‘Hold The Rope’ — Unique strategy motivates athletes

January 20, 2016 / Athletic AdministrationCoachingFootball

By Kevin Hoffman, Editorial Director

One of the many ways coaches get to flex their creative muscles is through motivational strategies. Some use billboard materials and team retreats, or maybe it’s as simple as a team slogan.

Susquehanna Township (Pa.) High School football coach Joe Headen came up with “Hold The Rope,” a concept that started with a locker room speech as his team was preparing to take the field against a rival opponent. I had the opportunity to meet with coach Headen a week ago at the American Football Coaches Association’s annual convention in San Antonio, and I was reminded of his passionate speech. His pregame message was filmed and now has more than 382,000 views on YouTube. Coaches and even corporate leaders from around the world have reached out to Headen to say they’ve adopted “Hold The Rope” for their own purposes.

Many of you have already watched it, but it was such a great example of the power of one coach’s words, I thought it was worth sharing. After the speech, Headen’s team won 54-38. Coach and Athletic Director interviewed Headen about “Hold The Rope” and other aspects of his program, and we’ll release those videos in the near future.

Click here to read the story of “Hold The Rope,” and check out the video of his speech above.


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