Tennis Industry magazine

 

Guide to Strings: Educational Initiative

Use our exclusive guide to find the perfect strings for your customers.

By Bob Patterson

Even after decades of stringing racquets, I am still amazed at how little attention most players pay to their strings and grips. As technicians, we are used to seeing racquets with tattered grips coming in for restringing only because the strings broke. A look at the label reveals the frame hadn’t been strung in at least a year.

Even players buying a new racquet seem indifferent about their strings. They will spend weeks or even months trying out racquets, researching online and even discussing it with their local technician or pro. And when they finally make their choice, they say, “String it with whatever is cheap,” or “Use the blue strings. They’ll look good in this racquet.”

Strings are the greatest contributor to how a racquet will perform. Even for the most novice player, the difference between a very stiff string, such as a polyester monofilament and a soft, elastic multifilament nylon is easy to discern. So why are most recreational players indifferent about their strings?

Educating Customers

We feel that it is because of a lack of knowledge — which you will hear us say often as we try to push out an educational initiative to change that. The collective “we” of the tennis industry — racquet technicians, tennis retailers, manufacturers, teaching pros and anyone else in a position to educate the player — has a responsibility to do so.

This may not be an easy task, but we must all join forces to make tennis players aware that having the right string and tension for their frame, and for their particular needs and style of play, is vital to them playing their best and enjoying the game.

And it’s vital to your business, too.

The first step is to make sure you have the necessary knowledge to provide good string advice whenever the opportunity arises. The only thing worse than no advice is bad advice, so we must know our stuff when it comes to all things strings and racquets.

Online Database

There are more than 1,100 strings in our database listed as currently available in the market. That is an overwhelming number for even the most knowledgeable technician to handle. But with our String Selector tool — available to USRSA members — we can make the task much less daunting.

Using the String Selector tool and other tools on RacquetTech.com provides all the information racquet technicians need to help their clients find the perfect string match. Many of our members even produce a list for their customers with the technical information on the strings they stock.

For advice on how to best use this information, be sure to read the section “Using the String Selector” on page 28 of this guide. For a better understanding of the string graph, read the section titled, “The Geography of Feel.”

Our online versions include even more tools for USRSA members, such as the String Spec Search, which allows you to choose a brand and model of a string, and locate all the specs without having to sift through those of hundreds of other strings.

Our most used tool in this category is the String Selector, which allows the member to select a string and ask for changes in stiffness, gauge and tension loss. The member can choose: More, Less or About the Same for each. The tool then searches our database and presents a list of all the strings available that match the desired characteristics.

Members find this tool useful in choosing their inventory to ensure that they offer a wide variety of strings with as little duplication as possible. It can also come in handy when a client requests a string not in your inventory. By entering the string and choosing “About the Same” for all characteristics, you can see if any of the strings in your inventory are a match.

The below specs chart lists strings that have been introduced since our last chart, in the March 2016 issue. For detailed information about every strung currently on the market, go to RacquetTech.com.

Not a member of the U.S. Racquet Stringers Association? Join at RacquetTech.com.

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About the Author

Bob Patterson , the founder of the RacquetMAXX customization service, is a Master Racquet Technician with more than 20 years of experience. He was RSI's Stringer of the Year in 2005. He is Executive Director for the U.S. Racquet Stringers Association.

 

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