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What makes an inspirational pre-match speech?

As we all, coaches and athletes, prepare for a return to competitive match play, we share a very relevant and fascinating study into what makes a coach's pre-match talk effective and inspirational. The research (first published in the International Journal of Sports Science and Coaching in 2018) uses footage from the "Living with the Lions" DVD (based on the British and Irish Lions tour to South Africa in 1997) to examine and understand leader communication and just as importantly athletes' perceptions of such speeches.

"This is your f****** Everest, boys. Very few ever get a chance in rugby terms to get to Everest, the top of Everest. You have the chance today. Being picked is the easy bit..."

Not all of us can create and deliver such an 'iconic' and motivational speech as that delivered by Jim Telfer (or may want to!) but the research shows coaches can learn and understand better how to deliver clear, effective, meaningful and even inspirational speeches. The research identified 6 common themes which can provide insight to coaches / sporting leaders on how to structure their communication, and thus, inspire their athletes / followers.

Our members can access the full reseacrh paper in the Tactical Analysis section of our Members' area.