Percentage of Women Stringers?

Discussion in 'Strings' started by varuscelli, Dec 27, 2006.

  1. varuscelli

    varuscelli Professional

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    Anyone have an idea of how the number of women stringers compares to the number of men stringers, percentage wise?

    Out of curiosity, I'm going to check with the major stringer associations that I know of (USA and European) and see if they'll share any membership statistics with me. But I thought I'd ask here to see if there is anyone who would like to venture an educated guess or who might have seen any kind of statistical information on the subject.

    My guess (based on what seems to be evident with forum participation, etc.) is that the percentage of women stringers will be quite low compared to men -- especially when compared to the numbers of women tennis players and men tennis players (in all ranks and all ages), which I'm guessing will be close enough to 50-50 to call it even.

    But as a side note on that, I have two places fairly close to me that provide stringing services (Academy and Sports Authority) and both have women stringers in their employ.
     
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  2. Tchocky

    Tchocky Hall of Fame

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    I would say less than 10 percent. Women don't really seem to be interested in strings or equipment...just how pretty their outfit looks.
     
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  3. cghipp

    cghipp Professional

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    Yes, that's definitely why I come to this forum... :confused:
     
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  4. varuscelli

    varuscelli Professional

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    How about this as a tangent: Do we perhaps have a few (any?) women participating on this forum who either do professional stringing or who string their own racquets?

    I'm really in the dark about this, not having followed stringing on these forums long enough to know.

    And in the "If Anyone's Interested" Department: Out of curiosity, I also contacted the USRSA and asked the question about percentage of women stringers who had memberships with the their organization. I was told they had no gender-specific information available from any previous surveys or polls. I don't think they're withholding that information for any reason (other than not wanting to go through the membership forms and manually count/classify first names based on guessed gender), but perhaps they really don't have that kind of info available anywhere. They did ask me why I needed the information, though. "I'm curious," I replied. Maybe they never even wondered about it, but I'd think it might be something that would come up now and then... ;)
     
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  5. thejackal

    thejackal Hall of Fame

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    i've never even seen a women stringing.
     
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  6. cghipp

    cghipp Professional

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    I wish I did, but I rarely break my strings and I can't afford to be switching them out all the time just for the sake of trying something new. I have a feeling that a lot of the people on this forum who do so are doing it with their parents' money.
     
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  7. Pusher

    Pusher Professional

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    I see a lot of female stringers.

    You'll find them on a lot of college teams as they double as administrative assistants,etc.
     
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  8. varuscelli

    varuscelli Professional

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    I'm quite a few years removed from the time in my life when I would have been in that situation (and my parents never would have been able to afford it, in any case), but I see young people who get the chance to learn stringing by owning their own machine as really good thing.

    Wish I had been in the situation of being able to own my own stringing machine (or have a "family" machine) back when I was in junior high and high school. Seems like a great way to learn a skill you can keep for life, and even though there's an investment involved, it really IS an investment, in both skills and character building. And probably gives the right kid the chance to earn a few extra bucks doing some stringing on the side, thus very likely paying for itself if the kid's motivated enough to go that route.

    I'd love it if my kid wanted a stringing machine. Of course, my daughter will eventually inherit mine, if she shows any interest, and I'm gonna love teaching her... :) (And at the rate she wants to help me do things, my guess is that she will be learning right away. By the time she's 10, she'll be a veteran stringer with 5 year's experience. ;))

    Too...compare spending $300 on a nice, basic stringing machine and some tools for your son or daughter to spending $300 on an iPod or something of a similar transitory nature. The stringing machine gives the kid a skill, the iPod they'll want to replace in 2 years as obsolete. From the standpoint of the parent whose money would be spent, I'd have no problem with it. Yeah, she'd probably end up getting the iPod too, but at least I could get her to string my racquet while she's listening to it ... :p
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2006
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  9. cghipp

    cghipp Professional

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    I do not disagree with your post!
     
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  10. raftermania

    raftermania Banned

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    i heard stringing is in the male gene. just joking. I know of a few girls who string. They don't string well though. just joking!
     
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  11. varuscelli

    varuscelli Professional

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    Well, that certainly explains a lot. Case closed, then. :p
     
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  12. goober

    goober Legend

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    Professional stringers- I have met only one and that is out of probably at least 50 stringers.

    Amateur stringers/ home stringers- I have yet to meet one. All the women I meet at tennis seem completely uninterested when I tell I string my own racquets. It seems like they don't want to be bothered with such things. A fairly large % of guys otoh ask me a lot of questions and at least 2-3 I have convinced they should be stringing their own racquet.
     
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  13. raftermania

    raftermania Banned

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    "hey baby i string racquets. how about you come over to my place and let me string you."
     
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  14. armand

    armand Banned

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    Someone told me that there's a stringer at RCS who's a girl and she's cute.
     
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  15. PBODY99

    PBODY99 Hall of Fame

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    The former head of the USRSA Jill Workman Forte counts as one. I know of a couple of woman in the Delaware Valley who string for SA & their own shop. None among the women players fo my aquaintance in my part of Southeastern PA.
     
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  16. fishuuuuu

    fishuuuuu Hall of Fame

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    There aren't many because most women are already so high strung? /bad joke
     
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  17. equinox

    equinox Hall of Fame

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    There's no reason why women can't string at the same level as men. Lots of female coaches can string quite well.
     
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  18. varuscelli

    varuscelli Professional

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    fishuuuuu, you are giving me a tension headache. /worse joke :p
     
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  19. boxingguy

    boxingguy Rookie

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    That is an irresponsibly misleading statement. I'm a man and I string, but I'm definitely much more interested in how pretty my outfit looks.
     
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  20. goober

    goober Legend

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    Next time use poly it loses tension faster. /worst joke
     
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  21. wally

    wally Rookie

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    Back in highschool/college (1980's) my wife strung for her dad's tennis business.

    She does not miss it and is very happy to have me string her racquet!

    Stringing can be a bit rough on the hands and esp the fingernails
     
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  22. rasajadad

    rasajadad Hall of Fame

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    I too tried to get my son to get interested in stringing to no avail. Even though he plays tennis, he is at an age where sitting down and focusing for an hour (Klippermate) is too much to hope for. On the other hand, my daughter (non tennis player) took a weaving class at school and loved it. So when she came home for the holidays last year, I showed her dad's "loom". Now she cant wait until I break a string! She also strings for her high school team.
     
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  23. varuscelli

    varuscelli Professional

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    Good examples that stringing is not something that all players would necessarily enjoy. And that even unlikely candidates might take to it. Neat story, rajasdad. :)

    And wally -- no wonder your wife doesn't like it anymore! Forced into a stringing sweatshop at such an early age to help put food on the table. I don't blame her for burnout. ;)
     
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  24. slice bh compliment

    slice bh compliment G.O.A.T.

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    I'm a father, too. What age is that?
     
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  25. Roforot

    Roforot Professional

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    Frecking Abbot and Costello! :)
     
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  26. Tchocky

    Tchocky Hall of Fame

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    Will they do your laundry as well?
     
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  27. flash9

    flash9 Semi-Pro

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    My wife represents that remark!

    My wife represents that remark! ;) Maybe that’s why she named our Stinging Business – HIGH STRUNG. But I guess if follows, about 15 years ago, she had a basket weaving business that was called BASKET CASE!

    My wife and I share the Stringing for our customers, but at this point she does about 70% to my 30%. She still prefers me to do the expensive string, like natural gut. She has done a great job of convincing the women of our club to string twice a year, which is a huge change from before, which was NEVER!
     
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  28. raftermania

    raftermania Banned

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    aha great play on words you married some serious genius flash gordon.
     
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  29. varuscelli

    varuscelli Professional

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    Oh, sure, go ahead and leave my bad joke out. But now you've missed out on your chance to call us The Three Stooges and had to settle for a comedy duo instead. :p
     
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  30. TW Staff

    TW Staff Administrator

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    We have some very good female stringers and MRTs here at TW. I know of one female MRT who can beat most of the guys when stringing a POG OS - she strings it in under 9 minutes on a NEOS 1000 (racquet mounted, string in hand).

    Chris, TW.
     
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  31. rasajadad

    rasajadad Hall of Fame

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    He turned 13 last August.
     
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  32. varuscelli

    varuscelli Professional

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    Thanks, Chris.

    If it wouldn't be violating some kind of policy, could you share with us the rough percentage of female stringers at TW compared to male? Maybe one in five or one in ten? My guess is that your numbers (percentage of women) might be higher than the "public" numbers, but then again the TW number might be fairly reflective of the numbers in general. But I'd still guess the the likelihood of a female employee of TW being a stringer might be higher than that reflected in the general public.

    Or would my asking the question put TW in an uncomfortable position in terms of . . . "perceived political correctness," for lack of a better term? ;)

    Some of the guys responding to the thread are making very light of the subject, but I'm sincerely curious and am taking the topic quite seriously. I really would like to come up with a general number.

    My guess, based on what I've seen and read (and other evidence) is there's maybe a 10 to 1 ratio of men to women, in general, and that number might even be nearer 20 to 1 across the general population (not just looking at those involved in team sports, etc., but including home stringers as well).
     
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  33. heycal

    heycal Hall of Fame

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    Glad to know the TW stringers handling our rackets are racing each other to see who can do it the fastest...
     
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  34. pagepa

    pagepa New User

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    You guys are really funny! I'm a female stringer, and I'm pretty "high strung". I'm a USRSA member and I string at my home on a Prince Neos 1000 machine.

    I am very interested in strings, racquets, etc., but I am in the minority. Most of the women I play with are not at all interested. I know a few other women who string, but most of them are teaching pros at local clubs.
     
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  35. heycal

    heycal Hall of Fame

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    Whenever I get worried I'm too obsessed with tennis, I can always visit these forums and find someone even more obsessive than I am...
     
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  36. Ronaldo

    Ronaldo G.O.A.T.

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    Nearly every decent junior in our area, male or female strings their own racquets. It is a major expense as often as they break strings. Way to make a nickel in a pro shop during the summer months too.
     
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  37. georgeyew

    georgeyew Rookie

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    I've seen one female string in my life. I saw her stringing at a club that I was visiting. She looked like she was in high school and was just going at a relaxed pace while chatting with her friend. She caught me staring becasue it was such an unusual site for me to see a female stringer. As a stringer, I know that weaving is tough on fingers and hands. I suspect that maybe that is one reason why women are not interested.
     
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  38. varuscelli

    varuscelli Professional

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    This is a sociological study, man. I minored in anthropology/sociology in college and can't see to get away from it. :p

    Here's one analogy I see: tennis and automobiles.

    Roughly half of the people out there playing tennis are men, half are women. Roughly half of the people driving cars are men, half are women. Yet if you got out to have a racquet strung or a car worked on, it's likely that 9 times out of 10 that the person stringing the racquet or working on the car will be male.

    Based on life experience, even if I see someone out in their driveway working on a car, 9 times out of 10 (likely more) that person will be male.

    But...since people don't usually string racquets out in their driveways, those numbers are a bit harder to figure out. I'm also guessing that the "10 to 1" numbers may be staggered even further by gender and that men stringers might outnumber women stringers (again, at a guess) by more than 10 to 1. But why would it be that way? Why do men generally seem to have more interest and inclination to string racquets even though they comprise only about half of the tennis playing population?

    I don't think it's so much nature as it nurture. Or maybe it is partly nature. Or maybe women are just smarter and want men to do the dirty work of "racquet and automobile maintenance." ;)

    I dunno.

    But the topic still makes me curious enough to ask the question on a forum where people might have a better idea than, say, asking the same question among family members while we're we're dining together or even asking the same question when I'm out with other players on the court. Even players, unless they are serious players who deal with restringing often, in general will likely have no idea how to answer the question (other than guessing). "I dunno who strings it, man. I just drop it off and pick it up when it's ready."

    But on a stringing forum, I can actually ask people who have a point of reference. So...I'm still curious about it -- and I don't really see the question as particularly obsessive. Well, OK, maybe a little obsessive. ;) But mostly just an "I'd like to know" thing.
     
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  39. thejackal

    thejackal Hall of Fame

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    i guess i meant to say in a shop. actually, now that i think of it, make it one.
     
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  40. TW Staff

    TW Staff Administrator

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    Let's not take Chris' comment out of context. Our stringers are trained very well and we pride ourselves on quality and efficiency. Because a stringer can string fast doesn't mean they're careless.

    Spencer, TW.
     
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  41. varuscelli

    varuscelli Professional

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    I don't think most of the "viewing audience" here sees the speed that Chris referred to as a matter of careless stringing. (At least, I don't see it that way.) ;)

    In many, many areas of expertise, the better you are at something the more quickly and more efficiently you can generally do that thing -- to the point in some cases that you can do something with such skill and speed to make most people's jaws drop. The way I see it, the speed that Chris was referring to is more a tribute to knowing how to do a job so well that if the stringer in question wants do the job that quickly, she can. But I don't think that "speed" in this case translates into "carelessness."

    It translates more accurately, I'm willing to bet, into ability based on experience.
     
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  42. heycal

    heycal Hall of Fame

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    Discussing this subject in a stringing forum isn't obsessive, it's calling up those folks and asking them that's a little nutty.;) But hey, who am I to talk? I'm posting something in a stringing forum even though I don't know anything about stringing or even have a real interest in the subject.

    Anyway, I suppose the dearth of female stringers and mechanics is mirrored in many other areas of life as well. Whether nature or nurture, gender differences abound everywhere. Ain't a lot of female pilots out there, for example, even though half the passengers are females, and so on and so forth.
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2006
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  43. varuscelli

    varuscelli Professional

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    Actually, it was an e-mail. That way they couldn't hang up on me. :)

    What I found most interesting was their somewhat guarded response. ;)

    And I might as well repeat it. By "their somewhat guarded response," I'm talking about the USRSA. When I e-mailed and asked about if they had any numbers on gender participation in the association, they seemed reluctant to answer without knowing why I wanted to know.

    And even after I explained (via e-mail), I don't know for sure that the answer they gave me ("we don't have any gender data") reflects what they know as much as it reflects what they want me to know.

    The whole thing reeks of conspiracy. :p
     
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  44. heycal

    heycal Hall of Fame

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    Clearly, they spotted you for the obsessive nut you are and clammed up.:-D I think the fact that your oddball question had to do with women, as opposed to some inquiry about gauges or whatever, is probably what set off alarm bells. Expect a visit from the local police soon.
     
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  45. varuscelli

    varuscelli Professional

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    Yeah, I may have raised the ire of wrong secret society, but I don't think it's the police I have to worry about.

    I just hope The Boss doesn't send a couple of goons over to "rearrange my stringing room." :(
     
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  46. ironicqueery

    ironicqueery Rookie

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    I'm female and I string my own rackets. Not professionally yet...hopefully someday.

    I was rather disappointed to see the large number of rude comments made towards women on this topic.

    If I were to guess why more women don't string...I think they generally lean towards caring less about "gear". They just want to play, not worry about their equipment.

    Given how rude men can be towards women who take "too much" of an interest in sports, I would also guess that women who bother to worry about what a guy thinks might be hesitant to appear too "masculine".
     
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  47. varuscelli

    varuscelli Professional

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    Let me apologize, then, for their rudeness. Not that I can control the behavior or responses of others in a thread that I started, though, but it's just one of those things you tend to have to tolerate around here -- or respond to. I'd just pass it off to insecurity, immaturity, or a guy's need to make inappropriate jokes when he thinks women aren't listening. But the few guys who make smart-ass comments don't necessarily reflect the views of the rest. Nor do they always reflect the true views of the guys who make the comments, since often the intent is one of just joking around.

    My own opinion is that a woman's interest in something like this isn't a "masculine" trait but something that shows both independence and a personal sense of security. Like I've mentioned before, I'd love to teach my own daughter to string if she's got the interest to do it (or if she even develops an interest in tennis, which is certainly not guaranteed). I won't force her, but if she wants to learn, I'm certainly willing to help her in that. It would make me proud for her to be able to string her own racquet, and I wouldn't give a damn about any guy who thought badly of her for being able to do something that he likely doesn't know how to. (Not that Daddy's opinion of any particular guys is going to mean anything, but still... ;) )

    Thanks for putting in a bit of feedback on the topic, ironicqueery. I certainly appreciate it. :)

    ironicqueery: If you're still reading, could I ask how it was that you learned? What motivated you and how you got the opportunity?
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2007
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  48. pagepa

    pagepa New User

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    ironicqueery - I'm a female stringer and I posted earlier on this. Don't be offended by the men. Giving each other and everyone else a hard time is typical male sense of humor. It's all in fun. Take it with a grain of salt.
     
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  49. varuscelli

    varuscelli Professional

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    Hi, pagepa. Same question, if you don't mind fielding it: How it was that you learned stringing? What motivated you and how did you get the opportunity?
     
    #49
  50. pagepa

    pagepa New User

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    Hi varuscelli. I started playing tennis about 7 years ago, and I met my husband playing tennis. My husband (then boyfriend) was always complaining about breaking strings, and how expensive it is to re-string. Several of my tennis friends also complained about the poor stringing service at the club where we all played. I suggested to my boyfriend that we go in together, buy a nice stringing machine, learn to string and make a little money by stringing for all of our tennis friends. We bought a Prince Neos 1000 and joined the USRSA. We read all the reference material that the USRSA sent us (very good information), and watched an instructional videotape that came with our machine. We practiced on some old rackets at first, then branched out into stringing our own rackets and stringing for others.

    We've been stringing for about 5 years. We don't do a huge volume, but I'd guess that I have about 100 regular customers. I string about 85% of the rackets we get, and my husband only does about 15%. I don't know why, it just evolved that way. I am proud of the fact that my regular customers will not go to anyone else to string their rackets.
     
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