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Should you string your own racket?

Can you string your own racket? The quick answer is yes… but it’s a bit more complicated than that.
Should you string your own racket? Featured Image

You can brew your own beer. You can be your own mechanic. And yes, you can string your own racket. But without getting too economical, like with all things in the 21st century, specialization is key.

Stringing your own racket may be an enticing prospect, but there are barriers to entry that make it so much more difficult and not quite as viable as it might seem.

Here’s what I will say. If you are passionate about stringing, give it a go. It is fulfilling, challenging and very fun, but if you’re just doing it because you think it will be better in the long run, there are a few things you should know.


Chances are, if you’re looking to string your own racket, you’re hoping to save on stringing costs. The harsh reality is that you’ll end up spending a heck of a lot more on a machine than you ever will on labour. 

At Rackets & Runners, we use a few different machines, the Yonex PT8 Deluxe, Babolat Racket Station, and the trusty ol’ Babolat Star 5. These three machines are what we call “constant pull” and are some of the best out there. 

They also average out to a paltry $9,600 per machine.

Yes, stringing machines are expensive, almost ridiculously so, and if you do the math at 20 dollars labour per racket, you’ll be stringing your racket 480 times, before paying one off. You string four to five times a year? That’s 95 years worth of stringing. 

Of course, there are cheaper options. You can find used stringing machines and less expensive options around the $2,000 to $3,000 mark, but these won’t be as efficient or precise as the best of the best. 

Top-end machines are pretty much only viable for tournament and professional, retail stringing. These are the only entities that can justify spending that sort of cash because of the sheer volume of stringing that comes their way, and the need for those string jobs to be perfect.

Cost is the biggest issue, and quite honestly, the biggest dealbreaker when it comes to personal stringing. Unless you are fully committed to investing (and losing) a lot into a new hobby, know that you will probably never net positive on personal stringing.


Stringing might not seem that hard, but stringing well? That’s a whole different story.

There are dozens of small but crucial factors that make a professional string job better than what most players will be able to achieve on their own. Consistency, knot tension, miss weaves, crossovers and attention to detail are all easy misses when stringing your own racket, and they can lead to key playability issues on-court.

Professional stringers are rigorously trained to mitigate these errors, but also problem solve their way out of the multitude of issues that can arise during a string job. In the long run, that can extended the life of a string and even a frame beyond what would be considered normal.

Then there are the nuances between different strings and different frames. You can’t string natural gut Babolat VS 17 in a Pure Strike 18x20 the same way you would string Head Lynx Tour in a Radical MP. You need to be extremely careful when stringing up a racket, and one miss step can botch a string job and have you starting over.

Again, for those of you that have the passion to develop the necessary skills, patience and nuance, you too can eventually get to a level of stringing similar to the professionals, but it’s not an easy process, and it will take lots and lots of time.


As Benjamin Franklin once said, time is money. We don’t have an infinite amount, and as a tennis player, you should probably spend it on-court rather than behind a stringing machine.

Maybe you’ve walked into the store in the last few years and seen three of us at the front firing through cross-string weaves at a ridiculous pace. It might look easy, but it takes time to get there. 

Take myself as an example. I trained 40 hours a week for 8 weeks before even touching a customer’s frame. That’s 320 hours of stringing before I achieved a level of competence worthy of a professional string job.

Four years later and I’ve changed as a stringer. Not so much in terms of quality (although I’ve certainly improved with experience), but more so in timeliness.

After those first 320 hours I was so proud to break the 20-minute-per-racket mark. Four years later, I’ve finally strung a racket in under 9 minutes. That’s pretty darn fast, but I only got to that level because I had to string a ridiculous amount of rackets in the pressures of a professional environment. Like with most professionals, it's the sheer volume of stringing that gave me countless lessons and chances learn what to do in different situations. It’s not going to be so easy when the time it takes to get good takes away from the time you get to play tennis.

15 minute rackets is the minimum you need to thrive in the professional industry, but it will take most personal stringers between 30 to 40 minutes per racket, and that’s time you could be spending on-court playing the game you love. 


If you’re just looking to use one string in one racket for the rest of your life then you can quickly gloss over this, but part of what makes tennis fun, is trying the latest and greatest, and a variety of different gear.

Let’s circle back to that Lynx Tour I mentioned earlier. You just finished playing with RPM 17 in your Pure Drive, but that broke too quickly and you want to try something a little bit more controlled.

You’re about to embark on the most exciting (and longest) journey of your life trying to string up a thick, sharp, stiff poly in your brand new 18x20 Gravity Pro. You get to the middle of the crosses, painstakingly pushing the string up and down the stringbed and wonder why you ever chose to do this in the first place. You were zooming through those crosses with your slick poly in that 16x19, and all of a sudden you’re re-learning everything (and your fingers are screaming in pain.) That string job you were completing in half an hour is now taking you an hour and a half.

Then you decide to try Roger Federer’s well advertised natural gut and poly set up in an RF 97. Everything is going great until you get to the bottom of your crosses, pull ALU Rough a little too quickly, burn the gut, and you’ve just waisted an $80 string job.

The moral of the story: it takes time to learn to string, and even more time to string different setups. Again, if you’re really passionate about stringing, you’ll be happy with that learning curve, but for many, it can quickly become frustrating and take the joy out of the discipline.

At Rackets & Runners, we love stringing.

We are passionate about the nuance, the perfection and the constant desire to become better at what we do; that’s what makes us professionals. If you are truly interested in becoming a stringer, know that we all started in the same boat, and that the process is fun, but also challenging and time-consuming. Embark on it if you are committed to the process, but leave it to us if you want the most efficient, cost-effective and quality product.

Rackets & Runners offers a variety of racket services, including (you guessed it), racket stringing.


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