Work up the ladder to become professional stringer.

#51
Yeah, sorry.....from my viewpoint, that's about the only way I could make it stringing professionally, as a side gig giving up all my free time. I don't see how folks like RP, Herb, P1, and others make it given the expenses and (no small sacrifice) time away from home.

Stringing is a thankless job. and pretty much monieless.
I think a lot of it depends on geographic location and what your 'real career' is. For Herb my understanding is that stringing is his full time thing. Many people that do it full time also do tournaments and/or college teams. The tournaments look good for the company that the people work for in attracting and retaining business. They get to say their stringer has worked X tournament and strung for X pro. It's a marketing thing that makes them more lenient with time off than they otherwise would be. As a school teacher, it does nothing for my district or school to allow me time off to do tournaments from a marketing stand point. It probably reflects poorly that I do it not only because I enjoy it, but also because I need the supplement to my income. Additionally to HGXS point pros pay a good chunk for their stringing per racket but the companies sponsoring the stringing do as well. Many of the companies actually lose money to be the official stringing for an event. Between paying the ATP/WTA to allow them the rights to do the event and have their marketing stuff out front, paying the stringers ($ plus clothing/bags/collectibles) , paying for food, paying for lodging and travel, there's really no way to break even without charging $50+ a racket. Even then it may be impossible.

Edit: I would think Yonex at the AO is a particularly big loser. From my understanding they don't pay for their stringers travel (the person must pay) but they also don't charge for the first 5 frames per player per day during the main draw. That's a lot of lost $ when you consider that many pros don't do more than 5 a match. There are multiple exceptions but why not do 5 if they're free?
 

Irvin

Talk Tennis Guru
#52
I guess if you count your regular income then it's gravy. I only count the money I made for the actual activity not the vacation days used. Doing that, I make out quite well.
You’re correct there, why would I want to give up vacation days that only makes a couple hundred dollars a day at most working 12 or more hours a day? I only had 6 weeks of vacation before I retired and the last couple of years I ended up buying more.
That seems kind of crazy, considering you are stringing for guys and girls who make millions of dollars. Especially how picky the pros must be and how many rackets they string. It should be more highly regarded in our sport especially considering the money involved at these events. Shame on ATP and WTA for taking advantage of people that string all day
Also shame on the players. I'm poor and I tip servers for my food they don't make. If I had millions, bet your ass I would tip my stringer for waking up extra early to string my 8 rackets fresh for a match, then only to cut them out next day and string them again. Nonsense
Small wonder some players have P1 or other companies string for them.
 
#53
I only got tipped a handful of times. I mostly worked Futures, though, where no one made any money. The most I ever made form a tournament was about $1500 for 10 days. Not the best-paying job around, but the experience is worth something every time.
 

Irvin

Talk Tennis Guru
#54
^^Umpiring at little league baseball and softball games make more than that. If you can advance to NCAA or pro it gets a lot better. And I’m pretty sure you can umpire even if you’re blind, ask any saints fan.
 
#56
^^Umpiring at little league baseball and softball games make more than that. If you can advance to NCAA or pro it gets a lot better. And I’m pretty sure you can umpire even if you’re blind, ask any saints fan.
Absolutely. I have friends that ref high school lacrosse and they make $75+ a game. Less refs = more pay for them. If you have to run a game alone its like $150 per game which means you make a little over $50 an hour. Pretty good money to get paid to jog up and down the field.
 
#62
I operate different than most everyone else. I donate most of what I make every year to a local charity and disable veterans. I have a real job and string as a side gig. I am just fortunate that I have tons of time that I can take off, and can use it whenever I want. I do give up quite a bit of free time, but I do it voluntarily. In a busy year I do 4 tournaments, but I string year round for the university, 2 country clubs, and my local customers that are not members of the country clubs. I have only ever been tipped once by a pro player. I have been thanked in a couple of trophy speeches.
 
#63
I operate different than most everyone else. I donate most of what I make every year to a local charity and disable veterans. I have a real job and string as a side gig. I am just fortunate that I have tons of time that I can take off, and can use it whenever I want. I do give up quite a bit of free time, but I do it voluntarily. In a busy year I do 4 tournaments, but I string year round for the university, 2 country clubs, and my local customers that are not members of the country clubs. I have only ever been tipped once by a pro player. I have been thanked in a couple of trophy speeches.
I think the best tip I got was a reel of Alu Power a few years ago. It was half done but the player made a switch right before the tournament started so gave me his reel.
 
#64
Never got a tip, but those who had paid in cash Usually round up. Exampe 18$ they would give us a 20$ or 35$ they will pay $40 dollars. Not on swipe... they pay exact haha
 
#65
If someone doesn't mind saying, how much money can you make ballpark stringing a tournament? Also do players tip you personally if you string their rackets?
At our women's event, it's been a while since I've asked to keep tabs but about 100 +/- 10 or so at $20 per racquet.
The best chance of getting a tip is in the retail or small business setting; it's really rare but more likely to happen if you go out of the way to get stringing done in an emergency. I work at a tennis center and get $5-10 maybe once a year or so. I've also driven an hour to deliver a racquet and got tipped a Benjamin, but I used it to subsidize the amount I charged him the next couple of times I strung for his son.
I wonder how much linesmen make for a game?
At ITFs, $110/day for linesmen and $150+/day for chairs - we feed them and provide local housing for out-of-towners. I believe ITA is something like $165+ for the officials, though they have to be there for 3+ hours at times and no breaks like their counterparts do in the pros.
 
#66
As far as tips are concerned, I get tipped regularly. I provide quick service (but accurate) l and do a lot of consulting for string and tensions.
Tips are generally small, $5 here maybe $10 there. But I’d say tips account for 10% of my profit.
 
#67
I think a lot of it depends on geographic location and what your 'real career' is. For Herb my understanding is that stringing is his full time thing. Many people that do it full time also do tournaments and/or college teams. The tournaments look good for the company that the people work for in attracting and retaining business. They get to say their stringer has worked X tournament and strung for X pro. It's a marketing thing that makes them more lenient with time off than they otherwise would be. As a school teacher, it does nothing for my district or school to allow me time off to do tournaments from a marketing stand point. It probably reflects poorly that I do it not only because I enjoy it, but also because I need the supplement to my income. Additionally to HGXS point pros pay a good chunk for their stringing per racket but the companies sponsoring the stringing do as well. Many of the companies actually lose money to be the official stringing for an event. Between paying the ATP/WTA to allow them the rights to do the event and have their marketing stuff out front, paying the stringers ($ plus clothing/bags/collectibles) , paying for food, paying for lodging and travel, there's really no way to break even without charging $50+ a racket. Even then it may be impossible.

Edit: I would think Yonex at the AO is a particularly big loser. From my understanding they don't pay for their stringers travel (the person must pay) but they also don't charge for the first 5 frames per player per day during the main draw. That's a lot of lost $ when you consider that many pros don't do more than 5 a match. There are multiple exceptions but why not do 5 if they're free?
Generous should be the right word used
Some stringers air tickets may not be sponsored, but the stringers are paid. Whether it is paid equally for all stringers, we don't know.
On top of that,
1)we arent sure if hitting partners get FOC stringing as well, and also players that drop by early way before the tournament starts just to hit around... Adapt to heat... Blah blah blah.
2)I think customisation( or matching) is pretty expensive, esp for qualifiers.
 
#68
Don't roast me but I always thought linesmen and whatnot were volunteers pulled in from local communities... Chair umps obviously not but one of my friends in Cinci had a teacher line judge at Western Southern Open so I just assumed they were volunteers.
Been lurking this thread haha. I'm stringing on the side right now but soon I'm gonna try getting local high schools and colleges to try and strike up a deal with me. Definitely don't make any money as of now...
For sure a weird obsession or hobby for a high schooler, but I love it. Stringing is so calming and it's a nice change of pace from AP and SAT studying haha.
 
#69
@jangotango they used to be volunteers and the pros did nothing but complain. I am not sure when they began to pay them, but the two tours insisted on "professional" linesmen. Now there is a system by which linesmen come up through the differently levels to become "qualified" for the bigger tournaments.
 
#70
I have always wondered....

I know most of the people that string at professional events usually use what is provided or they travel with their machine, which seems to be either a Babolat or Wilson high end machine...

My question is can you get these jobs and string at these events if say you traveled with your own machine, be it a lockout(which would probably be a pain), some sort of automatic like a Stringway, or a "lower level"constant pull?

I have read at some tournaments that a MS200 Stringway was used. The center I worked at, the head stringer filled in for the person who use to be the go to guy for an event in North Carolina, women's tournament, and he used a lockout...

I'm not asking could you use these machines, but more or less, would you be turned away if you showed up with anything other than let's say a Prince 5000, Star 5, or a Wilson, Tecnifibre, Yonex, Head machine?...
 

Irvin

Talk Tennis Guru
#71
I'm not asking could you use these machines, but more or less, would you be turned away if you showed up with anything other than let's say a Prince 5000, Star 5, or a Wilson, Tecnifibre, Yonex, Head machine?.
You will know before you get turned away if your going to be stringing at the event or not.
 
#72
You will know before you get turned away if your going to be stringing at the event or not.
But will they call you in to string a few racquets or ask you about what sort of machine you use?

What is the interview process for this, if you're just sort of building a reputation that you can handle one of these type events?
 

Irvin

Talk Tennis Guru
#73
But will they call you in to string a few racquets or ask you about what sort of machine you use?

What is the interview process for this, if you're just sort of building a reputation that you can handle one of these type events?
I wouldn't have any idea and never plan to find out.
 
#74
But will they call you in to string a few racquets or ask you about what sort of machine you use?

What is the interview process for this, if you're just sort of building a reputation that you can handle one of these type events?
From my experience, it depends solely on the venue. I have strung for about ten years for a low level WTA event. They were just glad to have a full-time stringer. My equipment then was using their Prince 1500 body and my Wise tension head.

For larger tournaments, the nice ones, they can choose to be picky and from what I've read, they usually supply machines. But if you're talking about the smaller tier 1 - 2 events, they don't care. Just be prepared to work your hindquarters off!
 
#75
How many people are there who can build a future, raise a family and have a good retirement based solely on personally stringing tennis rackets? Also dealing with the health issues that come with standing relatively stationary all day and probably carpal tunnel and other joint issues accumulating over decades.

I'm talking nothing but racket stringing 8-10 hrs/day all year long.
 
#77
But will they call you in to string a few racquets or ask you about what sort of machine you use?

What is the interview process for this, if you're just sort of building a reputation that you can handle one of these type events?
There isn't really an interview process if they're calling you. Typically you have an industry connection and will be supplied with a machine or they know you have access to a top end machine to bring.
Smaller events like 25ks you'd probably be fine with whatever you bring. I did the first day of an 80k with just the top of my alpha ghost set on a table. I was asked to come back for the Girls 18s Gold Ball tourney at the same venue and they asked me to bring my Baiardo for the week rather than the alpha. I think it all depends on venue. Most, even smaller tournaments would likely want an electronic machine. I would think stringing them, the person would likely want an electronic machine for the length of the day. I know I personally would not want to run a crank for 25+ frames a day. For reference when I was asked back for the 25k that the facility hosts, they asked me to bring the Baiardo.

Edit: What I mean is if they are calling you, it is likely a big event that they have machines for. Typically the only way you're calling them and getting invited out of the blue is going to be at a smaller event. Many of the pro teams are set and are comprised of many of the same people year after year.
 
#78
There isn't really an interview process if they're calling you. Typically you have an industry connection and will be supplied with a machine or they know you have access to a top end machine to bring.
Smaller events like 25ks you'd probably be fine with whatever you bring. I did the first day of an 80k with just the top of my alpha ghost set on a table. I was asked to come back for the Girls 18s Gold Ball tourney at the same venue and they asked me to bring my Baiardo for the week rather than the alpha. I think it all depends on venue. Most, even smaller tournaments would likely want an electronic machine. I would think stringing them, the person would likely want an electronic machine for the length of the day. I know I personally would not want to run a crank for 25+ frames a day. For reference when I was asked back for the 25k that the facility hosts, they asked me to bring the Baiardo.
Who is it that asks you to bring a Baiardo?
I mean yes, you're right in wanting to have an electronic machine to work on all day long. I don't doubt that for one second. But who says, " make sure you bring the Baiardo or don't come" sort of thing?

Who determines that this is the best machine and you must bring something like this or don't bother showing up?

Is this a person or some sort of committee that runs that particular event or tournament?
 
#79
Who is it that asks you to bring a Baiardo?
I mean yes, you're right in wanting to have an electronic machine to work on all day long. I don't doubt that for one second. But who says, " make sure you bring the Baiardo or don't come" sort of thing?

Who determines that this is the best machine and you must bring something like this or don't bother showing up?

Is this a person or some sort of committee that runs that particular event or tournament?
The tournament director. They knew I have two machines and they feel that the Wilson provides a more prestigious image than the Alpha. It’s fine by me. I use the Baiardo full time anyway and would bring it for longer tournaments. It’s just easier to bring the top portion of the Ghost and set it on a table for the day than setting up the Baiardo. And it’s not a bring that or don’t come it’s a would you mind bringing the other one? It looks more impressive in the club house.
 
#80
I have never been asked to bring a certain machine. I have been asked what type of machine I use (i.e. crank, electric) so they could list it in the information release to teams, or players.
 
#84
^^^^looking forward to hearing about your adventures
^^^^^^^^add me to the list! @MAX PLY @cluckcluck
Alright fellas, I'm back on planet earth and ready to share.
First off, this was 100% volunteer meaning I didn't get paid (though hotel and food was covered) so I was there to tryout for their team.
Their team is constructed of high caliber stringers from all parts of the world and they all string the same method on the same machines; this is for all racquets to be consistent among the stringers.
First day was learning their method, reasons, machine operation, times, etc. Didn't string anything.
Day 2 was a cluster, had to string something like 30 frames each (there were 4 of us who were trying out) with a 30 min break for lunch. This was hard for me being that I have only strung 2 piece my entire stringing life so having to learn a one piece on a machine I've never used put me out of my comfort zone. I noticed that what normally would take me 18 minutes ended up taking me close to 30. I wasn't pleased with my results of being so slow and having to really think about stringing patterns. I ran into a bunch of problems with their method of 1 piece. Often times, because of the pressure, I would get to the final crosses only to find out that I had a misweave so...cut it out and start again. This would set me back 20-30 minutes. And let me tell you, this wasn't with your easy syngut string, we were using Barbwire 1.32 or Black Widow 1.32...thick and painful.
Day 3 was worse than day 2 but I feel like I had figured it out, sorta. Day 3 was more "real world" than day 2. We would get a series of racquets (4 frames, different tensions, due at a specific time), all the while an "on court" would be thrown in there from time to time. Essentially, having to manage my time with stringing. Where do I fit in the "on court" with the current frames that I have? Also, these on courts had a time limit of 21 minutes from arrival to delivery (this includes string straightening and stenciling). Then more would come in with a delivery time. A lot of them were full poly in a 1 piece but every so often, we would get a frame that required natural gut with pre-stretch (by hand) and power pads. So having to pre-stretch and cut the power pads were all part of the time management.
Nearly all of the frames were prostock (not for players but inventory the team takes with them) so it wasn't your normal drill pattern. Also, they were mostly 18x20. I would say 10% of the frames were 16x19 so lots of weaving.

That's the gist of my experience. I could write more but I don't want to give it all away. Also, I was asked to not comment on their method so I will not be sharing it.
you're probably also wondering, did I make the team? I'm not sure, there was no "pass or fail" for this. I have a list of things I need to work on before the US Open and the trainers will be in touch with me regularly to see my progress.

I was exhausted, frustrated, and was running high stress the entire time. It wasn't for the faint of heart. I'm a better stringer today than I was before I left for Miami.

Edit: I wore my Apple Watch the entire time and I had a daily heart rate average of 122bpm.
 
Last edited:
#87
Edit: I wore my Apple Watch the entire time and I had a daily heart rate average of 122bpm.
Thank you so much for sharing your impressions! It was super interesting to read. The most valuable of all (for me) were your thoughts (impressions) on what distinguishes a pro tournament level stringer from just a stinger. Apparently, it is not just speed. It is stress resistance, time management, and ability to handle stringing patterns which one may not see often, if ever, with regular clients. If you decide that there are more recollections or thoughts which are not confidential and which you are willing to share, please do so. It will be much appreciated by this community.

Sorry, could not resist when I saw your 122 bpm P.S. - sounds like your heart was in tune with disco music, and the description below matches so well the hectic schedule that you described :)

The basic tempo of disco is approximately 120 beats per minute, with alternating bass and snare drumbeats, and often cymbals filling the gaps between the beats.
 
#90
Alright fellas, I'm back on planet earth and ready to share.
First off, this was 100% volunteer meaning I didn't get paid (though hotel and food was covered) so I was there to tryout for their team.
Their team is constructed of high caliber stringers from all parts of the world and they all string the same method on the same machines; this is for all racquets to be consistent among the stringers.
First day was learning their method, reasons, machine operation, times, etc. Didn't string anything.
Day 2 was a cluster, had to string something like 30 frames each (there were 4 of us who were trying out) with a 30 min break for lunch. This was hard for me being that I have only strung 2 piece my entire stringing life so having to learn a one piece on a machine I've never used put me out of my comfort zone. I noticed that what normally would take me 18 minutes ended up taking me close to 30. I wasn't pleased with my results of being so slow and having to really think about stringing patterns. I ran into a bunch of problems with their method of 1 piece. Often times, because of the pressure, I would get to the final crosses only to find out that I had a misweave so...cut it out and start again. This would set me back 20-30 minutes. And let me tell you, this wasn't with your easy syngut string, we were using Barbwire 1.32 or Black Widow 1.32...thick and painful.
Day 3 was worse than day 2 but I feel like I had figured it out, sorta. Day 3 was more "real world" than day 2. We would get a series of racquets (4 frames, different tensions, due at a specific time), all the while an "on court" would be thrown in there from time to time. Essentially, having to manage my time with stringing. Where do I fit in the "on court" with the current frames that I have? Also, these on courts had a time limit of 21 minutes from arrival to delivery (this includes string straightening and stenciling). Then more would come in with a delivery time. A lot of them were full poly in a 1 piece but every so often, we would get a frame that required natural gut with pre-stretch (by hand) and power pads. So having to pre-stretch and cut the power pads were all part of the time management.
Nearly all of the frames were prostock (not for players but inventory the team takes with them) so it wasn't your normal drill pattern. Also, they were mostly 18x20. I would say 10% of the frames were 16x19 so lots of weaving.

That's the gist of my experience. I could write more but I don't want to give it all away. Also, I was asked to not comment on their method so I will not be sharing it.
you're probably also wondering, did I make the team? I'm not sure, there was no "pass or fail" for this. I have a list of things I need to work on before the US Open and the trainers will be in touch with me regularly to see my progress.

I was exhausted, frustrated, and was running high stress the entire time. It wasn't for the faint of heart. I'm a better stringer today than I was before I left for Miami.

Edit: I wore my Apple Watch the entire time and I had a daily heart rate average of 122bpm.
Can you at least elaborate on is 1piece the norm or just to throw people off?....

I prefer 1piece but figured most pro stringers strung 2 piece...not to say there aren't any that don't use 1 piece or request it. I just always figured it was looked on as sort of lazy or inferior to 2 piece. Not sure why as you have to sometimes be very creative and think ahead when doing 1piece. I like it.

It's awesome you got to participate in it. Hope it works out!
 
#91
Can you at least elaborate on is 1piece the norm or just to throw people off?....

I prefer 1piece but figured most pro stringers strung 2 piece...not to say there aren't any that don't use 1 piece or request it. I just always figured it was looked on as sort of lazy or inferior to 2 piece. Not sure why as you have to sometimes be very creative and think ahead when doing 1piece. I like it.

It's awesome you got to participate in it. Hope it works out!
Everything is assumed a 1 piece unless specified by the player as 2 piece.
 
#92
Everything is assumed a 1 piece unless specified by the player as 2 piece.
So let's say this is a scenario, which I'm sure has happened before....

You're the stringer and the player comes in, gives you her racquets, and the tension they want.....

You notice their last job was done 2 piece....

The player has already left....do you run them down, string it 2 piece to replicate the previous string job, or do 1 piece?

Keep in mind this is just a scenario, which I'm sure has happened or happens.
I know that most stringers when the players come up to them, they ask for tension, when they need it, and if they want one piece or two piece. And then if they do not say, then the stringer strings it one piece.
 
#93
So let's say this is a scenario, which I'm sure has happened before....

You're the stringer and the player comes in, gives you her racquets, and the tension they want.....

You notice their last job was done 2 piece....

The player has already left....do you run them down, string it 2 piece to replicate the previous string job, or do 1 piece?

Keep in mind this is just a scenario, which I'm sure has happened or happens.
I know that most stringers when the players come up to them, they ask for tension, when they need it, and if they want one piece or two piece. And then if they do not say, then the stringer strings it one piece.
1 piece. If it isn't specified it's 1 with Wilson.
 
#94
So let's say this is a scenario, which I'm sure has happened before....

You're the stringer and the player comes in, gives you her racquets, and the tension they want.....

You notice their last job was done 2 piece....

The player has already left....do you run them down, string it 2 piece to replicate the previous string job, or do 1 piece?

Keep in mind this is just a scenario, which I'm sure has happened or happens.
I know that most stringers when the players come up to them, they ask for tension, when they need it, and if they want one piece or two piece. And then if they do not say, then the stringer strings it one piece.
Interesting scenario; from what I gather, regardless of what was there before, Wilson does it 1 piece unless specified by the player.
 

Dags

Hall of Fame
#97
@cluckcluck

Apologies that you're undergoing something of an inquisition... but if you're up for answering a few more questions...

How did you get on the tryout in the first place?

In one of the Wimbledon videos, I think they state that everyone on that team is minimum MRT (though in fact I think he may have said they were all higher than that). Do you hold any certification yourself?

If anyone reading this thread was going to follow in your footsteps, if there anything else you think you could say to help prepare them? Or is this simply one of those experiences where you have to be thrown in at the deep end?

Will you be changing anything in your own stringing practices as a direct result? Do you think you'll be stringing more one-piece now?

Thanks for any answers... and thanks for a good read even if you've had enough of the questioning!
 
#99
@cluckcluck

Apologies that you're undergoing something of an inquisition... but if you're up for answering a few more questions...

How did you get on the tryout in the first place?

In one of the Wimbledon videos, I think they state that everyone on that team is minimum MRT (though in fact I think he may have said they were all higher than that). Do you hold any certification yourself?

If anyone reading this thread was going to follow in your footsteps, if there anything else you think you could say to help prepare them? Or is this simply one of those experiences where you have to be thrown in at the deep end?

Will you be changing anything in your own stringing practices as a direct result? Do you think you'll be stringing more one-piece now?

Thanks for any answers... and thanks for a good read even if you've had enough of the questioning!
No worries, I would be just as excited! I'll answer your questions as best as possible.
This was a mixture of proving myself on social media as well as having some good connections to be introduced to the right people; sprinkle in a little pestering and boom got the invite.
Personally, I have the MRT certification but I don't think all the stringers have one. I believe being a good stringer is the most important thing. You have can all the certs in the industry and still be a crap stringer. Proof is in the pudding, ya know? I know that the URSRA has recently added the Pro Tour Stringer element to their tests (ERSA has this already). Though I think that is more speed and tone more than anything else. Don't quote me on that part as I have not researched it enough, perhaps @SavvyStringer can comment.
There's really nothing to prepare you for a tryout like this. Yes, you know that you'll be stringing a lot of racquets but the pressure and timing of everything is something that you can't really prepare for. It's intense and can break you emotionally (there were moments where I felt like I was just going to break down in tears and I'm pretty emotionally level-headed).
I believe I will be changing my practices, it's a simpler method that if done right, I can shave off a minute to a minute and a half off of my stringing time (currently 18 min average for 18x20), just have to practice more. I have already strung several racquets since I got back with the method taught, so I may keep at it for a while and see how I like it after a few months.
 
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