Racquet Stringers Symposium Returns to Disney World in 2009
In 2007 the first GSS racquet stringers symposium was held in New Braunfels, Texas. While attendance was modest the enthusiasm from those who participated was clearly evident. In 2008 the event was relocated to Orlando, Florida in the heart of Disney World with new seminars being added, new presenters brought into the fold, and as a result, the attendance tripled. “We were looking for a destination location” says Tim Strawn, owner of GSS and creator of the symposium. “The idea was to provide an all inclusive experience for our attendees and Disney World was the perfect answer. Our group could come for the training and without further travel, take advantage of one of the most popular vacation destinations in the world”
The GSS lineup of seminar leaders included a stellar cast of some of the most well known and respected people within the racquet sports industry from around the world. Seminars included a vast variety of topics including the basics of stringing, advanced stringing techniques, intensive sessions on racquet customization, a pro tour simulation stringing room, working with natural gut strings, building and growing a successful business, the manufacturing process of tennis racquets, and machine repair and maintenance. New to the 2008 symposium was a trade show. “We wanted to give stringers and shop owners a chance to see everything under one roof” said Strawn. To that end there were 14 companies that participated including Alpha, Babolat, Gamma, Guts & Glory Tennis, Head, Kirschbaum USA, Prince, Pro Supex, TT Stringer, Unique Sports Products, Weed Racquets, Wilson Sporting Goods, Wise USA Inc. and Yonex. Attendees were treated to a complete mix of the latest in stringing machines, diagnostic equipment, and hard and soft goods.
The 2008 symposium was truly an International event bringing stringers together from all parts of the world. Here’s what some of them had to say.
David Yamane from Winston-Salem, North Carolina: “I was able to get new ideas from and compare practices with others who do what I do (string at home and for a tennis team), as well as people who have their own shops, string at clubs, or string at retail stores. It’s hard to put a price tag on that, but to me it is extremely valuable.”
John Elliot from Paris, France: “The atmosphere, the feeling, the diversity and friendliness of this community was almost unbelievable. It was amazing to see so many people just happy to be there, all convinced that they were really privileged to be part of the “happy few”. This is an unforgettable event, a highlight on my calendar for 2009”
Carmine Grimaldi from Wayne, Pennsylvania: “After about a month and a half of being back home, I’m realizing day after day in my shop, all of the benefits that came along after attending the 2008 Symposium. Tim and his crew did an amazing job at organizing and putting together such a wonderful event. Starting from the location, which I really enjoyed with my daughter, the meet and greet, the seminars, the USRSA tests, the vendors’ show, to the last chat that we had in the hotel hall before leaving, everything was just perfect. In particular, I would like to thank all the seminar leaders for their professional way of teaching, their availability in answering all the questions, and their way of making us feel relaxed even knowing that they’re the best in the industry.”
In 2007 Jeremy Plumley from Bethesda, Maryland attended the very first GSS symposium. Steve Tidball, the Director of Tennis at Jeremy’s club had this to say “In 2007 our stringing business more than doubled with a majority of that growth happening after Jeremy returned from the symposium. Most impressive was the increase in the number of natural gut string jobs! In my opinion your stringers symposium really gave Jeremy the learning tools and confidence to take our stringing business from a member courtesy, to a professional and very profitable aspect of our facility. We now have several non-members who choose to have Jeremy string their racquets rather than take them to their club’s stringer. We look forward to next year to see where our business can go from here. The 2009 GSS symposium has expanded to meet the challenge and the requests of previous attendees. There are five new sessions scheduled for 2009 including seminars on marketing, customer service, round table discussion groups, a speed stringing contest, understanding and working with co-polymer strings, and mastering the aesthetics of a string job.
The 2008 GSS symposium was presented by the USRSA. Dave Bone, Executive Director, had this to say about his experience in 2008. “The atmosphere at the 2008 symposium was ideal. You couldn’t ask for a better group of eager participants or a better qualified group of presenters. The USRSA was honored to be the presenting sponsor of the event and to offer certification testing to such a qualified group of applicants. We were pleased to see the attendance grow so much from the previous year and hope that attendance continues to grow so that this event can continue for many years to come”. Last year Dave led a seminar for beginning stringers and Dave is back in 2009 with a brand new offering. Dave will take participants through an in depth look at how to use and take advantage of the USRSA online tools including racquet selector, string selector, racquet customizer, racquet optimizer, and how to effectively use the digest search feature. Registration for the 2009 stringers symposium is now open and there is a 10% discount if you sign up by May 15th. To register and see a complete list of information on the event please go to www.grandslamstringers.com or you can call event organizer Tim Strawn at 540-772-4418.
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