Words. Words contain power, spirit, drive. Have you ever stopped to think about the potential of your words?

By Roger Freeborn
Published: Summer 2000
“We hold these truths to be self-evident . . . Four score and seven years ago . . . The only thing we have to fear is . . .. Ask not what your country can do for you . . . For God so loved the world. . .” Words are powerful.

Everyday we have a Quote of the Day to kickoff each class period. We have collected over 1,000 motivational quotes and sayings that we use in our Championship Training S.E.T. For Success Class. An athlete can go through four years of school and never get the same Quote of the Day twice. Of course, we have our favorites that have a tendency to be repeated through the course of daily instruction. Quotes become the focus of instruction or can be used to reinforce specific points. Truthfully, their effect is a surprise to me. I did not believe that they would have the “power to change behavior” of teens today, but they do.

I included quotes into the course curriculum not because I thought the students would respond but on the recommendation of someone else. I honestly thought that kids today would be too sophisticated, too upbeat, too whatever to be moved by these motivational sayings. Boy was I wrong. My thinking was in violation of some of my core beliefs like: Kids are still kids; They still want guidance, direction and purpose; And if words, sayings and motivational material have changed the course of history time and time again, they certainly could have a dramatic impact on the personal histories of our students/athletes.

Words have power. They have the capacity to change lives . . . forever. Think about it: “I love you; Do you take this woman to be . . . It’s a boy!” Certainly all are life altering statements. We all use key words and phrases to trigger desired performances. The more you share positive statements and sayings with your athletes, the sooner their behavior can be positively affected. Dozens and dozens of times I have had kids come up and tell me that they were in the middle of a hard workout and they did not feel like completing it. But then one of those motivational sayings popped into their head, and it helped them finish strong.

As it says in the Bible, “The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life.” (John 6:63) A coach and his team are not unlike a shepherd and his flock. The players must be ministered to on a daily basis. There must be a constant renewal of the vision of a better tomorrow because of what we are doing today. Those players who listen to their coach, who take the coach’s word to heart and try to perform as their coach has directed are going to be more successful. Those that do not listen are going to experience failure because they are not in line with their coach or teammates.

Players must catch the vision to keep coming back into the weight room. A criticism of the BFS program is that athletes max out too much and too often. I say absolutely not. Kids want to be tested. They want to know exactly how they are doing. It is one of the best motivators. It keeps them coming back because they can see absolute progress.

Combine this physical training with massive amounts of mental “Psychology of Success” training and you are on your way to creating a force of great competitive power. Del Hessel said, “The spirit of a man is a supernatural force that enables him to achieve whatever he truly desires.” Believe me, it doesn’t hurt to have supernatural forces on your side. Use those motivational quotes and sayings; they have the power to change lives, and teams, and coaching staffs.

Roger Freeborn