Most people have heard the old saying, “if you look good then you will perform good”. Rubbish? Maybe not.
There seems to be some psychology and functional evidence to support that wearing a specific uniform to compete may give you an edge. Let’s start with the intimidation factor.
According to Psychology Today, “People make their assessments in the first few seconds of seeing another.” So why wouldn’t you want to grab your competition’s attention when you step into the arena? This is your opportunity to get them shaking in their shoes because you look so marvelous and fast.
Color Me a Winner
If you are aiming for a new personal record or a trip atop the medal stand maybe red is your color.
According to BBC, “Research conducted during the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens showed that competitors in taekwondo, boxing and wrestling who wore red clothing or body protection had a higher chance of winning.”
Any way you slice it a good fitting, well designed and technologically advanced material is important when selecting your gear. Stretchable and breathable material without bulk hits the mark in almost all sports. From basketball to cheerleading, fabric that moves with your body and wicks moisture away from your skin is very important.
Here are some top materials used in uniforms and how they work.
- Moisture-wicking polyester maintains durability and comfort while wicking moisture away from your body.
- Double knit polyester is used in sports that require very durable uniforms.
- For good air flow, mesh polyester is a top pick, but does not have the durability and can absorb odors.
- Polyester cotton blend material is breathable and comfortable as well as resists shrinkage.
- Even the logo plays a role in the comfort of a uniform. Old style screen printing does not hold a candle to sublimated graphics on your uniform.
- Sublimated graphics maintains the breathability and movement while maximizing the performance of your uniform.
Depending on your sport, there can be plenty of styles to choose from. In track and field you have unitards, racerbacks, briefs, tights, compression tights and the list goes on.
Quality construction, design, and comfort all play roles in the selection of the best uniform for you. If you need a lot of mobility and compete in warmer weather, racerback tops tend to be the preferred choice.
If you like the feel of compression tights and believe that this material will keep your muscles in place and improves blood flow, then it is probably the best selection for you to compete in.
When selecting a uniform consider your environment. Are you in a sport that competes outside in the summer? If so, a breathable, light colored fabric may be just what the doctor ordered. Maybe you are in a sport that straddles several seasons, like track and cross country. With those sports, it is advisable to look for rain and wind-blocking warm-ups to put over your uniform.
With some indoor sports, you may not need to worry about temperature, but rather color and design. Eye-catching graphics and colors can be your focus.
It’s All in your Mind
At the end of the day there is nothing to replace hard work and dedicated training, but if you believe that sports are 80 percent mental and 20 percent physical your mentality will play a huge role in how you perform and allow you a clear mind to focus on the task at hand.
So, the next time you are selecting your uniform you will be armed with tools to hit all the marks and land at the top of the medal stand.
Gwen Mikinski is a former world-class high jumper and 2012 Olympic Coach in Track and Field. She is a member of the Kansas State University Athletic Hall of Fame and sought after fitness expert and consultant. She has published two videos and one book on high jump training.