Q. I'm ranked Top 10 nationally in the G12 and under, and I heard from other players who are/have been in the Top 10 nationally that you can get a clothing sponsorship. I got really excited, because when you play at a high level, it becomes crucial that you have comfortable clothing that doesn't get soaked with sweat and stick to your skin, especially when it's 100 degrees and you're out there in a third set tiebreaker. Many of the sports apparel sold in typical stores are ridiculously expensive. I sent an email to a leading manufacturer asking about this matter, but they never responded. Is there a more promising way to contact these sports clothing companies, or do you have to wait for one of their representatives to come up and ask you in person?
A. Is there any company out there that wants to support a promising 12-year-old girl from California? It might be appropriate, for juniors and especially parents, to ask how a company would benefit by giving free clothing to a 7th grader. To answer your question directly: If you are good enough, they will find you.
Believe it or not, I get a variation of this same question frequently. Editorially, I offer that too many juniors are overly concerned about receiving sponsorships. Many simply want to state proudly that they are “sponsored by blah blah blah.” It is a troubling tendency, and may be somewhat unique to our sport. Can you imagine a Little League baseball star expecting free bats, gloves, sunglasses, etc.? Instead, simply work on developing your game and, eventually, if you become successful enough, you will enjoy all the spoils of becoming a great athlete.