Toronto Raptors head Coach Dwane Casey believes the team is heading into what he calls a building season and so he had introduced a new motto to the team: Pound the Rock. But the team isn't just getting these words as inspiration, Casey has placed a 1,300-pound rock inside the players locker room as a stark reminder of the mentality he is trying to instill in them.
I knew we were going to be a work in progress, every time we walked on the floor we were going to have to have something to get us to think about ... how we have to get better, we've got to work to get better, Casey said, as reported by The Associated Press this week. It's from a story about a stonecutter. Every time a stonecutter hits a rock it may not break. You may have to hit it 100 times but on that 101st time you hit it, now you crack the rock.
The AP also reported that the motto is written on the walls of the team's practice gym and in the locker room also.
The 1,300-pound rock was bought at a quarry in Thornhill, Ontario, which is north of Toronto. Players are supposed to touch the rock whenever they pass by it and leave every huddle with the call to Pound the Rock!
The AP report noted that Raptors employee Graeme McIntosh was sent to find the 3 feet tall stone and had to snap a photo of it with his phone for Casey's approval. It 1,300-pond rock cost about $500 and it was washed and shipped to Air Canada Centre once Casey approved.
Every day we walk into practice it may not end up in a 'W', it may not end up in a great game, but we've got to keep pounding, we've got to keep hitting the rock, and eventually it will crack, Casey said. That's why we work every day to get better. And you can use it in any walk of life, whether it's as a journalist, or in a lawyer's profession, doctor, whatever it is, we all have to pound the rock.
The meaning of the phrase Pound the Rock is traced back to social reformer Jacob Riis, who wrote about the struggles of the poor in New York during the late 1800s and early 1900s, according to reports.
Raptors forward Jamaal Magloire told The AP that it is their motivation this year, as you know rocks are hard to break, and our goal is to break that wall and to persevere.
The Raptors have taken a liking to Casey's new philosophy.
Everybody gravitated to it right away, Magloire told The AP. I just think you've just got to remember it and always persevere and break through that wall - or break through that rock - as we say.