July 2012

Volume 40 Number 7 $5.00
www.racquetsportsindustry.com
How to Select & Manage
String Inventory
Ball Machines
w A cash machine for your biz
w Our annual guide
TIA ‘State of the Industry’
Annual Report
How to Select & Manage
String Inventory
Ball Machines
w A cash machine for your biz
w Our annual guide
TIA ‘State of the Industry’
Annual Report
2
DEPARTMENTS
R S I J U L Y 2 0 1 2
INDUSTRY NEWS
7 Babolat introduces
‘interactive’ Play &
Connect racquet
7 Prince Sports reaches
licensing agreement
7 Tennis Show slated for
Aug. 24 in NYC
8 Q1 racquet sales increased
in units, dollars
8 Register now for USTA
Tennis Teachers Conference
8 GSS Symposium to offer
special bag promotion
8 Denver set to host 86th
Public Parks Championships
9 TNT net tension
system used at NCAAs
10 Peoplewatch
10 Har-Tru website
receives honors
11 Ashaway adds
Dynamite 17 Natural string
12 Short Sets
12 PayPal accounts seized in
counterfeiting victories
4 Our Serve
7 Industry News
15 Retailing Tip
17 TIA News
32 Ask the Experts
34 String Playtest: Ytex Protour
36 Your Serve, by Kevin Theos
2 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY July 2012 www.racquetsportsindustry.com
Contents
Contents
FEATURES
17 State of the Industry
The 2012 edition of this key TIA report,
highlighted here, compiles data that
can help you identify market trends
and run your business better.
20 Taking Stock
How should you select and manage
your string inventory? A longtime MRT
offers his advice.
22 Stringer’s File: Lucien Nogues
One of Babolat’s top stringing experts
and racquet technician trainers talks
with RSI about the business of strings.
2012 GUIDE TO
BALL MACHINES
27 Cash Machines
Of all the tools that can help your
business, your ball machine may be
the most important.
28 Ball Machine Selector
Our annual guide lists all the specs
and features so you can pick the unit
that’s best for you.
Our Serve
(Incorporating Racquet Tech and Tennis Industry)
Publishers
David Bone Jeff Williams
Editorial Director
Peter Francesconi
Associate Editor
Greg Raven
Design/Art Director
Kristine Thom
Contributing Editors
Robin Bateman
Cynthia Cantrell
Joe Dinoffer
Kent Oswald
Bob Patterson
Cynthia Sherman
Mary Helen Sprecher
Tim Strawn
RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY
Corporate Offices
PO Box 3392, Duluth, GA 30096
Phone: 760-536-1177 Fax: 760-536-1171
Email: RSI@racquetTECH.com
Website: www.racquetTECH.com
Office Hours: Mon.-Fri.,8 a.m.-5 p.m. Pacific Time
Advertising Director
John Hanna
770-650-1102, x.125
hanna@knowatlanta.com
Apparel Advertising
Cynthia Sherman
203-263-5243
cstennisindustry@earthlink.net
Racquet Sports Industry is published 10 times per
year: monthly January through August and combined
issues in September/October and November/
December by Tennis Industry and USRSA, PO Box 3392,
Duluth, GA 30096. Periodcal postage paid at
Duluth, GA and at additional mailing offices (USPS
#004-354). July 2012, Volume 40, Number 7 ©
2012 by USRSA and Tennis Industry. All rights
reserved. Racquet Sports Industry, RSI and logo are
trademarks of USRSA. Printed in the U.S.A. Phone
advertising: 770-650-1102 x 125. Phone circulation
and editorial: 760-536-1177. Yearly subscriptions
$25 in the U.S., $40 elsewhere. POSTMASTER: Send
address changes to Racquet Sports Industry, PO Box
3392, Duluth, GA 3009.
RSI is the official magazine of the USRSA, TIA,and ASBA
www.racquetsportsindustry.com
We Need a ‘Restring’ Campaign
4 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY July 2012
I
t’s time we discard that old saying, “Restring your rac-
quet as many times a year as you play in a week, but a
minimum of twice a year.” Let’s consider that old saw
done, dead, kaput.
We all know that from the moment you put new strings in a racquet,
they start losing tension. Sure, some strings maintain tension longer than
others, and some don’t break as quickly as others. But that’s beside the
point. Strings go dead—that’s just what they do. They lose resiliency and
elasticity. They may look perfectly fine, but old strings don’t help—and
may hurt—a player’s game. (In fact, playing with dead strings may actu-
ally hurt the player, too.)
There’s a reason why pro players use freshly strung racquets every
time they play—because it helps them play at their best. Shouldn’t recre-
ational players play at their best as much as possible? Think about it: If
rec players are playing well, and comfortably, they’ll probably play more.
So here’s the thing: We need to make sure consumers know they
should restring their racquets more frequently. In short, we need a uni-
fied, industry-wide “restring your racquet” campaign. And we need to get
everyone in this industry behind it—stringers, retailers, facility man-
agers, teaching pros, manufacturers—even league and team captains.
The goal is for players to play better, so they’ll play more frequently.
In 2011, the 4.8 million “frequent” players spent a total of $56 million
on strings (not including stringing)—that’s actually slightly less than what
they spent the year before, which is not a good direction to go in, partic-
ularly when racquet sales slipped in 2011, too. Frequent players, of
course, are more likely to realize the value of restringing their racquets
more than the 22.3 million other “regular” players. But we all know that
many frequent players probably still use their strings longer than they
should.
Now think about this: What if we were to get a million tennis players
to restring their racquets just one more time each year? Can you imagine
the impact that can have on string makers, retailers, facilities, and your
business?
Like a car’s engine, strings “drive” a racquet. For optimum performance
in a car, you need to get the engine serviced and tuned regularly. Consumers
need to realize the same is true of a racquet’s “engine.” And the interesting
thing with restringing is that more is always better for the player.
Let’s put together a campaign now to urge players, at every level, to
restring their racquets more frequently. It can impact this industry at
many levels, including leading to increased tennis participation. Let me
know your thoughts and ideas at peter@racquettech.com.
Peter Francesconi
Editorial Director
I NDUSTRY NEWS
I NDUSTRY NEWS
I N F O R M A T I O N T O H E L P Y O U R U N Y O U R B U S I N E S S
Tennis Show
Slated for Aug. 24
in New York City
“The Tennis Show 2012: Cel-
ebrating the Sport of Oppor-
tunity,” will be Friday, Aug.
24, on the ballroom level at
the Grand Hyatt in New York
City. The one-day celebration
of tennis will run from 3 to 9
p.m. and is free to industry
attendees.
The Tennis Show, a prime
networking opportunity for
all involved in the industry,
will include the Tennis Forum
and the Tennis Industry Hall
of Fame Induction Ceremony
for Nick Bollettieri, in addi-
tion to an exhibitor area
with more than 35 industry
exhibitors and a demo court,
allowing attendees to try out
products. The Tennis Show
will be followed the next
morning with the opening
session of the 42nd Annual
USTA Tennis Teachers
Conference.
The show’s industry exhibitor
area will be open from 3 to
6 p.m., then will close from 6
to 7 p.m. for the TIA Tennis
Forum, held in the same
area. The Forum will include
an update from the TIA on
the state of the industry,
then Bollettieri, who was
named the next inductee
into the Tennis Industry Hall
of Fame last year, will be for-
mally honored. Following the
Forum, the Tennis Show will
re-open and include a cock-
tail reception and prize
drawings.
For more information, includ-
ing the current schedule, visit
www.TennisShow.com.
R S I J U L Y 2 0 1 2
Babolat Introduces ‘Interactive’ Play & Connect Racquet
A
t the French Open in May, Babolat presented the prototype of what it says is the world’s first
interactive racquet, Babolat Play & Connect. The demonstrations featured amateur and profes-
sional players including Rafael Nadal and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
The racquet “is a major innovation that will create a before and after reference point,” says Babolat
Chairman and CEO Eric Babolat. “Babolat Play & Connect is
taking on the challenge of changing the way tennis lovers play
and live the game of tennis. This is a connected and communi-
cating racquet that will give players information they can use
to improve performance or just have fun sharing with other
passionate tennis players.”
The company says the racquet, which won't be available
until sometime in 2013, is for all levels of player, whether
beginners, advanced or professional, who can use the frame to
obtain information about their game, such as: the types of strokes they’re hitting, ball spin, position of
the ball on the string bed, power during play, serve speed, and length and intensity of play.
The racquet handle is equipped with sensors that record the data. Once the training session or
match is over, players can transfer and read the information on a computer, tablet or smartphone with
a wireless connection or USB. The primary objective, the company says, was to create a racquet identi-
cal to a standard model, with no change to the sensations during play.
Babolat says players and coaches can then analyze games, set goals, and follow and compare data
daily, weekly and monthly. “The range of possible data collection is very large,” says the company. The
data also can be posted and shared online, to show, compare, challenge, and receive advice with others.
“The Babolat Play & Connect racquet is a tremendous tool. Having this new technology to capture
information from my matches will mean a new way of analyzing my game,” says Nadal.
Babolat’s technological partner is Movea, a company that specializes in capturing and analyzing
movements. Visit www.babolat.com.
Prince Sports Reaches Licensing Agreement
P
rince Sports, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in May, has entered into a deal to
license its products to Battle Sports Science. The six-year agreement provides guaranteed minimum
royalty payments of $15.1 million between 2013 and 2017.
The agreement, if approved by a Delaware bankruptcy judge, allows Battle Sports Science the right
to source, market and distribute Prince products in the U.S. through the end of 2017. The U.S. Bank-
ruptcy Court in Delaware was scheduled to hold a hearing on the proposed licensing agreement after
the May 31 deadline.
“We’re excited to be involved in a great brand,” Battle Sports Science CEO Chris Circo told RSI.
“There are some great innovative things coming in the next six to 18 months. We want to make sure
we have the right product at the right time, in the right place.”
Battle Sports Science (www.battlesportsscience.com) was started in 2009, making products to
address sports safety challenges. The company markets innovative helmets, face shields, mouth guards
and more to help prevent injuries in sports such as football, hockey, baseball, lacrosse and more.
“R & D remains a mainstay in the business. We need to get the Prince brand back in the game and
deliver great products,” Circo added. “We’re committed to this long-term. We have a group of people
committed to re-energizing the brand and taking it to the next level. I think you’ll see some changes in
motion that will really broaden out our commitment to the brand, and I think everyone will be pleased.”
July 2012 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 7 www.racquetsportsindustry.com
Register for Tennis Teachers Conference
T
he 42nd Annual USTA Tennis Teachers Conference is sched-
uled to begin at 9 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 25, at the Grand Hyatt
New York and will run through Aug. 27. The event brings
together hundreds of tennis teachers, coaches, tennis advocates
and industry partners. World-class speakers will provide cur-
rent, cutting-edge educational opportunities for all tennis
providers. For more informa-
tion and to register, visit
www.usta.com/ttc.
Also, if you’re
planning to attend
the TTC, make
sure you arrive on
Friday, Aug. 24, in
time to attend the free,
one-day Tennis Show 2012, also held at the Grand Hyatt. The
Tennis Show will start with an industry exhibitor show at 3 p.m.
Aug. 24 and will include the Tennis Forum at 6 p.m., then the
exhibitor show and cocktail reception will start again at 7 p.m.
Visit www.TennisShow.com.
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Q1 Racquet Sales Up in Units, Dollars
M
arch capped off a promising first quarter in the tennis spe-
cialty market, posting increasing racquet unit and dollar
numbers not seen in 2011. The 2012 first quarter saw racquets
increase 14% in units and 12% in dollars compared to Q1 in
2011.
For just the month of March, racquet units were up 15% and
dollars up 12% compared to March 2011. The TIA Specialty
Store Retail Audit details unit and dollar share of racquet sales at
pro/specialty stores of the leading tennis racquet brands and
analyzes the market by price point, racquet type and size. The
Specialty Store Retail Audit is produced monthly by the TIA's
research partner, Sports Marketing Surveys USA.
GSS Symposium to Offer
Special Bag Promotion
T
he GSS Symposium will again offer a spe-
cial bag promotion to attendees. “Last year,
several major companies participated in our bag promotion,
in which attendees each received a triple racquet thermal
back, a premium racquet, and 12 sets of premium string,”
says Tim Strawn, founder of the GSS Symposium. “That bag,
along with other items from various sponsors, offsets the
cost of registration for the event.”
For the 2012 event, to be held Sept. 22-26 at Saddle-
brook Resort in Florida, Strawn says Babolat, Gamma, Wil-
son and Yonex have so far committed to participate in the
bag promotion.
This year’s seminar line-up includes several new topics,
including a Cardio Tennis session plus a review of Dartfish
presented by Master Racquet Technician Ben Porter, who is
a territory manager for Prince Sports. Dave Bone, executive
director of the USRSA, also returns and will be conducting
USRSA certification testing on the last day of the
symposium.
For more information go to www.grandslamstringers
.com, call Strawn at 540-772-4418 or email crazydia-
mond23@cox.net.
Denver Set for 86th Annual NPPTC
F
or players participating in the 86th Annual National Public Parks
Tennis Championships, July 21-29, the city of Denver has lined
up some fun, free benefits, including tickets to a Colorado Rockies
baseball game (vs. Cincinnati Reds), passes to the Denver Zoo,
and weeklong passes to one of 28 area recreation centers. Entries
for the tournament will be accepted up to July 14, but to receive
these benefits, participants must enter by June 30.
Tournament officials say they’re extremely pleased with the
host city’s commitment to adaptive and wheelchair tennis divi-
sions for the NPPTC. Adaptive tennis divisions are men’s and
women’s singles and doubles and unified doubles, held July 23-25;
wheelchair tennis divisions include men’s and women’s singles
and doubles and junior singles, held July 27-29. There also will be
a 10 and Under Tennis PlayDay on July 22 for all youngsters (USTA
membership is not required).
NPPTC play will take place at Denver City Park and Gates Ten-
nis Center. For more information and to register, visit www.den-
vergov.org/parksandrecreation.
SGMA’s Wholesale Study Tallies
$77 Billion in Sales, a 4.2% Increase
A
ccording to SGMA’s Manufacturers Sales by Category
Report (2012 edition), manufacturers' (wholesale) sales
of sporting goods equipment, fitness equipment, sports
apparel, athletic footwear, and sports licensed merchan-
dise in the U.S. totaled $77.31 billion in 2011—a 4.2 per-
cent increase over 2010 when wholesale sales were $74.19
billion.
"For the most part, sales in the sports and fitness indus-
try continue to be a mirror image of the U.S. economy,"
said SGMA President Tom Cove. "As the economy begins
to improve, Americans are more likely to spend more
money on fitness equipment, sports gear, athletic clothing,
and footwear. Overall, sports participation remains strong
and solid in the U.S., though there is room for growth."
The Manufacturers Sales By Category Report is an
industry overview that gives topline wholesale market size
data by category, which is derived from industry submis-
sions and survey data. Sporting goods equipment sales
rose slightly—up 2.5 percent—from $20.37 billion in 2010
to $20.87 billion in 2011. The five largest categories of
sporting goods equipment are: firearms/hunting ($2.9 bil-
lion); golf ($2.5 billion); fishing ($2.0 billion); camping
($1.80 billion); and optical goods ($1.3 billion).
Wholesale sales of sports apparel were $31.4 billion in
2011, a 6.1 percent increase from $29.6 billion in 2010.
Athletic footwear sales increased 4.5 percent—from
$12.61 billion in 2010 to $13.18 billion. Running topped
the category, increasing 7.6 percent to $3.89 billion.
July 2012 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 9 www.racquetsportsindustry.com
I N D U S T R Y N E W S
‘State of the Industry’
Report Available
T
he 2012 edition of the “State of the
Industry” is now available from the
TIA. The 16-page SOI is an analysis of
the more than 70+ reports produced
each year by the TIA and identifies key
trends and research that can affect your
business. The State of the Industry nar-
rates the story of the tennis industry
from the past year by focusing on four
key segments—the economy and ten-
nis, tennis supply, tennis demand, and
media & pro events. “Industry”-level
members of the TIA and above have
access to the report. For information, or
to obtain a copy, contact the TIA at
research@TennisIndustry.org.
Congratulations To the Following
For Achieving MRT and CS Status
New MRTs
Michael Goolsby Atlanta, GA
Bryan Hodge Williamson, NY
Kurt Robinson Hickory, NC
Jamie Stevenson Bonita Springs, FL
New CSs
Ivo Ljubibratic Manchester, VT
TNT Net Tension System Used at NCAA Championships
T
he TNT Gauge system, which measures the tension on a net cord, was used for the first time on all courts at the NCAA Division
1 Championships, held in May at the University of Georgia in Athens.
In the first full year of the system’s availability, the courts at the University of Georgia’s Magill Tennis Complex have joined
all the courts at the upcoming 2012 US Open, several US Open Series and World TeamTennis venues, three SEC schools, and
many high-end clubs in utilizing the TNT Gauge system to remove the last remaining variable from the courts.
The TNT Gauge, manufactured in Knoxville, Tenn., was developed in cooperation with the University of Tennessee’s tennis
program in early 2011. “Tennessee has been fortunate to use the TNT Gauge all season,” said Vols’ Head Coach Sam Winter-
botham. “I believe it is the first time we have been able to say confidently that the nets are all the same tension. In men's tennis
we play let cords, so knowing that the bounce off the net will be uniform really helps.”
The gauge is available with club or team logos imprinted and made in models that ensure compatibility with nearly all net
posts. Visit www.tightcable.net.
10 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY July 2012
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• Two USTA sections named new executive directors
recently. Jill Fonte will lead USTA Eastern and
Matthew Warren is the new ED at USTA Pacific
Northwest.
• Three-time French Open champ Gustavo Kuerten
has a five-year deal with Lacoste to serve as a brand
ambassador.
• At the French Open in May, world No. 1 Novak Djokovic started a five-
year partnership with apparel brand Uniqlo, which also includes input in
product development.
• Head Penn’s Paola Longoria, the world’s No. 1 female racquetball player,
completed a perfect season by winning the Women’s Professional Racquet-
ball Organization’s final event of the season in Southern California. It was
her third career season-end title as a professional and she finished the 2011-
2012 WPRO season with nine tournament victories and an overall match
record of 36-0.
• Former pro and USTA board member Todd Martin, who retired from the
pro tour in 2004, will open an academy in the Jacksonville, Fla., area, work-
ing with junior players.
• Former WTA No. 1 Doubles Player and US Open Doubles Champion Lisa
Raymond will serve as a national spokesperson for ThanksUSA, which aims
to thank America’s troops through the gift of education. Ms. Raymond is
partnering with Men’s Doubles Champions Bob and Mike Bryan to team
with tennis clubs, professionals, players and fans around the world to help
provide ThanksUSA scholarships to military families.
• Rohan Goetzke has joined IMG Academies as director of the IMG Bollet-
tieri Tennis Academy. A native of Australia, Goetzke joins IMG from the Dutch
Tennis Federation.
• Kris Dent is the new executive director of Professional Tennis for the Inter-
national Tennis Federation, overseeing three ITF departments: Davis Cup and
Fed Cup, Professional Tournaments, and Officiating.
• Former pro player Charlie Pasarell is leaving as managing partner of the
BNP Paribas Open held at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in California. He’s
been a partner in the tournament since 1981. Pasarell will develop Royal
Isabela, a resort property in Puerto Rico, with his brother.
• Deborah Slaner Larkin, executive director of USTA Serves, has been pre-
sented with a 2012 Women of Distinction honor sponsored by the New York
State Senate.
• Chris Wallace is the new vice president, communications
at the WTA.
• Wilson Advisory Staff Member Holvy DePauw (right)
won his third consecutive men’s doubles title at the Wil-
son Boston Open badminton event.
• Superagent Tony Godsick and his longtime client, Roger Federer, have left
the giant sports agency IMG. Speculation is that Godsick and Federer have
not split, but that the duo will announce a new deal with another agency.
• Caroline Wozniacki is launching her own underwear collection this fall,
partnering with the family-owned Danish company JBS Underwear
• Brewer Rowe has been named Director of Special Events and Assistant
Tournament Director at the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
PEOPLEWATCH
✘ Correction
On page 36 of the June issue, we listed incorrect
information next to the photo of the Kirslis Resi-
dence court in our story on Distinguished Facility-
of-the-Year Award winners. The correct information
(with apologies to the companies involved) is:
Kirslis Residence, Norwell, Mass.
(Nominated by Boston Tennis Court Construction
Co. Inc., Hanover, Mass.)
Specialty Contractor: Boston Tennis Court
Construction Co. Inc.
Surface: Nova Sports USA
Net, Posts: JA Cissel
Har-Tru Website Honored by Webbys
H
ar-Tru Sports’ website, www.hartru.com, has
been recognized as an Official Honoree in the
16th Annual Webby Awards. Presented by the
International Academy of Digital Arts and Sci-
ences, the Webbys honor excellence in design
and content on the internet. Out of the 10,000
sites submitted this year, less than 15 percent were given nom-
inations or honoree awards.
Designed and developed by Baltimore-based advertising
agency Planit, the Har-Tru website was honored in the Profes-
sional Services category. Websites are selected for recognition
based on excellence in criteria that include, but are not limited
to: content, structure and navigation, visual design, functionality,
interactivity and overall experience.
The Webby honor isn’t the first industry praise the Har-Tru
website has received from the online community. The American
Advertising Federation of Baltimore awarded Planit with a Gold
ADDY Award in the Interactive Media category for its work on
Hartru.com.
July 2012 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 11
I N D U S T R Y N E W S
www.racquetsportsindustry.com
MEMBER CLASSIFIEDS
WANTED: “Babolat Star 4”
stringing machine. Please
contact Jim at
jtierney@myboca.us
Ashaway Adds Dynamite
17 Natural Tennis String
A
shaway Racket Strings has fine-
tuned its Dynamite line of tennis
strings with the addition of Dynamite
17 Natural, designed to provide an opti-
mum combination of power and dura-
bility. Dynamite 17 Natural's Zyex
multifilament core balances toughness
and touch with exceptional tension
holding characteristics to offer a string
that plays and feels more like natural
gut, the company says.
“Recent advances in material tech-
nology have produced Zyex filaments
that are even finer and stronger than
before,” says Steve Crandall, Ashaway's
vice president. "We've been able to use
these to customize our core packages,
and fine-tune our Dynamite string line
to maximize specific playing character-
istics for different gauges. Overall, Zyex
core packages produce thinner,
stronger, lighter-weight strings that pro-
vide superior feel, more power, and
improved ball control."
Optical green in color, Dynamite 17
Natural is a 1.25 mm string (17 gauge)
available in 40-foot sets and 360-foot
reels. Ashaway recommends stringing
Dynamite 17 Natural at approximately
10% to 15% less than normal tension,
up to a maximum of 60 lbs. Visit
www.ashawayusa.com.

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PayPal Accounts Seized in Counterfeit Victories
I
n a key development in anti-counterfeiting, two apparel brands recently
won millions of dollars against websites selling counterfeit products and
were awarded the money from the defendants’ PayPal accounts, a practice
previously not possible. The action gives a boost to all anti-counterfeiting
campaigns, including those by the Tennis Industry Association (visit
www.tennisindustry.org/alert) and the SGMA. Previously, it was nearly
impossible to recover money from defendants.
UGG's parent company, Deckers Outdoor Corp., won $686 million in
lawsuits against more than 3,000 China-based websites selling counterfeit
UGGs. Hermes won $100 million and permanent injunctions against web-
sites selling counterfeit bags online.
The seizure of funds from PayPal accounts was done in accordance
with Operation In Our Sites, an initiative by U.S. Immigration and Customs
Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations and the National Intellec-
tual Property Rights Coordination Center.
12 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY July 2012
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>
On May 9, Australian Sam Groth, 24,
ranked 340th in the world at the time, hit an
ace recorded at 163.4 mph in a Challenger in
South Korea. The ATP, which says it doesn’t
officially recognize service speed records
because of variance in radar guns, confirmed
on its website “that the event used approved
equipment, and that other data gathered
appeared within a normal range.” Groth’s
serve beats the previous high of 156 mph hit
by Ivo Karlovic.
>
Yonex is the supplier of tennis and bad-
minton stringing services to the London 2012
Olympic and Paralympic Games. The company
uses its ES5ProTech stringing machine.
>
"World Tennis with Harry Cicma" returns
for a fourth season nationally on New England
Sports Network (NESN) with 12 high definition
shows. This season's series includes interviews
and features on tennis stars such as Serena
Williams, Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, John
McEnroe, Billie Jean King, Jimmy Connors, Jim
Courier among others. Excerpts will also be
available at www.WorldTennisMagazine.com
and on the World Tennis Magazine YouTube
channel.
>
USPTA pros have until July 2 to register
their Tennis Across America event so that their
division receives credit. Visit www.uspta.com.
>
The John McEnroe Tennis Academy named
Lawrence Kleger as its new director of tennis.
Kleger, a 25-year coaching veteran, has been
the executive director of tennis at Sportime
Clubs since 1998, and an assistant Academy
SHORT SETS
director at JMTA since September. Additionally,
JMTA announced its expansion to Long Island
and Westchester, NY, with new annexes of the
Academy at Sportime Bethpage, a six-court
indoor facility, and at Sportime Lake Isle, a new
eight-court facility in the town of Eastchester.
>
The USTA has launched the Create Your
Own Tennis Court photo contest. Until July 8,
U.S. residents 18 and older can submit a photo
at www.createyourowntenniscourt.com. Judges
will select the top 10 photos and the finalists
will be placed in a photo gallery on the website
for the public to vote for their favorite by Sept.
12. Grand prize is a trip for four to the 2013 US
Open.
>
Time is tight, but nominate by July 2 for
USPTA awards honoring fellow USPTA profes-
sionals by going to www.uspta.com.
>
Of those with a gym membership, 38 per-
cent said they hardly ever use it, according to a
survey by The Biggest Loser Resort. Thirty-two
percent of those surveyed who belong to a gym
use it three times per week or less with only 30
percent claiming to use it more than three times
per week. In the survey, which was conducted
as part of an online contest, some 10,000 fans
responded to questions about their exercise
routines and their diets—or lack thereof.
>
Donnay USA, manufacturer of multi solid-
core racquets, is the racquet sponsor of the Adi-
das Tennis Camps. The camps teach tennis to
more than 2,000 kids ages 8 to 18 in 30 mar-
kets across the U.S. each summer. Visit
www.donnay.com.
>
Tennis Warehouse and the ATP have
expanded their online retail partnership to
include Tennis Warehouse Europe in the ATP-
WorldTourStore.com official website.
>
The International Tennis Hall of Fame &
Museum’s Legends Ball event will be Friday,
Sept. 7, at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York
City. The Legends Ball will pay tribute to the
Hall of Fame Class of 2012: former world No.
1's Jennifer Capriati and Guga Kuerten,
Spanish tennis great Manuel Orantes, tennis
industry innovator and promoter Mike
Davies, and wheelchair tennis star Randy
Snow, who will be inducted posthumously.
>
Each month, USTA Player Development
will issue a Player Honor Roll, to recognize
players who have achieved specific results
on the professional or junior levels. The
recognition program also will include a bi-
annual Coaches Honor Roll for outstanding
results.
>
Arantxa Sanchez Vicario received the
ITF’s highest accolade, the Philippe Chatrier
Award, at the 2012 ITF World Champions
Dinner held in Paris during the French Open.
The dinner also celebrated the achievements
of the 2011 ITF World Champions—Novak
Djokovic, Petra Kvitova, Bob & Mike Bryan,
and Kveta Peschke & Katarina Srebotnik;
junior champs Jiri Vesely and Irina Khro-
macheva; and wheelchair champs Maikel
Scheffers and Esther Vergeer. Also, 81-year-
old Lorne Main of Canada received the inau-
gural Award for Outstanding Achievement in
Seniors Tennis.
Post Open Jobs for Free
T
ennis businesses and organizations have the
opportunity to post an unlimited number of
open job positions free on the
CareersInTennis.com job site. One of the indus-
try’s largest and most active job sites, CIT has
more than 1,300 registered job-seekers. Employ-
ers can set filters and criteria so they receive only
the most qualified applicants for their specific
jobs.
In 2011, more than 1,000 jobs posted on the
site received over 30,000 job views. Posting jobs
online is a simple process for employers. For job-
seekers, registering on the site and posting your
resume is free, too. Visit CareersInTennis.com to
get started.
July 2012 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 13
www.racquetsportsindustry.com
I N D U S T R Y N E W S
BRD Sport Offers
Orthopedic Braces
A
new line of orthopedic braces may be
just what some of your ailing players
may need. BRD Sport, a family-owned
company based in New Jersey, developed a
proprietary three-dimensional knitting
process that it says can pro-
vide added compression,
support and therapeutic relief
for athletes.
“Most recreational ath-
letes undervalue the impor-
tance a brace can make in
their performance and recov-
ery,” says Dr. Daniela Walsh, a physical
therapist specializing in sports injuries.
BRD Sport’s braces—for ankles, knees
and elbows, all made in the U.S.—come in
black with orange striping, in seven sizes.
The braces are flexible, latex free and made
from high-quality fibers including medical-
grade silicone. They can be hand-washed
with warm water and mild soap. For more
information, including an easy-to-use size
guide, visit www.BRDSport.com.
Host a Veterans Day
Tennis Play Day
L
ooking to increase tennis participation
in your community while honoring
our veterans and military service men
and women and their families? Consider
hosting a “Tennis Play Day,” in conjunc-
tion with the USTA’s military outreach
initiative.
The USTA’s Tennis in the Parks Com-
mittee, working with other USTA com-
mittees and departments, is urging park
& rec agencies, CTAs and other tennis
providers to host a Play Day on or near
Veterans Day, which this year falls on
Sunday, Nov. 11.
“A lot of communities around the U.S.
have Veterans Day activities, and this is a
great add-on,” says Mary Henderson,
chair of the Tennis in the Parks Commit-
tee. “A Veterans Day Play Day is open to
all, not just military, but importantly, it
will honor our veterans and military men
and women and their families for their
service to the country.”
For more information and to register
your Veterans Day Play Day event, visit
www.usta.com/veteransday.
July 2012 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 15
Retailing
This is part of a series of
retail tips presented by
the Tennis Industry
Association and written
by the Gluskin Townley
Group (www.gluskintownleygroup.com).
an ongoing dialog with your customers is
essential to your creating uncontested
market space for your store in the minds
and tennis lifestyles of the consumers in
your community.
Make your competition irrelevant.
The new wave of handheld technology
has, and will continue to have, a huge
impact on your consumers, and it is
within your financial capability, no mat-
ter what your store size, to take advan-
tage of some aspect of this technology to
help make your store’s competition irrel-
evant in your market space!
Coming Up:
Digital and email marketing for a hand-
held world. w
store’s advantage. If this type of compar-
ison-shopping is an issue for your
store—bundle!
For example, create tennis lifestyle
bundles by merchandising racquets with
strings, balls and shoes, or include a
package of sessions with a teaching pro,
all under one store bar code and retail
price generated by your point-of-sale sys-
tem. Consumers can scan your store
generated POS bar codes for the bundles
you are offering—and not find anything
online to compare with.
Power of Planning
As a local small retail business, you can
plan how you will use the new wave of
technology to your advantage. An exam-
ple is using QR, or “quick response,”
codes. QR codes are affordable and
easy to employ in hard-
copy promotional
pieces, online ads
and store commu-
nications—and as
a part of your store
displays and mer-
chandise hang tags.
Encourage shoppers to
scan your QR codes to
learn more about the prod-
ucts they are interested in and
the bundles your store offers to meet
tennis lifestyle needs.
Use technology to create uncontested
market space. There are affordable web
and service companies and agencies that
can provide your store with proactive
digital messages and e-mails to your opt-
in list of customers’ handheld devices as
they pass by your store, or as they come
through the front door, alerting them to
your latest tennis lifestyle bundles, spe-
cial promotions and events.
Your store is important to your local
community of tennis players, and using
technology to stay in contact and have
ou’ve probably had this experi-
ence, or something like it: A
shopper walks into your store
and you greet them within minutes
and have a brief but pleasant exchange
about their tennis needs. Then you
leave them to look around while you
answer the phone. The shopper stops
at your racquet or apparel display,
takes out a smartphone or handheld
digital device and calls a friend to ask
their opinion of the racquet they are
looking at, and takes a picture and
sends it to their friend to look at so
they can continue their discussion.
From April 2010 through January
2012, Apple sold over 50 million iPads,
fueling a revolution that some experts
predict has ended the PC era and her-
alded a wave of new technology con-
sisting of portable handheld
computing, instant communication
and apps that further empower con-
sumers.
Every day your store is open, you
experience first-hand the impact of
technology on consumers. The key for
specialty tennis retailers is how you
can take advantage of this technologi-
cal wave.
Empowered
Consumers
There is nothing new about consumers
being empowered by the internet and
the ability to know everything there is
to know about the products you sell
before they enter your store. What is
new is the ability consumers now
have, through the new wave of hand-
held technology, to go online while
they are in your store. Empowered by
apps that allow them to scan bar
codes, they can comparison shop as
they’re standing in your store, looking
at your merchandise.
But you can use technology to your
Y
Sudden Impact
Your customers are using instant communication to help them shop on
their terms, but you can use technology to your advantage, too.
www.racquetsportsindustry.com
Sign up for the TIA Retail Webinar
“Making Your Business More Con-
sumer-Friendly,” on Tuesday, July 10.
Visit www.tennisindustry.org/webinars
RESEARCH
TIA State of the Industry
The 2012 edition of this key report compiles data that can help you identify market
trends and run your business better. Here's a snapshot of the full report.
In May, the Tennis Industry Association
released its second annual "State of the
Industry" report, which compiles key findings
from the TIA's more than 70 in-depth research
studies and surveys completed annually into a
top-li ne document that helps to show how
interconnected the industry is. The SOl report
includes 2011 data on the value of the overall
tennis economy, participati on and play
frequency trends, equipment sales, pro events,
and more.
"Like every other industry, the tenni s
industry has faced a series of challenges over
the past few years due to the overall economy
and consumers continuing to evaluate their
discretionary spending," says TI A President
Jon Muir. "Whi le these challenges continued
through 201 1, we are seeing signs that change
and growth are ahead."
POSITIVE SIGNS
Some of the !POSitives signs Muir poi nts to are
wholesale tennis equipment shipments, which
increased significantly in the first quarter of
2012 compared to 01 last year in several
categories, combined with positive anecdotal
evidence of an increase in frequent play and
total play occasions so far in 2012.
"The number of frequent players declined
in 2009 and 2010, but in 2011, that slide
TIA Strategic Platforms
stopped, " Muir reports. "Frequent players
account for more than 70% of tennis
expenditures. Our goal as an industry is to
increase the number of frequent players to 10
mil lion by 2020, which would add about $3.9
bil li on to the tennis economy."
The total tennis economy at the end of
2011 is valued at $5.4 billion, down slightly
from the $5.6 billi on a year earlier. Components
that help make up the total tennis economy
figure incl ude player participation data,
equipment sales, facil ity revenue, lesson
revenue, media revenue and TV coverage, and
pro tour sponsor and spectator revenue. The
industry is now tracking the tennis economy
through the TI A Economic Index, a measure
that started in 2008 with an index of 100. The
2011 index is at 98.
"Last year seemed to mark a turni ng
point in several respects, as key initiatives and
goals were rolled out or ramped up," says TIA
Executive Director Jolyn de Boer. "Some
growth is reflected in our State of the Industry
report, and as we continue to monitor this
industry through our comprehensive research
and data collection, we look to see more signs
of an upturn."
The TIA has establ ished key focus
areas for 201 2 and beyond. "Clearly, we as
an industry need to increase the number
In 2011 , the TIA developed a clear vision of its strategic platforms:
of frequent players and play occasions,"
she says.
The TIA also will be promoting the
consumer portal playtennis.com, a brand-
neutral site designed to get consumers in the
game and playing more tennis. On the site,
consumers can search for partners, programs,
courts and teaching pros, see gear reviews and
instruction videos contributed by Tennis
Magazine and Tennis Channel, and more.
FOCUS ON GROWTH
Other goals and areas of focus for the TIA
include supporting growth in the youth market
with 10 and Under Tennis; supporting and
developi ng further tools for retailers, faci li ties,
certified tennis instructors, and others across
the industry's provider network; and creating
more awareness for tennis as a healthy
lifestyle choice (includi ng promoti ng Cardio
Tennis) and promoting the reasons to play and
stay in the sport.
"One hundred percent of the TIA's
resources goes to supporting and promoting
the growth of tennis and improving the
economic vitality of the sport," says de Boer.
"Our larger efforts in 2011 were in laying the
groundwork for areas we feel wil l support
stronger, more sustainable growth in the
years ahead."
1) Gro,.1h Ten.nls 1: 11'-e Te:nnl-s Ecooomy: Promoting frequent player growth and the economic growth of tennis by developing and
providing technology and tools for the industry and supporting grow-the-game activities with the USTA and industry partners.
2] The No. 1 Sa.11rce tor fennls Rcsearetl: Educati ng the marketplace, funding research and providing market intelligence,
includi ng more than 70 annual research studies and surveys.
31 Co.mmunh:itiOilS & PQslth:tnlno: Keeping a pulse on the industry and its needs, and facilitating advocacy
and awareness in pursuit of growth and economic vitality.
·4J ll'lll1ylng, the lndu\'llry Uncter OPe- Working toward common goals to help unify the
tennis industry involved in the manufacturing, marketing, promotion and sales
of tennis products and services.
Join the TIA . .. Increase Your Profits . .. Grow the Game ... www.Tennislndustry.org
OF THE INDUSTRY
HIGHLIGHTS
THE INDUSTRY IT A GLANCE - 2011
Total Tennis Economy
Total Tennis Participation
Total Youth Tennis Participation
Frequent Tennis Players (21+ times/year)
2008
Total Tennis Economy $5.5 billion
$5.4 billion
27.1 million
3.2 million
4.81 million
Index Value 100 (base year)
TENNIS PARTICIPATION
Overall
• Total tennis participation in 2011 was 27.1 mil lion players,
down slightly from 27.8 million in 201 0.
• 52% of tennis players overall were male and 48% female.
• Growth was seen in the "new" and "rejoining" player
categories in 201 1, but was offset by a decrease in
''continuing" players.
• 6.84 mill ion "new" players tried tennis in 2011 .
• Tennis leads traditional sports in participation growth rate,
increasing 37% from 2000 to 2011 , accordi ng to data from
the Physical Activity Counci l.
• In 2011 , tennis participation was highest among Whites, at
77% of the 27.1 mi ll ion total participants. Hispanics accounted
for 12%, Asian-Americans 10% and African-Americans 8%.
• Asian-Americans had the highest rate of participation among
all ethnic groups: 20% in 201 1.
Youth Participation
• In 2011, players ages 6-11 declined slightly, to 3.2 million
from 3.5 mi lli on in 2010.
• 65% of facil ities surveyed in late season 2011 said they've had
increased 10 and Under Tennis activity.
• Youngsters in 10 and Under Tennis competitive events (USTA
tournaments, USTA Jr. Team Tennis, PlayDays) increased
320% in 2011.
• 3,444 courts for 1 0 and Under Tennis (36' and 60') were buil t
or lined in 201 1.
• Nearly 3,000 people became qual ified, registered 1 0 and Under
Tennis providers in 201 1.
18 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY July 2012
(\,anufm:IUFIU V ~ a r r E n d \Vholesale Shipments., ~ n !UnHf
Tennis Racquets
Tennis Balls (unit= 1 ball)
Transition Balls (unit= 1 ball)
2009 2010
$5.6 billion $5.6 billion
101 101
Frequent Players
3.4 million
123.6 million
3.3 million
2011
$5.4 billion
98
• In 2011 , "frequent" players (who play 21 ti mes or more a
year) increased slightly, to 4.81 million of total participants, vs.
4. 77 mill ion in 2010. It was the first increase in frequent
players since 2008.
• 52% of frequent players were female and 48% male.
• Frequent player "play occasions" increased to 390 million in
2011, vs. 361 mil lion in 2010.
• Of frequent players who played more tennis in 2011, the top
reasons were: 1) Found someone/someone new to play with,
2) Had more time to play this year, 3) Joined a tennis league,
4) Took tennis lessons.
• Of frequent players who played less in 201 1, the top reasons
were: 1) Not enough time, 2) No one to play with, 3) Injury/
health problem, 4) No one at their skill level to play with.
• Frequent tennis players who elected to do other activities
rather than tennis listed increased work/school commitments
as the top "choice."
Competitive Tennis/Recreational Programs
• USTA Team Tennis conti nues to grow, up 9% from 2010 to 2011
and up 43% si nce the program began in 2004.
• Participation in USTA Leagues in 2011 registered a 1% drop
from 2010; Tournament participation grew less than 1%.
Long-term growth, however, has been positive, up 39% for
Leagues and up 14% for Tournaments from 2003 to 2011 .
• The USTA's Tennis On Campus continued its solid growth, with
578 colleges and universities participating, a 10% increase
from 2010 to 2011. Total participants rose 11% year-over-year
to 35,000 students.
Join the TIA . . . Increase Your Profits .. . Grow the Game . . . www.Tennislndustry.org
EQUIPMENT
Sales at Retail Manufacturer Wholesale Shipments
• Racket sales at tennis pro/specialty dealers
were flat in 2011 relative to 201 0-units and
dollars were both down less than 1 %.
• In 201 1, wholesale shipments (i n units) were down for rackets (-10%), strings
(-6%) and balls (-3%). Tennis specialty dealers appeared to be operating their
businesses with less inventory in stock.
• Overall, tennis specialty retailers forecast
2012 to be mostly the same, or slightly
better than, 2011.
• Wholesale shipments of transiti on ball s, used for 10 and Under Tennis, saw a
significant increase, up 62% in units in 201 1 vs. 2010, and up 192% since the
category was first measured in 2008.
1 0 and Under Tennis-Retail Impact
• In a TIA "quick-pulse" survey of pro/specialty tennis retailers, about a third saw increases in sales of all three stages of transition balls.
• Nearly two-thirds of specialty tennis retailers showed optimism about the 10 and Under Tennis equipment market and think it will gain
traction.
TENN'IS TEACHING PROFESSIONALS
• In 2011, the average number of private lessons taught per
week rose to 12.2, from 10.5 in 2010.
• The average number of group lessons rose to 12.4, from 12.3.
• The average price for a private lesson rose to $53, from $50 in
201 0; the average price for group lessons remained at $29.
• In other positive news, 10% fewer teaching pros reported a
decrease in their on-court teaching business.
• Also, 10% of teaching pros in 2011 indicated the current state
of the industry as "weak," compared to 13% who rated the
industry as weak in 2010.
MEDIA AND PRO EVENTs·
• The number of unique viewers who watched tennis on TV in
2011 topped 83 mi ll ion in the U.S., which is 27% of the U.S.
population-and a 2% increase over 2010.
• Total hours of TV coverage for tennis (live and taped)
continued its strong growth in 2011, up 17% over 2010, to
5,261 hours.
• While 2011 US Open attendance slipped 7.5% in 2011 vs.
2010, the tournament set a Labor Day Weekend attendance
record of 186,186, in addition to an all-time record of
24,713 on the grounds of the National Tennis Center during
the men's final.
• Over 53 million viewers watched all or part of the 2011
US Open on CBS Sports, a 17% increase from the
previous year.
• In 2011, record purses were offered at each of the Grand
Slams, with total prize money available for the four
tournaments alone approaching $100 million.
COURT CONSTRUCTION
• In positive news, the percentage of court contractors indicating
the industry was "weak" in 201 1 dropped significantly, while
those indicating the industry was "average" or "strong" rose.
• Since 2005, the USTA has issued over $7 million in grants,
which has leveraged local investment and helped to build or
refurbish more than 25,000 courts.
• In 2011 , over 70% of court contractors installed 10 and Under
Tennis lines on existing courts and 38% built 10 and Under
Tennis courts, which is up 2% from the late season of 2010
and up 31 % from the early season of 2010.
• The USTA invested more than $1.3 million in 2011 to assist
communities to create over 3,000 10 and Under Tennis Courts.
GET THE FULL REPORT
TIA members at the Industry
level (which starts at $1 00) and
above have access to the full
State of the Industry report,
valued at $1,000.
Join the TIA and receive a
copy of the State of the
Industry, along with many
other benefits and services.
Contact research@tennisindustry.org or 843-686-3036
Join the TIA . . . Increase Your Profits . . . Grow the Game . .. www.Tennisfndustry.org July 2012 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 19
20 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY July 2012
RACQUET STRI NGI NG
www.racquetsportsindustry.com
TAKING STOCK
TAKING STOCK
BY T I M S T RAWN
How should you select and manage your string
inventory? A longtime MRT offers his advice to help
you boost your business.
O
ne of the biggest challenges for any racquet sports busi-
ness is selecting and managing string inventory. This isn’t
as simple as just stocking what you may feel is the latest
and greatest string—it’s a multi-tiered process.
To start, you need at least a basic knowledge of strings, rac-
quets and playing styles. This isn’t an option; it’s a prerequisite.
When a player comes to you for service, it helps to have a process
in place to get you from Point A to Point Z.
Racquet manufacturers produce racquets to address all playing
styles and levels. It’s your job to fit the player with the correct rac-
quet based on their playing style, then match the string and gauge
to that style, and then choose the correct tension. Ordering and
managing string inventory should not be a guessing game, and
that’s why you need a broad-based understanding of strings, rac-
quets and playing styles.
Let’s put this all together and come up with a system that can
help you become more effective when ordering string. (While the
focus here is on tennis strings, if you string for other racquet sports,
your options may vary.) If you break it down into four categories it
becomes a little easier to understand: String Categories & Gauges,
Procurement, String Cost, and Inventory Control.
1. STRING CATEGORIES & GAUGES
Taken as a whole, there are four familiar categories of string: Nylon
(or synthetic gut), Natural Gut, Polyester (often referred to as co-
poly based), and Aramid (Kevlar). There’s also another string type
that often gets left out of the discussion—Zyex—so we’ll look at
that too.
Popular gauges for tennis range from 15 (1.41-1.49mm) to 19
(1.00-1.10mm). The most widely used range falls between 15L
(1.34-1.40mm) and 17L (1.16-1.20mm), and the most common
gauge in that range is 16 (1.26-1.33mm).
Nylon
The vast majority of strings fall in the nylon category, often referred
to as synthetic gut. There are two basic types: solid core and multi-
fiber. Most likely, the majority of your clientele will be serviced with
nylon string, mostly from the solid core selections. Basic solid core
nylons consist of a variation of wraps around the core, and then a
coating. Multi-fiber strings consist of thousands of separate strands
within the core and sometimes multiple cores within the main
core, as opposed to one single solid core.
A closer look at multi-fibers reveals that some are more compli-
cated and elaborate than others. Some are extremely soft (equals
high elongation) while others are actually stiffer (typically those
with multiple cores within cores). Both, however, still fall into the
“soft” category and are often referred to as “comfort strings.” Soft-
er strings are typically used to address shoulder or elbow issues and
can offset the stiffness factor of some racquets.
Advice for nylon strings: With solid cores, 16-gauge will be your
“go to” string, so stock up on and pad your selection on either side
with a little 15L and some 17 to start with. For multi-fibers, again,
16-gauge will be in larger demand. Have some 17-gauge on hand
as well since this size can easily be used for those with “soft” games
who don’t use a lot of spin.
Natural Gut
Natural gut (primarily, beef intestine), simply cannot be perfectly
duplicated with synthetics—natural gut’s elasticity (recovery rate) is
what sets it apart. Tension maintenance is superb and players often
comment about the lack of effort in generating power when using
natural gut. This is definitely a category every racquet technician
needs to stock. However, there are no corners to be cut when it
comes to cost. Online “bargain-basement” natural guts are no bar-
gain at all and you can get burned very easily. But if you’re pre-
pared to invest top dollar for this string, you won’t regret it.
Advice for natural gut: Start with some 15L and 16 gauge and if
needed, add 17 gauge later. Pay attention to tension recommenda-
tions on the package.
Polyester
Often referred to as co-poly based string, this category has taken
the tennis market by storm, primarily because many touring pros
use it. Be prepared for players asking you about the “new” strings
that all the pros are using. However, racquet-head speed generated
by a touring pro is drastically faster than that of the average club play-
er. Because of this, results are going to be different for rec players.
Another critical point is how often to replace poly. Touring pros
July 2012 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 21
www.racquetsportsindustry.com
restring before every match, cutting out the string within 48 to 72
hours. But poly is expensive and average club players probably
won’t pay $40 per set to just cut it out after 72 hours. These points
are why it’s critical to explain to your customers the difference
between use at the pro level and use at the recreational level.
Advice for polyester: Because these strings are quite durable with
low elongation, in many cases you can start by using a 17 or even
18 gauge. Remember to explain clearly about time frames for
restringing. Poly is here to stay, so make sure you have a good selec-
tion on your wall.
Aramid
This is the Kevlar category, and the most widely recognized is the
braided type. This string is rarely used in the entire string bed and
is typically found in many hybrid set-ups. It has a longstanding rep-
utation for being very stiff, but there’s good news. Steve Crandall of
Ashaway, a U.S. manufacturer of braided Kevlar, says, “Our focus is
now on our new Kevlar+, which incorporates PTFE filaments in the
outer braid. The PTFE enhances the softness of the string as well as
the durability.” Crandall says thinner gauges are now more common
for braided Kevlar in hybrid configurations, and with the new
Kevlar+ the comfort level is now being addressed to a higher
degree.
Advice for Kevlar: This string is geared toward baseline and
heavy spin players who tend to break strings frequently. If you have
chronic string-breakers, Kevlar is a great option, so consider stock-
ing it. Focus on 17 and 18 gauge, which should work well in most
hybrid applications.
Zyex
Zyex PEEK (PolyEtherEtherKetone) is a unique product in today’s
market and one that shouldn’t be overlooked. The monofilament is
a great alternative to polyester, yet significantly different than poly.
The PEEK structure holds the molecules of the string together more
tightly, which results in an elongation rate slightly higher than twice
that of a traditional polyester.
Another Zyex option is the multifilament core, which can be
used to address players with arm or elbow issues and added to your
“soft” line of strings. This product doesn’t fray like traditional multi-
filament strings, has the same exceptional tension maintenance,
and is quite comfortable to play with. The string is a multi-stranded
core as opposed to a solid monofilament construction.
Advice for Zyex: Zyex Monogut is a nice alternative for players
who use traditional polyester but desire better tension maintenance.
The multi-fiber Zyex is a softer string that doesn’t fray and has good
tension maintenance. Stock 16 and 17 gauge in the mono and 16,
17, and 18 in the multi-fiber. Zyex multi-fiber strings are marketed
as an alternative for softer strings that are more durable than tradi-
tional multi-fiber strings.
2. PROCUREMENT
Once you have a good idea of the types of strings you want to stock,
look for suppliers that can meet your demands. “Having a trusted
source is important,” says John Gugel of Racquet Quest in Orlando,
Fla. “If you can’t get it, you can’t sell it. Reputable companies can be
trusted to deliver and this gives you peace of mind in keeping inven-
tory levels current.”
With so many companies to choose from, your top priority
should rest on their ability to deliver the product when you need it,
not when they can get it to you.
3. STRING COST
Cost has to be factored into the equation not only for you as a retail-
er, but also for your customer. Having a variety of string types also
means a variety of prices to offer. Some customers will not want to
pay very much for a string job, while others are more receptive to
your suggestions and will consider your recommendations.
A great way for you to buy string is to watch for specials, such as
“buy 12 and get 3 free.” These types of offers can be effective in
many ways. First, it can net your overall cost down if that’s the way
you choose to go. Or, you might consider setting aside those 3 free
sets and using them to introduce the string to prospective clients at
a special promotional price. Or, those free sets can come in handy
if you have a customer who broke a string prematurely; give that
player a free restring and get him up and running fast, and he’ll tell
his friends about your great service. It’s not always about what you
can save up front; sometimes it’s how to convert that savings into
something you can use to drive new business.
Program buying or special “buy-in” offers can be tempting, too.
“We try to be very careful when considering special ‘buy-in’ orders,”
says Tobias Svantesson of e-Tennis in Orlando, Fla. “While a buy-in
may sound like a great deal, you have to ask yourself if this is really
a product you can sell. You can get some tremendous deals on quan-
tity buy-ins, but it means very little if the string is still sitting on your
shelf two years later.”
This doesn’t mean you should avoid buy-in programs. Just use
good judgment and look closely at these programs so that you’re
maximizing the dollars you have to invest in your inventory.
4. INVENTORY CONTROL
This is a critical part of any business. I highly recommend you incor-
porate some type of business accounting software into your opera-
tion. For example, QuickBooks and Peachtree are popular and easy
to set up and use, or look to software designed specifically for string-
ing and tennis retailing.
In QuickBooks, for instance, you can use purchase orders when
ordering product. In turn, receiving against those purchase orders
automatically updates inventory and makes keeping inventory lev-
els current. You can set re-order alerts, which can be helpful when
things get busy. At the end of the year you can run reports that show
the exact amount of product ordered, which can be used to deter-
mine how much to order for the following year.
“We use QuickBooks to determine how much string to order,”
says Larry Hackney of Tennezsport in Union City, N.J. “Typically, we
find 50% is driven by customer demand, 25% constitutes new
products, and 25% is earmarked for discount strings for local col-
lege players and others who are on a tight budget.”
If you prioritize what needs to be done and stick to a plan, you
can be very efficient with your string inventory as well as how you
manage that inventory throughout the year. This not only allows you
to have the string you need when you need it, but also keeps your
customers happy. Happy customers are repeat customers, and
repeat customers are what keep your business alive.w
USRSA Master Racquet Technician and tour stringer Tim
Strawn owns and operates www.grandslamstringers.com
and www.gssalliance.com and is the founder and owner of
the GSS Symposium, an annual global training event for
racquet technicians. His tour stringing experience includes
working for the Bow Brand team at Wimbledon and the
Wilson team at the US Open and Sony Ericsson in Key Bis-
cayne. Contact him at Tim@gssalliance.com.
THE STRI NGER’ S FI LE
LucIen
nogues
LucIen
nogues
I NT E RVI E W BY GRE G RAVE N
One of Babolat’s top stringing experts and racquet
technician trainers talks with RSI about the business
of strings.
L
ucien Nogues is one of Babolat’s top stringing experts. He
has worked as a stringer on the pro tour for many years,
with a résumé that currently encompasses 55 major tour-
naments. In addition to his other duties, he trains Babolat person-
nel, including members of the Babolat tour team. Recently, RSI
Associate Editor Greg Raven had a chance to interview Nogues
about stringing technique and the business of stringing.
Q: Do you recommend one-piece or two-piece
stringing?
A: I recommend two-piece stringing for three reasons:
1) You achieve a more consistent and therefore a better final
result as there is less wear and tear on the strings: The cross
strings are not pulled through half the racquet while stringing the
mains.
2) It is easier for the stringer to deal with two shorter lengths
of string than it is to deal with one long piece of string.
3) It allows you to string the crosses from top to bottom on
any racquet.
Q: What is the difference between bottom-up
and top-down cross stringing?
A: There is more stress on the frame when stringing the crosses
from bottom up rather than top down. The frame is weakest near
to the top at the 11 and 1 o’clock positions, so stringing the cross-
es from the bottom up increases the stress on the frame.
Installing the crosses from the bottom up effectively focuses pres-
sure and stress into the weakest section of the frame.
Q: Isn’t it also possible to avoid this stress using
an Around-the-World (ATW) or box pattern
stringing technique?
A: This gets back to your first question. With either of these
methods, the string receives a lot more wear and tear as the sec-
ond half of the string must be pulled through the main string
grommets before it’s time to install the crosses. Then if you have
a blocked hole to pass the string through (especially near the top
of the frame when you still have the most amount of string un-
threaded), the entire length of the cross string will be rubbing on
the blocking string as you pull it through. From there it just gets
worse due to the normal friction of weaving the cross strings and
pulling the string through the mains, especially farther down
when there’s a hard weave.
Q: Do you have a good trick to help to remember
to reset the tension between the mains and
crosses on split-tension string jobs?
A: I always loop an elastic band around the top of the frame at
the second or third open grommet so I see it when I start the
crosses. I have to move the elastic band out of the way, which
reminds me to change the tension.
Q: Are there any problems that might arise from
using a starting clamp outside of the frame when
pulling the first main, compared to the traditional
Babolat method of clamping inside the frame?
A: : You increase the possibility of premature breakage.
Q: Does today’s modern natural gut still need to
be pre-stretched?
22 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY July 2012 www.racquetsportsindustry.com
July 2012 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 23
www.racquetsportsindustry.com
A: : Natural gut never did need to be pre-stretched. Natural gut was,
and is, easy to install, making a stringer’s job easier.
Q: What is the role of power pads, and are they still
needed considering today’s strings and racquets?
A: Power pads can increase the radius angle and protect the lack
of elongation and resistance of polyester strings.
Q: should the racquet technician straighten the
cross strings during installation, after installation,
or both?
A: Both. The racquet technician should straighten the cross strings
as much as possible during installation and then once complete.
The strings will not be completely straight until the restring is com-
plete. Make sure the angles are square. This will produce a far more
consistent string-bed tension and earn you respect with your cus-
tomer—this is your signature.
Q: What is the most important aspect of servicing
player racquets from the technician’s point of
view?
A: Increase your technical image and create loyalty.
Q: What tips would you have for someone who
wants to break into tournament stringing?
A: Be consistent and pay attention to details.
I would recommend watching a stringer at a tournament, whether
is it a local tournament or, if possible, an ATP/WTA or Grand Slam
event. You might think you are competent enough to string at a tour-
nament when in your shop or club, but there is a completely different
pressure and atmosphere when stringing at a tournament.
Q: What is the best way for the typical stringer to
improve the quality of the finished racquet?
A: Simplify your methods and personal technique.
Q: What is the best way to reduce stringing time
without compromising quality?
A: Repetition. When you string a racquet, you do exactly the same
thing every time. Over a period of time you will get quicker without
compromising quality. It is also quicker and easier to string in a two-
piece pattern rather than one-piece as you are dealing with less
string at a time.
Q: What tips do you have for someone looking to
buy his first stringing machine?
A: Key considerations are ergonomics, after-sales service, and pre-
cision.
Q: What tips do you have for someone looking to
upgrade his stringing machine?
A: I would suggest looking at the reason why they want to upgrade.
Is it that they want a similar machine again or are they looking to
go from a lock-out machine to an electric one? Also, have a budget
in mind and then do research to find the best machine that meets
your requirements as well as budget.
Q: What tips would you have for a technician who
wants to get started in customizing racquets?
A: Be humble. When you’re just starting, don’t be afraid to make
mistakes—learn from them. It’s also very important to work on one
parameter at a time (static mass, balance, dynamic mass). Write
down everything you do. It’s important, too, that a racquet techni-
cian have a racquet diagnostic center (such as the Babolat RDC) to
be able to measure the swing weight accurately.
Q: What tips do you have for someone looking to
buy a new racquet or try a different string in his
existing racquet?
A: When testing a new product, change only one parameter at a
time. When looking at racquets, ensure that each new racquet is
strung with the same strings and tension that you use in your cur-
rent racquet. Also, be sure to find the right balance of power, con-
trol, and maneuverability so you can compare the advantages and
drawbacks on each parameter.
When trying a different string, use the racquet you normally play
with. Again, keep the gauge and tension the same with the new
string as with your current string. Determine what you prefer in
power, comfort, durability, and tension maintenance so you can
compare the advantages and drawbacks on each parameter. When
changing string, as with racquets, change one parameter at a time
(construction, diameter, or tension). And always write down every-
thing you try.
Q: What tips would you have for someone who
wants to start experimenting with hybrid string
sets?
A: Hybrids allow you to use the characteristics of two different
strings in one string bed. Therefore, experimentation is the key.
Have a goal in mind of what you are looking for and then try differ-
ent combinations.
The main strings are the primary string in the string bed; so if
you are looking for more durability, install the polyester in the
mains and the gut in the crosses. If you are looking for more playa-
bility and comfort, install the gut (or nylon) in the mains and the
polyester in the crosses.
Another advantage of using hybrid strings, compared to all poly-
ester, is that you can improve the tension maintenance of the string
bed overall.
If the player is new to hybrids, I would recommend using a pre-
packaged hybrid so as to start with two strings known to work well
together.
Q: What tips would you have for someone who
wants to have his racquet customized to his playing
style?
A: Power/control/maneuverability: make a precise ratio between
them with the customer. Consider advantage vs. drawback on every
parameter.
Q: What is the most important equipment issue for
the typical recreational player?
A: Pay attention! Strings are more reactive and powerful than the
frame.
Most recreational players will spend a good amount of money
on a racquet and use it maybe a couple of times a week during the
summer and then maybe once a
week during the winter. They all
seem to be really proud of their
strings lasting five years! In fact
this is bad as the strings will have
lost all elasticity and the player will
have to work more to get the same
result as they did when the strings
were new. You service the engine
of your car regularly, so why not
the engine of your racquet?
The weight of the racquet is
also important. Many recreational
players want to use the same rac-
quet as their favorite pro players,
but these are normally too heavy
for the recreational player. For
example, Rafael Nadal uses the
Babolat Aeropro Drive, but that’s
too heavy for most recreational
players, so Babolat produces the
Aeropro Lite and Aeropro Team
for them.
Q: What tips would you
give the typical recre-
ational player in terms of
optimizing his equipment?
A: Pay attention to the tension
loss of your strings, and get into the habit of changing your strings
more often. Over 40 percent of the racquet’s playability comes
from the strings—so speak to your racquet technician and make
certain you have the right strings for you in your racquet.
Q: What tips would you give recreational players
who want to preserve and extend the life and
playability of their natural gut?
A: If the string does get damp, take the racquet out of the racquet
holder and allow it to dry naturally. A good rule for preserving the
life of all strings is to not expose them to extreme temperature
change. Do not leave your racquet in the car overnight as the tem-
perature can drop dramatically.
Q: should recreational players worry about
straightening strings dur-
ing play?
A: No.
Q: How much do geomet-
rically shaped strings con-
tribute to additional spin
on the ball?
A: Geometric strings such at
Babolat RPM Blast and Pro Hurri-
cane Tour do help with additional
spin on the ball but the reason is
different than what most people
actually think. The additional spin
doesn’t come from the strings grip-
ping the ball more, but rather
from an octagonal cross section
string that allows the main
strings to “slide” with less effort
over the cross strings, which
increases the spin. The spin
comes from the movement of
the main strings rather than the
texture of the string.
Q: Is it correct that mod-
ern “player’s” racquets
are stiffer than in the
past to recover some of
the power lost due to the
use of polyester strings?
A: No, I wouldn’t say they are
using stiffer racquets for this rea-
son. As players are becoming
stronger and hitting the ball hard-
er, they are using polyesters to
reduce the power and gain con-
trol. If they needed more power
they would be using natural gut.
They are not using polyesters for
the durability as a lot of pro play-
ers are only using a string for 7 to
9 games!
The big change in the mod-
ern game is players becoming physically stronger, and using lighter
racquets to give them more maneuverability, which means they
increase the racquet-head speed so they can hit with more spin,
which increases the control. The stiffer frames help with power
even though the racquets are now lighter.
Q: Are the pros really using lower tensions these
days, and if so, why?
A: Yes. They’re trying to find power on a type of string (polyester)
that was not developed for this characteristic.
Q: Do you think we’re going to see continued grad-
ual improvements in racquets, strings, and string-
ing equipment or do you foresee the possibility of
a “game-changing” improvement in some aspect
of the sport?
A: It is difficult to predict the
future of the sport, and there is
always a possibility that some-
thing new will appear, some-
thing that doesn’t exist yet. In
the meantime, Babolat is con-
stantly working with players
on court and with R&D teams
to incorporate new designs,
shapes, and materials into our
new equipment to allow play-
ers to improve their perfor-
mance and enjoy the game
more. w
Babolat and the French open
At Roland Garros, Babolat is the official equipment
supplier for stringing service and balls. While num-
bers aren’t yet in for this year’s French Open, during
the 2011 tournament, 16 of the world’s top stringers,
with experience stringing at several dozens of Grand
Slam tournaments, strung more than 3,500 racquets
and used more than 42,000 meters of strings. TV dis-
plays were also set up to let fans follow the prepara-
tion of their favorite champions’ racquets. The
Babolat stringing team also offers stringing or repair
services at the Roland Garros “racquet clinic” all year
long.
24 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY July 2012 www.racquetsportsindustry.com
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July 2012 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 27
2012 GUI DE TO BALL MACHI NES
CASH
MACHINES
CASH
MACHINES
www.racquetsportsindustry.com
BY PE T E R F RANCE S CONI
Of all the tools that can help your business,
your ball machine may be the most important.
A
re you getting the most out of your ball machine? Is
it in constant use at your facility, both as an aid in
your lessons and clinics, and also available in a pay-
to-play program where customers can rent time on it?
Ball machines are a great investment for your business
and for your facility. They can liven up lessons and clinics and
keep customers hitting lots of balls, and that’s what you
want—you don’t want them standing around; you want them
active, improving and wanting to come back for more. And
when other players see the activity, they may well sign up for
a clinic, too.
But also, with a ball machine pay-to-play program, you
can have customers off by themselves hitting on a machine,
with no supervision or time needed from you and your staff,
and they’re paying you for that privilege. If you have the space
for a dedicated ball-machine court, and you keep it in con-
stant use, your machine will pay for itself many times over.
Ball machines also are great for this sport. When players
hit on a machine, they are constantly moving and get a great
workout, possibly losing weight and becoming more fit. Also,
ball machines provide consistent practice, so customers can
“groove” their strokes and improve their tennis. All of this can
help retain players and members, and it can lead your players
to play more tennis—good for them, good for you, and good
for the sport.
As you’ll see on the following pages in our 2012 Guide To
Ball Machines, there are many different types of machines
available, at all sorts of price points with all kinds of features.
In fact, some machines now have apps that allow you to pro-
gram and run them remotely from your smartphone. Finding
a machine that’s right for you, your facility and your players
shouldn’t be hard to do.
Work the Machine
So, what are some specific ideas you can use to put your ball
machine to work generating more income for you? Well first,
if you’ve just invested in a ball machine, or if you just upgrad-
ed to a newer model, with more features, make sure you
market your new machine to your players, and even to the
community.
In fact, you can even create hype for the machine before
it actually arrives at your facility, through emails, newsletters,
articles, postings on (literal and digital) bulletin boards, and
through pros and staff talking it up. You want to make sure
your players know you’re getting a new machine and all the
features that it will have, and how those features can help
players’ games.
Then before you start renting out time on the machine,
have a ball machine “demo day” for your players. Even bet-
ter, get the ball-machine company rep to run the demo day
and showcase the machine and its features. Market the demo
day in advance, through email lists, fliers, articles, staff, etc.
At the demo day, you can also sell discounted passes or
memberships to a “ball-machine club.”
Join the Club
As part of a ball-machine club, customers purchase a pass
and can use the machine either on an unlimited basis, or for
discounted pricing. You can set up your “club” parameters in
any number of ways that work best for your facility, such as
a yearly fee that allows unlimited use, or so many times per
year or month, or a frequent-user “punch” card that allows
them to buy 10 sessions for the price of eight, etc.—or have
different types of ball-machine club memberships. Again, see
what pricing structure would work best for you. Once a cus-
tomer purchases a pass or joins the club, it is up to them to
schedule time with the ball machine.
Also, though, have complimentary passes available, which
you can use to help entice customers to buying a ball-
machine club membership, or for those players who may
have never trained on a ball machine before, or if you’re try-
ing to get new members to join your facility. You may want
to give a complimentary pass to some of your most loyal cus-
tomers, or tie it into equipment purchases to add value for
players. You can even offer complimentary time on the
machine as “prizes” for tournaments or round-robins.
Crank up your tennis activity by using a ball machine as
much as you can at your courts. It will liven up the activity
and keep your players engaged. And it will help keep the cash
flowing.w
Match Mate
MatchMateTennis.com
800-837-1002
Playmate
playmatetennis.com
800-766-6770
Lobster Sports
lobstersports.com
800-526-4041
Robot Optimizer
tennisrobot.com
888-8BOOMER
Silent Partner
sptennis.com
800-662-1809
Price Warranty Dimensions
Brand Model (MSRP) (years) (Storage Inches) B
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Elite Freedom $799 2 21” x 14” x 20” 150 36 X 2-12 70 X X X $
Elite Model 1 $1,089 2 21” x 14” x 20” 150 42 X 2-12 80 X X X X $
Elite Model 2 $1,349 2 21” x 14” x 20” 150 44 X 2-12 80 X X X X X X $
Elite Model 3 $1,599 2 21” x 14” x 20” 150 44 X 2-12 80 X X X X X X $
Elite Grand IV $1,899 2 21” x 14” x 20” 150 44 X 2-9 80 X X X X X X X X $
Elite Grand V $2,199 2 21” x 14” x 20” 150 44 X 2-9 80 X X X X X 6 6 X X X X X $
Elite Grand V Limited Edition $2,499 2 21” x 14” x 20” 150 44 X 2-9 80 X X X X X 6 6 X X X X X $
Phenom $2,999 2 32” x 25” x 50” 250 99 X 2-9 90 X X X X X X X X X X $
Phenom 2 $3,499 2 32” x 25” x 50” 250 99 X 2-9 90 X X X X X 6 6 X X X X X X $
Rookie $449 2* 11” x 11” x 22” 70 22 X 2-10 35 X Topspin
Quickstart $558 2* 12.5” x 12.5” x 28” 80 29 X 2-10 30 X
iSAM Value $759 2* 19” x 17.5” x 18” 250 34 X 2-8 65 X X X $
iSam Extend $799 2* 19” x 17.5” x 18” 250 39 X 2-8 65 X X X $
iSam Ultimate $999 2* 19” x 17.5” x 18” 250 39 X 2-8 65 X X X X 1
SAM P1 Value $1,099 2* 19.5” x 16” x 21.5” 300 48 X 2-8 85 X X X X X X $
Sam P1 Pro $1,199 2* 19.5” x 16” x 21.5” 300 48 X 2-8 85 X X X X X X $
Sam P1 Ultimate $1,299 2* 19.5” x 16” x 21.5” 300 48 X 2-8 85 X X X X X X X 1
Sam P 4 Trainer $1,599 2* 19.5” x 16” x 21.5” 300 48 X 2-8 85 X X X X X X X X $
Sam P 4 Pro Trainer $1,799 2* 19.5” x 16” x 21.5” 300 48 X 2-8 85 X X X X X X X X $
Sam P 4 Ultimate $1,899 2* 19.5” x 16” x 21.5” 300 48 X 85 X X X X X X X X X 1
Sam Coach $3,999 3 35” x 25” x 50” 250 87 X 1.5-8 95 X X X X X X 7 7 X X X X X X X X 1
Sam Robot $31,999 3** 84” x 36” x 36” 200 200 X 1-20 120 X X X X X X u
Half Volley $1,360 2L 19” x 21” x 25” 200 42 X 1-10 70 X X X X X 1
Volley $1,895 2L 19” x 21” x 25” 200 46 X 1-10 70 X X X X X 2 X 1
Ace $3,670 3L 35” x 21” x 38” 200 85 X 1- 10 90 X X X X 3 X X X X X X $
Smash $4,615 3L 35” x 21” x 38” 300 85 X 1-10 90 X X X X X 7 X X X X X X $
Deuce $5,455 3L 35” x 21” x 38” 300 85 X 1-10 90 X X X X X 7 X X X X X X X X X X X $
Genie $6,295 3L 35” x 21” x 38” 300 85 X 1-10 90 X X X X X 7 X X X X X X X X X X X $
Genie PC $8,210 3L 35” x 21” x 38” 300 85 X 1-10 90 X X X X X 8 i
Grand Slam $7,870 3L 35” x 21” x 38” 300 110 X 1-10 120 X X X X X X 7 X X X X X X X X X X X $
Grand Slam PC $9,445 3L 35” x 21” x 38” 300 110 X 1-10 120 X X X X X X 8 i
Boomer (with Camera) $14,450 2 38.5” x 31” x 21.5” 300 124 X 0.8-10 100 X X X X X 3
Boomer (without Camera) $12,450 2 38.5” x 31” x 21.5” 300 124 X 0.8-10 100 X X X X X 3
Lite (Edge Series) $799 2 24” x 22” x 16” 200 35 X 1.5-10 95 X X X X X 9 X $
Lite-R (Edge Series) $949 2 24” x 22” x 16” 200 35 X 1.5-11 95 X X X X X 9 X X X X $
Sport (Edge Series) $949 2 24” x 22” x 16” 200 46 X 1.5-10 95 X X X X X 2
Star (Edge Series) $1,099 2 24” x 22” x 16” 200 46 X 1.5-10 95 X X X X $
Rival (Scoop Series) $1,399 2 28” x 22” x 18” 300 48 X 1.5-10 95 X X X X 3 $
Quest (Scoop Series) $1,799 2 28” x 22” x 18” 300 48 X 1.5-10 95 X X X X X 2 3 X X X $
Smart (Scoop Series) $2,299 2 28” x 22” x 18” 300 48 X 1.5-10 95 X X X X X 2
*1 year battery
**no hassle parts and labor
1 - Fast Charger $99
2a - Horizontal Oscillation, 2b - Horizontal Oscillation + Spin Control,
2c - Triple-Oscillation (Horizontal/Vertical),
2d - Triple-Oscillation + 2-Line narrow, Wide
3a - 3 Pre-Programmed Court Drills (6 ball sequence per drill) , 3b - 6
Pre-Programmed Court Drills + 6 Custom Programmable Court Drills
4 - 3 Position Settings of 2-Line (Narrow, Medium, Wide).
5 - iPhone Remote Control compatible.
6 - 18 locations to choose from
7 - Great for youth and beginners to work on
dealing with topspin
8 - Especially designed for 10 and Under tennis
9 - Extra Heavy Duty Battery $35
10 - 110/220 Volt AC converter $135
11 - Wireless Remote $100
12 - Water Resistant Cloth Storage Cover $68
13 - Comes standard with 2 8-amp 12-volt batteries
14 - Lob Enhancer $30
15 - adjustable oscillation width
16 - Ships via FedEx Gnd, Feeds Balls from 30" above ground
17 - 10,000 shots in database to select from, Feed interval can be
changed during a drill
18 - Oscillation Upgrade $225, Remote Control Upgrade $310
19 - Additional Non-Memory Battery Upgrade $166.95
20 - Deuce Conversion Box $1185
28 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY July 2012
www.racquetsportsindustry.com
2012 GUI DE TO BALL MACHI NES
Ball Machine Selector
PROPULSION
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X $119 X 8.5A 2-4h X X $49 X 1, 2a
X $119 X 18A 4-8h X X $169 X X $49 X 1, 2b
X X X $119 X 18A 4-8h X X $169 X X $49 X 1, 2c
X X X $119 X 18A 4-8h X X $169 X X $49 X 1, 2d
X X X X X $119 X 18A 4-8h X X $300 X X X $49 X 3a, 4, 5
X X 6 6 X X X X X $119 X 18A 4-8h X X $300 X X X $49 X 3b, 4, 5
X X 6 6 X X X X X $119 X 18A 4-8h X X $300 X X X $49 X 3b, 4, 6
X X X X X X X $300 X X X $99 X 3a, 4, 5
X X 6 6 X X X X X X $300 X X X $99 X 3b, 4, 6
X X 8 X X X 7
Q X X 8 X X X X X 8
i X $135 X 8 X X X X X X 9, 10, 11, 12
X $135 X 16 X X X X X X X 13
X X 16 X X X X X X
S X X $135 X 16 X X X X X X X 10, 12, 14, 15
X X $135 X 16 X X X X X X X
S X X X 16 X X X X X X X
S X X X X $135 X 16 X X X X X X X 10, 12, 14, 15
X X X X $135 X 16 X X X X X X X X X
S X X X X X 16 X X X X X X X X
S X X 7 7 X X X X X X X X 16
X X unltd unltd X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X 17
X X 17 X X X X $94 X 18, 19
X X 2 X 17 X X X X X $94 X 19
X 3 X X X X X X $4,925 $94 X
X X 7 X X X X X X $4,925 $94 X 20, 21, 22
X X 7 X X X X X X X X X X X $4,925 $94 X 21, 22, 23
X X 7 X X X X X X X X X X X $4,925 $94 X 20, 22, 23
X X 8 inft X X X X X X X X X X X $4,925 $94 X 20, 21, 23
X X 7 X X X X X X X X X X X $4,925 $94 X 20, 21, 23, 24
X X 8 inft X X X X X X X X X X X $4,925 $94 X 20, 23
X X 30 1000 X X X X X X X X X X $3,895 X X 25a
X X 30 1000 X X X X X X X X X X $3,895 X X 25b
X X 9 X $40 X
X X 9 X X X X $40 X 26a
X X 21 X $40 X
X $249 $100 X 21 X X X X $40 X 26a
X 3 $249 $100 X 21 X X X X X X $40 X 26b
X X 2 3 X X X $249 $100 X 21 X X X X X X $40 X 26c
X X 20 3 X X X X X $249 $100 X 21 X X X X X X $40 X 26d
21 - Genie Conversion Box $2025
22 - Genie PC Conversion Box $3940
23 - Smash Conversion Box $345
24 - Grand Slam PC Conversion Box $3940
25a - Plays Games, Rates Shots, Uses a Camera, Talks to Players,
Cordless Headphone System ($500 or $50/month), Wireless Print-
er for Analysis ($2000 or $100/month). Radar gun. iPod input with
speakers, Allows user to modify level, height, frequency and speed
during the drill
25b - Talks to Players, Cordless Headphone Sys-
tem ($500 or $50/month), iPod input with
speakers, Allows user to modify level, height,
frequency and speed during the drill
26a - 2-button remote, 26b - 16-button remote, 26c
- 20-button remote, 26d - 22-button remote
27 - External Battery Pack $130, External AC Power
Supply $125
28 - Smart Fast Battery Upgrade $45
29a - Player Simulation $200,
29b - Player Simulation included, Multi-Function Remote $200
30 - Multi-Function Remote $300
31 - The iPad controlled machine can deliver any type of ball (topspin,
underspin, flat, lob) to any place on court in any sequence, all ball
parameters and timing customizable
July 2012 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 29
www.racquetsportsindustry.com
OSCILLATION POWER REMOTE CONTROL MISC.
30 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY July 2012
www.racquetsportsindustry.com
*1 year battery
**no hassle parts and labor
1 - Fast Charger $99
2a - Horizontal Oscillation, 2b - Horizontal Oscillation + Spin Control, 2c -
Triple-Oscillation (Horizontal/Vertical), 2d - Triple-Oscillation + 2-Line
narrow, Wide
3a - 3 Pre-Programmed Court Drills (6 ball sequence per drill) , 3b - 6
Pre-Programmed Court Drills + 6 Custom Programmable Court Drills
4 - 3 Positionl Settings of 2-Line (Narrow, Medium, Wide).
5 - iPhone Remote Control compatible.
6 - 18 locations to choose from
7 - Great for youth and beginners to work on
dealing with topspin
8 - Especially designed for 10 and Under tennis
9 - Extra Heavy Duty Battery $35
10 - 110/220 Volt AC converter $135
11 - Wireless Remote $100
12 - Water Resistant Cloth Storage Cover $68
13 - Comes standard with 2 8-amp 12-volt batteries
14 - Lob Enhancer $30
15 - adjustable oscillation width
16 - Ships via FedEx Gnd, Feeds Balls from 30" above ground
17 - 10,000 shots in database to select from, Feed interval can be
changed during a drill
18 - Oscillation Upgrade $225, Remote Control Upgrade $310
19 - Additional Non-Memory Battery Upgrade $166.95
20 - Deuce Conversion Box $1185
Price Warranty Dimensions
Brand Model (MSRP) (years) (Storage Inches) B
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Sports Tutor
sportstutor.com
800-448-8867
Super Coach
tennismachine.com
623-581-6200
Sports Attack
sportsattack.com
800-448-8867
Ace Attack $5,999 1 34” x 53” 200 150 X 1.5-12 110 X X X X X 4 X $
Tennis Twist $229 2 10” x 11” x23” 28 11 5 15 X
Tennis Tutor ProLite - Basic $699 2 12” x 19.5” x 18” 125 22 X 1.5-10 60 X X X X X 9 X X $
Tennis Tutor ProLite $799 2 12” x 19.5” x 18” 125 29 X 1.5-10 60 X X X X X 9 X X $
Tennis Tutor $1,099 2 12” x 19.5” x 20” 150 42 X 1.5-12 85 X X X 4 $
Tennis Tutor - Plus $1,299 2 20” x 19.5” x 20” 150 46 X 1.5-12 85 X X X X 4 $
Tennis Tutor - Plus Player Model $1,699 2 20” x 19.5” x 20” 150 46 X 1.5-12 85 X X X X 5 X X X $
Tennis Tower $1,345 2 44” x 23” x 22” 225 60 X 1.5-8 85 X X $270
Tennis Tower - Prof. Player $2,195 2 44” x 23” x 22” 225 60 X 1.5-8 85 X X X X 5 X X X X X X X X X 2
Shot Maker - Standard $3,100 2 38.5” x 31” x 21.5” 300 96 X 1-6 95 X X X X X 3 X $
Shot Maker - Deluxe $4,200 2 38.5” x 31” x 21.5” 300 96 X 1-6 95 X X X X X 6 X X X X X X X X 3
Wilson Portable $1,095 2 22” x 14” x 20” 110 38 X 1.5-10 75 X X X X $
Tennis Cube $549 2 15” x 12” x 13” 70 24 X 2-10 50 X X X X 6 X X 2
Tennis Cube - Oscillation Model $629 2 15” x 12” x 13” 70 24 X 2-10 50 X X X X 6 X X 2
SuperCoach V3 $10,450 1 36” x 27” x 22” 200/300 121 X 1.4-5.6 65 X X X X X 3
2012 GUI DE TO BALL MACHI NES
Ball Machine Selector
PROPULSION
July 2012 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 31
www.racquetsportsindustry.com
21 - Genie Conversion Box $2025
22 - Genie PC Conversion Box $3940
23 - Smash Conversion Box $345
24 - Grand Slam PC Conversion Box $3940
25a - Plays Games, Rates Shots, Uses a Camera, Talks to Players,
Cordless Headphone System ($500 or $50/month), Wireless Print-
er for Analysis ($2000 or $100/month). Radar gun. iPod input with
speakers, Allows user to modify level, height, frequency and speed
during the drill
25b - Talks to Players, Cordless Headphone Sys-
tem ($500 or $50/month), iPod input with
speakers, Allows user to modify level, height,
frequency and speed during the drill
26a - 2-button remote, 26b - 16-button remote, 26c
- 20-button remote, 26d - 22-button remote
27 - External Battery Pack $130, External AC Power
Supply $125
28 - Smart Fast Battery Upgrade $45
29a - Player Simulation $200
29b - Player Simulation included, Multi-Function Remote $200
30 - Multi-Function Remote $300
31 - The iPad controlled machine can deliver any type of ball (topspin,
underspin, flat, lob) to any place on court in any sequence, all ball
parameters and timing customizable
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X 4 X $300 X X $200 X
X X 6D Cells
X X X 9 X X $70 X $35
X X X 9 X X $70 X $35 27
X 4 $50 X 18 X X $200 X X $35 X 27, 28
X 4 $50 X 18 X X $200 X X $35 X 27, 28, 29a
X 5 X X X $50 X 18 X X $200 X X X $35 X 27, 28, 29b
X 4 X $200 X X X X
T X 5 X X X X X X X X X 29a
X X 3 X $200 X X X X
S X X 6 X X X X X X X X 30
X $200 2 $50 X 12 X X $200 X X $35 X 27
X X 6 X X 27
X X 6 X X 27
X X 30 unltd X X X X X X X X X X 31
OSCILLATION POWER REMOTE CONTROL MISC.
?
Ask the experts
originAl String
A NEW CUSTOMER CAME IN
with Wilson Hyper Hammer
3.3 SOS (“The Limits”) for
restringing. She’d had it restrung fairly
recently, but wasn’t happy with the
way the racquet played. She says that
the racquet played great for years with
the original string, but she doesn’t like
the new string. So, she wants me to
restring the racquet using the original
string. Unfortunately, neither of us
knows what that string is. Can you
help?
AS WITH MANY FRAMES SOLD
through pro shops, that racquet
was not strung at the factory. This
means that even though there might be
a string recommendation printed in the
throat of the racquet, that’s not neces-
sarily what was originally installed.
It sounds as though the “original”
strings were so old that it’s not going to
be possible to match them using new
strings, although you may be able to
mimic the old strings through the use of
a soft nylon at a low tension. Natural
gut would be another option on many
other racquets, but the two sets of string
needed to ensure that you have the 44
feet needed for that Super Oversize
frame would make this an expensive
option.
.
Simple SeArcheS
SEVERAL YEARS AGO I
stopped using the printed ver-
sion of the Stringer's Digest,
and began using the On-Line Digest. I
have found this to be mostly satisfacto-
ry, but I have also noticed that the on-
line version is not very user friendly.
My most recent difficulty came this
evening when I attempted to find the
pattern for a Head Ti. Radical MP. I put
the sport, racquet name, and company
into the search box, but the on-line
Digest kept telling me that there were
no finds no matter how I manipulated
the name and spelling. I have had this
problem before, but I could usually manip-
ulate my entries to get a find. I know that
one of the issues is the complexity of hit-
ting just one out of the hundreds or thou-
sands of racquets stored in your data bank.
This is further complicated by the propen-
sity of the manufacturers to use the same
or very similar names for multiple rac-
quets.
Let me know if there is a solution to
my problem. Please keep it simple. I'm an
excellent stringer but woefully inept when
it comes to computers!
THE SIMPLE ANSWER IS TO KEEP it
simple. That racquet happens to
appear in the Digest as the “Head Ti.Radical
MP” (no space between “Ti.” and “Radical”).
Rather that attempting to memorize the
unusual punctuation, intercaps, and other
racquet naming oddities, your best bet is …
as suggested in the “Quick Tips” section of
the Digest On-line … to enter less informa-
tion, not more.
If you had searched for “Head” in the
company field and “Radical” in the racquet
field, you would have found all 49 racquets
in the Digest with that designation. Scrolling
down, you quickly would have found your
specific racquet. Clicking on the line where
your racquet appears reveals the full string-
ing instructions.
Simple!
Stringer’S ApronS
IN THE PAST YOU HAD A stringer's
apron for sale. The one I bought
from you years ago is now wearing
out. Are they still available?.
THE USRSA DOES NOT SELL aprons
or clothes any longer. However, we
do have our logos on our website
(usrsa.com) that can be downloaded and
taken to an embroidery shop to put on any
item you like. A lot of members tell us they
prefer this approach because they get to pick
the base item. You can find our logos in the
Reference section under “USRSA logos.”
String croSS-Section
I JUST READ A PLAYTEST report
on a geometric string, but I
don't understand the gauge
numbers. For instance, on a square
string, do the numbers refer to the side
of the square, or is this the measure-
ment from corner to corner?
On a string with an odd number of
sides, does the number represent the
smallest circle of the flats, or the diame-
ter of the circle of the apexes?
IT DEPENDS ON WHAT number
you’re looking at. The advertised
sizes come from the manufacturer,
whether expressed as a gauge (for exam-
ple, 16) or as a measurement (for exam-
ple, 1.30 mm). Thus, these numbers
could represent the design size, the mar-
keting size, the actual size when the
string goes into the retail packaging, or
any number of other situations, as string
sizing is self-regulated by each manufac-
turer.
In addition to the manufacturer’s list-
ed size, however, we also list the pre-
and post-tension diameter. Because of
slight imperfections in cylindrical strings
— and difficulties in measuring geomet-
ric and textured strings accurately — we
take several measurements and express
them as a range.
To obtain these measurements, we
use a dial caliper, so on cylindrical
strings and geometrics with an even
number of sides, this number can repre-
sent the minimum diameter of the prod-
uct. On textured strings, this
measurement can range anywhere from
the minimum diameter to the maximum
circle diameter. On odd-faceted geomet-
rics this measurement is going to be
from a flat side to the opposite apex; in
essence, an “average” diameter.
—Greg Raven w
We welcome your questions. Please send them to
Racquet Sports Industry, 330 Main St., Vista, CA,
92084; fax: 760-536-1171; email:
greg@racquettech.com.
32 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY July 2012
www.racquetsportsindustry.com
Your Equipment Hotline
Q
A
Q
A
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A
Q
A
34 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY July 2012
String Playtest
EASE OF STRINGING
(compared to other strings)
Number of testers who said it was:
much easier 2
somewhat easier 3
about as easy 25
not quite as easy 5
not nearly as easy 0
OVERALL PLAYABILITY
(compared to string played most often)
Number of testers who said it was:
much better 0
somewhat better 7
about as playable 9
not quite as playable 14
not nearly as playable 5
OVERALL DURABILITY
(compared to other strings
of similar gauge)
Number of testers who said it was:
much better 2
somewhat better 16
about as durable 15
not quite as durable 2
not nearly as durable 0
RATING AVERAGES
From 1 to 5 (best)
Playability 3.4
Durability 4.1
Power 3.4
Control (18th overal) 3.8
Comfort 3.3
Touch/Feel 3.0
Spin Potential 3.5
Holding Tension 3.5
Resistance to Movement 3.8

Y
tex Protour is a premium
monofilament co-polyester con-
taining softer polyester and
polyethylene. According to Ytex, Pro-
tour provides a better response than
other conventional polyesters due to its
exclusive patented Low Molecular
Weight Technology (LMWT), and its
added olefins and lubricants give it a
unique appearance and brilliance.
Ytex says that Protour offers a soft
yet powerful feel, while maintaining
control and a nice “pop” sensation on
impact. These qualities make it suitable
for younger players, mid- to high-level
players, and even advanced players
and touring pros.
Protour is available in 1.18mm,
1.20mm, 1.23mm, 1.25mm, and
1.28mm in “Fluo Yellow,” lime, blue,
white, orange, and black. It is priced
from $5.85 for sets of 40 feet, $70 for
660-foot reels. For more information or
to order, contact Ytex at 786-280-
2138, or visit ytexstrings.com. Be sure
to read the conclusion for more infor-
mation about getting a free set to try
for yourself.
IN THE LAB
We tested the 1.25 (16L) gauge Protour
Blue. The coil measured 40 feet. The
diameter measured 1.23-1.26 mm
prior to stringing, and 1.20-1.21 mm
after stringing. We recorded a
stringbed stiffness of 74 RDC units
immediately after stringing at 60
pounds in a Wilson Pro Staff 6.1 95
(16 x 18 pattern) on a constant-pull
machine.
After 24 hours (no playing),
stringbed stiffness measured 68 RDC
units, representing an 8 percent ten-
sion loss. Our control string, Prince
Synthetic Gut Original Gold 16, mea-
sured 78 RDC units immediately after
stringing and 71 RDC units after 24
hours, representing a 9 percent tension
loss. Protour Blue added 16 grams to
the weight of our unstrung frame.
The string was tested for five weeks
by 35 USRSA playtesters, with NTRP
ratings from 3.5 to 6.0. These
are blind tests, with playtesters
receiving unmarked strings in
unmarked packages. Average
number of hours playtested
was 26.7.
Ytex recommends a 10
percent reduction in refer-
ence tension compared to
nylon, so that’s what we
recommended to our
playtest team members.
The smooth surface and flexibility
made Ytex Protour Blue seem a bit eas-
ier to handle than some polys, so we
www.racquetsportsindustry.com
had no problems
during installation.
No playtester broke the sample dur-
ing stringing, five reported problems
with coil memory, four reported prob-
lems tying knots, and one reported fric-
tion burn.
ON THE COURT
Ytex was correct about Protour being a
control string, as our playtest team
ranked it 18th overall of the 165 strings
we’ve playtested for publication in the
Control category. Members of our
playtest team also rated Ytex Protour
Blue 1.25 well above average in Durabili-
ty, Resistance to Movement, Tension
Retention, Spin Potential, and Power.
These scores combine to give Protour
Blue 1.25 an overall average that is well
above average.
Three playtesters broke the sample
during the playtest period, one each at
six hours, 16 hours, and 25 hours.
CONCLUSION
As good as the scores are, they almost
pale compared to the positive comments
from our playtesters, which are just
about off the charts in their praise for
Ytex Protour Blue 1.25. Considering its
high scores, favorable comments, wide
range of gauges, and selection of colors,
in Protour Ytex may have created an
entire string ecosystem in which any
player can find his niche.
If you think that Ytex Protour Blue
might be for you, fill out the coupon to
get a free set to try.
Ytex Protour
—Greg Raven◗
July 2012 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY 35
FREE PLAYTEST
STRING PROGRAM
Ytex will send a free set of Protour to USRSA
members who cut out (or copy) this coupon and send it to:
Offer expires 15 July 2012 • Offer only available to USRSA members in the US.
Name:
USRSA Member number:
Phone:
Email:
If you print your email clearly, we will notify you when your sample will be sent.
www.racquetsportsindustry.com
USRSA, Attn: Ytex String Offer
330 Main Street, Vista, CA 92084
or fax to 760-536-1171, or email the info below to stringsample@racquettech.com
For the rest of the tester comments, visit www.racquet-
sportsindustry.com.
pounds LO (Tecnifibre Black Code 18)

Above average control and decent
spin, but too stiff.

4.0 male all-court
player using Prince EXO3 Hornet strung at
52 pounds CP (Wilson Sensation 16)

This is an average polyester that doesn’t
shine in any one category.

4.5 male all-
court player using Babolat Pure Drive strung
at 56 pounds LO (Babolat RPM Blast 17)
TESTERS
TALK

This one grips the ball very well
on groundies. Excellent pop on vol-
leys and serves.

4.5 male all-court player using Babo-
lat Pure Storm Team GT strung at 58
pounds LO (Babolat RPM Blast 16)

Comfort is quite high considering
the exceptional durability. Spin and
control are excellent. This is a very
playable poly.

4.5 male all-court
player using Prince O3 Blue strung at
55 pounds LO (Gamma Live Wire 17)

Spin is simply fantastic. After set-
tling in, the power is excellent. This is
more comfortable than other polys
I’ve tried.

4.0 male baseliner with
heavy spin using Yonex V Core strung
at 52 pounds LO (Gamma TNT2 16)

Excellent balance between power
and control. Exceptional all-around
playability for a poly.

4.0 male all-
court player using Head Youtek IG
Radical MP strung at 54 pounds LO
(Babolat Xcel 16)

This string is for hard hitters look-
ing for more control. Touch players
with shorter strokes will not get
enough feel. Spin is decent, but flat-
ter strokes seem to work better.

4.5 male all-court player using Volkl
Boris Becker 10 strung at 54 pounds
CP (Gamma Synthetic Gut 16)

This is a very balanced poly -- not
too stiff or soft. Excellent spin. Feels
great and performs well on every
swing speed.

5.5 male baseliner
with heavy spin using Solinco Tour 10
strung at 43 pounds CP (Solinco Tour
Bite 17)

This played like a typical “old
school” polyester. Low power and
fast fading resilience. Spin, control,
and durability are the main
positives.

4.5 male all-court play-
er using Volkl C10 Pro strung at 50
D
iscussions concerning collabo-
ration, or lack thereof, among
large tennis associations is an
ongoing feature of the industry. A less
frequent topic of discussion, yet one that
potentially has more relevance to indi-
viduals who work in tennis, concerns the
value of collaboration among local ten-
nis providers. Regardless of what the
large associations do, an increase in
cooperation on the local level is so
important, that alone, it can increase
tennis participation dramatically.
Teaching pros often lament the fact
that it is challenging, or in many cases
outright impossible, to get pros to work
together. Indeed, as I began thinking
about writing this, I asked colleagues
from around the country for solid exam-
ples of local pros collaborating—long-
term and with results that are
recognition-worthy, or at least positive.
The feedback I received was not encour-
aging. I heard story after story of failed
attempts or no attempts at all to collabo-
rate. Nevertheless, pros who take a fresh
look at the possibilities for collaboration
have the chance to greatly enrich them-
selves, their students, and the tennis
community.
Perhaps the most common reason
pros don’t work together more often is
they are busy. Lessons, leagues, tourna-
ments, pro shop operations and every-
thing else that goes into being a tennis
teaching professional makes it easy to
get into a routine. When one is trying to
manage all the needs of one’s own facil-
ity, it is understandable that reaching out
to other pros might be low on one’s pri-
ority list.
Why Collaborate?
However, collaboration does not have to
36 RACQUET SPORTS INDUSTRY July 2012
other’s events and having their juniors
play one another. In turn, these two pros
could eventually identify a third pro who
could join them, and so on.
One advantage of starting small is
that it may be easier to tell which pros
actually follow through in supporting
other pros, which could be more difficult
to do if one starts with a large group.
Collaboration can help pros in many
ways. It can facilitate participation in a
pros’ events, which can increase rev-
enue. It can improve the skill level of
players through facilitated match play,
which can elevate the pros’ status for
having many highly skilled players. And
simply through building relationships,
collaboration can help pros in unforeseen
ways.
However, whether or not a pro will
commit to collaboration has nothing to
do with money or status and everything
to do openness to possibilities and atti-
tude. Many teaching pros love their work
and see their profession as more than
“just a job.” Ultimately, it is out of love for
what they do and how they impact lives,
as well as a simple desire to improve ten-
nis in the community, that pros reach out
to others to work together.
Collectively pros have the ability to
vastly increase the number of tennis
players, but it all begins with a single call
from one pro to another about working
together. w
Your Serve
www.racquetsportsindustry.com
The Value of Collaboration
A longtime teaching pro says that when tennis
providers find ways to work together, everyone
benefits.
We welcome your opinions. Please email
comments to RSI@racquetTECH.com.
BY KE VI N T HE OS
Kevin Theos is the USTA South-
ern Tennis Service Rep for
Alabama. He is a USPTA pro
with more than 20 years teach-
ing experience and is the former
executive director of the Birm-
ingham Area Tennis Association.
be time-consuming, and pros who feel
too busy to reach out to other teaching
professionals would do well to ask
themselves a few questions. Would
their sanctioned and charity tourna-
ments have more participants if one or
more other pros in the area would
directly (i.e., face to face and over the
phone) encourage their students to par-
ticipate in the pro’s events? Would the
pro’s top juniors become better players
if the pro were to facilitate and encour-
age match play against top juniors from
other local facilities? Are there other
possibilities of potential collaboration
particular to one’s local tennis market?
For most pros the answers to these
questions would be an unequivocal
“yes.”
A second reason pros don’t collabo-
rate is they are unhappy with other pros
they believe have tried to “steal” stu-
dents, usually accomplished juniors. To
be sure, pros who actively attempt to
woo juniors from their coaches are easy
to dislike, and it is understandable how
pros would not want to work with these
individuals. Nevertheless, the fact that
there are pros who attempt to poach tal-
ented junior players is not a reason to
reject all collaboration; there is still the
possibility of working with other peers.
Starting Small
Even when pros attempt collaboration,
sometimes nothing comes of it because
of how they approach the issue. When
exploring cooperation it can be unpro-
ductive to try and get everyone in an
area to work together because there
may be too many antagonistic relation-
ships. It could be better for a single pro
to think of a single other pro that he or
she could work with in promoting each
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