When people think of sports, they think of players, wins and losses. Fans also think of coaches, the championship game and the “game winning play.” Although all of these are important to the nature of sports, there are many more pillars to sports.
One major pillar of sports is the pregame speech. Pregame speeches can make a difference in a game or match. It can make a basketball player score 25 points instead of a mediocre 10. It can make a baseball player go three for four when batting instead of one for four. Players often find motivation through religion, other great athletes of the same sport, or family. A lot of those techniques motivate athletes every day, but athletes also find motivation through pregame speeches.
Pregame speeches vary from being heated up speeches to more tactical strategies and on how to approach the opponent.
Jay Ladner, head coach of men’s basketball, varies his pregame speeches from being motivational to aggressive depending on the need.
“I would say pregame speeches vary,” said Ladner. “It all depends on the state of the team. If I feel like they’re mentally prepared, it will be more low-key and relaxed. If they’re not there mentally or psychologically, it will be more intense and aggressive.”
Not every opponent is the same in sports. Some schools may be more competitive than other schools. Some basketball games are Southland Conference games, and others are against non-conference opponents.
“The Southland Conference opponents are very meaningful for us and decide our conference standings,” said Ladner. “Those are the speeches that I get intense and motivate my boys the most.”
When the university plays division one schools, the tone of the pregame speeches tends to be more tactical because the university is playing on a national scale.
Ladner occasionally lets players give pregame speeches.
“I don’t let just anyone give the pregame speeches,” said Ladner. “I only allow the team leaders give speeches. Sometimes it changes the other player’s mindset, and it gives them someone else to hear talking.”
Pregame speeches are an essential part of every game and every season, but besides pregame speeches, halftime speeches are also essential. Halftime speeches are different because Ladner takes the time to tell his players how they can improve and fix mistakes for the second half.
“These halftime speeches change our players’ approach and change the coaching staff’s approach,” said Ladner.
Pregame and halftime speeches can change the outcome of a game.
“Many times we’ve been down big,” said Ladner. “I mean big. We’ve come back from a blowout and came back to win the game.”