ERSA Symposium 2019 - Stringing Mecca
During the 5th - 9th April, ERSA International hosted it's annual symposium in Cambridge, UK. I was really hoping to be part of the symposium but unfortunately couldn't attend. I had a very good reason though, as I was with my son in Dublin at the Home International where he was representing Wales (so, a pretty good excuse, not to mention the Guinness!).
Nick Down was kind enough to write a report on the weekend, which gives a great insight into a fantastic event. Schedule permitting, I'll be at next year's event!
The weekend of 5th to 9th of April saw the Annual European Racquet Stringers Association International (ERSA) Symposium take place in The UK for the first time, in Cambridge at the famous University's St Catherine's College. With over 70 attendees including all the presenters, mostly from outside the Uk from as far away as China, Brazil and Seattle in the USA.
One of my roles is as the Global Squash Manager for ERSA and it turned out to be a busy weekend. Kicking off with a welcome gathering at the College on the Friday evening, mostly renewing old acquaintances and making some new ones too. Saturday, Sunday and Monday saw a full daily program of presentations, workshops, trips and Private Stringing lessons with one of the 4 or 5 Master Pro Tour Stringers present at the event.
I was involved in some admin tasks in the morning and then gave a presentation around an update on Squash within the ERSA, which included, recent changes to the PSA World Tour tournament structure, details of any notable new rackets with regard to any more challenging Patterns and then the structure of the available squash stringing qualifications through the ERSA.
When the days presentations were complete, there was an opportunity for a small group to take part in a simulated Tournament Stringing Room experience lead by Paul Skipp, head stringer at Wimbledon for the last five years or so. I was engaged in delivering three consecutive private squash stringing lessons and the day concluded for me with an ERSA Managers Meeting before going off to find some dinner.
Sunday and Monday were the same format, although I had no more presentations to give but had more lessons each day towards the end of the afternoon sessions. On Monday afternoon, I ran three 90 minute squash stringing Workshops, mostly based on difficult patterns and the differences between Tennis and Squash stringing. The Guys and Gals taking the workshops were mostly either Tennis or Badminton Stringers that had never strung any squash rackets, or were finding that they were getting more squash rackets to string and needed to know more about it.
The Event was supported by Head, Ashaway, Dunlop, Babolat, Yonex, Luxilon and a large number of Less well known Brands, most of whom had their wares on display and/or gave a presentation about their products. There were Stringing machines from Head, Babolat, Dunlop, Yonex and Wilson, Which were in use throughout the Symposium.event.
Most people said their goodbyes and left on Monday evening but not all. Tuesday morning, as is normal, was set up for anyone wishing to take any certifications and I was back on duty to administer any squash tests, of which I only had 1 candidate, Mathew Mathew, from the USA, Who succeeded in passing the Pro-Tour Squash Stringer Level 1 Certification. There were about 7 taking various different levels of Tennis Exams too. It was all over by lunchtime and everyone went their separate ways.
Other trips during the weekend included a visit to a local Real Tennis Centre to see a Racket strung and have a go at playing on the court. Play testing various new Racquets at Cambridge Tennis Club and some attendees took a punt on the river.
Next year's event is going to either be in Spain or Croatia, it's open to anyone. If anyone wants more information on the ERSA and particularly the squash side, please get in touch.
ERSA Master Pro-Tour Squash Stringer
ERSA Global Squash Manager