Stacking Ammo

Preparing Your Athletes for the Mental Battle with Paper & Pen

Today’s resource is designed to get you thinking about how you equip your athletes for the mental battle. We believe the best place to start is to make taking notes a normal part of your team’s routine. Some of the best teams put notebooks/3-ring binders in the hands of their athletes, how about you?

Alabama Football - EVERY ATHLETE HAS A NOTEBOOK! (Photo from Twitter)

Iowa Women’s Basketball - EVERY ATHLETE HAS A NOTEBOOK! (Photo from "What Drives Winning” Video)

If you are a student in our Leadership Academy or an athlete in our XC or T&F Program, a 3-ring binder/Journal is put in your hands and the expectation set that you’ll use it.


At the beginning of the school year in Leadership Academy & when we first work with a team building culture/mental skills we show this video of Marshall Mathers, aka Eminem, where we learned the phrase “Stacking Ammo.”

The video link above starts at the 6:24 mark with Eminem talking about rhyming with the word ORANGE and reading the dictionary when he was younger. He then shares with Anderson Cooper the boxes of lyric ideas he has written down and stored over the years for future use. At the 8:08 mark of the video Anderson Cooper uses the phrase “STACKING AMMO.” We stop the video at this point. “Stacking Ammo” becomes a phrase we use regularly and all of our students understand what it means.


Rarely when we teach athletes a mental skill do they need that exact skill in that exact moment. We are equipping them with a skill for a future battle. If they don’t write that skill down how can we be sure it will still be there when they need it?

We use this image to help drive home that point.

What an athlete writes down is like water in a glass, stored and ready for future use! What an athlete just takes in and does not write down is like holding water in our hands, most of it eventually seeps away.

An athlete who writes down the mental skills or lessons you are teaching STACKS AMMO that they can use in the future when the mental battle comes.

“The palest ink is better than the best memory.”

Chinese Proverb


Why do we think some of the best teams have their athletes STACK AMMO? Because it is a competitive advantage! In our work with teams we have found this is not a common practice…however the best seem to find it valuable.


For whatever reason, coaches of male athletes don’t always believe that their athletes will STACK AMMO. If you are one of those coaches, I want you to scroll back to the top of this newsletter and look at the picture of the Alabama Football team. Then I want you to watch this video of Baltimore Raven greats Ed Reed and Ray Lewis teaching a group of young athletes about film study. Notice the notebooks they’ve given each athlete and then lock in at the 2:22 mark when they start talking about the importance of taking notes.

NOTE: If the video image below says “Video Unavailable”, you should be able to click on it and it will take you to the video in YouTune. It is worth the watch!


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Are you in need of a resource over a specific topic or issue to use with your team? Reply to this email with your request and you may see it show up in a future newsletter!