I came across this story called HOLD THE ROPE several years ago, and it became a major mantra for us during the 2005 Training Camp.  I rewrote and added some things to what I originally found.

I went down to Home Depot, and bought a long rope.  I cut about a 5 inch piece off that rope and gave one to each and every player and coach in our program.  I encouraged them to carry it with them all season.   I was encouraged to see many of the boys took my words to heart, and most attached these ropes to their key chains.


Every year a professional football team wins the championship. Every year a college football team wins the NCAA title. Every year the best high school team in Division A on down wins the state crown. All these teams have one thing in common: No matter how tough it became throughout their season, they did one thing — they held the rope!

What is “holding the rope?” Imagine that you are hanging from the edge of a cliff with a drop of twenty thousand feet. The only thing between you and an fall to your death is a rope, with the person of your choice on the other end. Who do you know that has the guts to pull you to safety?

Who will hold the rope?

Who do you know that is going to let that rope burn their hand and not let go? How many people that you know are going to withstand the burning pain and watch the blood drip from their hands for you?

If you can name two people, that’s not good enough, because those two people might not be around.

The next time your team is together, look around and ask yourself, “Who could I trust to hold the rope? Who is going to let their hands bleed for me?”

When you can look at every member on your team and say to yourself that they all would hold the rope, you are destined to win a lot of ball games. You see, the team that holds the rope when the going gets tough are winners. When you are down by four points with thirty seconds to go, don’t give up. Yell at your teammates to “hold the rope — let it burn but don’t let go!” Every year there are winners and losers in all sports. Every year the winners hold the rope. You don’t have to have the best team on the field to win the game.

If you play with poise and do what your coaches ask of you, and most of all — hold the rope — you will be successful. No matter what sport you play, in order to win, you have to have a commitment to your team. If you are supposed to run three times per week, do it.

If you have to lift weights three times per week, don’t miss. Once you start letting up at practice or start missing your workouts, you’ve killed the team because you didn’t hold the rope! 

Don’t let your team down! You’ve got to hold the rope!


Chris Fore has his Masters degree in Athletic Administration, is a Certified Athletic Administrator and currently works as a Principal in Southern California (yes, he went to the “dark side” after 17 years of coaching!)  He served as the President of the California Coaches Association for 3 years.  Fore is the CEO of Eight Laces Consulting which specializes in helping coaches nationwide in their job search process.  Fore has been named to the Hudl Top 100 Coaches, and the Top 5 Best High School Football Coaches to follow on Twitter by MaxPreps.  Follow him!

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