My Favorite Pre-Game Ritual

(Inch by Inch)

It’s the day you play your biggest rival, time is winding down and your nerves are building up. You know you want to win; you have to win! But how can you get your team hyped up and motivated as well? Many teams have a chant or ritual they do before each game to find inspiration and get pumped up to beat the other team. 

One of my favorite and most impactful memories from my soccer games was our team’s pre-game ritual that we only did when we played our big rival. Our coach would sit us down in front of a big screen and play Al Pacino’s Inch by Inch speech from the movie Any Given Sunday.


After watching the speech which I have posted below, we would all write “inches” on pieces of athletic tape and wrap a few around our fingers. Every second of the game we could remember what and who we were fighting for. We remembered that we had to fight for every inch.

I have since showed this same speech to my college coach and hope we can implement this ritual there as well. I recommend this video to anyone looking for a motivation pregame ritual to try with their team, because this only works if the whole team is willing to fight for the same reasons.

The Speech:

You find out that life is just a game of inches.
So is football.
Because in either game
life or football
the margin for error is so small.
I mean
one half step too late or to early
you don’t quite make it.
One half second too slow or too fast
and you don’t quite catch it.
The inches we need are everywhere around us.
They are in ever break of the game
every minute, every second.

On this team, we fight for that inch
On this team, we tear ourselves, and everyone around us
to pieces for that inch.
We CLAW with our finger nails for that inch.
Cause we know
when we add up all those inches
that’s going to make the difference
between WINNING and LOSING
between LIVING and DYING.

I’ll tell you this
in any fight
it is the guy who is willing to die
who is going to win that inch.
And I know
if I am going to have any life anymore
it is because, I am still willing to fight, and die for that inch
because that is what LIVING is.
The six inches in front of your face.

Now I can’t make you do it.
You gotta look at the guy next to you.
Look into his eyes.
Now I think you are going to see a guy who will go that inch with you.
You are going to see a guy
who will sacrifice himself for this team
because he knows when it comes down to it,
you are gonna do the same thing for him.

That’s a team, gentlemen
and either we heal now, as a team,
or we will die as individuals.
That’s football guys.
That’s all it is.
Now, whattaya gonna do?


(I suggest starting at 1:50 and then watching the rest of the video)


Whatever pre-game ritual works best for you or your team, I hope you have a way to get pumped up before your games! For some more inspiration, check out our top 10 favorite quotes to inspire athletes.

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