How to Save Money on Racket Stringing

Racket StringingI’m a big believer in young tennis players learning how to do all of the things necessary to be ready to step on the court and compete. From learning how to tie their own shoes to carrying their own tennis bag and water bottle, these skills are part and parcel of being a competitive junior player. They need to learn how to keep score. They need to learn the rules in Friend At Court. They need to learn how to wrap an overgrip. And they need to learn how to string a tennis racket.

We all read and talk about the expense of developing a junior tennis player – and I’m not here to try and convince you otherwise – but there are definitely some things you can do to help offset that expense. Having your child string his/her own rackets is a big step in the right direction.

Want to know how much you spend a year on stringing? Click here for a calculator.

Now, doesn’t it make sense to purchase a stringing machine and make sure your child learns how to use it? When my son was in middle school, we purchased an electronic stringer. We set it up in my son’s room, and he strung rackets for himself and others (a nice way for him to earn a little money!). It worked great, but we still had to pay for stringing when we traveled to tournaments. After about 6 months, though, the machine started losing tension and causing major stress. After trying to work with the manufacturer and distributor to no avail, we sold the stringer and went back to paying $20/racket. Grrrr!

I recently came across a new stringing machine that is not only affordable but is also portable. That means no more paying inflated stringing fees when you’re away from home!

The Platinum Pro Stringer is the brainchild of tour player Rubin Statham. On tour Rubin saw players paying racket stringers at each and every tennis event. These tournament stringers had a variety of stringing methods and stringing machines, which meant the players were getting inconsistent tensions in their string bed leading to impaired performance on the court. When the tension wasn’t just right, the racket would have to be restrung, adding an enormous financial cost throughout the year. Rubin and his twin brother spent over $17,000 on restringing labor alone in their first year on tour.

Like many players, to save money and to attain consistent string tensions, they resorted to travelling with a “portable” machine that was the size of a large suitcase. The machine weighed over 45lbs (not sure why they called it portable) and was ineffective at producing consistent string tensions.

Rubin, who is currently playing in the ITF Pro Circuit Futures event in Pittsburgh, tapped into his entrepreneurial side and put together a team of engineers from the US and Korea to design a truly portable stringing machine that was accurate and affordable. After 5 years of R&D and 3 years of testing on both the ATP and WTA tours, Rubin decided his machine was ready for public consumption and is now selling it and supporting it with individualized customer service.

The Platinum Pro Stringer weighs only 4.4 pounds! Fully-packed in its case withstringer the necessary tools, it weighs only 8.8 pounds.  And it comes complete with table clamp, mounting bracket, frame retainers, butterfly screws, flying clamps, power supply and cables, universal power adapter, string cutter, string pliers, and a padded carrying case with room for your string. Oh, and every Platinum Pro Stringer machine comes with one year of hardware repair coverage through its limited warranty and one year of complimentary support.

Luckily for all of you, Rubin and I connected between his matches, and he graciously offered a very nice discount to the ParentingAces community! The Platinum Pro Stringer retails for $790.00 (plus shipping). But, if you buy it through the special web page set up exclusively for ParentingAces, you will only pay $690.00 (plus shipping)! Make sure to enter the special promo code “ACES100” during checkout to get your special ParentingAces discount of $100 off!

Note: ParentingAces is NOT a paid endorser nor do we receive any compensation if you buy this product.

I will be doing an episode of the ParentingAces Podcast with Rubin in a few weeks, so if you have any questions about the Platinum Pro or life on the tour, please feel free to send them to me.

I wish this machine had been around when my son was in the juniors. It would have saved us thousands of dollars over the course of his developmental years! I hope you’ll take a look at the website here, watch the videos, read the testimonials, then use the special ParentingAces link to give this little gem a try.  You can thank me later! 🙂

 

New Strings, New Racquet or Both?

For the past few years, my son has been playing with the Babolat Aero Pro Drive Plus racquet, the one that looks like Rafa’s only a half-inch longer.  He’s been stringing his racquets with RPM Blast string, and, until very recently, was happy with his tennis equipment.

Since he first started using this particular racquet and string, my son has grown about 8 inches in height and put on more than 25 pounds, most of it in the last year.  Needless to say, that growth has necessitated making some changes in the way he trains, the way he moves around the court, the way he constructs and plays points, and the way he adjusts his body to be in the proper position to make his shots.  And, recently, he noticed that he seems to be “shanking” balls more often which is usually an indicator of poor positioning in relation to the ball.  So, he’s been working with his coach on his footwork and timing to see if he can figure out how to adjust his taller frame, longer arms and legs, and bigger feet to hit the ball on the strings rather than the expensive part of the racquet!

One of the first things my son and his coach picked up on was that his strings seemed to be losing tension rather quickly, perhaps contributing to the timing issue.  He played around with the tension setting on his stringer to see if that would help.  It didn’t.  He then started doing a little research on the different strings on the market and tried a few different ones to see if they made a difference.  They didn’t.

The next step was to look at the possibility of going back to a standard length racquet instead of the “plus” he was currently using.  One of his buddies let him hit with his racquet for a couple of days, which he really liked.  He felt like it gave him more power while still being able to generate enough spin to control his shots.  He went over to our local tennis shop to check out a demo racquet and tried it out for a few days.

I called his coach in a panic.  The idea of spending $500 or more on new racquets was NOT appealing.  Did I mention that all this racquet-changing talk was going on at the same time as the Waco discussion?  I asked if he (the coach) thought a racquet change was necessary or would make a significant difference in my son’s play.  He said that my son had come up with the idea but that after seeing him hit with the demo racquets, he did feel that my son would benefit from a change.  He assured me that changing racquets would be a slow, deliberate process and that he wouldn’t let my son make a final decision without lots of hitting time, match play, and in-depth evaluation by the coach.

After swapping between different racquets over a 2-week period, the time had come to make a decision between the last two contenders.  The day before the demo racquets were due back to the shop, my son had another lesson with his coach, the sole purpose of which was to gauge the effectiveness of each racquet across several different drills and live-ball rallies.  Not only was his coach looking at the power and spin and control of each ball coming off my son’s racquet, but he was also rating the feel of my son’s ball coming off his own racquet as well.  They did each drill with my son alternating between the demo racquets, and after each one the coach chose a “winner” and kept a running tally of the results.  By the end of the lesson, the coach had a clear picture about which racquet was better for my son and his particular style of play.

But, my son still wasn’t convinced!  He scheduled a practice match for the following day just to be sure he was making the right choice.  After playing 3 sets over 4 hours, he finally knew which racquet was going to be his new racquet, and, it turns out, it’s the same one his coach had deemed the right one, too.

So, thanks to our friends at Your Serve and Holabird Sports, my son is now the proud owner of three new Head YouTek IG Radical MP racquets and a matching bag.  The Babolats were great while they lasted – anyone in the market for some lovingly-used Aero Pro Drive Pluses???