Words to Live By

 Posted by Vokkero USA  On Nov 12th 2018  In Coaching, Football, fundamentals, playoffs

Coaches love quotes. Whether you love John Wooden’s Pyramid of Success, the speeches of Vince Lombardi or a daily dosage of Great Sports Quotes from @SportsMotto, you are drawn to the details that focus or clarify the principles that guide the way you run your program.

We talked to players and coaches to find out how certain words of wisdom inspire or motivate them to achieve what they want to achieve.

“Football is just life sped up.” (HS Senior, preferred walk-on, Big Ten)

My coach says this all the time, along with a lot of other things that help us connect football to life. In both places, we need perseverance to deal with hardship, to be able to come back from difficult situations. When we have success, we need to be humble so we continue to move forward. And we all need to work with people; you don’t play for yourself, and when you’re older, you don’t work only for yourself.

“Quitting is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.” (HS Senior, Conference USA Commit)

Anything worthwhile is hard. When you’re lifting or running, it’s easy to say you can’t do it anymore. Sure, you get the instant gratification that is the relief from challenge, but it paralyzes or fractures the path toward your goals. It’s at those moments when I could quit that this quote reminds me that I need to persevere through anything, whether it’s football or life-related.

“The saddest thing in life is wasted talent, and the choices that you make will shape your life forever.” (Head Coach, 30+ years)

This quote, from the movie, A Bronx Tale, speaks directly to daily life in our program. A few years ago, a freshman came to see me to tell me he was quitting football to focus on baseball and academics. I knew he was ok as a baseball player, but would be a great football player. I had a difficult meeting with the family, who didn’t really understand his ceiling. Today, that kid has a 3.8 and is on a lot of NFL teams’ draft boards.

But for every story of re-commitment like that, there are 20 stories of wasted talent. Of kids who were always the best player in their grade but found every excuse in the world to avoid working out. Or kids who hung out with all the wrong people and chose self-destructive behaviors that prevented them from achieving any success. I think about those kids and their choices more than the success.

“Be first to serve and last to be served.” (HS Senior, Big Ten commit)

I think this is a Navy SEAL quote. At a lot of schools, seniors claim “senior privileges.” Not where I am. Here, when they’re distributing game uniforms, captains get their pants last. At team dinners, everyone gets their food, and then the captains get on line. It’s important for younger guys to see that their leaders stay humble.


“Curveballs.” (HS Junior, FBS Commit)

You hear the saying that someone “threw you a curveball,” but don’t really think about what it means. When something goes wrong in a game or practice, Coach sometimes just says, “Curveballs.” Now I know what it means. In every scenario in life, there’s going to be a problem. Things may not go the way you expected on the field, or in the classroom or with your girlfriend. But you have to hang in there, make your adjustment, and move forward again.

Do you have a favorite inspirational quote? Click on the Comment button and share it!