Of course, not a lot of the standard sayings we have as coaches are original. Often we appropriate the clever words of others and use them to inspire, cajole or critique our athletes. One of the best known in that category is "winning isn't everything, it's the only thing."
The great Green Bay Packers Coach Vince Lombardi did indeed say that, but it's probable he heard it for the first time from UCLA Bruins Coach 'Red' Sanders who is reported to have said "Men, I'll be honest. Winning isn't everything......Men, it's the only thing!"
But being sure about the source of sayings isn't my main point, it's the context in which you use them that matters. My athletes are well aware of what I mean when I say "Do or do not. There is no try!" I'm not trying to channel Yoda (well, not most of the time), nor am I suggesting they're not trying. But in our squad sessions, that phrase has come to trigger thoughts of determination, a focus on success factors (process goals), the pre-performance routines and a commitment to succeed.
I'll chat about phrases I've found useful over many years, another time.