Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Who's the Best Clothing Company in Ultimate Right Now?


Think back to 2002.

Used to be that GAIA was king in ultimate gear. The company, based in Vancouver, seemed to have it all. Great logo, brand equity in the sport enjoyed by none other, key sales staff/agreements throughout the continent, and deals with the best teams in the land. Most notably, Furious George wore the cleats. uniforms and paraphernalia of Gaia.

Back to 2008.

The marketplace has changed, and so too has the place of GAIA. The current state of GAIA will be covered in a future post. All we need to say at this point is that their position in the sport has taken a hit. Competing companies like VC, Patagonia, Adidas, and other brands have taken serious junks of the competitive and recreational ultimate team market. The GAIA cleat, once the hottest item in the sport, remains the only ultimate specific cleat available. However, none of the best players seem to use it, adopting football cleats from Nike and the big boys of footwear. When someone pays for their cleats when they could get free cleats/discounted cleats meant for their sport, that's a bad sign.

So the poll question is:
  • Who's the Best Clothing Company in Ultimate Right Now?
and building on that, why is that the case?

Zips Tips- We need a better "Bible"


As college teams on both side of the border gear up for the spring series, and as the rest of us prepare for summer/fall team tryouts, we're all looking to prepare as best we can. This includes but is not limited to:
Josh Zipperstein
Photo Source: Brown Ultimate

As far as learning from the best goes, we typically tend to seek out the online writings of the best players and teams in our respective divisions. College players, young and idealistic, are the most likely to engage in such benchmarking. They watch "I Bleed Black" and UPA videos before the big tourney. They read Art of War. It makes them feel ready, and to each his own.

I also see another "document" that gets circulated from team to team, year to year. Zips Tips
was an online blog/diary put together by then Brown superstar Josh Zipperstein (now of Chain Lightning fame). People have gone out of their way to discuss this page as a "bible" that "must be followed".


Now the sport management professional in me takes a look at zips tips and the hype it has and wants to dissect it/ rip it. If the game is going to advance, we're going to need a better "bible".

Here's a brief rundown of Zips Tips

-143 entries
-8 outside sources referenced
-Every topic covered that a player could face prepping for the college spring series
-Some very valid points

-I can't help but think this person knew a lot of the right things, but didn't understand why their ideas were right. This is all too common in successful athletes.
-A lot of useless posts about what shirt so and so is wearing, shoe laces, etc.
-I worry impressionable players will accept a lot of opinions as truths.

Final thoughts

Upon full review, I recognize zips tips as one of the better ultimate specific reads available online. That doesn't say a lot about online material.

However, Zips Tips is a lot more helpful than my initial diagnosis. I tried to contact Josh about the tips but was unable to get ahold of him. Given the five years that has followed the posting, I assume Josh might not have expected his tips to spread/ last as a "bible", nor might he want it to.

I look forward to better "bibles" that build on this work. I actually look forward to well educated and well research guides on playing and preparing for ultimate, and getting away from any religious references.