How To Speak Ted Lasso

Dept. of Lasso and Linguistics


With new episodes of Ted Lasso dropping each week on Apple TV Plus, it seems to us that the world feels just that *little* bit lighter every Friday, if only for a little while. But what if you want to bring some of that gosh darn Midwestern charm and optimism to your work/life in between episodes?

Adopting a Kansas drawl or dropping a “y’all” randomly into conversation ain’t gonna cut it. After an exhaustive (and very enjoyable) course of research (I rewatched Ted Lasso, Season 2), Goggler is proud to present our guide to “Speaking Ted Lasso.”

Feel free to use this nine part guide to enhance your interpersonal communication skills in both your professional and personal life.*

*Goggler accepts no responsibility whatsoever for personal or professional issues, personal injury, or loss that may arise from the use of this guide… y’all.

[Note: Dear American readers, we will be referring to football as “football” and not “soccer” throughout this guide. Try to keep up.]

1. Under No Circumstances Ever Talk About “Football”

You may have noticed, but for a football coach, Ted rarely, if ever, actually talks about football. You’re probably not a football coach, but there is still a lesson that can be learned when it comes to your own chosen profession.

Now, some might say Ted does this to cover his own ignorance of football when Coach Beard isn’t around, but using references to things outside your chosen profession, or specialist subject, can avoid the use of jargon and help bring people into conversations.

You can do this yourself, by picking something everyone can understand when outlining a problem. Like, “chase it (the ball) down like it’s a loose toddler in a busy parking lot.” Y’all can get the urgency in that, right? 

Once you feel comfortable, take things to the next level by mixing in some metaphors that relate to other disciplines. If you’re an American coach at a British Football club, surrounded by Brits, try using references only American’s will understand. Compare someone with a performance related problem to “Chuck Knoblauch’s throwing to first,” or “Charles Barkley’s golf swing,” and you should get your message across.

Always make sure you have a wider reference in your back pocket though. Just in case the room looks at you bewildered. Spice things up (like Nando’s Peri Peri sauce) by following your first volley with another reference, or three, just to make sure your point gets across e.g. “(It’s) like saying MacBeth in a theatre, or Voldemort at Hogwarts, or soccer in England.”**

**It might look like we’re breaking rule number #1 already, but referencing football as cultural difference between the UK and US doesn’t count as talking about football.

2. Oddly Specific or Unexpected Pop Culture References

Ted(Jason Sudeikis) smiling on the couch in Hannah's office.

Now look, anyone can make a dated, useless reference that can come off as gatekeeping. and we don’t want none of that round here. Like Ted, you need to carefully consider each and every pop culture reference you make.

It’s easy to make a Transformers reference, but there’s no point yelling “Bahweep-Graaaaagnah wheep ni ni bong” unless you are actually greeting someone, and there is a slim chance they might actually know what you are talking about. Like Arnold Palmer, you need to choose your weapons carefully. All the better if you can choose references that show off a part of your personality heretofore unknown by your audience, like a love of cheerleading movies of the early 2000’s (“Make like Dunst and Union and Bring It On baby.”)

Don’t be afraid to revel in references that will most likely go over the head of your audience. References to movies and series whose last entry was over 10 years ago (“Think of me as his own personal Mr. Miyagi. Except without all that extra yard work.”) or American porn stars of the 70s and 80s (“I guess that’s what I get for taking a tinkle next to John Holmes“).

Again, dig deep on what you really want to say to the world. Whether it’s a love of modern rap (“To quote Drizzy, it’s the best I ever have had), or slightly older rap (“Higgie smalls! All good baby), or even older rap (“Oooh do tell, Ricky Bell”).

Any opportunity you can take to show a deeper understanding of the matter at hand should be taken, but don’t be gatekeeping, ya hear? Most people might remember “Easy Lover” as a Phil Collins joint, but Ted, he takes the time to acknowledge the contribution of Collins’ collaborator on the song: “I think a fella should only takes as long as the tune Easy Lover by Phil Collins and Philip Bailey to get dressed in the morning.

Feel free to use references more to your taste, as Roy Kent did after too much time around Ted (“I’ll tell you the same thing Nikki Sixx said in Motley Crue’s Behind The Music – “you gotta date your wife”).

3. Ain’t Got Time? Rhyme!

You know what puts people at ease? Rhyming. Studies have shown that peppering your speech with the odd rhyming phrase can really help get your point across. Emphasis on “odd” though. We don’t want a Tom Bombadil situation on our hands now, do we? Preferably incorporate rule number #2 and sprinkle a pop culture reference in there.

It can be as simple as rhyming a Beatle as an exclamation point: “Bingo, Ringo! Try adding a rhyme to double down on the sentiment of your phrase: “Now don’t you fret, Boba Fett.”

Bonus points if you can refer to someone your audience will be almost guaranteed to not be familiar with. 60 year old basketball coaches (“What’s the word, Larry Bird,”Yes sir, Steve Kerr“) will fit the bill nicely.

4. Conversational Doubles

Ted(Jason Sudeikis)  smiling at Roy Kent (Brett Goldstein)

One of the keys to Ted’s relentless interpersonal skills is realizing that every conversation is a two-player game. Not an adversarial one like checkers or darts, but a co-operative one like tennis doubles. Ted is always on the lookout for opportunities to set his team mate up for a conversational, overhead smash.

Probably the easiest way to do this, is providing your conversational partner with the building blocks necessary to piece together what you are talking about, without actually telling them.

Saying “He’s a wigwam and a tepee right now” really lets them understand “he’s too tense (2 tents).”

Combine this with rule number #2 to up your game. Use David Bowie/Queen songs to let people know how you really feel: “I’m just dealing with the terror of knowing what this world is about. Watching a few good fiends screaming to let them out,” i.e. “feeling under pressure.”

You could just ask for input or you could ask, “Why don’t you go all Pat Benatar on me, yeah?”, i.e. Hit you with my best shot?”

Only once you, and your colleagues, have mastered the basics, should you attempt advanced techniques. It can be a risky gamble, but the pay off will be worth it when you name their desktop plant “Robert” and they reply with “My name’s Jimmy as they brandish a page of paper.

5. ABC – Always Be Complimentary

One of the smaller ways that Ted builds relationships is by (almost) always showing his respect for the other person by acknowledging their time and comments. Small affirmations can be pebbles that lead to avalanches.

Never shy away from receiving compliments. Just saying “I appreciate that” when complimented shows the speaker that their words were received and appreciated far more than a shy smile or moving on would do.

Even if you’re not entirely on board with what the speaker is saying, you can still let them know you’re grateful they shared it with you: That was a real roller coaster there. Glad I was tall enough to join you on that ride.”

Be brave enough to be honest and just remember the strength Ted showed when letting Roy Kent, the hardest man on television, know that he may have been mispronouncing “gifs,” but that it’s ok and didn’t detract in any way from Roy’s point: “I know some folks pronounce it gifs, but I hear ya.”

6. Sage-Like Aphorisms

Ted (Jason Sudeskis) gesturing with his hands in the locker room.

Adopting a Ted Lasso outlook ain’t all about your fancy, and not so fancy, word games and snappy pop culture references. In order to truly cultivate the Tao of Ted, you need to cultivate a rich inner life and sense of culture. Sure integrating pop culture or American sports into your daily speech will make do in a pinch, but for those big moments, you need something more grand. Don’t be afraid to pull from a wide variety of sources.

From the world of science: “If you are out to describe the truth, leave elegance to the tailor.” – Einstein

From the world of 1970s basketball coaches (remembering rule number #1): “What do you say we do what the man says and make today our masterpiece.” – John Wooden

With time and study you may even come up with your own sage-like advice that might be worthy of being listed beside those great men: “All people are different people.”Ted Lasso

If you find your self stuck and find nothing comes to mind, just fall back on your childhood and rule number #4: “I guess we do the same thing we do if you cross and elephant with a Rhinocerous… El-eph-i-no.”

7. Advanced Techniques: Rom-Communism

Only once you have mastered steps 2, 4, and 5 can you progress to the most advanced Ted Lassso conversational gambit, “Rom-Communism.” Believing in “Rom-Communism” is all about believing that everything is going to work out in the end.

In practice, this equates to plugging lines from famous romantic comedies into your speech patterns, but be wary! This can come off as creepy! “Rom-Communism” should only be attempted after you have mastered the previous steps and built up a genuine, Ted Lasso-like rapport with your co-workers, friends, and family.

Then, and only then, can you try and use lines like, “I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life coaching with somebody you want the rest of your life to begin ASAP” (When Harry Met Sally), or “You complete our team/me” (Jerry Maguire) lightheartedly into conversation.

8. Led Tasso

If all the steps above fail and you find that adopting the air of Ted Lasso doesn’t help you in overcoming life’s obstacles, swap the letters of your first and last names and act the exact opposite of what you would normally do! Just make sure you have someone on standby to snap your out of it.

9. And Finally, Just Remember…

Ted's Belive poster

New episodes of Ted Lasso, Season 2 are available to stream every Friday on Apple TV Plus.

Irish Film lover lost in Malaysia. Co-host of Malaysia's longest running podcast (movie related or otherwise ) McYapandFries and frequent cryer in movies. Ask me about "The Ice Pirates"

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