USRSA Certification Program

Requirements

There are different requirements for Master Racquet Technician (MRT), Certified Stringer (CS), and Professional Racquet Advisor (PRA).

Master Racquet Technician

The MRT exam will consist of FOUR (4) Sections: One (1) written and three (3) practical (hands-on) sections.

The MRT Written exam will be comprised of multiple choice, true/false, and short answer questions covering the following topics: Frame Inspection, Mounting the Frame, String Installation, Frame Technology, String Technology, Racquet Evaluation, Racquet Customization, Customer Service, and Manufacturer’s Technology. Written exam must be completed within 90 minutes.

The three practical sections are described below.

MRT certification must be maintained by passing an annual written update test designed to demonstrate understanding of the year’s significant new technologies. This update test will be “open book,” and will be administered through email and/or an online form.

Upgrade from CS to MRT: A written exam comprised of multiple choice, true/false, and short answer questions covering the following topics: Frame Inspection, Mounting the Frame, String Installation, Frame Technology, String Technology, Racquet Evaluation, Racquet Customization, Customer Service, and Manufacturer’s Technology. Written exam must be completed within 60 minutes.

Upgrade from PRA to MRT: The exam will consist of FOUR (4) Sections: One (1) written and three (3) practical (hands-on) sections.

The PRA to MRT Written exam will be comprised of multiple choice, true/false, and short answer questions covering the following topics: Frame Inspection, Mounting the Frame, String Installation, Racquet Evaluation, Racquet Customization, and Customer Service. Written exam must be completed within 60 minutes.

MRT — Racquet Customization Specialist: Only available to Current USRSA MRTs. Applicant must pass a written exam and practical exam. The written exam is a 20-question exam relating to racquet customization. Time limit is 15 Minutes. Practical exam will be to customize multiple frames (provided) to pre-determined specs of swing weight, weight, and balance. Work must be completed within the provided time allotted and without error.

MRT — Tournament Stringer Specialist: Only available to Current USRSA MRTs. Applicant will pass a practical exam to string two pairs of racquets under tournament stringing conditions following the instructions given and specification tickets provided with each pair of racquets. Work must be completed within the time allotted and to the correct specifications without error.

The three practical sections are described below.

Certified Stringer

The exam for Certified Stringer will consist of FOUR (4) Sections: One (1) written and three (3) practical (hands-on) sections.

The CS Written exam will be comprised of multiple choice, true/false, and short answer questions covering the following topics: Frame Inspection, Mounting the Frame, String Installation, String Technology, Racquet Evaluation, and Customer Service. Written exam must be completed within 90 minutes.

Certified Stringer status will carry no expiration date. However, only Certified Stringers who are current USRSA members will be listed on the USRSA website.

Practical (hands-on) sections of the MRT and CS Exams

The practical sections of both the MRT and CS exams include: 1) String removal and Grommet replacement. 2) Stringing the racquet. 3) Handle sizing and grip installation. Applicant is allowed to use a Stringer’s Digest for manufacturer’s instructions during the stringing section only.

Applicant will supply a strung racquet with traditional grommets. For example, no Prince frames with O-Ports, More Performance, or Power Ring frames, no Head Internal Grommet System frames, or any “non-traditional” frames. If you have any question about whether your frame will be acceptable, please call the USRSA office in advance for approval. Racquet must be less than three years old and in good condition. The applicant will also supply a new replacement bumper and grommet system for this racquet. The applicant is responsible for making sure they have the appropriate part for the racquet they supply. If the part doesn’t fit or is incorrect, the applicant will fail those sections of the exam. String, handle build-up material, and grip will be supplied by the USRSA.

STRING REMOVAL/GROMMET REPLACEMENT PRACTICAL

All applicants will cut strings and remove bumper/grommets from a racquet. Applicants will then install new bumper/grommets and string the frame under the observation of the appointed USRSA tester.

Applicant displays proper string cutting & bumper/grommet replacement techniques.

  • Removes string and grommets using proper technique without scratching or marring frame.
  • Inspects and prepares frame for new bumper/grommet installation.
  • Installs bumper/grommet properly without scratching frame or damaging grommets.
  • Must complete bumper/grommet removal and replacement within 20 minutes.

STRINGING PRACTICAL

Professional machines will be supplied at each test site. Applicants may bring a machine of their choice with prior USRSA approval. If you have any questions or problems regarding machine use, contact the USRSA. Basic tools and accessories will be available at the test site; however, applicants are encouraged to bring their own tools since they will be familiar.

Applicants will string a racquet installing a nylon string in the mains and polyester string in the crosses. Applicants will be given approximately 20 feet (6 meters) of nylon string and approximately 20 feet (6 meters) of polyester string and should be sure to bring a frame that accommodates these string lengths. The frame must also accommodate two lengths of string (with 4 tie-off holes).

Applicant displays proper stringing techniques.

  • Inspects unstrung frame.
  • Mounts frame in machine to prevent any marring, distortion or frame damage.
  • Inspects both strings properly.
  • Installs string according to frame manufacturer’s specifications in accordance with USRSA guidelines.
  • Ensures string clamps are adjusted to avoid slippage and/or crushing string.
  • Maintains integrity of string and frame throughout stringing process.
  • Produces top quality string job within 15-45 minutes for maximum point value.
  • Must complete string job within 50 minutes.

HANDLE SIZING/GRIP INSTALLATION PRACTICAL

All applicants will increase the handle size of their racquet by one size using a provided heat-shrink sleeve. A heat gun and other tools will be provided for installing the sleeve. Applicants must also install a synthetic replacement grip to the racquet. Grips provided will include a self-adhesive backing, eliminating the need for two-sided tape. Staple guns and other related tools are provided for installing the grip.

Applicant displays proper handle sizing and gripping techniques.

  • Cleans and prepares handle surface.
  • Properly applies build-up material from very butt end (with butt cap left in place) to top of handle.
  • Aligns build-up material within 1/16 inch (2 mm) of very butt end (butt cap is built up).
  • Trims any excess build-up material and ensures bevels are maintained.
  • Makes sure grip is secured to butt to prevent slippage by adhesive backing or stapled if needed.
  • Aligns grip end with butt edge (no more than 1/16-inch or 2 mm space).
  • Completely covers build-up material with replacement grip.
  • Wraps grip for right-hander with appropriate overlap (no more than 1/16 inch or 2 mm).
  • Properly trims and secures grip end neatly with finishing tape.
  • Must complete handle sizing/grip replacement within 20 minutes.

Professional Racquet Advisor

PRA certification is designed for individuals that are in a position to provide advice and expertise about racquets and strings but may not actually string or service the racquets. PRA applicants must pass a comprehensive written exam comprised of multiple choice, true/false, and short answer questions covering the following topics: Frame Inspection, Frame Technology, String Technology, Racquet Evaluation, Customer Service, and Manufacturer’s Technology. Written exam must be completed within 90 minutes.

PRA certification must be maintained by passing an annual written update test designed to demonstrate understanding of the year’s significant new technologies. This update test will be “open book,” and will be administered through email and/or an online form.

Grading

PRA Full Exam

Applicants must score 84% or higher on the written exam.

MRT and CS Full Exam

Applicants must: A) score 84% or higher on the written section; B) achieve an evaluative score of 14 (out of 17 possible points) on the string/grommet removal and grommet replacement section; C) achieve an evaluative score of 84% on the stringing section and; D) execute building up and gripping a handle without any errors. In addition, the stringing score sheet contains 8 criteria which must be met to achieve a passing score, regardless of the point total. These include: alternating tensioning of mains (no more than 3 strings ahead on one side), pulling one string at a time, avoiding notching of mains during weaving, installing pattern specified by manufacturer, avoiding crossovers at the head, avoiding any misweaves in the string face, turning in a frame without cracks or broken/cracked/unseated grommets, completing the bumper/grommet removal and replacement within 20 minutes, completing the string job within 45 minutes, and completing the handle sizing/grip replacement within 20 minutes.

  • The practical sections will be evaluated by the tester and racquets will then be returned to the applicants.
  • The USRSA will score the written section and evaluate the tester’s scores on the practical score sheet.
  • Applicants will receive test results within four weeks of the test date.
  • Applicants must pass all four sections to become a Master Racquet Technician (MRT) or Certified Stringer.
  • Applicant must complete written sections within 90 minutes (1.5 hours).
  • Applicant must complete bumper/grommet removal and replacement within 20 minutes.
  • Applicant must complete stringing portion within 50 minutes.
  • Applicant must complete handle sizing/grip replacement within 20 minutes.