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afscoach

Uniform Advice Needed

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I'm the coach of a middle school team at a fairly small independent school.  We've had great participation numbers in the past (last year, literally 1 in 5 of our middle school students was on the wrestling team!) though our numbers were down this year.

As part of injecting enthusiasm back into the program, we are looking at getting new uniforms for our middle school team next year.  I've informally polled this year's team as well as some of our high school wrestlers, and there's no clear direction on whether to continue with singlets or to move to some kind of two-piece uniform.

Can anyone give feedback on these questions?  Again, this is for a MIDDLE SCHOOL team (I know I'm posting in the high school wrestling topic, but only because the "youth wrestling" topic seems to be fairly inactive).

(1) Have any programs switched from the singlet to the two-piece (either with compression shorts or fight shorts) and seen an increase in participation?  Or switched and saw no difference?

(2) For coaches who have tried the two-piece: Is there a preference for compression shorts vs fight shorts?  Pros and cons?

(3) We are a small school with a limited budget - any recommendations for companies to use?  We know that no matter what kind of uniform we do, it will be sublimated (our old uniforms are screen printed - we're not doing that anymore).  We'd probably be ordering 20-25 uniforms.

Thanks in advance for your feedback.

 

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Anything wrong with the current singlets?

If not, I’d definitely go for the 2-piece and if they don’t work out you can always go back to the old singlets (and I think they might even be able to wear either one of I’m not mistaken?).  It’s not a definite that the 2-piece will help participation but I’d say there’s a lot better chance it does than just a new singlet.  

Haven’t really heard too much about their functionality but I think they look pretty good.  I’d say go for the fight shorts as compression shorts aren’t much different from a singlet IMO.

This article brings up an interesting point - https://www.myleaderpaper.com/sports/the-county-line-singlet-or--piece-wrestlers-grapple-with/article_32c51d18-01f1-11e8-adca-ab918885cc0d.html - have you discussed with the HS coach to see if they use or have any interest in using the 2-piece in the future?  If not, you could end up having kids get used to the 2 piece that don’t want to go back to the singlet (I wouldn’t imagine someone who actually enjoyed wrestling and was any good would do that but you never know).

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Two pieces have been a huge help in getting new kids out for the sport. You have to publicize that "you don't have to wear a singlet." Most of the veterans will still want to wear singlets though. 

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afscoach, I work for a company that creates all this gear.  From the feedback I have heard over the last year or so, no one has really had anything bad to say about the two piece uniforms.  There have been a couple teams that seem to think it really helped with upping their numbers this year.  Not trying to solicit on here, so send me a DM if you have any other questions or need help.

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Thanks for the responses so far...

1032004... Actually, there is something wrong with our current singlets - they look old, and the screen-printing (even on the ones that we just got in the fall) is falling off.  We need to go with new, sublimated uniforms, and stick with our choice.  The old singlets will be trashed.  Your point about fight shorts vs. compression shorts makes sense.  Great point re: talking with the HS coach, I will do that.

ptz305... just making sure... is this something you know from experience?  I know what you're saying is the conventional wisdom, I'm looking for evidence to back it up.  Two-pieces are more expensive - if it's not going to really make a difference in participation, I'm not sure why to bother going that route, you know?  You're absolutely right, though - all but one of the current wrestlers I polled said they're happy to stick with the singlet, but obviously they'll wrestle no matter what.  This is about getting new kids on the mat.

stonerd7... thanks, I will DM you.

One last thing to add - I absolutely agree that compression shirt and fight shorts are a better "look" for the team than singlets - my concern is also about functionality.  Any concerns there?

Thanks again, appreciate the advice.

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On 2/27/2019 at 1:09 PM, afscoach said:

I'm the coach of a middle school team at a fairly small independent school.  We've had great participation numbers in the past (last year, literally 1 in 5 of our middle school students was on the wrestling team!) though our numbers were down this year.

As part of injecting enthusiasm back into the program, we are looking at getting new uniforms for our middle school team next year.  I've informally polled this year's team as well as some of our high school wrestlers, and there's no clear direction on whether to continue with singlets or to move to some kind of two-piece uniform.

Can anyone give feedback on these questions?  Again, this is for a MIDDLE SCHOOL team (I know I'm posting in the high school wrestling topic, but only because the "youth wrestling" topic seems to be fairly inactive).

(1) Have any programs switched from the singlet to the two-piece (either with compression shorts or fight shorts) and seen an increase in participation?  Or switched and saw no difference?

(2) For coaches who have tried the two-piece: Is there a preference for compression shorts vs fight shorts?  Pros and cons?

(3) We are a small school with a limited budget - any recommendations for companies to use?  We know that no matter what kind of uniform we do, it will be sublimated (our old uniforms are screen printed - we're not doing that anymore).  We'd probably be ordering 20-25 uniforms.

Thanks in advance for your feedback.

 

I am an assistant coach at what many would consider a very successful middle school program.  We switched to the fight shorts and compression shirts two years ago in hopes of growing our numbers from about 25 kids to 40 kids.  It didn't increase our numbers and the head coach informed me just this week that we were going back to singlets for next season.

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Bryan, thanks for replying.  If you don't mind giving a bit more info - why did your head coach decide to go back to singlets?  Was something not going as well with the two-piece?  If the school already paid the money, why not just stick with the two-piece, even if it didn't help grow your program?  Thanks.

 

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6 hours ago, afscoach said:

Bryan, thanks for replying.  If you don't mind giving a bit more info - why did your head coach decide to go back to singlets?  Was something not going as well with the two-piece?  If the school already paid the money, why not just stick with the two-piece, even if it didn't help grow your program?  Thanks.

 

The head coach is more of a traditionalist that was willing to try anything to increase the numbers.  One issue is that it was difficult for the wrestlers to keep the shirts tucked into their shorts properly.  IMO, the singlets truly look better.

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So I saw the Biglerville (next to Gettysburg) team the last 3 weekends. Didn't see them using singlets in any session. They wore short sleeve t-shirts and tight shorts. But very short shorts. Like a two inch inseam, really looked like girls shorts. Kind of defeats the purpose of replacing the singlet does it not. They do have a decent young team, but I expect that is the new coach and his freshman 106 pounder son. wouldn't be surprised if he becomes their best guy since Chris Marshall, who of course was there but a single season. .

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 Another homer post by me, but Rudis is doing good things as a wrestling company.  Matt Dernlan comes from a small school.  If I was you, I'd send some e-mails to those fellas.  

 

Good luck!  

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3 hours ago, stp said:

 Another homer post by me, but Rudis is doing good things as a wrestling company.  Matt Dernlan comes from a small school.  If I was you, I'd send some e-mails to those fellas.  

 

Good luck!  

Rudis is going to be very pricey....they charge $25 for a shirt that costs them about $3.

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All of my college teammates still stay in touch.  Some coach highschool, some middle school, and some college.  The college coaches were adamant the uniform change wouldnt help.  I disagreed.  Two of us are the head coach of both the middle school and highschool, and we switched to the 2 piece to increase numbers at the middle school level.  We really pumped up the gear, let the captains wear them during PE, and mine had a less traditional design, with colors and designs that middle schoolers are more drawn to.  They were about half the cost of high quality singlets.  It was the first year I had the team.  Previous year before I took over they had 18 kids, last year we had 37.  He went from 25 to 40.  These are very very small schools.  I believe they were the difference.  I coach PE, and I sub during my prep periods.  I would ask all of my kids to wrestle.  Every year, at least 10 kids would say the uniforms looked "gay" and they didnt want to wear them.  I would guess many others felt the same way.

 

One positive aspect was if kids forgot their stuff, almost always someone on the team would have something they could have swapped in.  One negative was I had to do double the laundry

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Thanks for the continued replies.  "olddirty", could you please tell me where you got your two-piece uniforms?  Because every single place I've looked, the two-piece is MORE expensive than the singlet, not less.  And money is definitely a factor for our program.  Thanks for your time.

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10 hours ago, afscoach said:

Thanks for the continued replies.  "olddirty", could you please tell me where you got your two-piece uniforms?  Because every single place I've looked, the two-piece is MORE expensive than the singlet, not less.  And money is definitely a factor for our program.  Thanks for your time.

Two-pieces are more expensive, but you can get standard "blank" shorts and then a sublimated custom design top to save some money.

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11 hours ago, afscoach said:

Thanks for the continued replies.  "olddirty", could you please tell me where you got your two-piece uniforms?  Because every single place I've looked, the two-piece is MORE expensive than the singlet, not less.  And money is definitely a factor for our program.  Thanks for your time.

I used a sublimation company out of China.  I can get away with this because I know how to put the artwork in vector form and be loaded and ready to go, so I can skip basically everyone on the front end.  There is a company that I use for most of my gear that beats most prices and thats TriTitans out of California.  The owner was my assistant coach.  Great customer service, pretty fast, best prices.

 

Not sure how design savvy or tech savvy you are, but you can get a fully sublimated and totally custom set of 20 or more 2 pieces for less than $20 total for each set off of Alibaba.

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On 3/5/2019 at 10:17 AM, olddirty said:

 

Not sure how design savvy or tech savvy you are, but you can get a fully sublimated and totally custom set of 20 or more 2 pieces for less than $20 total for each set off of Alibaba.

With this being somewhat of a new market some companies are jumping into I’m a little hesitant on the wear and tear quality of some random brands.   Having a sales rep available that can help prove the quality of the product and stand behind any early failure (rips/stitching) seems like it’s maybe worth a few extra dollars a set.  Maybe the difference between buying a new set each year or a new set lasting several years.  For some schools and clubs the extreme cosr up front maybe better the the lack of available uniforms in a couple years.  

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27 minutes ago, MadMardigain said:

With this being somewhat of a new market some companies are jumping into I’m a little hesitant on the wear and tear quality of some random brands.   Having a sales rep available that can help prove the quality of the product and stand behind any early failure (rips/stitching) seems like it’s maybe worth a few extra dollars a set.  Maybe the difference between buying a new set each year or a new set lasting several years.  For some schools and clubs the extreme cosr up front maybe better the the lack of available uniforms in a couple years.  

I have the same thought.  I appreciate what "olddirty" wrote and I'm glad that he is able to make the cheaper option work for him.  But I'm thinking that it will be worth it to pay the cost upfront and hopefully have the uniforms last several years.  (Plus, I'm not tech-savvy and I'm not going to create my own vector artwork.)

I do like the work of Tri-Titans.  I'm in PA, though, and at this point we're looking at MyHouse, which is closer to us and has similar pricing (actually a bit less).

Thanks again for the replies, all.  Now I just need to see if the athletic department will pay for two-piece uniforms.

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I ordered a set last year for our high school team from Go Earn It---they were awesome to work with (our gear is on their catalog pages) and price point was low enough to make it worthwhile. $45 for singlets and I think $70 for 2-piece. 

I initially thought it would help encourage more numbers but it hasn't impacted ours. In fact, most of our kids have turned the fight shorts into a warm up instead of using them in competition so it wasn't a waste of money totally. All of my kids wanted to stick with singlets even when they had they option. 

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12 minutes ago, coachwendell said:


I initially thought it would help encourage more numbers but it hasn't impacted ours. In fact, most of our kids have turned the fight shorts into a warm up instead of using them in competition so it wasn't a waste of money totally. All of my kids wanted to stick with singlets even when they had they option. 

I’ve found that wrestlers who have spent a few years in the sport wearing the singlet often don’t have much of an issue of sticking with the singlet.   It’s usually the newcomers who tend to be a little hesitant about it.   If the newcomers do stick it out enough to like it and most of the team moves towards a singlet I’d venture to say the newcomers would to just to keep fitting in with their peers.  By then they are comfortable enough with the sport to make the singlet work.  But, I believe the 2 piece can definitely help entice a few more MS and HS guys who are on the fence to try the sport to come out initially.  I’m a big fan of it at the MS level especially.  By HS if they are already hooked on the sport then most wouldn’t see it as an issue if they had to switch to a singlet.   

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1 hour ago, MadMardigain said:

With this being somewhat of a new market some companies are jumping into I’m a little hesitant on the wear and tear quality of some random brands.   Having a sales rep available that can help prove the quality of the product and stand behind any early failure (rips/stitching) seems like it’s maybe worth a few extra dollars a set.  Maybe the difference between buying a new set each year or a new set lasting several years.  For some schools and clubs the extreme cosr up front maybe better the the lack of available uniforms in a couple years.  

This was my case.  I took over two teams where there was no money (I actually inherited debt), and neither had usable uniforms.  The previous coaches left and gave them away.  I actually did have QC problems with one order from Trititans.  However, they just gave us 40 singlets we ordered for $40 a shot, and sent us a new run.  I have kids I gave them to as 8th graders using them in their senior year of highschool.  They also send out samples.

 

I do see offers from Go Earn It and they are really good sometimes.

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Compound has great service and designs, but their price point is higher. They do have good packages at the beginning of season to look out for though. Rudis is great but they have a significantly higher price point that my kids/program can't handle. I have to buy/get shoes donated for a good number of kids so expensive team packs isn't in our budget-fundraising covers costs of essentials and travel. Blue Chip has been awesome for practice packs but I've never gotten singlets/2-piece through them.

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On 3/5/2019 at 7:17 AM, olddirty said:

I used a sublimation company out of China.  I can get away with this because I know how to put the artwork in vector form and be loaded and ready to go, so I can skip basically everyone on the front end.  There is a company that I use for most of my gear that beats most prices and thats TriTitans out of California.  The owner was my assistant coach.  Great customer service, pretty fast, best prices.

 

Not sure how design savvy or tech savvy you are, but you can get a fully sublimated and totally custom set of 20 or more 2 pieces for less than $20 total for each set off of Alibaba.

Would you mind sharing the contact information for the sublimation company out of China?

Thanks!

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19 hours ago, SikeD said:

Would you mind sharing the contact information for the sublimation company out of China?

Thanks!

I used a company called Tonton Lai.  They were a bit more expensive but they sent a lot of photos and were pretty easy to work with.  They have a very high rating and have been on there for 8 years.  Another guy someone I knew used was Arvin Ming.  I look at the time on their and they stars review.  One thing - not sure if you are familiar with Ali but you can just message them on the custom gear and they give you quotes really fast.  What would take a week here, they get it done in a day or two.

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