“There is not limit to the goals you can attain, the success you can achieve – your possibilities are as endless as your dreams.” – D. Crowe
This quote by D. Crowe is one of my favorites. I first read it when I was in middle school, and since then, it has kept me looking into the future and dreaming. As a coach, I have posted it on locker room walls and journals and shared it with many athletes because I believe it. And I hoped that with my support, the players would too.
A positive quote sends a message to your athletes that you believe in them. According to Dr. Jonathan Fader, a licensed performance and clinical psychologist, when a quote or saying conveys to a person they can achieve what they want to achieve, the quote can give them the incentive to try.
Because of this, quotes can be a powerful part of a coach’s routine. If a coach believes their player can do something, they are more likely to do it.
Also, a quote or saying can be used as a team’s theme, which makes the perfect framework for the season.
Start The Season With A Quote
I started every season with a quote or theme that I emphasize throughout the year. In my first year as a varsity coach, I started with one simple word, Belief. I talked to the team about believing in themselves and one another. I reminded them that they were the start of something new at our high school. We were building a strong program, and to do that, they needed to believe.
I gave the players ribbons with the word Belief on them, posted Believe on the lockers, and talked to the team about how important it was to Believe in themselves. I assured them that they would be a part of putting a championship banner on the gym wall for the girl’s basketball program one day.
Then throughout the year, I followed up with quotes that supported the theme…Believe.
Each year’s theme was different. Hear Us Roar, and Together We Are Strong were a couple of them. Small sayings with big meaning. Reminders of what we were going to do that season.
The season’s theme gave me an overall focus and helped the team to feel more connected.
Use Quotes At Practice
Choose a strong theme and then build on it with quotes and sayings throughout the year during practice. Some coaches can pull them up by memory, but I always jotted one or two down on my practice plan so that I was ready to share it with the team.
I enjoyed searching for quotes. Ones that I hoped would help the players dream of a better future, like:
“The Future Belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
“Together, ordinary people can achieve extraordinary results.” – Becka Schoettle
And quotes and sayings that might share what the players needed to know to reach their dreams:
“It doesn’t take talent to hustle.” – H. Jackson Brown
“I’ve never known anybody to achieve anything without overcoming adversity. – Lou Holtz
Decorate With Quotes
Our locker room was covered in quotes. Of course, our season’s theme was posted throughout, but I also put our theme on things like journals and t-shirts. I used other sayings like, “Team, not the individual, is the ultimate champion.” by Mia Hamm on our team playbooks, and, Leave it all on the Court, next to the locker room door so that when the players headed out for a game, they would be reminded to give their all.
After sharing a quote with the team at practice, I would post it in the locker room, and by the end of the season, there was a giant collage of quotes. Each time the players entered the room, they were reminders of what they were capable of right there in front of them.
Don’t get me wrong, adding sayings and quotes to your coaching is not the end all be all. You and your team still need to put in the work. But quotes can be a great way to bring a positive vibe to the locker room and the court. And if you and your team believe in them, you might be surprised to see what happens.