All the nitty-gritty details we see today on a jersey are a far cry from their ancestors. So, settle down to have a history lesson on jerseys and know exactly why custom jerseys are important for all sports.

What are the benefits of sports team jerseys?

Before the not so boring (because it's short) history lesson, it would be a disservice to not point out the importance of jerseys in today’s era.

  1. Identity: The first and foremost reason for jerseys to be such a rage among sports players is the fact that it helps distinguish teammates from the opponents. The fast pace of sports doesn’t allow players to look at the individual’s face before making a move. The clothes make it easier to know which move to make to benefit the team. In all team sports, or otherwise, people wear distinguished clothes to let other people, playing or not, know which team, country, school, college or other organization, they are playing for. Some sports that require sports team jerseys are Football, Basketball, Soccer, Hockey, Baseball, Rugby, Softball, Volleyball, etc. 
This benefits people who are watching on television, in-person, coaches and commentators to know what is happening in the game as well.
  1. Functionality: Each sport’s governing committee has the authority to establish guidelines for every part of the sports player kit. This includes instructions for not just the jersey but also, warm-up custom sweatshirts, custom socks and other accessories that players are allowed to wear.
These instructions are based on the functionality of the attire. It ensures that the players do not face any restrictions because of their clothing during the physically and mentally exhausting duration of the match.
They also instruct about the logo sizes and how many logos a jersey can have. Moreover, the font and size of numbers and names on a jersey are pre-determined by the authorities.
These guidelines also have a section for other accessories that players can wear. For instance, in international soccer, the goalkeeper is allowed to wear a cap but, other players are not.
  1. Motivation: Being part of a team does give players motivation. It gives them a sense of exclusivity and privilege. It makes them feel proud and encourages them to perform better, not just for themselves but, for the whole group. It boosts confidence and willingness to go to lengths and give their best to win.
  2. Image: You feel better when you look better. This implies to players as well. They, too, have an image in their mind, that they wish to portray. The right design which matches the beliefs of the team will empower them. When the team players like their custom sweatshirts and jerseys, they put their best foot forward in terms of the first impression. The jersey enables them to make the statement that they matter and they mean business.

If it is an image that other people will like to possess as well, the sales of jerseys can rise. And no supporter is as great as the one wearing your jersey.

  1.  Equality: Players come from all kinds of backgrounds and ethnicities. Standardizing the dress kit for players reduces the gap they might have due to other disparities. Also, in a team sport, the team is above each individual and, the uniform helps invigorate that belief. It helps reduce prejudices that people might have which positively affects the performance of the team. Because a team playing for the team is much better than a bunch of players playing for themselves. No team match is won alone.
  2. Unity: When a team wears matching clothes, it shows that they are working in unison for the same cause. The unity they feel among themselves and with their supporters is a great motivator. This sense of unity makes team players each other’s extended family. They have the same aspirations, the same goals and if they succeed or fail, they do it together.

When did the use of jerseys start?

Now, we move to the dreaded history lesson that was mentioned in the beginning. 

Jerseys are not that old of a concept. It only has over 100 years of history attached to it. Players before that time used to play in their birth suit.

The word jersey is now used interchangeably with the upper or a whole set of activewear sportsmen don during matches. Traditionally, the jersey is defined as knitted wool or cotton clothing.

“Father of Gymnastics”, Friedrich Ludwig Jahn (1778-1852) opened the first open-air gymnasium in the year 1811. Gymnasts used to wear uniform grey linen clothing. By the end of the 19th century, they shifted to cotton clothing. And because there were so many teams and players, it became imperative to dye the shirts different colors with numbers embroidered on them to distinguish players from each other. Yep, those are the first custom jerseys that we know of.

In the 1908 London Olympics, guidelines for sportswear were hung in each locker room along with the warning of disqualification if the players do not abide by the rules.

In the 1930s, the textile revolution came about and brought synthetic fabrics like nylon, polyester, and spandex with it. These fabric materials were tear-resistant and elastic making them perfect for sports. The fabric wasn’t perfect and till date research on making the better fabric is underway to give the best clothing experience to players and sports enthusiasts alike. But, to date, sportsmen wear synthetic fabric custom jerseys for international and national sports.

The psychological impact of a jersey along with its physical functionality makes it quite interesting for the nerds. But, you might not care for that and only want a jersey that matches the team you support. Sports jerseys have the ability to bring people closer and that is remarkable on its own.