Coaches must constantly devise new ways to inspire their teams, and sometimes the average pep talk just doesn’t cut it. Former linebacker Jack Del Rio was aware of this, and when he became coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars he devised a unique method for rallying the troops. He would place a wooden log and an ax in front of his team and advise them to “keep chopping wood,” a statement meant to symbolize the slow and methodical way that challenges and adversity are overcome.
Not content to go for mere symbolism, Del Rio would then have his charges come up and take a few inspirational swings of the ax, thereby instilling the player with a sense of purpose. One such player was punter Chris Hanson, whose expertise in sports did not extend to ax-wielding. He took a swing at the wood and promptly gashed his own foot, requiring surgery and costing him the rest of the 2003 season.