Our Serve: We Need a ‘Restring’ Campaign
It’s time we discard that old saying, “Restring your racquet as many times a year as you play in a week, but a minimum of twice a year.” Let’s consider that old saw done, dead, kaput.
We all know that from the moment you put new strings in a racquet, they start losing tension. Sure, some strings maintain tension longer than others, and some don’t break as quickly as others. But that’s beside the point. Strings go dead — that’s just what they do. They lose resiliency and elasticity. They may look perfectly fine, but old strings don’t help — and may hurt — a player’s game. (In fact, playing with dead strings may actually hurt the player, too.)
There’s a reason why pro players use freshly strung racquets every time they play — because it helps them play at their best. Shouldn’t recreational players play at their best as much as possible? Think about it: If rec players are playing well, and comfortably, they’ll probably play more.
So here’s the thing: We need to make sure consumers know they should restring their racquets more frequently. In short, we need a unified, industry-wide “restring your racquet” campaign. And we need to get everyone in this industry behind it — stringers, retailers, facility managers, teaching pros, manufacturers — even league and team captains. The goal is for players to play better, so they’ll play more frequently.
In 2011, the 4.8 million “frequent” players spent a total of $56 million on strings (not including stringing) — that’s actually slightly less than what they spent the year before, which is not a good direction to go in, particularly when racquet sales slipped in 2011, too. Frequent players, of course, are more likely to realize the value of restringing their racquets more than the 22.3 million other “regular” players. But we all know that many frequent players probably still use their strings longer than they should.
Now think about this: What if we were to get a million tennis players to restring their racquets just one more time each year? Can you imagine the impact that can have on string makers, retailers, facilities, and your business?
Like a car’s engine, strings “drive” a racquet. For optimum performance in a car, you need to get the engine serviced and tuned regularly. Consumers need to realize the same is true of a racquet’s “engine.” And the interesting thing with restringing is that more is always better for the player.
Let’s put together a campaign now to urge players, at every level, to restring their racquets more frequently. It can impact this industry at many levels, including leading to increased tennis participation. Let me know your thoughts and ideas at email@example.com.
See all articles by Peter Francesconi
About the Author
Peter Francesconi is editorial director of RSI magazine.