While there are certainly many ways to get a tennis sponsor, some basic first steps would be:
1. Get a competitive coach. Not all coaches will encourage or guide you to competitive matches and tournaments even though they may be great instructors and people. Ideally, a coach has a lot of experience in both improving players' games and in preparing them for match play in a professional environment. Very generally speaking, this mindset and professional track is found in Florida. Frequently, younger players with a lot of potential go to tennis schools, like Nick Bollettieri's, to receive expert coaching, conditioning, and guidance.
2. Play a lot of matches and improve your ranking statewide and then nationwide. Get as many matches under your belt before you attempt larger tournaments (meaning anything on the pro circuit; see the USTA Web site and ITF Web site for dates and listings).
3. When you win a fairly large tournament or even match (if you were ranked below your opponent prior to the match, for example), try and network with the professionals there, either coaches or players. Hopefully, your coach will be doing this as well. Use your day's success to introduce yourself to the players that are being watched by potential sponsors or are already sponsored, and then you can research that player's history. Compare your experiences: how fast did his or her ranking rise as compared to your ranking, for example. Once you know the sponsor market, you can begin preparing.
4. Some good preparation ideas are getting a video of your shots (forehand, backhand, the always-important serve, etc.) and knowing what you are worth before you are even approached. This way, if you are approached by a potential sponsor, you are ready to act on the opportunity.
So, in sum: get a great coach, play a lot of matches, improve your ranking, and talk to people who are already sponsored.
Tom Gullickson is best known for being the coach of many pro tennis players, including Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras, and Jennifer Capraiti. He was also the Davis Cup captain from 1994 to 1999, winning the cup in 1995.
In the past, Tom was known for being a twin: his brother, Tim, was also an excellent tennis player. The two played professionally for more than a decade. Both retired in 1986, with ten doubles titles won together, and went on to coach well-known players.
Doug MacCurdy was Director of USA Tennis Player Development from 1998 to 2001 and was Director of Development for the International Tennis Federation as well as its General Manager. Doug is also a published author on the sport of tennis with Strokes for Success. He is best known for his “academic” contributions to the sport, whereas Gullickson was more active in competitions, either as player or coach.
Playing a “rubber” or a “rubber game” can mean two things, depending on the situation and the activity. Most commonly, the term “rubber” is used in card games to indicate a version of the game; for instance, rubber bridge instead of duplicate bridge.
In sports, however, a rubber game is a tiebreak. In baseball, it would be the last game of a three game series; in tennis, it would be played when each player had won six games in one set.
A less formal use of the word “rubber” means, loosely, “a round.” In other words, playing a rubber of tennis would entail a shorter game than the full three or five set match. This use of the word, though, is very rare, especially outside the United Kingdom.
Tennis theme summer camps are probably one of the best ways to build your child's skills. Usually camps specializing in this sport provide private and group lessons everyday. They also offer kids experience in match play by hosting their own youth tennis tournaments. If your child shows exceptional skills in tennis you might want to send him/her to a year 'round tennis camp known as a tennis academy. Here your child will receive schooling in addition to tennis lessons and playing in junior tennis tournaments.
Male Tennis professionals are part of the ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals) the female equivalent is known as the WTA. Both organizations are in charge of tabulating the player rankings. This is done by adding up the points a player accumulates over the tournament year. Points are earned from winning or getting to later rounds of a WTA and ATP sponsored tennis tournaments. Players earn the most points during grand slam tournaments.
USTA stands for United States Tennis Association. If you are planning to play any sanctioned USTA tennis tournaments you need to be a member in order to compete. It doesn't matter if you are playing junior (youth) or senior tournaments, to be eligible for a ranking a USTA card is a must. Membership costs around $15 for juniors and about $35 for adults. Other than being able to play tennis tournaments a USTA membership offers other benefits like advanced ticket purchase opportunities for tournaments, plus travel discounts to Grand Slam Tournaments.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|