symposium for three years in a row, and each year I take away more. Interacting with world-renowned stringers is an honor. The Wilson Stringing Room was superb.” — Diane Hamm-Vida
- “Even outside of the classrooms the learning never stopped — all seminar leaders made themselves available and took ownership in our learning. If you have passion for tennis and stringing, GSS is the place to be.” — Vasiliy Guryanov
- “The event has grown, not only in attendance, but also in topics and seminar leaders. I’ve attended every year, and I always pick up something new. But the best part for me is meeting all the wonderful people.” — Ron Castillo