Win One for the Gipper

It was halftime of the 1928 Army vs. Notre Dame Game that legendary head coach Knute Rockne gave his "win one for the Gipper" speech to his beleaguered players. Notre Dame was having one of its worst season's on record and Rockne was trying to salvage what he could of the season. He told his players about the tragic death of George Gipp, a great Notre Dame player. Many historians doubt that Rockne's version of Gipp's last words was true. None the less, Notre Dame did win the game against Army that memorable day.

This speech became ingrained in popular culture after its recreation in the 1940 movie, Knute Rockne- All American. The phrase "Win one for the Gipper" became a permanent fixture in American society. Here is the transcript of the dialogue from the movie...


Knute Rockne:
Well, boys ... I haven't a thing to say.
Played a great game...all of you. Great game.
(He tries to smile.)
I guess we just can't expect to win ‘em all.
(Rockne pauses and says quietly.)
I'm going to tell you something I've kept to myself for years --
None of you ever knew George Gipp.
It was long before your time.
But you know what a tradition he is at Notre Dame...

(There is gentle, faraway look in his eyes as he recalls the boy's words.)
And the last thing he said to me -- "Rock," he said -
"sometime, when the team is up against it -- and the
breaks are beating the boys -- tell them to go out there
with all they got and win just one for the Gipper...
(Knute's eyes become misty and his voice is unsteady as he finishes.)
I don't know where I'll be then, Rock", he said - "but
I'll know about it - and I'll be happy."

(There is a hushed stillness as Rockne and the crowd of boys look at each other. In the midst of this tense silence, Rockne quietly says "Alright," to the men beside him, and his chair is wheeled slowly out of the dressing room.)

A Player:
Well, what are we waiting for?

With a single roar, the players throw off their blankets and rush through the doorway.


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

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.