There are a bunch of faces starting at you. You and your team are gathered on the grass next to the field. The game is about to start and it’s time for the pregame speech. Whether you coach Little Leaguers, high schoolers, or even an elite college team, the pregame speech is a much anticipated way to get every game started on the right foot. The pregame speech is your last chance to remind players of the end goal and get them psyched to put their practice into play. Here are some tips to remember when you, as a coach, are preparing for the next game.
- Know what you’re going to say before game day. If you are a volunteer coach for your child’s Little League team, you may not need to spend all week preparing the perfect speech, but a little preparation can go a long way. Spend some time after each practice writing down a couple things that the team can focus on and summarize your list before the next game. For high school or college coaches, you may even go as far as having an assistant give you feedback before delivering the speech at game time.
- Be YOU. Some coaches have fiery speeches in their blood, others don’t. Don’t try to be a type of coach that you are not, your players will see right through you.
- Players should already be motivated from days and weeks of practice. The speech should be about purpose. The goal is to inspire a positive mental focus.
- Keep the speech short and simple. Give your team a couple strategic points they know and have been working on. Do not introduce new information. You don’t want to distract them with information that should be saved for practice. Any reminders belong at the beginning of the speech, then an emotional message, and consider wrapping it up with a routine unique to the team to mark the end of the speech, such as a team handshake.
- Remind players the importance of being good sports – no matter what happens on the field. Players should always respect the umpires, their opponents, and coaches.
- Know your team. Some players need to relax and have quiet time before games, others have a more energetic routine. Allow your players to get what they need before games.
- ALWAYS BE POSITIVE!
The pregame speech should pull your players together to work as a team. See how your athletes respond to your new and improved speech- you may see a new side of your team in the game that follows.