Are motivational speeches a load of nonsense? 6 years ago

Are motivational speeches a load of nonsense?

You know it is a big game for the club when an outside speaker is drafted in to give a speech.

Sometime before the fateful day you will all gather to be addressed by an inspirational figure, usually from the world of sport.


It may be a club legend, someone you all know and respect. It could be a county hero, past or present, someone who you all know to see and have supported as a fan.

But if it is a really big game and the management team are really serious about geeing you up to high heavens they may go for the nuclear option: a national icon, a master of motivation, a speaker so inspiring you will all forego the door on exiting the room and run through the wall instead.

Paul O'Connell 16/3/2014

GAA managers looking for an edge or something a little different may look outside the native sports for an inspirational figure, such as rugby heroes Joe Schmidt or renowned 'Fear of God' installer Paul O'Connell.


An individual athlete such as Eamon Coughlan or Sonia O'Sullivan could spell out the sacrifice required to reach the top, while everyone loves jump jockeys and Ruby Walsh or Tony McCoy could make even the toughest nut on the team realise that really, he could be putting more into his shoulders.

However the go-to tactic is to choose a box office GAA man. A Brian Cody, a Mick O'Dwyer, a Mickey Harte - serial winners who can give a little insight into what is required and share a stirring tale or two from their own careers.

If that can't get you over the line in the county final than we don't know what will.

Except often, no matter who you get and from what code, the speeches are facsimiles. Winning is winning and the secret to it is always the same: talent, hard work, dedication, determination and an unflappable will to win.


How many ways are there to actually spell this out?

Will Paul O'Connell's recipe for success not be the same as Tony McCoy's or Mick O'Dwyer's or Eamon Coughlan's? How many ways are there to relay to a team of amateur athletes how it is they should succeed?

On Thursday's GAA Hour Hurling Show, Colm Parkinson and former Dublin dual star Conal Keaney both questioned the usefulness of these staples of the Gaelic games season.


Ahead of their All-Ireland club final defeat to Ballina, then Portlaoise player Parkinson recalls the club drafted in Kilkenny hurling manager Cody to talk to the team. Already, 12 years ago, Cody was a renowned serial winner and the Portslaoise mentors wanted their players to receive some guidance on how to deal with being favourites.

"In theory it was a good idea, but I was amazed at how generic and unimpressive the speech was," said Parkinson. "Maybe his heart wasn't in it, I don't know, but he didn't say anything an under-12 manager wouldn't - 'get to the ball first', 'win your battle'.

"Y'know, you think that these managers have some special spell, but a lot of them say the same thing."

Portlaoise lost to Ballina by a point.

Keaney's Ballyboden St Enda's had more success against Mayo opposition last St Patrick's Day, when they defeated Castlebar in the club football final. However the recently retired Dublin hurler was not giving much credit to Cody and Schmidt - who both spoke to he and his team-mates before the big day in Croke Park.


"Brian Cody came in an gave us a talk about two weeks before the All-Ireland club final and the week before we had Joe Schmidt in and it was as if they both read the same thing to us.

"They were saying the exact same things to us, 'keeping it simple', 'doing the right things at the right time' and 'giving the ball to the right person' and everything.

"We were like, 'this is the same thing we have heard already'. We thought the manager had already told them what to say."

What do you reckon? Have you ever had a truly inspirational speaker come talk to you before a match?

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