Don’t judge a book by its cover. Advice literature teachers told us throughout high school and college. I don’t know about you, but I never abide by that rule. Have I missed out on some good books? Probably, but if they’re that good I’ll get around to them eventually. If people judge books by their covers, what’s to stop them from judging your athletic department by your uniforms?
Today we have three tips and six links that will have your athletic department looking sharp!
Have a Plan
Do you know when you’re going to purchase new uniforms? Or do you just purchase on an as-needed basis?
As in your personal budget, you want to plan for the expenses and be ready to pay for them. If you sit back and wait for the need for new uniforms to present itself, then it may come at a time when your program can’t pay for them.
We recommend a uniform cycle. Predetermine when you will purchase new uniforms for each team. This allows you to save up for purchases.
Place each team on a schedule. Then stagger the schedule of all the teams so that you are purchasing about the same number each year.
It’s also a good idea to pair expensive uniforms (varsity cheerleading) with non-expensive uniforms (elementary basketball) in the same year. If you get two high-cost sports in the same year it will hurt your budget.
How long should your cycle be? We’ve included the uniform cycle for VBA below. You’ll notice that each team gets new uniforms every fourth year.
The reason why we opt for a four year cycle is so that an athlete that plays a sport for four years is guaranteed to break in a new set of uniforms at some point.
Nothing beats putting on a brand new uniform for a high school athlete. Make your sports programs exciting for them.
Make a plan, write it down, and do your best to stick to it.
Don’t Get Burned
If you’ve been an AD for any length of time, then you’ve gotten burned when purchasing uniforms. Hopefully, you’ve learned from those mistakes. If you’re a first time purchaser, however, beware of getting burned.
When purchasing uniforms for your varsity teams stay away from discount dealers. There are thousands of online dealers that can get you “custom” uniforms for cheap. Steer clear of these guys. Their products are more than likely poor quality and aesthetically unappealing (ugly).
When purchasing new uniforms, remember the age old adage, “You get what you pay for.”
Also, beware of poor screen printers. If you order from a more recognized athletic company, then their screen printers more than likely know what they’re doing. They do thousands of orders a year so they know what looks right.
However, be careful taking your brand new Nikes to the local sports shop that does t-shirts for field days and softball teams. You might save some money, but they might not come out the way you planned.
It’s also important to know what’s in style. You can get burned by purchasing uniforms that are laughably out of style. Our general rule is not to purchase uniforms that are more than three years old.
Are your kids in dazzle material uniforms? Then you purchased uniforms that are out of style.
Do your research, know who you’re buying from, and make sure they know what YOU want.
Same but Different
If you want your uniforms to show that you run a first class athletic department, then you should keep a uniform look amongst your uniforms.
Obviously your colors will be the same on all your uniforms for the most part. However, you should find small, subtle things to tie all of your uniforms together.
An easy way to keep subtle consistency is to use the same brand for all of your purchases. At VBA, we use Adidas. We’re not sponsored by them. However, to keep a uniform look all of our stuff is done through them.
Whether it’s using the same font on all the jerseys, or placing a small logo at the top of the back above the number; keep subtle similarities in every set of uniforms you purchase.
Remember too, less is more.
Just because the company you’re using offers fifteen custom options doesn’t mean you have to use them all on one set of uniforms.
Take it easy or else your kids will look like a third tier Mexican soccer team.
Identify your subtle consistency, include it in all your new sets, and avoid having an ugly cover to your book.
Most importantly, don’t look at your uniform purchases as isolated incidents, but view them as a program within your program.
Some Helpful Companies for all Budgets
TheAthleticDirectors.com is not compensated for the following information. It’s just here to help you out in your uniform purchasing program.
If you’re looking for affordable uniforms for your elementary, junior high, or JV teams then Epic Sports is a great place to start.
GTM Sportswear is a great company that offers quality uniforms. They also can help you keep that uniform look. Their products are just as good as the big name brands.
We have no experience with Intrepid Sports, but they offer professional looking basketball and football uniforms for incredible prices.
BSN Sports is a huge company with anything you could need for your sports program. They are licensed dealers for Nike and Under Armor, but they also offer quality off-brand items. In our experience, they will match any price.
Eastbay Team Sales is also a good source for almost any brand or sport that you can think of.
At VBA, we have recently started working with 323 Sports. Many of you know about them already. They are licensed Adidas dealers so it works out great for our program. 323 is a Christian company that provide uniforms for many programs regardless of size and status. Check them out, you won’t be disappointed. Having worked with all but one of the companies mentioned above, believe me when I say that 323 Sports is the way to go.
Do you have any advice that you think should be added in a Christian school’s uniform program?