Those Before You

(This speech can be spread over the entire week leading up to the game. You can start it off by spreading word with alumni players that you would like them to be present in the locker room prior to the start of the big game. Also, you could have some of them stop by each day during or after practices to create an "alumni presence" atmosphere. Decide if you would like them to verbally participate or just stand by and send a quiet message to the team. If they are going to speak, then have them speak before you and you can wrap-up with the speech below. It's best to have a good mix of older and younger alumni.)

(What they have done for you, what you owe them!)

Tonight you find yourself surrounded by those who have gone before you. These gentlemen (or ladies) have defined this program and this winning tradition. Their sacrifices have made it possible for you to be here, for this program to exist.

They played the game with heart, passion, and purpose. They played through pain, through adverse conditions, and when they were over-matched. They played when they were hurt, when they were tired, and when others counted them out. They continued the winning tradition that was handed down from those who went before them.

They are here to support you. They know your sacrifice; they know what you are facing tonight. And, they know that you can succeed. They know, because they succeeded before you! You are walking in the same foot steps that they walked in.

You owe it to them to continue this winning tradition! You owe it to them to protect and enhance this winning tradition! Just like them - you know that you can succeed! And you will! Tonight, the winning tradition continues!

"Tradition" is an inspiring word. The word tradition comes from the Latin word "traditio" which means "to hand down" or "to hand over." You all know how important traditions are in families and in communities. The traditions that get passed down through the generations are the traditions that everyone enjoys. The traditions that have a place in our hearts and we look forward to them each year. That is the way it is with this program's winning tradition! We enjoy it! We look forward to it! Some of us live for it! Like the saying goes... "Tradition never graduates!" Tradition lives within each and every one of you. You are born into it, you continue it, and when the time comes, you hand it down to the next generation!

(permission granted to reproduce this speech as long as author and website are sighted.
Thanks! - author - Mike Sellers, website -

Are Pre Game Speeches Beneficial?

If you have been fortunate enough to have experienced an emotional, from-the-heart pre game speech in your lifetime, then you know the answer to the question. Of course pre game speeches are beneficial. Even if a speech only resonates with the players for 5 minutes into the game, that is five minutes at peak performance that they might not have had otherwise. There are many studies, writings and testimonies on the internet to support the benefits of pre game speeches.

In the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Supplement for Fundamentals of Coaching for Colleges and Universities, Lesson Plan 28 states: "Through movies, television and tradition, we all have experienced the magical powers of a pregame pep talk. In fact, research has shown that most coaches believe that giving their team an emotional message before a game is a “must” (Mack, 1999)." The lesson goes on and provides tasks for coaches to do to prepare them for pre game talks.

In "An Exploratory Study of the Effects of Pregame Speeches on Team Efficacy Beliefs" by Tiffanye M. Vargas-Tonsing and John B. Bartholomew the researchers found that: "a possible explanation for the benefits of pregame speeches is that they result in enhanced performance efficacy. Self-efficacy is defined as a person's belief in his or her ability to perform a specific task."

"According to efficacy theory, efficacy perceptions are based on four principal sources of information: performance accomplishments, vicarious experiences, verbal persuasion, and emotional arousal (Bandura, 1977). Of these, verbal persuasion is perhaps the most convenient and readily available method for coaches, especially in the moments immediately prior to a game. Not only is verbal persuasion important for its convenience and availability, but athletic teams also consider verbal persuasion to be one of the most effective methods coaches use to build efficacy feelings."

"In summary, the results of this study indicate a coach's potential to increase athletes' feelings of team efficacy and confidence prior to competition through the effective use of a persuasive pregame speech. The further exploration of this efficacy-enhancing technique would benefit coaches in that verbal persuasion is an easily altered and readily available tool."

Yes, pre game speeches are beneficial, necessary and valued. Fire up you team for their next game with what you've learned from the website and many others.