Undoubtedly one of the most labor intensive – and important, tasks for any coach or program administrator is the selection and purchase of team uniforms for their athletes. As the largest direct-to-coach uniform outfitter in youth basketball (and now volleyball and esports), POINT3 works with thousands of teams to ensure their players have best-in-class uniforms, delivered on time and on budget.
Uniforms are the best representation of your program’s brand and after coaching, the most direct touch point an athlete and their parents have with your program. So it’s critical to consider all factors when selecting a uniform provider. To help prepare our partners for the uniform selection and ordering process, we created this brief guide on what to look for and consider when purchasing kits for your program.
Remember, looking good + feeling good = playing good!
Budget and Resources
Determine your available budget for uniforms, including any potential sponsors or fundraising opportunities. Consider the team’s financial resources and prioritize your budget to make decisions on what type of items should be included in your kit (uniforms, travel gear, footwear, bags), what type of uniforms you order (stock – usually less expensive/less customization; or sublimation – usually more expensive/more customization) and who gets gear (players, parents, coaches)
Timing and Deadlines
When does your season start? Most reputable uniform outfitters need a minimum of 3-4 weeks from order completion to delivery, so work the timeline backwards to ensure you avoid the #1 problem in uniforms – late delivery! Be sure your supplier has sufficient inventory on hand for your program’s needs and capacity to deliver on time.
Does your program have an existing logo? It should define the program’s identity and values. Consider the team’s colors, name, and any unique aspects that reflect the team’s spirit. Align the uniform design with the team’s identity to foster a sense of unity and pride.
Make sure your uniform numbers are visible to college coaches from the stands. This is more important than you think and is often overlooked.
Comfort and Functionality
Prioritize comfort and functionality for athletes. Choose materials that are breathable, durable, and suitable for the sport. Consider factors such as flexibility, moisture-wicking properties, and weather conditions. As an example (shameless plug) POINT3 uniforms are powered by DRYV ®, a patented textile technology that incorporates an absorbent outer layer – like a towel built right into your gear to keep hands and face dry without leaving the court or field of play!
Fit, Sizing and Inclusivity
Take into account the diverse body types and sizes of team members. Opt for uniform options that accommodate various sizes and provide a comfortable fit for everyone. Consider consulting team members and taking measurements to ensure a proper fit. Aim for uniform designs that are inclusive and considerate of all team members. If applicable, provide options that accommodate different gender expressions and preferences.
Regulations and Guidelines
Familiarize yourself with any regulations or guidelines set by the governing bodies of the sport. Ensure that the selected uniforms comply with these standards to avoid any disqualifications or penalties.
Research reputable suppliers or manufacturers that offer quality uniforms within the allocated budget. Request samples or catalogs to assess the material quality and design options. Compare prices, delivery times, and customer reviews before finalizing the order.
Feedback and Involvement
Consider involving team members in the decision-making process. Seek their input and preferences to promote a sense of ownership and unity. Consider conducting a team vote or survey to gather opinions and make the final decision collectively!
Uniforms don’t need to be a pain point. Follow the steps above to make team uniforms one of the most fun and fulfilling parts of running a youth sports program!
Thank you to Point3 Gear for the contributions in this article. For more from iSport360, please click here to find out how we make player development a priority.