We begin the new year by announcing to our friends and customers that after careful consideration and review we have decided to embark upon a philosophical journey to Paris, France. Paris is the home of John Elliot, better know to tennis message board enthusiasts as “JayCeeParis.” John, an accomplished stringer and leader in the development of poly-based tennis strings, defies modern stringing convention with his unique understandings and concepts. His beliefs and methodologies do tend to wander away from the mainstream, but the underlying intention is to strive to reach perfection…perfection in all things related to tennis equipment so that it will be easier for players to reach their full potential on court.
In order to enter into the world of JayCee, one must be willing to let go of sometimes long held beliefs and be open to a new way of doing things. Instead of striving for excellence, the new goal is to strive for perfection…reaching it by whatever means are necessary to get there.
My personal journey begins with an open mind. I intend to document my journey and hope that other stringers/coaches/players may choose to join me at some point along the way.
The journey actually began near the end of 2010. I began reading as many of John’s internet writings as possible. I even used Google to translate discussion boards that were written in French in an effort to learn as much as possible. I became convinced through my readings, my personal interactions and my own personal experimentation, that John Elliot is a man of wisdom, courage and creativity. Much can be learned from his lifetime of devotion to achieving stringing perfection. In short, I have found a new mentor.
My new mentor is quirky, but I like that. He has accepted me into his world with open arms and even invited me to join him in his “Tennis Chalet” in Paris for some individual mentoring and instruction. While I would dearly love to take him up on his invitation, my irrational fear flying makes this opportunity unlikely.
Still, I am confident I will be successful in a self-directed study in which I learn, practice and refine the JayCee method of stringing. The goal is to reach beyond excellence into the world of perfection for my stringing customers.
First order of business is to begin introducing my customers to the world of lower string tensions when using poly-based strings. I have blogged about this at the end of last year and it is one of the cornerstones of the new method. These lower tensions are used as a reference for a unique stringing process. The process will be made available later through our web site and is already available if you search carefully enough at StringForum.net. Of course I am already tweaking the process and am unsure whether these tweaks will be make public or not. I do feel the need to have some trade secrets. 🙂
Another challenge that I overcame is related to equipment. I have ALWAYS used fixed clamping systems believing them to be the most accurate and consistent. After reviewing JayCee’s writings, I opened myself to the possibility that Stringway flying clamps may be more consistent. Deep down I did not believe that I would find them to outperform the clamping system on my state-of-the-art Wilson Baiardo or my Babolat Star 5, but they did. I am much closer to achieving what John calls WYSIWYG. What You STRING Is What You Get. I’m not there yet, but growing closer as I refine my technique. BTW, the Stringway clamping system consists of a triple flying clamp and the regular flying clamp. My friend Mark at New Tech Tennis is the distributor.
Which leads me to the next big gulp I have to take. In using the flying clamps I have had to let go of a deeply held belief that one should NEVER double pull. Using JayCee’s method, there are up to 5 instances where double pulling is recommended. While the USRSA refuses to acknowledge this as an acceptable pratice, the Executive Director has confirmed that JayCee’s method results in some of the most astonishingly accurate and consistent stringbeds he has measured. Always remember, the USRSA exists and sets guidelines for the masses, not the innovative fringe.
So what does all of this mean? Well, it means I have learned that my state-of-the-art stringing equipment may not be the most accurate due to less than perfect clamping systems and motors that are overpowered in pulling tension. These are issues that can be rectified so that perfection can be achieved.
It really means that I am going to be much better equipped moving forward to truly help my customers achieve more on the courts. The methods we will perfect during the coming year will unshackle the tennis equipment and allow players to have even more fun and satisfaction as they participate in the wonderful and exhilarating sport of tennis. I will continue documenting the journey through this blog and hope that interested readers will stay tuned!