Debate/Discuss, Who Are The Best Stringers in the World?

Discussion in 'Stringing Techniques / Stringing Machines' started by drakulie, Oct 10, 2011.

  1. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

    Joined:
    May 3, 2004
    Messages:
    24,466
    Location:
    FT. Lauderdale, Florida
    Grand Slam Stringers VS Home Stringers VS Pro Shop Stringers

    There has been a lot of debate over the years on the forum in relation to who are the best stringers in the world, and secondly, are “Grand Slam Stringers” really better stringers than the “home stringer”.
    There are several types of stringers, all of which serve a specific function, so keep in mind each should be looked at individually. Please understand the following is going to have some generalizations, so bear with me.

    Home Stringers:
    “Home stringers”, for the most part are those that string out of their homes. They begin stringing either because of interest taken in the process, to save money, or because they enjoy trying out all sorts of strings and set-ups amongst other reasons. Because stringing cost begin to run high, they soon figure out how much time and money they could save stringing for themselves. Many times, this stringer also strings for family, and friends.

    Most home stringers stay at this level, don’t string to make an extra buck or impress anyone. They rarely venture out to properly learn how to string (what others more qualified may deem appropriate vs. inappropriate), much less learn how to string more than a few racquets. For many home stringers (not all) their technique is questionable, which would make more “accomplished” stringers frown on their work. As for their “level” of stringing, most don’t become certified (which I’ll get into later), or get into learning all types of patterns, knots, etc. They don’t use the most expensive or state of the art machines. They keep it simple, and are happy to string their own frames, regardless of what others may or may not think of their quality of work.

    Keep in mind, the aforementioned does not apply to all home stringers, as many are what I would define as some of the best, most knowledgeable stringers in the world.

    Client Stringer:
    What I would define as a “client stringer”, would be a “home stringer” whom has personal clients they string for to make some extra cash or provide a service not available in their area. Many towns or cities have few places where one could drop off racquets such as a pro shop or sporting goods chain store that provide this service. Many times, these services are available but too far or the stringing service is too costly and poor quality.
    As one could see, the “client stringer” evolves at times out of necessity, or as a needed service to the tennis population in the area.

    “Client stringers” are typically far more accomplished stringers and offer a better overall service than the “home stringer”. They carry, and are more knowledgeable about many different types of strings, patterns, have better quality machines/tools, etc. Their technique may be better as well, as for the most part they may have studied what would be deemed appropriate stringing techniques. Many times, these stringers go on to become certified in order to justify their rate, or to distinguish themselves from others in the area.

    This stringer will not only be more knowledgeable about different racquets, how to string them correctly, and how differing strings would play in these, but also what string would be best for a string-breaker vs. a non-breaker, a flat hitter vs. a spinner, etc. etc, etc. They are also more familiar with one piece, two piece, ATW patterns, etc.

    Lastly, this stringer ventures out at times to provide stringing service to smaller tournaments in the area, or even for colleges.

    As with Home Stringers, many of the best stringers in the world could be found at this level. On the other hand, many are worse (even with a certification and extra experience/knowledge) as the average home stringer.

    Chain Store Stringer:
    Many stringers in this area string solely as part of their many other job duties. They are found in places like ***** Sporting Goods, Sports Authority, Golf Smith, etc. These stringers are typically certified as a job requirement and not as a personal decision to better their stringing abilities, and had no prior experience stringing before beginning to work at the store. They typically have very little knowledge about strings, racquets, tensions, etc.

    Pro Shop Stringer:
    Pro Shop Stringers typically work part or full time at a tennis specialty store, and evolved from the “home” and/or “client” stringer. Many, if they haven’t already done so and even though they may be more than qualified to string, are still required to become certified.

    Pro Shop Stringers typically have a vast amount of knowledge about strings, racquets, stringing machines, patterns, techniques, etc. They are much more tuned to stringing than the aforementioned stringers and are required and able to string all sorts of racquets with different strings, and complete racquets quicker because of the work load and turn-around time required. They have developed techniques the other stringers haven’t in order to make them more consistent and quicker from string job to string job even though some of these techniques are debatable as being better or worse for a string job.

    Being they have access to demo all sorts of racquets and string, they have much more knowledge not only about current equipment on the market, but about up-coming equipment not yet introduced to the market.

    Bigger tournaments in the areas typically may seek out these stringers. One simple explanation is tournament directors have working relationships with the shop, so are familiar with the stringers. Being that they already have the equipment needed and are accustomed to stringing a high volume of racquets in a short period, Pro Shop Stringers make a logical sense to use.

    Depending on the size of the shop, and tennis area served, Pro Shop Stringers could turn around upwards of ten thousand racquets a year, which could also include internet sales. For one example, in the last twelve months, I strung over 3000 racquets at the shop I work at, and the other stringer did much more than that. This does not include all the tournaments I did, my personal clients, and stringing at the LTC, which houses the Solomon Academy, which is nothing when compared to a friend of mine who works at a competing store that strings much more.

    For these reasons, and many more, Pro Shop Stringers are much more seasoned in the craft and end up stringing at pro events. That said, like everything else, there is no absolutes and some of the worst stringers could be found at Pro Shops.

    <<<continued below>>>
     
    #1
  2. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

    Joined:
    May 3, 2004
    Messages:
    24,466
    Location:
    FT. Lauderdale, Florida
    <<<continued from above>>>

    Pro (Tournament/Grand Slam) Stringer:
    “Pro Stringers” (Grand Slam/ATP) are possibly the most misunderstood group of stringers in the world by the general “stringing” and “tennis playing public”.

    To begin with, they did not go to a special university where they Mastered in Stringing. There is really no secret to how they got to where they are. They have the exact same USRSA Certification as someone who began stringing racquets two months before they got their certification. For the most part, they started as “Home Stringers” and progressed thru the aforementioned ladder. With each “step”, they gained more experience, and became better than most at their craft thru repetition not available as you go down the ladder. Many have full time jobs outside of tennis, and once a tournament is over, go back to their regular jobs. Others go back to their regular jobs and string on the side as “Home/Client Stringers”. Still others go back to work full time as a “Pro Shop Stringer”, etc, etc.

    Even though they are providing a service for multi-millionaires and the very best players in the sport, they are not by any stretch of the imagination getting wealthy stringing at professional events. One needs to keep in mind, in the case of someone who strings at Grand Slam Events, there are only 4 of these tournaments a year, which if you are doing the math, means about 50 working days a year. This is hardly enough to sustain one monetarily thru a year considering “Grand Slam/ Pro Stringers” don’t make a whole lot of money. Fact is most of these stringers get paid per racquet, which could be as little as $8.00-$10.00 per frame depending on the venue. Yes, you read that correctly. They are typically making less than a “client stinger” charges for the price of a string job, which is typically in the neighborhood of $10-$15 per re-string. In fact, one is better off being a client stringer, as you get to provide the stringing service and string at the cost you set, which means the Client Stringer gets paid more per frame than the guy/gal stringing at a Slam.

    To add, one would have to string at all 4 slams do get those 50 days, which is hardly the case. Each event (ATP or Grand Slam) has its own team of stringers that are contracted to provide the stringing service.
    In my opinion, what really separates the Grand Slam Stringer from the rest of the field are as follows:

    PRESSURE. Plain and simple, the ability to work under very stressful and physically exhausting conditions with little rest for several days in a row. One must have the mental and physical ability to stand in one spot for upwards of 14+ hours a day, and string racquet after racquet perfectly and consistently for the very best players in the world. Up to and including 40+ racquets in that given day, which is more than a home/client stringer may string in one month. Now imagine being a client/home stringer and you botch a string job. No big deal. Re-string it for free, and your client is happy and on their way only to come back another day. One doesn’t get “second chances” at a pro event. Imagine “botching” one of Federer’s racquets and it costs him the game,,,,,,set,,,,, match,,,,,,,, Wimbledon. Unlike every other stringer in the ladder, the Pro Stringer is the only one where his “client” is making a living from the sport and one point may make the difference between going home or going to the next round, which could mean tens of thousands of dollars to the player. THAT is Pressure.

    Pro Stringers, thru the aforementioned evolution (home, client, pro shop, etc) of stringing, have absolutely “chiseled away at the sculpture of stringing” and perfected the craft. They have eliminated wasted movements that are time consuming. They have learned tricks to make the process of stringing crosses more natural, consistent, and quicker. They are continuously chiseling away at these wasted movements in order to ease the stringing process and make it easier and more efficient. Heck, Wilson even engineered the Baiardo Stringing machine to ease the process and have developed a training program so that all the stringers on their team are on the same page. Always evolving. They have learned to become “marathon runners” or better yet, “marathon stringers” to pace themselves throughout an event; Never too slow, or too quick. ALL have that extra gear to blast thru a full poly 18x20 racquet in 12 minutes or less in order to get it out to the courts in the middle of a match, and all while not sacrificing the quality of the final product that could have been done in 20 minutes. Yes, including stencil, labeling, and putting it in a plastic bag. Always Perfection. They have the ability and more importantly willingness to learn from other stringers, and adapt what they have learned to use in their own stringing methods, or change those methods when necessary, which is a great example of the Grand Slam Stringers Symposium.

    Are Grand Slam or Pro Tournament Stringers the best in the world? As a whole, YES. These stringers as a whole are the best of all the groups. They’ve earned it. They could all easily be home, client, chain store, or pro shop stringers. Many are. However, most home, client, chain-store, or pro shop stringers could not cut it at a pro event.

    On the other hand, does this mean that every single stringer who strings at pro events is better than every Home, Client, Pro Shop Stringer? No. Many home, client, and pro shop stringers could provide the same quality of stringing one racquet as a Grand Slam Stringer.

    USRSA Certification:
    One more thing I’d like to point out. Like everything else, being certified vs not being certified does not equate to being good/better or bad/worse. In fact, many of the very best stringers in the world are not USRSA certified, and many techniques needed to be completed to become certified are non-existent not only with the Home Stringer but with the Grand Slam Stringer. The certification is simply a general standard adapted as “good practice” of stringing a racquet “correctly”. Remember, there are many ways to skin a cat.

    Lets me know your thoughts, and let’s try to keep it civil. Thanks for reading.
     
    #2
  3. frunk

    frunk Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2010
    Messages:
    780
    All i got from this is 'We grand slam stringers are so misunderstood and we're under so much pressure.'
     
    #3
  4. fortun8son

    fortun8son Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2011
    Messages:
    3,147
    Location:
    The Desert
    Very well stated, drakulie.
    I guess this is an attempt to rerail and civilize the mess that happened on the Stringway Tool thread. That got way out of hand. I was saddened to see world class stringers get drawn into a pi$$ing match like that. But, we are human after all, and someone will always find the right button to push.
    I'm a bit surprised that diredesire didn't step in.
    Anyway:
    I started out as a Chain Store Stringer and have become, in the last year and a half, a Client Stringer.
    I could be MRT/Certified, but the cost vs benefits is not worth it to me at this point.
    I truly admire those at the GSS level. That's a tough gig.
    I am a musician as well and know that there is a BIG difference between being able to rip an amazing lick, and doing it in the recording studio under time and money pressure, especially when the engineer says " That was great! Can you do it again? We didn't get that one!"
    I couldn't string at that level and wouldn't even try.
    Then again, I've been playing music for 40 years and only stringing racquets for 5!
    And, you know what? Maybe the best in the world have a right to be a bit arrogant!
    When you can consistently sautee scallops or make a Beef Wellington better than Chef Ramsay, you can argue without him tearing you a new one!
    Fortunately, Master Stringers are much nicer than that. (Usually) :)
    michael
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2011
    #4
  5. PimpMyGame

    PimpMyGame Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2006
    Messages:
    2,432
    I'm lucky enough to personally know Liam who is accredited with creating the UKRSA ATW pattern, and has strung for many top players and at Wimbledon. I know I will never meet a better stringer, and feel proud that he taught me how to string.

    I myself am a "client stringer" and am happy with the service I provide to my customers even though I do not have the skill or equipment to give them what Liam could.

    In short I know first hand that the stringers at the top of their game work incredibly hard and have a wealth of knowledge. I'm not capable of working to that level so won't give the day job up just yet.
     
    #5
  6. rjw

    rjw Professional

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2011
    Messages:
    987
    Location:
    Miami
    Drakulie

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this.

    I definitely see stringing as an artform. Some have good hand skills and others do not and never will, although they can get better at stringing.

    I can only hope that my slow rookie technique results in a close to world class stringjob and will continue to work at becoming more efficient, although I doubt that I would ever be able to string at a tour level...nor would I really want to.

    Over time, I can only hope to be considered a good stringer, perhaps on par with some of the best with respect to quality.

    I can see that in some cases, arrogance can go hand in hand with a stringer's skills or resume....it's all part of the gig.

    It is really up to the end user/customer to determine where to draw the line as far as who they care to deal with.

    However, I think that like any other craft, those who can string under pressure and still produce a quality stringjob in a timely fashion deserve the respect of the stringing community. (there are most likely exceptions in some people's eyes), but that's life.

    Good writeup and thanks for sharing your thoughts.
     
    #6
  7. Pro_Tour_630

    Pro_Tour_630 Legend

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2004
    Messages:
    5,154
    Location:
    Connecticut
    It seems I opened up a can of worms without knowing when I mistakenly referred to GSS as arrogant. I was referring to the pro shop stringers in my area.

    Maybe we should have a reality TV show only with stringing, common if you do it would be my idea and i demand royalties.:) picture the top iron chopped chefs cooking under pressure only with stringing. Or a reality show like anthony bourdan and andrew Zimmerman only with stringing.

    Anyway, it is like asking who are the best cooks in the world and usually it is someone in your home because they know what you like and you are used to it.:)

    With that said, the person who strings their own frames are the best stringers in the world IMO.

    I worked for a pro shop ( know what really goes down ;-) ) and now only do certain clients. I know what I like, what my sons like, the select high performance kids, and the fickle advanced geysers in the area like.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2011
    #7
  8. Pro_Tour_630

    Pro_Tour_630 Legend

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2004
    Messages:
    5,154
    Location:
    Connecticut
    because they travel the world ( perks even though they make less per frame) and meet famous players, they have a right to be a bit arrogant. :confused:

    OK OK, they better be 5.0 or better, because if they are 4.5 or lower then they do not deserve to be a bit arrogant.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2011
    #8
  9. coachrick

    coachrick Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2004
    Messages:
    2,157
    Location:
    Austin, hook 'em, Texas
    If you are referencing NTRP level, I'll have to say at least HALF of the really good stringers I've known over the years were under 4.5 on their best day. Sure, plenty of the teaching pro types and tournament players were good stringers; but many others spent countless more hours stringing than they ever had a chance to play. As such, they would have been rated 5.0+ on the stringing machine, even if they were 'only' pretty good on the court.

    I've often likened racket techs to bicycle mechanics. Some just toil away in their own shop or work for someone else, but have a loyal clientele that would travel many miles to patronize 'their' guy. Then, you would have the 'team' wrenches, those who travel and keep their teams rolling along efficiently and quietly. Really no reason to think they should be able to ride in the team paceline just because they can maintain a multi-thousand dollar bike.

    Of course, for every tour stringer or tour mechanic, there are thousands of 'normal' folk who are dedicated to their craft and turn out a quality 'product' day in and day out.
     
    #9
  10. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

    Joined:
    May 3, 2004
    Messages:
    24,466
    Location:
    FT. Lauderdale, Florida
    Not necessarily. Just thought it would be a good topic of discussion since it has been debated on the forums for a long time, including the thread you mention.

    Agree with the examples you cite in your post, and glad to hear you are doing a good job representing chainstores. They really get the short end of the stick on these forums, but like everything else, there are good and bad stringers at every level.

    Thanks for your input.

    Although I have never met Liam, I have exchanged several emails with him, and he definitely seems like a genuinely nice guy. Everyone that talks about him always has postivie things to say, and talk highly about his stringing knowledge.


    Welcome. Remember to keep on chugging. As long as you continue to want to improve and are open to listening and learning you'll be fine nd improve immensely.

    Not really. Like I said in the opening of my post, this has been an on-going topic for quite some time on the boards.

    care to share what "went down" in the pro shop YOU worked at, cause I could absolutely guarantee you, if something innappropriate was "going down" at your pro shop, it does not mean it is happening at every pro shop?
     
    #10
  11. Pro_Tour_630

    Pro_Tour_630 Legend

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2004
    Messages:
    5,154
    Location:
    Connecticut
    no I do not care to share, which is why I left, like i said drakulie, not everyone is as honest as you are. But just to give you a hint imagine what goes on behind the scenes at kitchens of these famous restaurants.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2011
    #11
  12. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

    Joined:
    May 3, 2004
    Messages:
    24,466
    Location:
    FT. Lauderdale, Florida
    OK, fair enough. I suppose I'll give it a shot since I started this thread, and we are tyring to get things in the open:

    Here are some things stringers do, which they know better not to do:

    • leave a racquet half strung overnight.
    • charge the client for a certain string, and then put in a cheaper string.
    • double pull.
    • triple pull, etc
    • crack the racquet due to poor work, and tell client the racquet was already cracked.
    • mount racquet incorrectly deforming it, and tell client racquet was already warped.
    • burn the string due to poor quality of work.
    • purposely burn the string in order to achieve premature breakage and gain more business.
    • purposely mislead clients.
    • patch jobs.
    • etc
    However, like I said, this doesn't happen everywhere, and just because it happened at your pro shop, does not equate to it happening or being tolerated elsewhere.
     
    #12
  13. Pro_Tour_630

    Pro_Tour_630 Legend

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2004
    Messages:
    5,154
    Location:
    Connecticut
    fair enough you are right it does not happen at every pro shop,
     
    #13
  14. rjw

    rjw Professional

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2011
    Messages:
    987
    Location:
    Miami
    Not being happy with how a shop handles people's equipment is ONE reason why some choose to string for themselves.

    If you are stringing in an area where local shops are known to do a bad job, then it should be good for your business, if you are so much better.

    Personally, like many, I don't think that you would be happy with anyone else, in that you are self procaimed to be sensitive to the slightest imperfections.

    So, string for yourself, bash your local shop, but I can't see how lumping ALL pro shops into the 'bad' category can be justified.
     
    #14
  15. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

    Joined:
    May 3, 2004
    Messages:
    24,466
    Location:
    FT. Lauderdale, Florida
    ^^agreed.

    Yes, as I stated there are bad stringers at every level, but lumping everyone into one category is definitely not right either.
     
    #15
  16. Pro_Tour_630

    Pro_Tour_630 Legend

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2004
    Messages:
    5,154
    Location:
    Connecticut
    it is not just one shop but several in the area

    that is the problem not too many know, I am not in business to make money, i string for a select few clients, I think I have said that already.

    that is not true that I am not satisfied, I am satisfied with John cauthen stringing methods and a stringer who is over 70 years old with over 50 years of experience, too bad he does not string anymore. He taught me his tricks and still not as good as he is. It is a dying art, he taught his son but we all know that seldom the son is like the father in everything.
     
    #16
  17. rjw

    rjw Professional

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2011
    Messages:
    987
    Location:
    Miami
    It's pretty much the same with everything.

    There are perfectionists and butchers in every field. You just have to weed them out and move on from there.

    What part of the world are you in?
     
    #17
  18. coolblue123

    coolblue123 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2006
    Messages:
    1,794
    Location:
    Rockville, MD
    +1 on this. part of the reason why I got a stringing machine myself. Always wondered why my usual setup always broke so fast for the past 3 stringing sessions? Found out that the stringer had used a nail filer to sand between some of the intersections of the mains and crosses. Very well hidden too. I stopped going to him and got my own stringer.

    But stringing, in many ways, reminded me of car work. Since there are no evident ways to find out if your stick has been double pulled, left on stringer half strung so that the 5 yr at the big chain store uses your racquet handle as a jungle gym (yes, I've seen it happen b4). it's based on trust.

    Question though. Has there ever been thought about rating stringers? Go though a stringer test to determine what rating is the person? This can be used to justify costs of stringing if the stringer is highly rated.
     
    #18
  19. origmarm

    origmarm Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2007
    Messages:
    3,207
    Location:
    London
    Interesting list. Some of them seem accidental or just bad technique/knowledge whereas some of them seem deliberately dishonest. I guess I've been very fortunate in that I haven't come across any of this at the couple of stores I worked at when younger. It's hard to believe what some people will stoop to.

    That's just unbelievable! Some people have no pride at all apparently.

    Re the point of this thread, the best stringer I ever came across was an old chap I met in the US about 15yrs ago. I forget his last name but his first was Jose. Anyhow the point is that he had a one clamp bab 3-star (which I learnt to string on) in his garage and was probably the most perfectionist of stringers, looking back, that you can imagine. He always said he couldn't work at a tournament because of that. He had a pretty low opinion of "speed stringers" though. "If it's worth doing, it's worth doing 100% right!" :). He had an MRT (I think, perhaps another body of some kind) cert proudly displayed next to his tools but I doubt anyone who went in there ever knew what it was...

    EDIT: Sort of like your Grandad, but with a stringing machine :).

    Just wanted to add that he knew the pattern, string lengths etc...for every racquet we ever strung together without looking it up or so I recall. That stringing machine ended up being my first, he sold it to a local pro shop who was just starting out. I gave them free stringing to use it for myself at the time.
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2011
    #19
  20. Rabbit

    Rabbit G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2004
    Messages:
    12,606
    Location:
    at the bottom of every hill I come to
    I guess I'm a hybrid stringer. :)

    First, let me say that I truly enjoy stringing racquets. It's just fun to me.

    Now, on to the hybrid... I string for a bunch of folks around here which I guess makes me a client stringer but, I get a call once or twice a year to help out at professional tournaments too. Now these tournaments are way lower level than anything Drakulie strings at, but one of the tourneys is a WTA event that is just under the main tour.

    From my standpoint, what I've seen in pro shops around town is poor technique at best and just not caring at worst. Even at the pro shop that my buddy owns, they routinely string bottom up because it's easier than fooling with a 2-piece or ATW. I just can't bring myself to do that.

    That said, I did relate the story of one of the girls who played in the WTA event. I think it may be worth repeating.

    I got her racquets for the entire tournament for consistency's sake. She played with the APD, like Rafa, and strung it with RPM in the mains and Excel in the crosses @ 65. She has a package with Babolat. Daily, she went through at least two frames a day.

    Her frames had been strung so much, that at the 4 and 7 o'clock positions on them, there was a perfect wear pattern where there was no paint. It coincided with the tie offs at the bottom. They had been strung so many times by stringers who used their tensioner to tighten the knot (which isn't every stringer) that the paint had worn off due to the friction of the string. These marks were at both corners on both sides of the frame indicating that they had been strung A LOT.

    Her frames were still intact and I assume played with integrity as she made the finals of the tournament. I don't know if she won or not.

    Let me also add my wholehearted agreement with Drakulie. After a full day at work, stringing 15 racquets to turn around for the next day is just tough. The professional stringers at tournaments are on their feet stringing frames 12 hours or more. It has got to be tough, tougher than anyone knows until you've done it.
     
    #20
  21. Pro_Tour_630

    Pro_Tour_630 Legend

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2004
    Messages:
    5,154
    Location:
    Connecticut
    just thought of this,

    Is stringing a male dominante world:confused: Do we see more female home stringers or more female pro shop stringers? How about any pro tournaments stringers:confused: Any well know females? Are females cut out to stand on their feet for 14 hours and take that much pressure? Drakulie? is this a chauvinist group?

    maybe we should contact the USRSA and find out how many of their members who are certified are actually females. It will be interesting to know.

    Maybe the best stringers in the world are FEMALES.
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2011
    #21
  22. rjw

    rjw Professional

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2011
    Messages:
    987
    Location:
    Miami
    Perhaps the best stringers in the world are spiders. Thet have eight legs, can pump the string out their arse and none that I know NEED a tool to weave crosses...:mrgreen:

    They might be a tad arrogant, but with eight legs, can you blame them?
     
    #22
  23. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

    Joined:
    May 3, 2004
    Messages:
    24,466
    Location:
    FT. Lauderdale, Florida
    Lindsay from the boards was/is part of the Wilson string team. Not sure how many others are out there, but it's a good question. In my area, one of the best stringers is a woman who has been around a long time. She is also amazing at customizing. Use to work for bosworth.
     
    #23
  24. Pro_Tour_630

    Pro_Tour_630 Legend

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2004
    Messages:
    5,154
    Location:
    Connecticut
    I would guess they would be excellent at stringing. The best carpet weavers in the world are women from Iran/turkey/and Middle East

    Now Bosworth is a stringer I used in the mid 80's when I was only 15. I strung with his apprentice in the mid 80's. We would take Lendls frames and hit with them to break them in because he did not like a fresh NG job.

    May he RIP. He was the best stringer in the world IMO.
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2011
    #24
  25. Pro_Tour_630

    Pro_Tour_630 Legend

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2004
    Messages:
    5,154
    Location:
    Connecticut
    how about a female spider, like the black widow no pun intended ;-)

    talk about aggressive behavior, if she does not like you, she will eat you.
     
    #25
  26. fortun8son

    fortun8son Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2011
    Messages:
    3,147
    Location:
    The Desert
    Heck, even if she does like you, she'll mate with you and THEN eat you!:)
    BTW Black Widows are the worst web makers. Very sloppy.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2011
    #26
  27. Pro_Tour_630

    Pro_Tour_630 Legend

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2004
    Messages:
    5,154
    Location:
    Connecticut
    Talk about arrogance :)
     
    #27
  28. i3602u

    i3602u Rookie

    Joined:
    May 31, 2010
    Messages:
    246
    i string because i figured it would be something good to learn.

    Also i figure it might be one way to improve my game by experimenting with strings.
     
    #28
  29. jamauss

    jamauss Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2006
    Messages:
    1,752
    Location:
    https://goldenslam.com
    Fun to read. Good thread Drak.

    If you'd like, I can contribute my experience stringing Challenger level events & 4 years of Champion Series events...
     
    #29
  30. origmarm

    origmarm Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2007
    Messages:
    3,207
    Location:
    London
    That is some of the funniest stuff I've read in a while :)
     
    #30
  31. Squidward

    Squidward Rookie

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2011
    Messages:
    393
    I myself would be a "Client Stringer". I have a dozen or so regular customers that use my services. Often they refer new customers via word of mouth. I've never really advertised except for my business cards.

    I strive hard to learn all I can from this board and videos that I study. I'm self taught for the most part. Started with a Klippermate and now use a Toalson with a 6 point mounting system.

    Most of my regulars I've had for a few years. They like that they're able to call me or email with an urgent request (which is usually the case). Most break a string and need it done asap. Something the Big Box Stores don't usually handle in my area. I can typically have them done within an hour or overnight if time permits.

    I feel competent, but then again the pressure on me is not like what a tournament stringer faces.
     
    #31
  32. jgrushing

    jgrushing Rookie

    Joined:
    May 26, 2010
    Messages:
    251
    I am reading this and wondered what the upper limit is on racquets strung in a year. Drakulie mentions "10,000 a year". That's a racquet every 15 minutes, over 8 hours per day, 6 days a week. Can't imagine that anyone's done that and, if they did, I'm not sure I want their work.

    What's the limit? Who's stringing the most racquets in a year?
     
    #32
  33. jamauss

    jamauss Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2006
    Messages:
    1,752
    Location:
    https://goldenslam.com
    10,000 a year is a pretty ridiculous number. I don't think anyone is doing that many, even if you were a stringer for Priority One or something like that. I'd say the busiest type of stringer would be a one-man shop that is getting racquets in 5 or 6 days a week - and even then I would guess someone like that is only doing 5,000 or so a year, give or take 10%. Even 20 - 25 racquets a day is a lot for a one-man pro shop.
     
    #33
  34. Pro_Tour_630

    Pro_Tour_630 Legend

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2004
    Messages:
    5,154
    Location:
    Connecticut
    OK OK........... the best stringers in the world are........... alpha males who are in touch with their feminine side :)
     
    #34
  35. origmarm

    origmarm Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2007
    Messages:
    3,207
    Location:
    London
    Or some kind of new genetic creation. A hybrid stringing hybrids :)
     
    #35
  36. verbouge

    verbouge Rookie

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2007
    Messages:
    306
    Thoughtful thread, Drakulie. A little small talk in the mix, but the underlying theme is excellent.

    I'm a client stringer, waiting for an indoor facility to open in my town. For now, it's getting my name out there, knowing that the flood will come "when they build it". But more so, I care about each and every racquet I string, and want every player to be happy. Hence, I read these boards, not often contributing, but hoping to glean something every now and then that will enhance my own practice and the satisfaction of my clients. Drakulie has touched upon a fundemental subject, and has delineated, without ego or too much subjectivity, the viewpoint of each type of stringer. Well done.

    I'd put in my two cents for thoughtful, skilled stringers who are under no time pressure to produce the best string jobs they possibly can. The big time guys and gals who make a living at the glam venues have skills and technique that most of us never will. Yet, 15 minutes is an awfully short time to allow every string to stretch fully for each main and each cross. It's a matter of physics, not technique. I'm an MRT, by the way, but have no illusions of that making me a superior stringer to someone with the chops of a Drakulie. MRT a nice title to have and a good marketing tool. The knowledge base behind it is useful, but people are only as good as the passion through which they work.

    What a thing it would be to have, as some surely do, both the technique of the big dogs, and the patience of the small ones.

    Dave in Oregon
     
    #36
  37. diredesire

    diredesire Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Messages:
    6,723
    Interesting thread... I think the tennis worlds that we come from are pretty different, though. I agree with a lot of your assessments, but I'll comment with what I see is pretty common around here:
    "Home Stringers": In my area, and for the past several years that I was in school, "Home Stringers" were typically people who picked up stringing and didn't take it very seriously (similar to yourself). However, the big difference I saw was that the "Home Stringer" who had the knowledge base of... well, a home stringer, immediately try jumping to the "client stringer" "level." AKA someone strings 3 racquets and is trying to sell his services. These stringers usually charge extremely low rates (~$5-10/labor) to get customers. Unfortunately, in a college city, there's a lot of competition, and this severely dilutes the service pool. Most people I know start stringing due to the necessity, not the interest/passion/hobby. I'm one of the latter cases, I guess...

    It irks me that people who don't really have any interest on being a competent or good stringer will sell their services EXTREMELY quickly and the client base has no reference of consistency or "good-ness." It's hard to justify a "50-100%" increase in price when someone else is stringing for $5 (or $10). I think the biggest part of this overarching misunderstanding is that the clients have very little knowledge in the stringing world, and that's something a stringer can do (educate!). I wouldn't say it's a stringer's job, though.

    Currently, I probably fall into the "Home Stringer" category in terms of volume and client base. I moved recently, and I've got a full time job, so I haven't been doing ANY client searching, etc. I'll probably "advance" ;) to the Client stage when I settle down into a more permanent location.

    I have strung for the ITA National Indoors several times now, though, and did string for a D1 school.

    As above, the "Client Stringers" in my area are not necessarily more accomplished than a "home stringer," and are often times the same thing. I feel that the level in general is pulled low by all the "don't care"rs, that the expectations are honestly pretty low. Pro shops that I've seen aren't THAT much better (which I'll comment on later). As far as Client Stringer certifications, I'd say it's <5% of the stringers that I encounter that actually have certifications. I myself do not, and have never been certified. For me, there's a cost:benefit ratio that isn't met. Like I said, I don't maintain (nor try to) a client base, so the selling point of being certified is moot. I will likely at some point get my MRT, but it'll primarily be for personal satisfaction. I think I'll end up like YULitle, and drop it after a year or two ;)

    Chain store stringer: I agree with your assessment, but there are exceptions (Tom Martinez was a big one, but haven't heard from him for years and years..). This is another major reason why i think the certification(s) out there can only mean so much when it comes to an absolute scale of skill. Many times you'll see a CRT or MRT certification on a big-box store, but it only means that SOMEONE has been certified, and most of the staff has NOT been. Most big-box stores are woefully lacking in their overall knowledge of stringing, and IMO it shows. You're spot on about the knowledge about tennis gear in general, though. I've seen cringe-worthy technique in big-box stores, and I'm not even sure they've actually READ the manual that comes with the machine.

    Pro Shop Stringers: This is this the big one that I disagree with. In my tennis "career," I've only had to deal with a handful of Pro-Shops, and I haven't been extremely impressed with any of them that I've come across. My frame of reference is from a business standpoint. When you look at the pay schemes for most pro-shop stringers, they are being paid hourly. Many times they have a commission from sales, and/or a(n extremely low) per racquet payment. In my college town, from what I recall, stringers were paid hourly flat rate, and a couple of bucks ($2??) bonus per racquet strung during the hour. It is by necessity that many staff members in Pro Shops (which in my area consists of many high school/college kids) become salesmen first, and stringers second (or whenever it is convenient). You'll often see frames that are in the middle of a stringjob (often times bottom to top) sitting on the stringer for large periods of time, while a customer is being tended to, or a phone needs to be answered, etc. When you have 2-3 guys working a store, with 2 machines going, it's very easy to have an unattended racquet. Certifications are not required for all employees, as far as I know. In fact, I think per store, it is typically only a small number of stringers who are certified. This is probably due to the relatively low amount of competition. Many pro-shop stringers don't string at a very quick pace that I've found, and the few rare 'speed' cases I hear of are from dudes absolutely messing around with OTHER PEOPLE'S EQUIPMENT and running competitions.

    As far as knowledge about strings/racquets/stringing machines/etc. I agree and disagree. While most pro shop stringers are exposed to more of the new technology, and have chances to hit with it, many employees I know have little to no interest in actually playing with it. I personally don't care if someone can spout off marketing material, and it's a pet peeve of mine to walk into a pro-shop and have catch-words thrown at me. Someone can say "oh yeah, this is a sweet stick, very plush. Great power and control." and I think to myself "you have told me literally nothing about this frame." When looking at the scope of this thread (stringers themselves), I've found that stringers in proshops are LARGELY less experienced and/or skilled than most "enthusiast" client stringers that I've met.

    I found most of the sales staff also doesn't bother demoing frames. The staff I've met basically know the marketing purpose of the new technologies, and tend to recommend ridiculous "similar" frames when you tell them you like something. IMO the sales pitches are more about rapport and having someone "like" you rather than actually knowing what you're talking about.

    As far as tournaments and talent sourcing, we don't have many major events in our area, so this isn't something I'll comment on. The biggest tournaments I know of are a few open events and college tournaments.

    I found that your GSS summary wasn't unexpected, but I consider myself a relative enthusiast as compared to most, so ... ;) It was interesting to hear the per racquet take-home though. I expected it to be higher.

    I agree w.r.t. pressure. I don't think most people will really understand what you mean unless they're subjected to tournament stringing, though. I think the ability to maintain consistency, and bang out frames in a very consistent time is very underrated. I don't know many people who sit and string 10+ racquet stacks on a consistent basis. Even if you have, imagine a pile at least double the size of your worst stringing day for several days straight. Exhausting doesn't even begin to describe it. You get mentally fatigued, and you have to be able to autopilot at an extremely high level. Like you mentioned, most people can string at the level of a GSS on a single given frame. This isn't necessarily anything to be proud of. Do it for 14 hours straight and we'll talk. You can bang out a 15 minute job? Wow! great! Do it 20 times in a row with no breaks. If you take a break, learn how to make up the time ;)
     
    #37
  38. diredesire

    diredesire Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Messages:
    6,723
    I didn't really follow that thread ;) If you see garbage on the board, hit the red exclamation point to bring it to my/our attention, and we'll clean it up. I'll try to give it a browse in the next few days, but I'm an engineer by trade, and my free time is really limited :( (help me out, dudes!)

    This is actually the entire point of the misunderstanding of GSS, IMHO. Drak specifically stated that pretty much any given racquet could be strung at a very high level. You could be considered a VERY "good" stringer, but that's not the entire picture, IMO. You could have a wonderful reputation in your community/by your client base, but it doesn't make you one of the "best in the world" on an absolute scale. If we plotted the relative skill/best-ness of stringers, the grand slam crowd would be clustered together in the 2-3 sigma range while most stringers (even if they produce exceptional quality jobs) will fall in the bell/normal distribution. Skill vs quality isn't necessarily 1:1 correlation.


    Double pull/triple pull I have no problems with, doesn't mean much. I've personally experienced the racquet cracking shenanigans, though, and that's what really put me over the edge to finally just start stringing myself. I see burned strings all the time. I've seen fast pulls with no fanning, etc. I see BS spouting/sales-team shenanigans go on all the time. I personally thing pro-shops are strictly sales first, service/stringing second. This is honestly how it SHOULD be from a business standpoint, and I understand that. i dont' LIKE it, but I don't judge a business because of it.

    Yep. Pro shops have immunity when it comes to warranties, IMHO. I've seen some frames that have NO BUSINESS getting returned/RMAed cleared by pro-shops. I have had much tougher luck as a consumer. IMHO the open accounts with major suppliers/manufacturers carries a lot more weight than you'd think, and it shows. The Pro-shops can get away with a lot of crap that home stringers can't, and sometimes this comes across in the work they produce. I'm 100% positive there are GREAT pro-shops out there, but I've seen too many "us vs them" mentalities/attitudes that I'm always skeptical.

    Again, yes, even if we discuss it to death, the tournament stringer position is going to be misunderstood until someone goes through it ;)

    I respectfully disagree about the 15 minutes bit. There is a point of diminishing returns in terms of tensioning (IMHO), and once you hit it, it becomes a question of is it actually benefitting me to sit here and wait for some abstract "settling" of a string? If you re-read drak's comments about GSS, you'll see that there is a point where the utility of every movement becomes very apparent, and you learn to do EVERYTHING efficiently. You don't have the additive effect of a few wasted seconds here or there. While on an isolated frame, you might only be saving 30s-1m, but over the course of a tournament, the discipline and mechanics of a really experienced stringer will start to show benefits over someone who doesn't have purpose to every movement. Do you remember when you first started stringing? Your first frame took 1.5-2 hours, most likely. If you're down to the 25-30 minute/frame now, think about ALL the things that you've improved on. At first, you were likely doubting your every move, referring to the manual/how tos that you've collected while preparing, etc etc. You likely dropped the string end a million times, and searched for it. The magnitude of improvement is smaller now, but there are always small things to get closer and closer to "perfecting" your technique.

    As far as your skilled stringers who are under no time pressure comment, that isn't really under debate in this thread. drak already acknowledged that some of the "best" overall stringers in the world can be in the category of a home stringer!

    In summary to my book of a post, when you read this thread, be careful to critically examine the meaning of "best." drakulie isn't implying at all that a home/client stringer is incapable of producing a quality, usable string bed. i think he's advocating the opposite. I think it's an accurate portrayal of the differences in absolute "skills" of a GSS vs home stringer.
     
    #38
  39. Irvin

    Irvin G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2007
    Messages:
    12,283
    Location:
    Marietta, Ga
    I can't say that is irks me but recently someone on a team I usually string for bought a stringer and started stringing racket for others on his team. The price was a little higher for lower quality string they did not have to drop off their rackets but the turn around was not as good as mine even though he lived in the same neighborhood. Anyway after two broken rackets, and several broken strings they are coming back to me. I also can see how that other stringer was marring the frame because his 6 o'clock support is sliding back and forth against the frame.

    What amazes me is people think anyone with a stringer can string a racket just as good as anyone else with any stringer.

    Irvin
     
    #39
  40. diredesire

    diredesire Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Messages:
    6,723
    It comes back to the educating of the customers. Most people know extremely, extremely little about strings/stringing/equipment. This is why the BS tactics that I frequently see work so well. I'm not the type of person with a pushy/abrasive personality, so when i hear misinformation, I'll offer to explain, but I won't push a point if it's not welcome.

    Unfortunately, in the world of stringing, lots of things are pushed around as fact, and many of them are glossed-over-generalizations, so it's frustrating.
     
    #40
  41. Rabbit

    Rabbit G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2004
    Messages:
    12,606
    Location:
    at the bottom of every hill I come to
    And you know even though we say that....with them stringing bottom up and churning frames out....they don't really have any warranty claims with the newer frames. Babolat is one company that is tough as hell to get a replacement racquet from. I think in the 15 years they've run that shop and the literally thousand of frames they string, they've had one failure. And it was due to the kid not locking the Neos' table before stringing.
     
    #41
  42. stringwalla

    stringwalla Rookie

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2008
    Messages:
    198
    I quickly surfed through this thread. My short replies to some of the issues I read are as follows;

    There are a few exceptional female stringers out there. The last one I met works for Roman Prokes (****) that handles several top players. She was at the US Open helping with some of his player load as well as chipping in for the Wilson team.

    A good tournament team must be comprised of quick, detail oriented, and error proof stringers. I've been stringing for 23 years and as many as 8,500 frames per year. It takes a great toll on me mentally and physically to work the early rounds of a Grand Slam. The time demands of the players and the grueling nature of special patterns and polyester string beat the body down after a long day.

    I've know fast stringers that can't mentally manage tournament demands and I know really good stringers that can't get quick enough to satisfy tournament demands.

    All of the "really good stringers" I know have a solid I.Q. and passion for the final product. These qualities can be found even in the home stringer-
     
    #42
  43. verbouge

    verbouge Rookie

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2007
    Messages:
    306
    I respectfully disagree about the 15 minutes bit. There is a point of diminishing returns in terms of tensioning (IMHO), and once you hit it, it becomes a question of is it actually benefitting me to sit here and wait for some abstract "settling" of a string?

    I don't want to belabor the point too much, and I appreciate what you said in the rest of your post. I just wanted to explain the "string settling" issue and where I'm coming from.

    I have two Stringway machines. I'm not a shill for Stringway, but with those machines you can witness the strings stretching as they tension. Strings will usually stretch very, very quickly for a period of time (5-15 seconds), and then suddenly and radically slow down to a crawl. I'm just looking for this "break off" point before clamping and moving on. I may not be correct, but I believe that clamping off before that point is selling my customers short, and results in a "softer" string job than desired. So it's become my practice to give the string as much time as it needs to properly tension, without being ridiculous about it.

    This continues to be a great thread. If I'm like many others here, I don't think I'll ever consider myself to be a great stringer; I merely aspire to it. That is what drives the push toward excellence in every racquet I string. I'm grateful to have this forum to learn from along the way.
     
    #43
  44. diredesire

    diredesire Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Messages:
    6,723
    I'm one of the few lucky members (as you know) to have worked with the SW systems, and I know what you mean by seeing a string settle. I think 5-15s is a little long, though. Only the really stretchy stuff for me has ever required an extended settle time. I'd say most all my pulls are <2-3s in duration. You mentioned what I called the point of "diminishing returns" (once the string settles/hits the wall). Maybe you're stringing a lot more soft/stretchies than i do, though... There are the killer strings that bottom out and require a repull, but these are few and far between for me. I'm not on a SW anymore, though...
     
    #44
  45. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

    Joined:
    May 3, 2004
    Messages:
    24,466
    Location:
    FT. Lauderdale, Florida
    Dire, great post and thanks for taking the time to share it. As for pro shop stringers, I suppose we are very spolied in my area compared to other pro shops in the country. For example, at the shop I work at, the other stringer is Craig Brotman of Pro Circuit Stringing, so we have an extremely good reputation for our stringing service, which is the same provided to pros at tournaments. We also have several pros we service, so the stringing has to be good. Craig has several Pros who are continuously sending him racquets to be customized.

    Our "competitor" has two of the best stringers I have ever met. One has never string at the tournament level, but has done several challengers, and is actually requested by several pros in the area who string at that shop when in town including Nalbandian, Becker, Dimitrov, etc. The other stringer at that shop has been in the business forever, and use to work for Bosworth. She knows everything about customizing and is excellent. One other shop also has a stringer who has worked at several ATP events.


    Thanks for summing it up. Nicely done.
     
    #45

Share This Page