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They say it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert in any field, but that's beginner stuff to you. The hours of training everyday have spun into years grinding you from a novice to someone who regularly leaves mouths hanging ajar in awe. You're ready to take that next step up but how exactly do you become a sponsored athlete?
By turning to local stores that specialise in your sport, you may find a means of sponsorship by discounted or free sporting goods. While you're not directly earning a salary it's a great start and means you're spending way less on just keeping up with the sport. If you're good enough that the elite sport brands start sniffing at your door, then having an existing relationship with a company will look good for you. However it's not only about the sport...
Knowing the Brand
If you believe that talent alone is what will get you the sponsorship deal that dreams are made of, think again. Ultimately, you are entering into a contract with the company: be the best you can be in and out of the sport and the company will cover the costs. When deciding who to take on, companies will try to get a read on your personality and if that matches their brand.
If you come across as arrogant or rude in interviews, that's not going to encourage sales of the company's product and you become unmarketable. So before knocking on doors asking for sponsoring, get this down. Team manager for Burton, Frankie Chaplin, has this to say:
"Personality is major... If you’re a mega nerd, poor at speaking under pressure, come off as a jerk, act cocky, etc. – these things will prevent you from going anywhere. If you want to be pro – super pro or not – you need to have an image that other kids want to latch on to."
Build a Profile Now
With the quality of recording equipment getting higher and physically smaller with each passing year, there almost becomes no excuse not to have your own social media presence. You might begin by inviting your friends and getting them to post some videos of you performing but that can quickly expand to friends of friends as you keep posting content. You might not hit the millions, but you're getting yourself out there and that says a lot about your commitment.
One that is frankly easier said than done, especially if you play in a team sport. However winning amateur and semi-pro competitions will absolutely take you to the places you want to go. These events may or may not have important people spectating, however placing high will bolster any application you send to prospective sponsors. This is certainly a method of getting a local sponsor, which will help you make the step-up to semi-pro one day. Keep performing at that level and one day the big brands will come looking for you to become a sponsored athlete.
Check out our other how to blog posts like how to stay safe during a wipe out. Though if you're reading this post you'll know all about how to stay safe.