You've probably seen it on TV: The live coverage of your favorite sports team huddled just before the start of a game, their arms locked around each other, heads down in concentration. In the middle of that huddle, the team's leader is spouting a string of words and phrases so uplifting that the positive energy is palpable. This scene takes place on fields and in locker rooms throughout the world, and they all have one thing in common: The message is one of excitement and determination. Seeing someone else get pumped up can be contagious and inspire the rest of the team to play with passion.
If you are lucky enough to be in a position where your words can influence a team, your speech may be what helps them decide whether to stay with the sport. Think of how it must feel to be child and hear your coach or parent say that he or she supports you, believes in you and wants you to do well. When children enjoy the sport they are participating in and the environment surrounding it, they are more likely to continue it [source: KidsHealth].
The speech you give does not have to be long or very detailed. More important than what you say is how you say it -- you must truly believe every word of what you are saying. A child who sees that you believe in him will be more inclined to believe in himself [source: Harris]. Make sure that you understand what motivates each child personally to play, and try to relate to them on that level.
Motivating a young athlete can be as simple as letting him know that no matter what the final score, you believe in him and will stand by him. This might be easy when things are running smoothly, but what happens when the going gets tough? In the next section, we'll look at ways to motivate a losing team.