Herb Brooks’ speech

Not only is Miracle one of my favorite movies, Herb Brooks’ speech to his team is one of my favorite speeches. I think it was absolutely a fitting response to his rhetorical situation — he had to motivate his team for a game that noone thought they had a remote chance to win. I believe that one of the most effective aspects of the speech is its simplicity. At the beginning, the long pause is effective, before he says the most famous line of the speech “Great moments are born from great opportunity,” followed by another long pause. By bookending that line with power pauses, he causes his audience to listen — and they are certainly anticipating what he has to say — and then waits before moving on to let it sink in. He uses these pauses throughout, and it makes everything he says more effective because the team has time to think about it. It also gives him a better connection with his audience, the team — he looks at each of them, which makes it feel truly heartfelt — exactly what is needed in this speech. This use of pathos is likely why the speech is so well remembered. He uses logos as well — they were born to be hockey players, they were given this chance — all they have to do is win one game. This makes it seem attainable, and that logic is emotional logic, but emotion is what is needed in the moment.  He has built his ethos throughout his time as a coach, and it is why they take him so seriously and take his words to heart.

I also love his use of language. He uses repetition well: “that’s what you have here tonight … that’s what you’ve earned here tonight.” He uses tonight throughout as well, and that goes with his logos — tonight is the game they can win, tonight is the game they are meant to play and meant to win, and they need to use their opportunity. He never says too much — the simplicity in his words is why they are so effective, and the delivery of it is what makes it so motivational. When he walks out at the end, you want to follow him and show him that you can win — that is why it worked. He knew that his audience needed that motivation, needed that spark, and he gave it to them.

Why do you think this speech was so effective?

-Amanda Daniels

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2 comments so far

  1. brownk19 on

    I too love the movie miracle and love this speech. It is a great speech that really is able to motivate any athlete before a big game. I think the speech was very effective because of the emphasis of pausing and power brief. He is able to send out a powerful message in a few brief sentences. His pauses show the emphasis of each brief message.

    Throughout the course of the movie, he has established his ethos, pathos and logos. He has established his ethos by being the coach and having creditability and being able to convince his team it is possible to win. He has pathos because he generates the emotion out of the team and how America needs them to win. He also generate logos because it is only logical that they must win and be emotional about it. His use of repetition is very powerful too. Keeps coming back to the game at hand that night. How they were meant to be “here tonight” to beat them “tonight.”

    There are many great quotes throughout this movie and this one definitely is a great use of public address. His motivation speech is able to generate deep down emotion and inspire the victory.

    Kyle Brown

  2. antonio16brown on

    The motivational quotes throughout the film played a huge role in making the film what it is today. In Books last speech to his team before the big game; he outlined the problem, which established his creditability. He establishes the teams’ creditability by reminding them “this is their time”. His conviction towards winning this game makes the audience believe that there is a problem which requires solving. He provides direction, by reiterating the need to beat the Soviets and how his was born to play hockey and this was their destiny. Lastly, Coach Brooks’ passion and intensity conveyed the subject with enthusiasm, to appeal to the emotions of the audience.


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