Posts Tagged ‘coach speeches’

For Coaches Giving Speeches

Sports Psychology Special at – Dr. John F Murray – January 7, 2013 – If you are one of the thousands of coaches out there and you are constantly seeking a better way to motivate your troops, then look no further than here. As a sports psychologist engaged daily in helping to keep athletes and others motivated and excited about their pursuits, I’ve found that quotes are often my best friend.

It’s interesting too that in reviewing my web site traffic recently, the articles and sections pertaining to famous coaching and sports psychology quotes receive the most visits. It is this truth that quotes are needed and cherished that compels me to once again make it easier for you to find the gold nuggets of wisdom uttered by the many wise men and women before us.

Let’s begin with an article on coach speeches that appeared in the Tampa Tribune a few years ago. It is a really good one.

After reading that article, it will be fun for you to peruse one of the most popular areas of my website by far and review the many great sayings and quotes in sports. If you cannot find what you are looking for here, you are simply not looking.

Keep up the good work motivating your teams and don’t forget to call on your professional ally, the sports psychologist, from time to time. I’ve given many speeches to teams, as well as more serious workshops with many different aims. I’ve also enjoyed working one on one with many coaches to help them navigate the often treacherous waters of media scrutiny and the natural truth that you’re only as good as your last game.

Hope you’ve enjoyed this little glimpse into the world of sports psychology.

Is Sports Psychology a Real Science?

Sports Psychologist Special to – By Dr. John F Murray – September 21, 2010 – As the field of sports psychology evolves and more and more qualified and licensed practitioners hang out a shingle (something that is still moving enormously slow by the way), the media, potential clients and even current clients ask about the scientific validity and reliability of this science and profession. Well, they don’t really use the terms “reliability” and “validity” unless they’ve had some statistics or quantitative analysis classes, or just couldn’t turn off the PBS channel as a child, but these are the questions they are essentially asking: (1) Is sports psychology really a science; (2) Are sports psychologists basing their work on scientific findings, and (3) If sports psychology is a good science then why aren’t there more people using this in sports in the year 2010?

The answer to the first two questions is a resounding YES! Whether you are looking for coach speeches for your football team, to prepare for an upcoming triathlon, or to build your golf game over the coming year after finding out about sports psychology after taking a free psychological evaluation, there is no doubt that the research questions, hypotheses, data collection, and peer reviewed process in the field is every bit as scientific as studies in chemistry or biophysics. Good sports psychologists trained in the scientist practitioner tradition will also base their work on the findings emerging from these journals. It is definitely miles ahead of common sense advise even if many of the principles appear to be quite logical.

People tune into to read about many of the discussions in the popular media channels such as the Bloomberg wire, New York Times newspaper, or ESPN television. As a sport psychologist, I am contacted frequently by these outlets to give my opinion on a matter of current news interest. Maybe there was a player suicide or a team on a massive losing streak, and they all want my expert opinion. I gladly give it as any one of several legitimate sports psychologists would because it helps to educate the public and hopefully gives the field a little boost each time a story appears.

There are those who will claim that sports psychology lacks scientific merit because you cannot always predict team and individual behavior and success. The problem, however, has nothing to do with the science. The science, like the traditional field of psychology, has been around and doing well since the 1800s, and the predictability is sometimes hard there too, but the real issue is the subject of study – human beings! We humanoids tend to be very hard to pin down and control. Our behavior and thoughts are extremely variable, and we would want it that way. Add a contest between two highly intelligent tennis players, or even more complex between two teams of 11 of the best athletes in the world, and you are going to have a nightmare of potential variables bouncing around. Even the most famous sports psychologists are going to tell you that it is not possible to control outcome 100%. The best we can hope for is to get that team or that athlete prepared to be their best on game day. Whether they win or not depends on whether the opponent cooperates, and if they are competitive you can be sure they will not. So you can have the best game in your entire history and lose, or perform like the Bad News Bears and win. It’s really about performance and not outcome, even though we all want to win.

The fun and inspiring sports psychology quotes on and the mental tests are ways to get people’s attention and to realize that this great service exists in the first place, because many still do not know about it. Famous coach speeches might grab the headlines and we’ve all heard about one more for the gipper or about winning one for the teammate who died suddenly, but why the hype? What about the day to day training by a legitimate and qualified/licensed psychologist/sports psychologist who just rolls up his or her sleeves every day along with the athletes and coaches and does his or her best job to both teach and inspire, to inform about the science and deliver the tools needs to raise performance.

Like all battles, sports psychology competition is won in the trenches over lunch meetings, late night phone calls, office visits, crisis intervention, and even babysitting of famous athletes at times. Earl Morrall, whom I had the pleasure of meeting a year ago in Sarasota, quarterbacked the most successful NFL team in history to 71% of the team’s plays (1972 Miami Dolphins). Many today do not even know his name because he is such an outstanding and confident gentleman who sought little publicity and just did his job. Earl told me that the difference between going 17-0 and having an average season was not huge, but “doing a little bit more each day.” I have also found this in calculating my Mental Performance Index (MPI) scores. The team that scores at 54% percent of perfection almost always destroys a team riding along at 52% of perfection. Small edges are actually huge! Get the point? Sound like the trenches again?

Given that we are in the trenches and seeking any kind of advantage possible to slightly elevate our performance, doesn’t it make sense to turn to science and years of training and experience found in qualified sports psychologists, rather than wearing the latest energy bracelet, or listening to some wide toothed motivational speaker? How about going to the town psychic? Get real folks. I did in going to graduate school from 1992 to 1998, getting a couple masters degrees and a PhD at the University of Florida, then going to the only sports psychology internship in the country that was also an approved APA psychology internship, and then doing a postdoctoral fellowship the following year. This process took until 2000 before I was able to open my office. I did it the right way and took forever and it cost a lot of money, but at least I knew I was gaining the training needed to do it properly to help my clients. Some of the successes I’ve had together with my clients over the past 10 years were not accidents at all, just solid trench warfare informed by science and inspired by passion.

Great coach speeches are necessary if you are a coach, but think of the value of bringing in a legitimate and licensed sports psychologist who can work at both the individual and team level to help get a team get ready like never before. Even before I opened my practice in 2000 I saw the value of this kind of work on a consistent basis. In working with two tennis teams at two different colleges in back to back years, and seeing each team’s players once a week for 45-50 weeks, each one of those teams had their best season in their entire history. It was no accident. It was just hard work on the mental game. Anyone can do it. But they need to first get out of the 14th century, realize that the science and profession of sports psychology is alive in the right places, and maybe they too can realize the biggest comeback in the history of their sport, win a Super Bowl, or grab a Stanley Cup. Resist the gleaming white teeth, the reputation of the ex-player speaker, the allure of the psychic friend’s network, and slow talking Southern drawl speaker who relates well but offers little insight beyond common sense, the ridiculousness of the energy bracelet … get real and get with the times! Get back in the trench where you belong and where you can raise your game a few percentage points and win a championship!

If you enjoyed this little adventure as we strolled down the avenue of legitimate and licensed sports psychology, call me now to help you or your team at 561-596-9898.

Quotes for Coaches

Sports Psychologist Dr. John F. Murray’s Lists His Favorite Quotes by and about Coaches. Feel free to suggest new ones by email:

Don Shula: “The superior man blames himself. The inferior man blames others.”

Don Shula: “One thing I never want to be accused of is not working.”

Don Shula” “I don’t know any other way to lead but by example.”

Ken Loeffler: “There are only two kinds of coaches — those who have been fired, and those who will be fired.”

Blanton Collier: “You can accomplish anything you want as long as you don’t care who gets the credit for it.”

Darrell Royal, when an assistant coach said argued against benching a talented but inconsistent quarterback because he had so much potential: “Potential means you ain’t done it yet.”

Casey Stengel: “Most games are lost, not won.”

Vince Lombardi: “If it doesn’t matter who wins or loses, then why do they keep score?”

Casey Stengel: “The secret of managing is to keep the guys who hate you away from the guys who are undecided.”

Sparky Anderson: “Just give me 25 guys on the last year of their contracts; I’ll win a pennant every year.”

David Bristol, Milwaukee Brewers manager: “There’ll be two buses leaving the hotel for the park tomorrow. The two o’clock bus will be for those of you who need a little extra work. The empty bus will leave at five o’clock.”

John Madden: “The fewer rules a coach has, the fewer rules there are for players to break.”

Sparky Anderson, on Willie Stargell batting in Tiger Stadium in the 1971 All Star game: “He’s such a big, strong guy he should love that porch. He’s got power enough to hit home runs in any park, including Yellowstone.”

Casey Stengel: “Two hundred million Americans, and there ain’t two good catchers among ’em.”

Casey Stengel: “The trouble is not that players have sex the night before a game. It’s that they stay out all night looking for it.”

Bill Peterson: “Men, I want you just thinking of one word all season. One word and one word only: Super Bowl.”

Darrell Royal: “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”

John Heisman: “Gentlemen, it is better to have died as a small boy than to fumble this football.”

Jim Leyland: “I knew we were in for a long season when we lined up for the national anthem on opening day and one of my players said, ‘Every time I hear that song I have a bad game.'”

Bill Robinson: “A good hitting instructor is able to mold his teaching to the individual. If a guy stands on his head, you perfect that.”

Gene Mauch: “Losing streaks are funny. If you lose at the beginning, you get off to a bad start. If you lose in the middle of the season, you’re in a slump. If you lose at the end, you’re choking.”

Toe Blake: “All I know is I have a job here as long as I win.”

Kevin Keegan: “As a manager, you always have a gun to your head. It’s a question of whether there is a bullet in the barrel.”

Leo Durocher: “You don’t save pitchers for tomorrow. Tomorrow it may rain.”

Darrell Royal: “The only place you can win a football game is on the field, the only place you can lose it is in your hearts.”

Paul Brown: “A winner never whines.”

John Madden: “Coaches have to watch for what they don’t want to see and listen to what they don’t want to hear.”

Gene Mauch: “There should be a new way to record standings in this league; one column for wins, one for losses and one for gifts.”

Bob Lemon: “The two most important things in life are good friends and a strong bullpen.”

Jim Valvano: “I asked a ref if he could give me a technical foul for thinking bad things about him. He said, of course not. I said, well, I think you stink. And he gave me a technical. You can’t trust em.”

Paul Richards: “Tell a ballplayer something a thousand times, then tell him again, because that may be the time he’ll understand

Bill Peterson: “You guys pair up in groups of three, then line up in a circle.”

Jeff Tufford: “I can TEACH you how to dribble, pass and shoot the right way, but I cannot MAKE you do it the right way.”

Doug Johnson: “The smaller the detail the greater the value.”

Nik Posa: “A tough day at the office is even tougher when your OFFICE contains spectator seating.”

Jimmie Dykes: “The manager’s toughest job is not calling the right play with the bases full and the score tied in an extra inning game. It’s telling a ballplayer that he’s through, done, finished.”

Fred Shero: “Win together now and we walk together forever.”

Ara Parasheghian: “A good coach will make his players see what they can be rather than what they are.”

Duffy Daugherty: “When your are playing for the national championship, it’s not a matter of life or death. It’s more important than that.”

Jim Colletto, Purdue football coach and former assistant at Arizona State and Ohio State, on his 11-year-old son’s reaction after he took the job with the Boilermakers: “He said, ‘Gosh, Dad, that mean’s we’re not going to any more bowl games.'”

Duffy Daugherty: “Football isn’t a contact sport, it’s a collision sport. Dancing is a contact sport.”

Vince Lombardi: “Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.”

Frank Layden, on a former player: “I told him, Son, what is it with you: Is it ignorance or apathy?’ He said, ” ‘Coach, I don’t know and I don’t care.'”

LaVell Edwards, BYU football coach and one of 14 children: “They can’t fire me because my family buys too many tickets.”

Bill Peterson: “You guys line up alphabetically by height.”

Mike McCormack, coach of the hapless Baltimore Colts, after the team’s co-captain, offensive guard Robert Pratt, pulled a hamstring running onto the field for the coin toss against St. Louis: “I’m going to send the injured reserve players out for the toss next time.”

Red Auerbach, the Boston Celtics’ general manager, asked if he had any criticism of Bill Russell’s coaching: “He has the players too happy.”

Dan Birdwell: “You have to play this game like somebody just hit your mother with a two-by-four.”

Fred Shero: “We know that hockey is where we live, where we can best meet and overcome pain and wrong and death. Life is just a place where we spend time between games.”

Unknown: “Victory or defeat is not determined at the moment of crisis, but rather in the long and unspectacular period of preparation”

Steve Spurrier, Florida football coach, telling Gator fans that a fire at Auburn’s football dorm had destroyed 20 books: “But the real tragedy was that 15 hadn’t been colored yet.”

Patrick Hunt: “Basketball is not a democratic sport”

Mike Waldo, HS Basketball Coach: “Repetition is no fun but it’s the reason we won”
“Attention to Detail is Everything”

John Wooden: “If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?

Darrell Royal: “The sun don’t shine on the same dog’s rear end every day.”

Vince Lombardi: “Winning is not a sometime thing. It’s an all time thing. You don’t win once in a while. You don’t do things right once in a while. You do them right all the time. Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.”

Dorothy Shula, on the career dedication of her husband, the Miami Dolphins’ coach: “I’m fairly confident that if I died tomorrow, Don would find a way to preserve me until the season was over and he had time for a nice funeral.”

Phil Jackson: “If you meet the Buddha in the lane, feed him the ball.”

John Heisman: “When in doubt, punt!”

Jim Camp, George Washington football coach, on why he doesn’t use a lonely end: “We train by a parkway, which runs beside a river. If we had a lonely end, he either would be hit by a car or drown.”

Fred Shero: “Arrive at the net with the puck and in ill humor.”

Bobby Knight: “All of us learn to write in the second grade. Most of us go on to greater things.”

George Raveling: “I know the Virginia players are smart because you need a 1500 SAT to get in. I have to drop bread crumbs to get our players to and from class.”

Shelby Metcalf, basketball coach at Texas A&M, recounting what he told a player who received four Fs and one D: “Son, looks to me like you’re spending too much time on one subject.”

Weldon Drew: “We have a great bunch of outside shooters. Unfortunately, all our games are played indoors.”

Harry Sinden: “It’s the attitude of the players, not their skills, that is the biggest factor in determining whether you win or lose.”

Norm Sloan, on zone defense : “I hate it. It looks like a stickup at 7-Eleven. Five guys standing there with their hands in the air.”

Dean Smith: “If you’re going to make every game a matter of life or death, you’re going to have a lot of problems. For one thing, you’ll be dead a lot.”

Toe Blake: “If the day ever comes when I swallow defeat, I’ll quit.”

Bill Shankly, soccer coach: “The trouble with referees is that they know the rules, but they do not know the game.”

Don Cherry: “There has never been a successful team that did not take the body.”

Abe Lemons: “Finish last in your league and they call you Idiot. Finish last in medical school and they call you Doctor.”

Bill Vaughn: “Any American boy can be a basketball star if he grows up, up, up.”

Bobby Knight: “If the NBA were on channel 5 and a bunch of frogs making love was on channel 4, I’d watch the frogs even if they were coming in fuzzy.”

Hugh Campbell, football coach at Whitworth College in Spokane, Wash., after his team had defeated Whitman 70-30: “It wasn’t as easy as you think. It’s hard to stay awake that long.”

Darrell Royal, Texas football coach, asked if the abnormal number of Longhorn injuries this season resulted from poor physical conditioning: “One player was lost because he broke his nose. How do you go about getting a nose in condition for football?”

George Raveling: “When I went to Catholic high school in Philadelphia, we just had one coach for football and basketball. He took all of us who turned out and had us run through a forest. The ones who ran into the trees were on the football team.”

Harry Sinden: “Two out of every three goals you score come from checking. One out of every three comes from sheer finesse.”

Ray Malavasi: “I don’t care what the tape says. I didn’t say it.”

Duffy Daugherty: “My only feeling about superstition is that it’s unlucky to be behind at the end of the game.”

Al Arbour: “This is a hump you have to get over, and it usually comes in the first series. You get over the hump and you’re on a roll.”

Vince Lombardi: “We didn’t lose the game, we just ran out of time.”

George Raveling: “Fans never fall asleep at our games, because they’re afraid they might get hit by a pass.”

Emile Francis: “Your power play can win you games, and your penalty killers can save you games.”

John Robinson: “I never criticize a player until they are first convinced of my unconditional confidence in their abilities.”

Danny Murtaugh: “Why certainly I’d like to have that fellow who hits a home run every time at bat, who strikes out every opposing batter when he’s pitching, who throws strikes to any base or the plate when he’s playing outfield and who’s always thinking about two innings ahead just what he’ll do to baffle the other team. Any manager would want a guy like that playing for him. The only trouble is to get him to put down his cup of beer and come down out of the stands and do those things.”

Mike Krzyzewski: “If what you have done yesterday still looks big to you. You haven’t done much today.”

Jim Valvano: “Don’t give up, don’t ever give up.”

Thomas Luebbe: “Having a great game is not the result of spontaneous combustion. You have to light yourself on fire.”

Steve Seidler: “You don’t demand respect, you earn it.”

Henry David Thoreau: “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.”

Lenny Wilkins: “The most important quality I look for in a player is accountability. You’ve got to be accountable for who you are. It’s too easy to blame things on someone else.”

Pat Riley: “Great teamwork is the only way we create the breakthroughs that define our careers.”

Johnny Kerr: “If a coach starts listening to fans, he winds up sitting next to them.”

Unknown: “Players are made in the off season, teams are made during the season.”

Al Cooper, HS Basketball Coach: “Hard work and winning are contagious.”

Jim Valvano: “Other people go to the office. I get to coach. I know I’ve been blessed.”

Bobby Knight: “Everyone wants to win, but not everyone is willing to prepare to win.”

Unknown: “We cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust the sail.”

Eldon Marshall: “The harder you work…the more fun you will have.”

Phil Jackson: “Approach the game with no preset agendas and you’ll probably come away surprised at your overall efforts.”

Unknown: “One can define discipline as: Doing what you have to do, doing it as well as you possibly can and doing it that way all the time!”

Steve Bankston: “it’s not the push from behind, or the pull from up front, but rather the drive from within.”

Unknown: “If you pay attention to the grandstands…it won’t be long before you join them.”

Claire Bee: “Good coaching may be defined as the development of character, personality and habits of players, plus the teaching of fundamentals and team play.”

Larry Bird: “First master the fundamentals.”

Bob Lanier: “It takes education to be successful in the game of life.”

William Gibbs McAdoo: “It is impossible to defeat an ignorant man in an argument.”

John Wooden: “Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.”

Tom Curle: “Excuses are like rear ends. Everybody has one and they stink.”

Unknown: “Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.”

Tom Arev: “Without the burn, you will never learn.”

Elvin Hayes: “Blame is the cowards way out.”

Indira Ghandi: “There are two kinds of people, those who do the work and those who take the credit. Try to be in the first group there is less competition there.”

Mark Twain: “If we were supposed to talk more than we listen, we would have two mouths and one ear.”

Jason Bumblis: “The only important shot you take is the next one. Because no matter how hard you try, that is the only one you can still have an effect on!”

Claire Bee: “Play to win, observe the rules, and act like a gentleman.”

Bill Russell: “the idea is not to block every shot. The idea is to make your opponent believe that you might block every shot.”

John Wooden: “Nothing will work unless you do.”

Heraclitus, 450 B.C.,on using time wisely: “You cannot step into the same river twice.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson: “The reward of a thing well done is to have done it.”

Thomas Fuller, on perfection: “A good garden may have some weeds.”

Strendal: “The man of genius is he and he alone who finds such joy in his art that he will work at it come hell or high water.”

Lorrie Ardoin: “Don’t wallow in the mud with pigs, you will get dirty….and the pigs will like it.”

Jeff Fletcher: “Don’t do more than you can do, but don’t do less either.”

John Wathan, upon being named Kansas City Royals manager:
When I asked, “How would you like to be married to a major league manager?” my wife said, “What, is Tommy Lasorda getting a divorce?”

Yogi Berra, asked if he had new plans for the World Series:
“It ain’t like football. You can’t make up no trick plays.”

Tommy Lasorda: “Managing is like holding a dove in your hand. Squeeze to hard and you kill it; not hard enough and it flies away.”

Branch Rickey, on Leo Durocher: “He had the ability of taking a bad situation and making it immediately worse.”

Matt Keough: “Playing for Billy Martin is like being married to him. Right now, we’re all sleeping on the couch.”

Unknown: “It’s so hard when you have to, but so easy when you want to.”

Shannon Fish: “If you are going to take it to the bank, then you better cash it in.”

Unknown: “My responsibility is getting all my players playing for the name on the front of the jersey, not the one on the back.”

Armilando Evora: “A Spelling Lesson: “Unity begins with you.”

Unknown: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, it not an act, but a habit.”

Johnny Oates, after his team left 14 runners on base in an 8-3 loss to Oakland: “We set the table, but no one ate.”

George Patton: “There is no such thing as a successful defense.”

Mike Pendley: “The best man defense looks like a zone and the best zone defense looks like a man”

Branch Rickey: “Success is that place in the road where preparation meets opportunity.”

T. X. Huxley: “Try to learn something about everything and everything about something.”

Aristotle: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.”

John Rohn: “To be successful, you don’t have to do extraordinary things. Just do ordinary things extraordinarily well.”

Rick Pitino: ” Excellence is the unlimited ability to improve the quality of what you have to offer.”

Henry Ford: “Failure is the only opportunity to begin again more intelligently.”

Confucius: “It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.”

John Wooden: “What you are as a person is far more important that what you are as a basketball player.”

Montaigne: “Not being able to govern events, I govern myself, and apply myself to them, if they will not apply themselves to me.”

Francis Bacon: “A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds.”

Hank Iba: “Everyone should want to excel in life. You should never take the desire to excel away from the human race.”

Unknown: “Teaching a complicated skill to a player with little knowledge is like putting an embroidered saddle on a donkey.”

John Wooden: “It’s what you learn, after you know it all, that counts.”

Earl Weaver: “My best game plan is to sit on the bench and call out specific instructions like ‘C’mon Boog,’ ‘Get a hold of one, Frank,’ or ‘Let’s go, Brooks.'”

Tommy Lasorda, Dodger manager, asked what terms Mexican-born pitching sensation Fernando Valenzuela might settle for in his upcoming contract negotiations: “He wants Texas back.”

Norm Stewart: “We’re shooting 100 percent – 60 percent from the field and 40 percent from the free-throw line.”

Jim Kelly: “The cream will always rise to the top.”

Unknown: “It is foolish to expect a young man to follow your advice and to ignore your example.”

Jeff Brown: “Coaching does not permit democracy.”

John Wooden: “Success is never final, failure is never fatal. It’s courage that counts.”

Vince Lombardi: “The measure of who we are is what we do with what we have.”

Pat Riley: “Great efforts springs naturally from great attitude.”

Mike McDowell: “ (coaching basketball) is kind of like wrestling a gorilla, you don’t quit when you’re tired, you quite when the gorilla is tired.”

Charles Smyth: “Coaches build teams, parents build players.”

Unknown: “Good is not enough if better is possible.”

Dave DeBusschere: “The best teams have chemistry. They communicate with each other and they sacrifice personal glory for the common goal.”

Abraham Lincoln: “I do the best I know how, the very best I can; and I mean to keep on doing it to the end. If the end brings me out all right, what is said against me will not amount to anything. If the end brings me out all wrong, ten angels swearing I was right would make no difference.”

Al Maguire: “Keep it simple, when you get too complex you forget the obvious.”

Chinese Proverb: “Experience is a comb that nature gives us when we are bald.”

La Rochefoucauld: “True eloquence consists in saying all that should be said, and that only.”

Chuck Daly: “A lot of guys go through their whole careers and don’t win a championship, but are still great coaches.”

Bill Walton: “Winning is about having the whole team on the same page.”

Brenden “Buff” Blackler: “If you’ve got nothing to do, don’t do it here.”

Unknown: “It’s not the hours you put in, it’s what you put in the hours.”

William James: “If you care enough for a goal you will almost certainly attain it.”

Unknown: “At the top there is only a small piece of pie for many….the days that we are not striving for it…somebody else is.”

Phil Jackson: “Always keep an open mind and a compassionate heart.”

LA Kings coach Larry Robinson: “Maybe one of the qualities of being a great coach is being [a jerk]. There are quite a few of them around.”

Unknown: “We all want to be important in our jobs. However the person who thinks I am the most important part of the team should remember this. Life is like a buck of water. We are a part of the whole. But how big is the hole that is left when we take away a large cup of water? The hole suddenly fills up and…so life goes. The nature of life is that there is always someone who can and will take your place, when you think you are irreplaceable.”

Red Auerbach: “The coach should be the absolute boss, but he still should maintain an open mind.”

Ogden Nash: “Here’s a good rule of thumb; too clever is dumb.”

Unknown: “Champions never complain, they are too busy getting better.”

Jack Michels, HS Coach: “Don’t tell me how good you are, show me!”

Ortega y Gassett: “Effort is only effort when it begins to hurt.”

Unknown: “Life’s Mirror- There are little eyes upon you that watch everything you say and do. When you doubt the power of your position, just remember that 10 or 20 years earlier that little boy or girls was you!”

Antoine de Saint-Exupery: “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”

Unknown: “The only difference between me and General Custer is that he didn’t have to watch the game films the next day.”

John Wooden: “The only place that success is before work is in the dictionary.”

Unknown: “Superstar- A player who hears what he doesn’t want to hear, sees what he doesn’t want to see, and does what he doesn’t want to do.”

Brian Merritt: “You can not control how high ‘he’ jumps. You cannot control how fast ‘he’ is. You can not control how great ‘he’ is. But he can not control how hard ‘YOU’ play.”

Mike Krzyzewski: “Every season is a journey. Every journey is a lifetime.”

Unknown: “What you do reflects your attitude, not what you say or even how you say it.”

Tom Landry: “Coaching is making men do what they don’t want, so they can become what they want to be.”

John Marcum: “Discipline is the refining fire which enables talent to become ability.”

Marv Harshman: “Quick guys get tired; big guys don’t shrink.”

Hans Schmidt: “It takes no talent to hustle.”

Bob Hoffman: “The more you complain, the more you find things to complain about. The more you give thanks, the more you find things to be thankful for.”

Shannon Wilburn: “Lack of confidence is born from a lack of preparation.”

Darrell Johnson, Seattle Mariner manager, on when to change pitchers: “You just listen to the ball and bat come together. They make an awful noise.”

Tom Landry: “Setting a goal is not the main thing. It is deciding how you will go about achieving it and staying with that plan.”

Steve Hewitt: “Our reach must exceed our grasp.”

Hank Iba: “Think and then act. Never act and then alibi.”

Vince Lombardi: “It’s easy to have faith in yourself and discipline when you’re a winner, when you’re Number 1. What you’ve got to have is faith and discipline when you are not yet a winner.”

John Wooden: “Happiness begins where selfishness ends.”

Darrel Royal: “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”

Pete Carill: “Work hard to make things easier.”

Unknown: “Your attitude is either the lock or the key to the door of success.”

Casey Stengel: “Whenever I decided to release a guy, I always had his room searched first for a gun. You couldn’t take any chances with some of them birds.”

John Wooden: “Ability will get you to the top, character will keep you there.”

Casey Coleman: “Your toughest competition in life is anyone who is willing to work harder than you.”

Vince Lombardi: “Individual commitment to a group effort. That’s what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.”

Matt Dalrymple: “A team consist of not only the players on the court, but also the coaches and the bench. It is a team game and a team wins!”

Unknown: “Dream the Impossible – Do The Incredible.”

George Torigian: “Do you really understand all of what you think you know?”

Henry Ford: “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.”

Washington Irving: “Great minds have purposes, Little minds have wishes.”

Vince Lombardi: “The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand.”

Unknown: “Everybody wants to follow the leader; but, nobody wants to lead the followers.”

Knute Rocke: “Leaders are like eagles – they don’t flock. You find them one at a time.”

Abraham Lincoln: “If I was given eight hours to chop down a tree. I would spend seven hours sharpening my ax”

Conrad Burns: “In life you are given two ends, one to think with the other to sit on. Your success in life depends on which end you use the most. Head you win, tails you lose.”

Elton Hall: “Be at the right place, at the right time, and do the right thing.”

John F. Kennedy: “Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction.”

John Wild: “The three best things I’ve learned in coaching: my players must play Hard, Hard, Hard.”

Jim Valvano: “A person really doesn’t become whole, until he becomes a part of something that’s bigger than himself.”

Lou Holtz: “Nothing is as good as it seems and nothing is as bad, but somewhere between reality falls.”

Sun Tzu: “All battles are won before they are fought.”

Ian Gray: “Perception if reality. Remember it is not what you say or how you say it, but rather what is heard that is important.”

John Wooden. “Remember this, the choices you make in life, make you.”

President Theodore Roosevelt: “…It is not the critic that counts…The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena… who strives valiantly, who errs and often comes up short again and again…who, at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat…”

Dean Smith: “What to do with a mistake–recognize it, admit it, learn from it, forget it.”

President Thomas Jefferson: “Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.”

Unknown: “Those who have invested the most are the last to surrender.”

James Perry: “There is no obstacle that is too small to stumble over or too large to overcome.”

Will Rogers: “If stupidity got us into this mess, then why can’t it get us out.”

Albert Einstein: “Imagination is more important than knowledge.”

Michael Burks: “The difference between an extraordinary player and an ordinary player is that little extra.”

D. Cotrell: “In practice, if you don’t like to do it, it is probably good for you.”

Unknown: “Extra discipline makes up for a lack of talent and a lack of discipline quickly siphons away extra talent, that’s why it’s frequently the most disciplined rather than the most gifted rise to the top”.

Ron Guidry: “If you approach Billy Martin right, he’s Okay. I avoid him altogether.”

Matt Keough, on a game between teams managed by Billy Martin and Earl Weaver: “It’s like you came to a controversy and a ball game breaks out.”

Mike Davis: “There are three reasons we make mistakes, don’t know, don’t care, or not able (ignorance, apathy, ability).”

Unknown: “People need to know what you stand for, AND what you won’t stand for.”

Joe Paterno: “Besides pride, loyalty, discipline, heart and mind, confidence is the key to all the locks.”

Scott Sieling: “Tradition never graduates.”

Bob Sundvold: “Basketball is a game that gives you every chance to be great, and puts every pressure on you to prove that you haven’t got what it takes. It never takes away the chance, and it never eases up on the pressure.”

Conor Gillen: “R.E.P.S.- Repetition Elevates Personal Skills.”

Steve Levesque: “Whenever I say something is ‘good enough’ it usually isn’t.

Unknown: “Kids don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.”

Tex Winter: “Neither criticism nor praise should be highly regarded.”

Unknown: “Teamwork: The fuel that produces uncommon results in common people.”

Pittsburgh Penguins coach Kevin Constantine, when asked if his team had potential: “Potential is synonymous with getting your ass kicked.”

Unknown: “There are two pains in life, the pain of discipline, and the pain of regret. Take your choice.”

Lee MacPhail, former American League President, recounting a meeting with Earl Weaver, whom he subsequently suspended for three days for abusing umpires: “Earl gave me his version of what happened and asked me not to suspend the umpires.”

Bill James, on Maury Wills: “Letting him manage in the major leagues is like sending Bo Derek through cellblock A without a bodyguard.”

Gene Mauch, Phillies manager, on how to handle Richie Allen: “Play him, fine him, and play him again.”

Ernie Harwell, on Sparky Anderson: “Sparky’s the only guy I know who’s written more books than he’s read.”

Unknown: “If you think small things don’t matter, think of the last game you lost by one point.”

Paul McAllister, Youth Coach: “Professional coaches measure success in rings. College coaches measure success in championships. High School coaches measure success to titles. Youth coaches measure success in smiles.”

Chinese Proverb: “I hear and I forget, I see and I remember, I do and I understand.”

Vince Lombardi: “Coaches who can outline plays on a blackboard are a dime a dozen. The one’s who win get inside their players and motivate.”

Unknown: “Perfection is not attainable but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.”

John Wooden: “Be more concerned with your character than your reputation.”

Unknown: “Everyone can’t be a professional player at sports, but everyone can be a professional sport as a player.”

Ed McAllister: “Discipline builds winners, Winners stay disciplined!”

Danny White, on Coach Tom Landry: “Coach Landry was a master at maintaining discipline and creating an environment where ordinary people could achieve extra ordinary results.”

Joe Paterno: “The will to win is important, but the will to prepare is vital.”

John Madden: “The road to Easy Street goes through the sewer.”

Paul Brown: “A winner never whines.”

Ronnie Lott: “If you can believe it, the mind can achieve it.”

Vince Lombardi: “The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will.”

John Madden: “Winning is a great deodorant.”

Bill Parcells, on his expectations for the Cowboys in his first season as head coach: “My expectations are greater than the average fan’s but, I’m more realistic than the top prognosticators.”

Abe Lemmon, on why he didn’t impose a curfew on his players: “You always catch the wrong players.”

Jim Valvano, on assistant coaches who take over for a fired head coach: “Are you saying that the assistant had the answers all along, he just wasn’t telling anyone?”

Herm Edwards: “You play to win the game.”

Joey Galloway, referring to Head Coach Bill Parcells: “If you can eliminate the yelling and listen to the message, there’s a great message there.”

John Wooden: “A player who makes a team great is better than a great player.”

Bum Philips: “The only discipline that lasts is self-discipline.”

Sparky Anderson: “A baseball manager is a necessary evil.”

Walt Alston: “Perhaps the truest axiom in baseball is that the toughest thing to do is repeat.”

Tommy Lasorda: “About the only problem with success is that it does not teach you how to deal with failure.”

Tommy Lasorda: “Everybody makes mistakes, that’s why they put erasers on pencils.:

Vince Lombardi: “Leaders are not born, they’re made.”

John McKay, commenting on his coaching debut with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers: “We didn’t tackle but, we made up for it by not blocking.”

Gerry DiNardo, after his Indiana football team won a game, “The only reward in this game is winning. It’s no fun to practice; it’s no fun to play and lose.”

Sid Gillman: “Attitude is the whole thing in football. Every team has the talent and the coaching. Motivation makes the difference. The teams that win stay healthy and interested.”

I hope you enjoyed these quotes and use them in your work, compliments of sports psychology!


Tampa Tribune – January 31, 2009 – Brett McMurphy – Knute Rockne pleaded to his Notre Dame Fighting Irish to “win one for the Gipper.”

John “Bluto” Blutarsky used a much different approach, asking his Delta Tau Chi members if it was over “when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor.”

Although both were successful, neither motivational speech has been uttered in a Super Bowl locker room, not that we’re aware of, anyway.

So what does a head coach actually say to his team minutes before they play in the biggest game of their lives?

It all depends on who you ask.


No one has been a head coach in more Super Bowls than Don Shula. So what better expert on pregame Super Bowl speeches than the coaching legend who took six teams to pro football’s ultimate game?

“What you try to do is do the things that got you to where you are,” Shula said. “You don’t want to be someone that you’re not. The thing I tried to do is summarize what it took to get there.”

Shula also reminded his team there will be only one winner.

“Once you reach the Super Bowl, both teams are talked about during the week,” Shula said. “But when the game is over, [the media] only go to one locker room. I told them to make sure it was our locker room.”

As a head coach, Shula was in the winning locker room twice and in the losing locker room four times. After losing Super Bowl VI, Shula delivered the same message to his team from the first day of practice until minutes before Super Bowl VII kicked off.

“We lost the year before, so my message from the beginning of training camp was that our goal wasn’t to get to the Super Bowl,” Shula said. “Our goal was to win it.”

His 1972 Miami Dolphins did just that. The Dolphins defeated the Washington Redskins 14-7 in Super Bowl VII. Not only did the Dolphins make good on Shula’s goal, they also capped the only perfect season in NFL history.


After the Baltimore Ravens set the NFL record for fewest points allowed during the 2000 regular season, Coach Brian Billick knew if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. His message before the Ravens ran onto the Raymond James Stadium turf for Super Bowl XXXV was brief.

“He said to approach this like any other game,” said Peter Boulware, a four-time Pro Bowl selection and the 1997 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year from Florida State.

“We took a very businesslike approach. That’s what helped us. We didn’t get tight. We just worked the same way.”

Despite the Ravens’ dominating defense, they still had their doubters. At least, they believed there were doubters as they used the always popular no-respect card.

“No matter how good you are, you always think you’re being disrespected,” Boulware said. “You just have to find one person, one writer, one broadcaster that doesn’t think you can win. And then all of sudden it’s no one is giving us a chance.

“And it’s funny looking back at it, because even if it isn’t true and you do get the respect, it still motivates you to do better.”


Ryan Nece couldn’t play in the Bucs’ only Super Bowl. He was sidelined for the 2002 season with a left knee injury in late October. But Nece was in San Diego in the locker room before the Bucs’ historic win under Jon Gruden.

“Coach Gruden always was a great pregame [speech] guy. He was always good,” Nece said.

“I remember him saying, ‘This is the time of your life,’ and, ‘Go out and take what’s ours. It’s destiny. Just go out there and take what is ours.’

“We all believed in our mind we would win the game. That’s what he preached all week, telling the guys to really enjoy every moment of it. Take in the national anthem, take it all in. It’s the greatest stage.”

Nece said the key for any speech is respect.

“There’s definitely a place [for a motivational speech], but it’s all how much the players respect the coach,” Nece said. “If guys are just out there and don’t respect the coach, they’re not going to ‘win one for the Gipper’ or anything like that.”


Coach Mike Ditka didn’t wait until Sunday to provide his Super Bowl pregame speech. He delivered it to the Bears the night before the game.

“I gave the speech on Saturday night,” Ditka said. “Basically I said this was not about me and not about the city of Chicago. I told them this is the one memory you will have of each other for the rest of your lives.”

And what a memory it was: The Bears danced all over the Patriots in what was then the biggest rout in Super Bowl history.

“I told them you won’t remember the money, but you’ll remember the championships,” Ditka said. “Because it was a special group of guys that bonded and made something special happen. That 1985 team was a very unique group of men.”


The Steel Curtain. Lambert. Bradshaw. Harris. Swann. Bleier. Stallworth. With that core group there probably wasn’t much Pittsburgh coach Chuck Noll needed to say before each of the Steelers’ four Super Bowl trips in a six-year span in the 1970s.

“It’s a coach-by-coach thing,” former Steelers wide receiver Lynn Swann said. “Tony Dungy, who had his team in the Super Bowl, I don’t know what kind of speech Tony gives, but when you look at his demeanor you don’t see a fire-and-brimstone type of guy. You see a guy that’s very focused that can communicate without having to shout and scream. We can all imagine Bill Cowher and what that locker room might have been like before Super Bowl XL or Super Bowl XXX.

“Chuck was a very level, low-key kind of guy, not a fire-and-brimstone type of guy. Very directed in terms of what he wanted to get done. We didn’t get those type of speeches from Chuck Noll.

“But we didn’t lose a Super Bowl, either.”


For the past 25 years, John F. Murray has been involved in the motivational aspect of sports. As a sports-performance psychologist, he has worked with athletes on performance enhancement, mental health, general psychology, fitness, wellness and lifestyle. Murray, who lives in Palm Beach, has been a licensed psychologist in Florida since 1999.

Murray said the pregame pep talk or motivational speech at the NFL level can be very effective – or disastrous.

“I think it’s never going to go away,” Murray said. “Certain coaches have a certain way of saying the right thing at the right time or the wrong thing at the wrong time. You can’t discount the impact of a leader.”

Murray said the pregame speech is “an inexact science.”

“The team that gets too hyped has a disadvantage in the Super Bowl,” Murray said. “One of the more traditional theories is when you get too pumped up, you don’t perform well. I think the lower-key approach at the Super Bowl, a more cerebral, intelligent approach, might be the more effective approach.”

“Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?”

Photo credit: The Associated Press

Photo: Mike Ditka’s Bears made lasting memories, just as he wanted them to.

Photo credit: Paramount Pictures

Photo: John Belushi had quite a way with words in “Animal House.”

Photo: Knute Rockne

Photo credit: McClatchy/Tribune

Photo: Jon Gruden told his Bucs to “take what’s ours.”

Photo: Brian Billick

Photo: Shula had a lot of practice making Super Bowl speeches. He coached in six and won two.

Photo credit: Miami Herald

Photo: Don Shula got the ride of his life after his undefeated Dolphins beat the Redskins in January 1973.

Photo: Quarterback Terry Bradshaw was one of many great players Chuck Noll had on his Pittsburgh teams of the 1970s.