Get to Know Your Stringer
As an avid tennis player you probably spent some time, and money, selecting your current racquet. What about your string and stringer/technician selection? Did you give that as much thought? Think about it. The racquet does nothing until it is strung. How important is that!
Before we go much further I want to make a request. Starting today let’s refer to competent racquet stringers as “racquet technicians”, please. I know it is easier to ask “who strings your racquets?” as opposed to “who technicians your racquets?” but the distinction is important. OK, then.
Here are a few things you can do to Get to Know Your Stringer/Technician…
Ask questions about their background as a player, coach, or tennis enthusiast. Then forget everything they say!
Ask questions about how long they have been stringing/technicianing racquets, and how they got started. Ask for references.
Ask about any certification they have achieved or advanced training they have attended.
Ask why they want to string your racquet.
Ask what diagnostic equipment they use.
Ask what records keeping software they use.
Ask why they should be trusted to string your racquet.
Ask for technical information about the string they intend to use. Is it a high elongation string or low elongation string? The two extremes are natural gut (soft) polyester or co-polyester (stiff). If you like a softer feel a higher elongation string can be helpful. Please keep in mind, however, that even the best string can be installed in a manner that renders it “terrible”.
Let’s be honest. Over the years I have seen stringers/technicians that have been doing it for years but are not doing the best they can because they simply don’t continue to learn about racuqets and string. Not every racquet and string can be handled the same way. Stringing is a combination of science, art, and craft. If you find a great craftsperson you will probably be in good hands. If possible visit the location where the stringing will take place. Be mindful that a lot of stringers/technicians work from their home. This in itself is not an issue but going into someones home may not be something you want to do. In that case ask if the racquet can be picked up or delivered. This is “Getting to Know Your Stringer”.
Now it is time to ask the stringer/technician to ask you a few questions. Yes, ask them to ask you questions! Does the stringer/technician want to know if you have any physical issues? Does the stringer/technician want to know if you are a baseliner or serve and volley player. Does your stringer/technician want to know what you expect from your racquet/string combination? Maybe a little more power, or a little more control? Of course you and every other tennis player wants both. Does your stringer/technician want to know your budget? Does your stringer/technician want to know how often you play?
I think you get the idea. Spend as much time selecting a string and stringer/technician as you can. It will be worth it many times over. In future posts I will address the selection of strings and stringer/technician for junior players.
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.