Back to School- sports clothing tip


As athletes head back-to-school during the month of August, new sports, new schedules, and new clothes are sure to accompany them. But before you head to your local sporting goods store to do your back-to-school shopping, hear from St.Vincent Sports Performance Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach Jaime Waymouth, CSCS, USAW about the effects of moisture-wicking athletic apparel.



Working in a high school setting has shown me the importance young athletes place on what they wear, having multiple types of undershirts for different weather conditions. It seems that wearing short sleeves in warm weather and long sleeves in cold weather is a thing of the past.  Now athletes have cold gear and warm gear, each one designed to help an athlete feel more comfortable in a variety of external elements they may face.



As I began noticing all the different types of gear my athletes had, it made me wonder if they truly did what they claimed. Did they effectively wick away moisture in hot weather to allow for “cooler” skin? And did they wick away moisture in colder weather to help keep the core body temperature down?



Athletic apparel companies have turned to an elastane/spandex material whose qualities help increase strength, durability, and shape retention of the garment. This form fitting appeal of these garments will boost any athletes confidence no matter their skill level, but does this “wicking” actually do anything to benefit the athlete outside of the mental boost?



Research* has been done on the subject of moisture-wicking clothes, and has concluded that while this type of athletic apparel’s “form-fitting moisture-wicking properties are appealing to consumers, the available research evidence suggests that they do not have a significant effect on body temperature during exercise in hot or cold environments.”



Athletes are constantly looking for ways to gain an edge over their competitors, but relying on apparel might not be the best strategy. An athlete should dress appropriately for the weather, and also for comfort. If focus shifts from performance to a distraction like wardrobe issues, performance could be affected.



Athletes should remain focused on aspects of their performance that can truly have an effect. Hydration and nutrition are two big components of performance. Athletes should aim to drink around half their body-weight in ounces. If an athlete is 140 lbs, they should be drinking 70 ounces of fluid a day. For more hydration tips, watch SVSP Registered Sports Dietitian Lindsay Langford’s Tip of the Month video.



Generally, athletes should eat a meal with a carbohydrate source, a lean protein source, and foods high in antioxidants between 2-4 hours before competition. An example meal could be brown rice, chicken breast, and blueberries. Then between 30-60 minutes before competition, and a small carb-loaded snack will provide some extra energy. Please consult a Registered Sports Dietitian before beginning any nutrition regimen.



Check out the Middle School and High School training classes offered by St.Vincent Sports Performance to take your sports performance to the next level.




Kicklighter, T., Edsall, J., & Martin, M.  (2011). Effect of moisture-wicking garments on temperature regulation during exercise. International Journal of Athletic Therapy & Training. (6) 9-13.

1 Comment »

  1. Jodi Murphy Said,

    August 17, 2012 @ 11:30 am

    Comfort is key and planning for the weather is the answer to being comfortable. I think the best bet is to have layers (especially in the winter) that you can add to or take off depending on how warm you get. If it’s going to rain, bring extra socks!

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