Tennis Industry magazine


Customer Service: Above and Beyond

Racquet technicians are on the front lines of this industry and play a key role in keeping players on the courts.

By Bob Patterson

Are you a racquet technician, or a string installer? This seemingly strange question comes across my desk more often than you would think. Every time someone passes the three practical, hands-on sections of the Master Racquet Technician (MRT) or Certified Stringer exams and then fails the written section, I have this discussion. It usually goes something like this: “I’ve been stringing racquets for years. How could I fail? I’m a really good stringer!”

Properly installing strings is, of course, an important part of a racquet technician’s job, but it’s not the whole job. Think of a car’s engine. You can be taught to replace a specific part and become very proficient at it with instruction and practice. But that alone doesn’t make you an auto mechanic.

A racquet technician should be able to assist players in choosing the right string and the correct tension for their games. That can only be accomplished by having knowledge of racquet and string technology, and knowing how to apply that knowledge to fit the player with the best set-up for their needs and particular style of play.

But even if you have the knowledge and skills, you have to know how to use them. I also hear from racquet technicians, and even some MRTs, who tell me they give their customer “just what they ask for.” As important as that is, if that’s all you’re doing, you’re doing a disservice to your player and to your business. And in the end, that approach doesn’t help our sport grow.

We need to educate players about the importance of using the right frame, string and tension. There are far too many players using the wrong racquet, or wrong string and tension. If their game stagnates or their racquet causes injury, they are likely to quit playing. Your business will suffer, but so will others: facilities, teaching pros, retailers, manufacturers and court builders. There is a lot riding on what you do to keep players on the court.

If you have just been installing strings, make an effort to increase your knowledge and expertise. And if you have that expertise, use it! Ask each customer about his game. Don’t assume that what they are using is still working. Players change. There is a need for constant re-evaluation.

We need to keep our players happy and enjoying this great sport. As racquet technicians, we are on the front lines of that effort.

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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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