How to give a pre-game speech

The pre-game speech is all about energy. Energy is critical for a team to stay united, to perform at peak levels, and to defeat an opposing team. What you are essentially doing during the pre-game speech is infusing energy into your team. It is Newton’s first law of thermodynamics in motion. The language that you use, and the way that you present it to your team, has the power to literally heighten their energy, focus, and performance. The following are seven tips that will help you prepare and think differently about your approach to this aspect of the game.

Tip # 1:

The pre-game speech is necessary. Emotional and mental control is key to victories. To be clear, emotional control does not mean less emotion. “The calm before the storm” cliche that some teams use is a copout for about 95% of teams out there. Your job as the coach is to bring out their best. Language is powerful and directly connected with feeling, meaning, purpose. Language is POWERFUL. The Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis suggests that our language literally affects a speakers world-view and cognition. The right words said the right way can infuse individuals with motivation, and energy to wake your team out of its slumber.

Tip #2

Pre-game speeches are an art. A theatrical performance. Rhythm, tempo, inflection... it all matters.

Tip #3

You have to connect. Remember that it’s not about you, you have to have other-consciousness to connect with others. Be in the room, look your team in the eyes, feel the emotion, power, energy that is created in moments like this and if you are only centered on yourself such as on your fear and insecurities, you are going to miss the true power that a speech can give.

Tip #4

Incorporate the team. Don’t be the pastor...people want to be a part of something, the goal is to get everyone else on the rhythm that you are on. Find your voice, say your part, and then get them involved in your rallying cry.

Tip #5

The fifth tip...don’t copy it. Make it an original. This is not a law but highly recommended. If people have heard it before it loses its effect and power. You definitely do not want to repeat speeches game after game unless it is some sort of a tradition that your team does.

Tip #6

The sixth tip...only certain people should give it. Make sure you are one of those people. If the team doesn’t respect you or what you have to say then spare yourself and the team the painful and embarrassing experience.

Tip #7

The seventh tip...practice, practice, practice and have a plan. Being a great speaker takes time  but being able to give a great pre-game speech is a very difficult skill to master. When I gave my pre-game speeches, I practices every single day leading up to the game. I was a terrible public speaker and would frequently blank on everything that I wanted to say. I created a ratio of 10:2. I practiced and memorized ten things I wanted to say so that I could always communicate at least two things to the team during my speech.

Check out our Book

Want to learn more? Check out our new book called The Captain’s Playbook to learn how to be the best leader you can be for your team. Watch the video below for a much more detailed breakdown of an actual pre-game speech: