get certified!

Discussion in 'Stringing Techniques / Stringing Machines' started by ten11, Jan 2, 2013.

  1. ten11

    ten11 Rookie

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    Happy new year, all stringer friends. My new year resolution is to become a certified stringer or become a MRT.

    I went to the web site and started looking around. Emailed them about how to get started but would love to hear from you.

    I have strung mostly for myself for about 4-5 years. Started with Klippermate and then few different lockout machines. Currently I have a neos 1000.

    I still make mistakes during stringing and also slow on string jobs. I want to improve on both and be more confident in my string job. After got certified, I might want to find a part time job in local racquet club.
     
    #1
  2. themitchmann

    themitchmann Hall of Fame

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    The good news is that you're using the same machine the test uses, so you'll be familiar.

    The USRSA has a study guide for both technique as well as racquet and string tech. Once you formally apply, they will send you this material.
     
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  3. seekay

    seekay Semi-Pro

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    The machine can vary depending on where you take the exam. The club I tested at uses Babolat machines and I ended up stringing on a Star 5 for my MRT exam.

    I believe you can also arrange to bring your own machine if you feel more comfortable. You get maximum points for finishing your string job in under 45 minutes, which should allow you to take your time and make sure you get everything right, even on an unfamiliar machine.
     
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  4. beernutz

    beernutz Hall of Fame

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    Is this the study guide you're referring to?
    http://www.racquettech.com/certification/studyguide.html
     
    #4
  5. cluckcluck

    cluckcluck Hall of Fame

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    You can bring your own machine. I would take mine as I use floating clamps on my Stringway and have used them for years now.

    What's really the point of getting a cert?
     
    #5
  6. Faithfulfather

    Faithfulfather Rookie

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    If I had a choice between 2 stringers and one was a certified stringer, I would choose the certified person. It is more professional to have the certification, but is not necessary. Our local stringer is not certified and is not the best, so I started my own business. It is actually starting to take off, so I am in the market for a better machine.
     
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  7. zapvor

    zapvor Legend

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    45min? that's cake
     
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  8. MAX PLY

    MAX PLY Hall of Fame

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    Perhaps, but you don't get any extra credit for being fast. It has been a very long time since I passed the certification test but as I recall it, the racquet must be strung with a two piece method and when I took it, we were required to use (cheap) gut on the mains and a mildly textured synthetic/nylon on the crosses--so every burn, kink or other mistake was very visible. The goal of the certification process is to test the applicant on his/her knowledge of many aspects of racquet services and to test the quality of one's abilities.

    If I ran a retail shop, I would make sure that all of my stringers were certified because it assures both quality and is a good advertising point. If stringing is only a hobby, it's a good process to learn more about racquet service but it is not crucial. Nevertheless, I would recommend it if you can afford it--it is a good learning experience.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2013
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  9. Faithfulfather

    Faithfulfather Rookie

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    Exactly what I was thinking. He just said it more eloquently.
     
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  10. owtdoorguy

    owtdoorguy New User

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    How much does the certification normally cost?
     
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  11. cluckcluck

    cluckcluck Hall of Fame

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    For MRT, I think it's $495 per year.

    For certified stringer, I believe it's $160 for lifetime certification.
     
    #11
  12. Lakers4Life

    Lakers4Life Hall of Fame

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    Assuming you are not a USRSA Member, it's $269, including 1 year of USRSA membership ($119 value). If you are its $150 for CS, and $230 for MRT. Since there are very few locations to take the test, you also have to consider travel expenses.

    With so many MRTs out there, there should be more locations, but oddly enough there are not.
     
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  13. fortun8son

    fortun8son Hall of Fame

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    That's been a factor holding me back.
    I'm in Las Vegas and I would have to travel to either San Diego or Phoenix.
     
    #13
  14. cluckcluck

    cluckcluck Hall of Fame

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    I'll be in LV next weekend.

    How many MRT's are there in the world? Do most of them travel to tournaments to string?
     
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  15. Lakers4Life

    Lakers4Life Hall of Fame

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    Not all tour stringers are USRSA MRTs. Some are ERSA/UKRSA or even Yonex certified.

    There are a lot MRTs, but only a few are certified to proctor a test.
     
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  16. Wikky

    Wikky Rookie

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    If you go faster than 15 minutes or something like that you get points subtracted... I thought that was kind of funny.
     
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  17. Lakers4Life

    Lakers4Life Hall of Fame

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    Fast stringing does not always equal a quality job. You are required to string with natural gut, and you don't want to notch it prematurely, during the test. You also have to pre-stretch the gut, install a build up grip, replacment grip, and install a new grommet set, in said time frame.
     
    #17
  18. kkm

    kkm Semi-Pro

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    You have to apply a build-up grip and have it okayed by the tester. Then you have to apply a replacement grip and have it okayed by the tester. You're given 20 minutes to remove the old grommet set and install a new grommet set. The strings are unmarked and similar in color, so you have to figure out which is poly and which is natural gut. Manually prestretching the natural gut is not included in the 1-hour time limit for stringing. The 1-hour countdown starts once you mount the racquet and the tester okays that the racquet has been properly mounted. You have to string the racquet with the poly in the mains and the natural gut in the crosses. If you string the racquet in under 20 minutes you're penalized, but you can't take over an hour. Maximum points are for stringing in 20-45 minutes. Things like holding the knot tail up before releasing the machine clamp and trimming the knot tail will make a difference in your score.
     
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  19. drummerdan

    drummerdan Semi-Pro

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    As an MRT, I found the written test to be the most challenging because you need to know the racquet manufacturers technology terms. Study that a lot.

    Also, when you take the stringing section, take your time because I think it's actually an hour you get or maybe it's 45 minutes, I can't remember. Take extra care not to kink the gut. They count off for that. String it at a low tension so there's less chance of breaking the gut. I strung it at 50# for both the gut and syn gut. I was lucky, I took the test on a Wilson Biardo. Love that machine!

    Make sure you know how to replace a grommet set and can do it in under 15 minutes. My advice is to take an extra set with you in case you "mushroom" a grommet. Then, you can simply use the new one.

    I was lucky, I had Dave Bone (head of USRSA) administer the test and also he gave us a pre-test study session. Invaluable. If you're really serious, consider going to the Grand Slam Stringer's Symposium in the fall in Florida. That's where I took the test and have been there twice. It's a great stringing and tennis experience.

    Good luck!!
     
    #19
  20. ten11

    ten11 Rookie

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    Thanks for all the helpful replies.

    Anyone know what is the difference between certified stringer and MRT? My goal is to learn and get better with stringing and hopefully to find a part time stringing job. (For fun and experience, not for income.)

    What is the cost to keep the status update after the first year?
     
    #20
  21. kkm

    kkm Semi-Pro

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    The CS exam is the hands-on part of the MRT exam. Only the MRT exam has the written part which covers what's in the study guide.

    I think that the USRSA charges $15 for the "update" test which MRTs must do annually.
     
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  22. Lakers4Life

    Lakers4Life Hall of Fame

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    The CS does take a written exam, but the MRT version has twice as many question.

    I don't know how much the renewal test for the MRT is, but it's practically an open book test, because it gets mailed in. Also the fee is on top of USRSA mebership dues.
     
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  23. Faithfulfather

    Faithfulfather Rookie

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    Thanks for the email Lakers. I sent you another one. That is the exact information I was looking for.
     
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  24. ten11

    ten11 Rookie

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    Thanks for the answer. So basically close to $200/yr to keep it after the initial test, but with all the benefits of USRSA membership.
     
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  25. Lakers4Life

    Lakers4Life Hall of Fame

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    More or less. There are different membership levels. You would want to get a full membership every few years to get the updated Stringers Digest. Even if you don't, you can access the database almost any time online.
     
    #25
  26. fortun8son

    fortun8son Hall of Fame

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    The CRT is a one-time skills test.
    An MRT must be aware of all new technology, hence the yearly updates.
     
    #26
  27. Lakers4Life

    Lakers4Life Hall of Fame

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    FWIW, It's CS not CRT any more. Don't ask me why, that's what the USRSA is calling it now.

    IMHO, to be a MRT you must master all type of rackets not just the technology of the materials of Tennis Racquets.
     
    #27
  28. Davis Cup Fan

    Davis Cup Fan New User

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    Usrsa now calls it certified stringer(cs) instead of certified racquet technician.
     
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  29. Lakers4Life

    Lakers4Life Hall of Fame

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    I should of wrote, It's now called CS, not CRT anymore.

    Are you, by any chance, an English teacher?
     
    #29
  30. ten11

    ten11 Rookie

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    Is it true that CS does not need to be renewed every year once past the test?

    I feel MRT is more useful for sales person or TTer enjoy debating in racket section. If I just want to learn and be good at stringing, CS might be a better choice.
    Also Certified Stringer sounds much better than MRT to regular tennis player. I will go for that first and if I need MRT, I can do the upgrade for $80 and another written test.(I hate to memorize what triple-threat means, or liquidmatel.)
     
    #30
  31. Lakers4Life

    Lakers4Life Hall of Fame

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    It's all marketing, again back to business. CS or MRT is just a piece of paper, that some people think they need. They read the same material you can find in any manufacturers website. Does anyone going into a store looking for the certificate hanging on the wall? Even if they did were they satisfied with the string job they got? My answer is, NOT ALWAYS.

    I get a lot of clients who are dis-satisfied with thier previous stringer, some of which I know are MRTs. If you want to be a Tour Stringer, sure a MRT cert will get you through the door, but you will still need to show your experience.
     
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  32. Wikky

    Wikky Rookie

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    I took the MRT 2 years ago, passed everything, but couldn't get the certificate because I didn't have a set of grommets with me. To be honest with you 2 years ago I was a TERRIBLE stringer and an awful salesman. I definitely didn't deserve the title of Master Racquet Technician.

    Now I will most likely retake the exam before I graduate but Its only a piece of paper, I don't believe it signifies a true standard.
     
    #32
  33. Lakers4Life

    Lakers4Life Hall of Fame

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    I gotta ask, was your employer paying for the test? I've met some MRTs that don't even play tennis or any racquet sport. That's a big let down to me. Even Mike (YULitle) admitted he did not play tennis regularly. So how can a MRT/Salesman be any better, selling you a racket or strings for that matter if they don't know what exactly a customer wants? No Offence to Mike, but he has helped many people with his videos, but he's moved on in life.
     
    #33
  34. fortun8son

    fortun8son Hall of Fame

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    Do you really need that Diploma, Scarecrow? ;)
    Seriously, it's the skill and consistency that are important.
    Study and practice as if you were going to take the test.
    You can decide whether or not to take it after you are good enough to pass.

    BTW. Knowing how to play or teach winning tennis does not qualify one to be a good racquet tech, either.
    I also repair and service bikes, but I haven't ridden in years.
    I play guitar and bass as well and I know when to bring them to a luthier.
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2013
    #34
  35. COPEY

    COPEY Hall of Fame

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    I have to say I agree. It's one thing to have first-hand experience, and quite another to be able to explain the different types of strings, their playing charactics, and how different strings may respond in different types of racquets, etc. For the latter you definitely don't need to know how to play the game. I think it doesn't hurt to couple a sound knowledge base with actual playing experience, but I certainly don't think it's necessary to be an effective salesman/MRT. Some things are just general info that anyone who's spent any length of time studying/hanging around string enthusiast will pick up. Stuff that's not necessarily opinion based, such as X1 is generally considered a powerful multi, SPPP holds tension very well, Mantis Comfort Syn has a very soft feel, good control, but not durable, etc. That's just a meager sampling, but hopefully you get the idea.

    I have a friend who can tell you just about anything and everything there is to know about car engines, and I'm talking from engines made back in the Model T days to present day - he's never worked on a car in his life lol. He's just a...well, he's weird, but also extremely highly intelligent, and engines just happens to be his thing. He would definitely be able to supplement his knowledge if he had actual maintenance experience, but nonetheless, he's an extremely knowledgeable guy when it comes to car engines.
     
    #35
  36. fortun8son

    fortun8son Hall of Fame

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    I was also a Union Bartender on the Las Vegas Strip for 21 years.
    Do you think I tasted all of the hundreds of drink recipes that I know? :lol: hic!

    Medium-dry vodka martini, shaken not stirred?
    Yessir, straightaway Mr. Bond! (eww,yuk. I wouldn't drink that. Gimme a beer.:))
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2013
    #36
  37. fortun8son

    fortun8son Hall of Fame

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    We can talk when you are here, if you like.
     
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  38. Lakers4Life

    Lakers4Life Hall of Fame

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    We can make up analogies all day, but at the end day, you are just as good as your last string job.
     
    #38
  39. COPEY

    COPEY Hall of Fame

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    Oh, my mistake - I thought the discussion was about being an effective stringer/salesperson and how playing or not playing tennis (or any racquet sport) adds or detracts from one's effectiveness. Oops!
     
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  40. fortun8son

    fortun8son Hall of Fame

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    The discussion is indeed about stringing skills, product knowledge, and the need for certification.
    As Wikky stated, just having the certificate does not make one a master technician.
    IMO the key is caring about your clients' needs and a commitment to excellence.

    I think that my analogies were appropriate.
    Even if I played regularly, there is no way that I could test all frame/string combinations or attempt to imitate my clients' playing styles.
    That's why I haunt these boards, to gather data that will be useful in my recommendations.
    Occasionally, I fail and have to restring for free.
    Some knowledge only comes from experience.

    If I were like some of the posters here (y'all know who they are), I'd only recommend the same racquet, string, and tension for everyone.
    How silly would that be?
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2013
    #40
  41. COPEY

    COPEY Hall of Fame

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    I assure you, my post had nothing to do with being confused, and everything to do with sarcasm. ;-)
     
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  42. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

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    :shock::shock::shock: All in 45 minutes?
     
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  43. seekay

    seekay Semi-Pro

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    No, the 45 minute time is just for maximum points on the stringing portion. It's possible to go over that time and still get a passing score.

    The grip and grommet sections are separate and each has its own time target. I don't recall the exact numbers, but just like the stringing, neither should present a challenge for someone who's familiar with the techniques.
     
    #43
  44. ten11

    ten11 Rookie

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    time requirement

    Just for future reader, here is the time requirement:
    • completing the bumper/grommet removal and replacement, 20 min.
    • completing the string job, 60 min
    • completing the handle sizing/grip replacement, 20 minutes
    For complete info:
    http://www.racquettech.com/certification/studyguide.html
     
    #44
  45. mad dog1

    mad dog1 Hall of Fame

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    for some racquets with grommets that go in easily, i can see doing it in 20 min, but i've replaced grommets that require heating/softening w/ a heat gun before it can be stretched and pulled onto the frame.
     
    #45
  46. ten11

    ten11 Rookie

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    detail questions

    Thanks for the input so far. I have few question related to test.
    1. Regarding the test racket, do I need to bring in a racket with string on it? (so they can test me on cut out string, remove/replace bumpguard/grommet, increase hand/grip synthtic replacement)
    2. String used. In the material, it said 19.6 feet syn gut for main, which force tester to bring in 16x? pattern. I don't think any 3 years old 18x? can use 19.6 as main.
    Cross is natural gut and need pre stretching. Anyone can give a good youtube video or description? I read the material and not so sure it is easy to follow.
    I assume this will be provided. right?

    I read through the whole preparation document yesterday. Great read and fun. It addressed a lot of problems/issues have been discussed in this forum. I really enjoyed the weight/swing weight/balance section and get a good understanding of it.
     
    #46
  47. mad dog1

    mad dog1 Hall of Fame

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    19.5' of syn gut should be long enough for an 18 main pattern. syn gut stretches alot during stringing so 19.5' likely stretches out to be longer than 20' by the time you're done stringing. if it's not quite long enough, you should be able to use a starting clamp+scrap string as a bridge to get it done.
     
    #47
  48. ten11

    ten11 Rookie

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    I have replaced grommet/bump guard for radical mp(prestige cap), pt280, pure/aero drive, TF 320 and mg extreme mp. I had trouble with the cap in the beginning when I try to force it and mushroomed it.(~25-30min.) Last one I did a month ago was easy and perfect.(~10 min.) The key is patience.
    TT member has been crying about babolat but I found it is quite easy in both cases(pure/aero drive). Again, patience. (~10 min.)
    Head mg extreme mp is the easiest of all. fun to put on.(< 10 min.) TF got a bit trouble but in 15 min.
    In all cases, I never used any method to heat/soften the bump guard. YUlite's video explains all and will work.

    I will not try that. I always used 21 feet for 18x20, even for 95 sq in. PSL. IMHO, it is not worth it to challenge myself for one more thing. (What if the syn gut is not that stretchy?!)
     
    #48
  49. Lakers4Life

    Lakers4Life Hall of Fame

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    The easiest racket to use in the test is a Prince POG 14x18. The grommets install like nothing, and 14x18, is 2 less mains and 1 cross to worry about.
     
    #49
  50. Irvin

    Irvin G.O.A.T.

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    Doesn't the racket have to be a current racket?
     
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