Why are you here?Tim Strawn
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The IART has been an active community for racquet stringers for nearly 20 years, from when I was blogging from the Wimbledon stringing room (prior to FaceBook or other social media platforms) to its current 2023 iteration. The original site was GrandSlamStringers.com but to encompass a global community, the URL was changed to GSSAlliance.com, and the organization was renamed to the International Alliance of Racquet Technicians. The goal was to help those who had an interest in racquet stringing and there were no exclusions. Whether you were just beginning or currently working on stringing teams at professional tournaments you were welcome and encouraged to participate.
We have a free membership with limited access that gets a fair amount of attention and I often wonder exactly what it is that these people are actually looking for. Thus, the title for this post is; Why are you here? There is a multitude of resources on the IART website that were created to help racquet stringers in their everyday approach to servicing racquets. Some of these were created not for competitive reasons with existing organizations, but because they were not being offered elsewhere.
Are you aware of the resources I mentioned above? Could you benefit from having access to them? Let’s take a quick look.
IART Stringing Curriculum – This is the newest offering from IART. We’ve just released our Basic Stringing 101 course and made it free to all premium subscribers. Next up will be a comprehensive advanced stringing course followed by a course on tournament stringing. Premium members will have access to the entire curriculum with the basic course remaining free and the advanced and tournament courses being fee-based.
Premium Member Q&A – gives you access to the full community of qualified racquet technicians that will answer any and all of your questions concerning the profession of racquet service. If you’re a premium member you can post your questions and you also have the option to be added to our notification list. Premium members can use the “Contact Us” form to ask to be added to the notification list. Every time a new question is posted or a new answer to an existing question is given, you will get an email notification so you can check it out.
String Characteristics – this database has over 500 different strings from over 40 companies that have been tested for power potential and approximate tensile strength. How does this help you? Let’s say you see an ad for a specific string that says something like “softest polyester”. The real question to be asked is “Softer than what?” Our testing methods do not vary from string type to string type so if the string is in our database you can simply pull it up and see what the elongation value is and then make a comparison to other similar strings. There are 6 different string “types” that you can select from that enable you to narrow down your choices.
Bumper/Grommet database – Not many would question that b/g sets are one of the most difficult things we deal with in our profession. As a premium member, you can list b/g sets you have for sale or search the database for a set you might need. Only premium members can list their b/g sets but the list is accessible by anyone doing a generic online search so they can find your listing.
Business Directory – if you have an active business and are looking to build your client base this is a nice place to list your business. Like the B/G database, only premium members can list their businesses here but the list is searchable by anyone online.
Tournament Stringers Directory – if tournament stringing is something you’re interested in you can list your profile here and we’ll promote the list to various tournament directors. This is a good way to get your name out there and create exposure that has the potential to get you started stringing at tournaments.
Stringing Patterns – In today’s world you really don’t need a book containing all of the latest stringing patterns because the vast majority are listed online by the manufacturers. We provide direct links to companies that sell tennis, badminton & squash racquets, giving you quick access to their stringing patterns. If you can’t find the pattern you need you can go straight to the Q&A and ask for help there.
Video Library – IART offers an extensive video library of over 100 videos that cover a variety of topics to help you learn about various methods and procedures used in racquet stringing and we’re constantly adding new videos to our library. We have video folders for racquet stringing, racquet customization, stringing tools and how to use them, stringing problematic racquets, stringing machines, grips, and on-court instruction. We also take requests for videos you’d like to see on our website so if learning by watching is your thing, we have you covered.
Member Discounts – Here you can see a few companies that work with us to offer discounts to our premium members.
So, back to the original question. Why are you here? What are you looking for and what led you to us? Our basic question to you is “How can we help?” Have you taken a couple of minutes to read everything on our “About” link? There, you can see who we are, read our Ethos, and check out our global ambassadors. There’s a listing of our consultants and a brief explanation of our advertising policy. That should give you a clear picture of who we are and what we believe in.
If you’re a racquet technician and would like to join a community of like-minded people please visit our Membership page at www.gssalliance.com/join/ to join us. Already a basic member? You’ll find an easy upgrade link on the join page to become a Premium member.
IART Premium Members have FULL access to all content and exclusive membership directories. Knowledge is power, so become a Premium member and get THAT power!