Nothing is more entertaining than watching a footy game from the 1970’s or the 1980’s. Even more reminiscent from the classic and distinct style of play is the style of jersey. Just as swimming gear went through the evolution toward high-tech speed suits, jersey technology has also brought about some great improvements. Mick Simmons, the iconic sporting figure from Sydney would certainly be amazed by the changes that have taken place in his store that started back in 1877. The jersey selection at http://www.micksimmons.com.au/ is so vast that Simmons would be dumbfounded if he were around today.
Your early jerseys across the major football disciplines were typically cotton or wool, and loose fitting. The attention was focused upon breathable material for the comfort of players. The 1924 jersey of the New Zealand All Black was made from coarse and heavy wool. Many people from that generation would also attest to sports having a more “defensive” emphasis rather than offensive, and so the looseness of the jersey would be advantageous toward the defensive teams. But with technology advancing all over the world, the supercharged pace of lifestyles and the workplace transferred into the sporting world. Synthetic fibres and blends allowed for a much thinner fabric than cotton and jerseys began to be designed to favour the offensive side with much tighter fits.
Many people will point to Clive Woodward’s scientific approach to the rugby jersey as one of the major breakthroughs for England’s 2003 World Cup victory in Sydney. There were certainly some raised eye-brows as the squad sported some skin tight jersey made from a mixture of cotton and polyester. Teams even complained that there was potential “grease-tampering” as they struggled to grab a hold. This was definitely a pivotal point in technology really advancing jersey constructions word wide.
Technology has even been able to build designs to fit different geographical variances and weather conditions. So while an Australian team may have a design to suit the warm climate, they may choose to wear a different jersey if they find themselves playing in a wet and cold country. Fabrics now have the ability to not only maintain optimum body temperatures with sweat removal, but also counteract wet and muddy conditions with repellent abilities. You may have even noticed the clear move from jerseys with a collar or a v-neck to rounded collarless designs giving a much more streamlined appearance.
One of the most fascinating introductions to everything else in jersey technology is the use of colour psychology. While many teams will often change designs and colours for the interests of their supporters, some really clever clubs have implemented colour strategies that will make sure team members can easily identify one another in the midst of the fast play.
It has always been fascinating to see the relationship between the jersey and the game, and with technology continuing to advance it is even more exciting to consider what the future holds.