213 Inspirational Sports Quotes (Motivation for Athletes)

Welcome to our collection of  213 of the best Inspirational Sports Quotes!

Best Inspirational Sports Quotes

If you think you’re done, you always have at least 40 percent more Inspirational Sports QuotesPin

If you think you’re done, you always have at least 40 percent more. Lauren Crandall
Champions aren’t made in the gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them – a desire, a dream, a visionPin
Champions aren’t made in the gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them – a desire, a dream, a vision. Muhammad Ali
Make sure your worst enemy doesn’t live between your own two ears Inspirational Sports QuotesPin
Make sure your worst enemy doesn’t live between your own two ears. Laird Hamilton
If you have everything under control, you’re not moving fast enoughPin
If you have everything under control, you’re not moving fast enough. Mario Andretti
Every kid around the world who plays soccer wants to be Pele. I have a great responsibility to show them not just how to be like a soccer player, but how to be like a man Inspirational Sports QuotesPin
Every kid around the world who plays soccer wants to be Pele. I have a great responsibility to show them not just how to be like a soccer player, but how to be like a man. Pele
A trophy carries dust. Memories last foreverPin
A trophy carries dust. Memories last forever. Mary Lou Retton
From what we get, we can make a living; what we give, however, makes a life Inspirational Sports QuotesPin
From what we get, we can make a living; what we give, however, makes a life. Arthur Ashe
There is no getting around the fact that the moment you are at your very best is the moment you begin to become worse and worse. Others will come along who can run faster, jump higher, hit harder, and you will be forgotten. Your winning moment is dated to die. Charlie Higson Inspirational Sports Quotes
Courage, sacrifice, determination, commitment, toughness, heart, talent, guts. That’s what little girls are made of; the heck with sugar and spice. Bethany Hamilton
Competitive sports are played mainly on a five-and-a-half inch court, the space between your ears. Bobby Jones
I think sports gave me the first place where this awkward girl could feel comfortable in my own skin. I think that’s true for a lot of women—sports gives you a part of your life where you can work at something and you look in the mirror and you like that person. Teri McKeever
A champion is someone who does not settle for that day’s practice, that day’s competition, that day’s performance. They are always striving to be better. They don’t live in the past. Briana Scurry
The five S’s of sports training are: stamina, speed, strength, skill, and spirit; but the greatest of these is spirit. Ken Doherty
Be quick, but don’t hurry. John Wooden
Somewhere behind the athlete you’ve become and the hours of practice and the coaches who have pushed you is a little girl who fell in love with the game and never looked back… play for her. Mia Hamm
The moment of victory is much too short to live for that and nothing else. Martina Navratilova
Continuous effort — not strength or intelligence — is the key to unlocking our potential. Liane Cardes
Don’t measure yourself by what you have accomplished, but by what you should have accomplished with your ability. John Wooden
Nothing else will show your true character than how you lose. Ken Gleed
A champion is someone who gets up when he can’t. Jack Dempsey
Courage doesn’t mean you don’t get afraid. Courage means you don’t let fear stop you. Bethany Hamilton
The rewards are going to come, but my happiness is just loving the sport and having fun performing. Jackie Joyner Kersee

Inspirational Sports Quotes from Coaches

One person practicing sportsmanship is far better than 50 preaching it. Knute Rockne
Pressure is a word that is misused in our vocabulary. When you start thinking of pressure, it’s because you’ve started to think of failure. Tommy Lasorda
When you win, say nothing. When you lose, say less. Paul Brown
Leadership, like coaching, is fighting for the hearts and souls of men and getting them to believe in you. Eddie Robinson
You can motivate by fear, and you can motivate by reward. But both those methods are only temporary. The only lasting thing is self-motivation. Homer Rice
It’s not whether you get knocked down; it’s whether you get up. Vince Lombardi
Talent is God given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful. John Wooden
In baseball and in business, there are three types of people. Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen, and those who wonder what happened. Tommy Lasorda
You don’t play against opponents, you play against the game of basketball. Bob Knight
There are only two options regarding commitment. You’re either IN or you’re OUT. There is no such thing as life in-between. Pat Riley Inspirational Sports Quotes
Seek opportunities to show you care. The smallest gestures often make the biggest difference. John Wooden
I’ve learned that something constructive comes from every defeat. Tom Landry
Your biggest opponent isn’t the other guy. It’s human nature. Bob Knight
The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a person’s determination. Tommy Lasorda
Ability may get you to the top, but it takes character to keep you there. John Wooden
You have to do something in your life that is honorable and not cowardly if you are to live in peace with yourself. Larry Brown
A champion needs a motivation above and beyond winning. Pat Riley
Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it. Lou Holtz
Never underestimate the heart of a champion! Rudy Tomjanovich
Watch your actions, they become your habits. Watch your habits, they become your character. Vince Lombardi
Excellence is the gradual result of always striving to do better. Pat Riley
Do not let what you can not do interfere with what you can do. John Wooden

Inspirational Sports Quotes That Will Change Your Mindset

You can’t put a limit on anything. The more you dream, the farther you get. Michael Phelps
What do you do with a mistake: recognize it, admit it, learn from it, forget it. Dean Smith
At a young age winning is not the most important thing… the important thing is to develop creative and skilled players with good confidence. Arsene Wenger
Bodybuilding is much like any other sport. To be successful, you must dedicate yourself 100% to your training, diet and mental approach. Arnold Schwarzenegger
At one point in your life you either have the thing you want or the reasons why you don’t. Andy Roddick
Once you give them the power to tell you you’re great, you’ve also given them the power to tell you you’re unworthy. Once you start caring about people’s opinions of you, you give up control. Ronda Rousey
It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog. Archie Griffin
Show me a guy who’s afraid to look bad, and I’ll show you a guy you can beat every time. Lou Brock
I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed. Michael Jordan
The only one who can tell you ‘you can’t win’ is you and you don’t have to listen. Jessica Ennis-Hill Inspirational Sports Quotes
You’re playing a game, whether it’s Little League or Game of the World Series. It’s impossible to do well unless you’re having a good time. People talk about pressure. Yeah, there’s pressure. But I just look at it as fun. Derek Jeter
The ability to conquer one’s self is no doubt the most precious of all things that sports bestows. Olga Korbut
Being nervous is not something you should be ashamed of. Nervous means you care, you really want to do well. Paula Creamer
I’d rather regret the risks that didn’t work out than the chances I didn’t take at all. Simone Biles
If you are afraid of failure you don’t deserve to be successful! Charles Barkley
I don’t want to be the next Michael Jordan, I only want to be Kobe Bryant. Kobe Bryant
I tell the kids, somebody’s gotta win, somebody’s gotta lose. Just don’t fight about it. Just try to get better. Yogi Berra
Age is no barrier. It’s a limitation you put on your mind. Jackie Joyner-Kersee
The best motivation always comes from within. Michael Johnson
I’ve had to learn to fight all my life – got to learn to keep smiling. If you smile things will work out. Serena Williams
It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe. Muhammad Ali
When you don’t give up, you cannot fail. Adrian Peterson
I believe in the impossible because no one else does. Florence Griffith Joyner
It is not the size of a man but the size of his heart that matters. Evander Holyfield
Don’t look back. Someone might be gaining on you. Satchel Paige

Sports Quotes to Help You Develop a Winning Attitude

Winning isn’t everything, but wanting to win is. Vince Lombardi
Sooner or later, those who win are those who think they can. Paul Tournier
Never give up, never give in, and when the upper hand is ours, may we have the ability to handle the win with the dignity that we absorbed the loss. Doug Williams
Winning is a habit. Leadership is calmly maintaining that habit against all odds. Amit Ray
My motto was always to keep swinging. Whether I was in a slump or feeling badly or having trouble off the field, the only thing to do was keep swinging. Hank Aaron
Just believe in yourself. Even if you don’t pretend that you do and, and some point, you will. Venus Williams
You have to expect things of yourself before you can do them. Michael Jordan
You’ve got to be confident when you’re competing. You’ve got to be a beast. Gabby Douglas
So many people along the way, whatever it is you aspire to do, will tell you it can’t be done. But all it takes is imagination. You dream. You plan. You reach. Michael Phelps
Some people say I have attitude – maybe I do…but I think you have to. You have to believe in yourself when no one else does – that makes you a winner right there. Venus Williams
To succeed…You need to find something to hold on to, something to motivate you, something to inspire you. Tony Dorsett
Pain is only temporary but victory is forever. Unknown
There is always going to be a reason why you can’t do something; your job is to constantly look for the reasons why you can achieve your dreams. Shannon Miller
Winning means you’re willing to go longer, work harder, and give more than anyone else. Vince Lombardi
It’s not wanting to win that makes you a winner; it’s refusing to fail. Peyton Manning
Victory is in having done your best. If you’ve done your best, you’ve won. Billy Bowerman Inspirational Sports Quotes
I don’t plan on being disappointed. We plan on being really good, and obviously, we plan on winning. Gregg Troy
If you don’t have confidence, you’ll always find a way not to win. Carl Lewis
Success is where preparation and opportunity meet. Bobby Unser
Never let your head hang down. Never give up and sit down and grieve. Find another way. Satchel Paige
Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard. Tim Notke
Some medals are pinned to your soul, not to your jacket. Gino Bartali

Short Inspirational Sports Quotes

Everybody’s got plans… until they get hit. Mike Tyson
If you can believe it, the mind can achieve it. Ronnie Lott
It’s not about perfect. It’s about effort. Jillian Michaels
Overpower. Overtake. Overcome. Serena Williams
If you aren’t going all the way, why go at all? Joe Namath
Wisdom is always an overmatch for strength. Phil Jackson
Good is not good when better is expected. Vin Scully
Champions keep playing until they get it right. Billie Jean King
Once you learn to quit, it becomes a habit. Vince Lombardi
Never let the fear of striking out get in your way. Babe Ruth
You control your own wins and losses. Maria Sharapova
Nobody who gave his best ever regretted it. George Halas
The road to Easy Street goes through the sewer. John Madden
Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up. Jim Valvano
You’re never a loser until you quit trying. Mike Ditka
It ain’t over till it’s over. Yogi Berra Inspirational Sports Quotes
If you can’t outplay them, outwork them. Ben Hogan
Today, you have 100% of your life left. Tom Landry
If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you. Fred Devito
Life begins at the end of your comfort zone. Neale Donald Walsh
I’ve never lost a game. I just ran out of time. Michael Jordan

Inspirational Sports Quotes About Challenges

Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. Arnold Schwarzenegger
How you respond to the challenge in the second half will determine what you become after the game, whether you are a winner or a loser. Lou Holtz
Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it. Michael Jordan
You can’t always be the best. You have to remember that everyone makes mistakes sometimes. Aly Raisman
Don’t tell me how rocky the sea is, just bring the ship in. Lou Holtz
You must not only have competitiveness but ability, regardless of the circumstance you face, to never quit. Abby Wambach
The harder the battle, the sweeter the victory. Les Brown
I’m playing; I’m here. I’m going to fight until they tell me they don’t want me anymore. Steve Nash
Difficulties in life are intended to make us better, not bitter. Dan Reeves
The most rewarding things you do in life are often the ones that look like they cannot be done. Arnold Palmer
If something stands between you and your success, move it. Never be denied. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
Many times, I had to dig deep and perform. All of that adversity helped me and drove me to want to be the best. Hayley Wickenheiser
If I had to chose between youth and experience, I’d take experience every time. Peyton Manning
Life is gonna throw you curve balls and it’s how you deal with them and your attitude and your work ethic. Kerri Strug Inspirational Sports Quotes
Do you know what my favorite part of the game is? The opportunity to play. Mike Singletary
It never gets easier. You just get better. Jordan Hoechlin
To uncover your true potential you must first find your own limits and then you have to have the courage to blow past them. Picabo Street
Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterward. Vernon Law
I’ve always made a total effort, even when the odds seemed entirely against me. I never quit trying; I never felt that I didn’t have a chance to win. Arnold Palmer
Just keep going. Everybody gets better if they keep at it. Ted Williams
Soccer forces life to move on. There’s always a new match. A new season. There’s always a dream that everything can get better. It’s a game of wonders. Fredrik Backman

Sports Quotes About Effort

The principle is competing against yourself. It’s about self-improvement, about being better than you were the day before. Steve Young
Success isn’t owned, it’s leased. And rent is due every day. J.J. Watt
Somebody gives you an opportunity, say yes to it. So what if you fail? You won’t know if you fail or succeed unless you try. Ann Meyers
Somebody may beat me, but they are going to have to bleed to do it. Steve Prefontaine
Most people never run far enough on their first wind to find out they’ve got a second. William James
Always make a total effort, even when the odds are against you. Arnold Palmer
The hardest skill to acquire in this sport is the one where you compete all out, give it all you have, and you are still getting beat no matter what you do. When you have the killer instinct to fight through that, it is very special. Eddie Reese
A champion is simply someone who did not give up when they wanted to. Tom Landry
Most people give up just when they’re about to achieve success. They quit on the one yard line. They give up at the last minute of the game one foot from a winning touchdown. Ross Perot
There may be people that have more talent than you, but there’s no excuse for anyone to work harder than you do. Derek Jeter
Most talented players don’t always succeed. Some don’t even make the team. It’s more what’s inside. Brett Favre
You can’t get much done in life if you only work on the days when you feel good. Jerry West
The highest compliment that you can pay me is to say that I work hard every day, that I never dog it. Wayne Gretzky Inspirational Sports Quotes
Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing. Muhammad Ali
Some may have more talent than you, but there is no excuse for anyone working harder than you do. John Tavares
Remember, once you set a goal, it’s all about how hard you’re willing to work, how much you’re willing to sacrifice and how badly you truly want it. J.J. Watt
Always work hard, never give up, and fight until the end because it’s never really over until the whistle blows. Alex Morgan
You’ve got to remember what your priorities are. When you’re playing, what you do on the field is the most important thing. Peyton Manning
You are never really playing an opponent. You are playing yourself, your own highest standards, and when you reach your limits, that is real joy. Arthur Ashe
You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take. Wayne Gretzky
You have to remember that the hard days are what make you stronger. The bad days make you realize what a good day is. If you never had any bad days, you would never have that sense of accomplishment! Aly Raisman
To give any less than your best is to sacrifice a gift. Steve Prefontaine

Inspirational Sports Quotes About Preparation

When you see a good move, look for a better one. Emanuel Lasker
I never left the field saying I could have done more to get ready and that gives me peace of mind. Peyton Manning
You pay me to practice. The games are on me. Marvin Harrison
A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be. Wayne Gretzky
I always try to start out with some type of goal. Then I work backward and think of what I need to do to get there and give myself smaller goals that are more immediate. Kristi Yamaguchi
Without self-discipline, success is impossible. Period. Lou Holtz
For me, winning isn’t something that happens suddenly on the field when the whistle blows and the crowds roar. Winning is something that builds physically and mentally every day that you train and every night that you dream. Emmitt Smith
In sports, players need to be reminded of their competition to become motivated to practice. The same can be applied in business. Gavin McGinnis
Today I will do what others won’t, so tomorrow I can accomplish what others can’t. Jerry Rice
Goals prepare Olympic athletes physically and mentally. Did you know that goals are used by sports psychologists in order to help athletes improve their performance? Paul Bailey
For every pass I caught in a game, I caught a thousand in practice. Don Hutson
If you fail to prepare, you’re prepared to fail. Mark Spitz Inspirational Sports Quotes

Sports Quotes About Teamwork

Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships. Michael Jordan
You’ll score a lot of goals in your career but not one of them will happen without the help of a teammate. Abby Wambach
On a football team, it’s not the strength of the individual players, but it is the strength of the unit and how they all function together. Bill Belichik
One man can be a crucial ingredient on a team, but one man cannot make a team. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
The secret to success is good leadership, and good leadership is all about making the lives of your team members or workers better. Tony Dungy
The secret of winning football games is working more as a team, less as individuals. I play not my best, but my best eleven. Knute Rockne
The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team. Phil Jackson
I am a member of a team, and I rely on the team, I defer to it and sacrifice for it, because the team, not the individual, is the ultimate champion. Mia Hamm
Finding good players is easy. Getting them to play as a team is another story. Casey Stengel Inspirational Sports Quotes
Team guts always beats individual greatness. Robert Zuppke
Great teamwork is the only way we create the breakthroughs that define our careers. Pat Riley
Being a good teammate isn’t about recognition. I do it because it makes me whole and complete. Dwyane Wade
The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. Babe Ruth
To me the beauty of teamwork is the beauty of our sport, where you have five acting as one. You become selfless. Mike Krzyzewski
You must learn how to hold a team together. You must lift some men up, calm others down, until finally, they’ve got one heartbeat. Then you’ve got yourself a team. Paul “Bear” Bryant

Inspirational Sports Quotes About the Will to Win

There are certain basic qualities and characteristics you’ve got to have. Number one: you’ve got to have a will to win. Bob Richards
Everybody is going to be excited to play in a Super Bowl. When you still enjoy the preparation and the work part of it, I think you ought to be still doing that. I think as soon as I stop enjoying it, if I can’t produce, if I can’t help a team, that’s when I will stop playing. Peyton Manning
Winning is not a sometime thing; it’s an all time thing. You don’t win once in a while, you don’t do things right once in a while, you do them right all the time. Winning is habit. Unfortunately, so is losing. Vince Lombardi
What keeps me going is not winning, but the quest for reaching potential in myself as a coach and my kids as divers. It’s the pursuit of excellence. Ron O’Brien
Gold medals aren’t really made of gold. They’re made of sweat, determination, and a hard-to-find alloy called guts. Dan Gable
It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up. Babe Ruth
If you train hard, you’ll not only be hard, you’ll be hard to beat. Herschel Walker
It’s not the will to win, but the will to prepare to win that makes the difference. Paul “Bear” Bryant
Losing feels worse than winning feels good. Vin Scully
You dream. You plan. You reach. There will be obstacles. There will be doubters. There will be mistakes. But with hard work, with belief, with confidence and trust in yourself and those around you, there are no limits. Michael Phelps
I hated every minute of training, but I said, don’t quit, suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion. Muhammad Ali
The more difficult the victory, the greater the happiness in winning. Pele
It’s going to be a journey. It’s not a sprint to get in shape. Kerri Walsh Jennings
You should never stay at the same level. Always push yourself to the next. Marnelli Dimzon Inspirational Sports Quotes
I always felt that my greatest asset was not my physical ability, it was my mental ability. Bruce Jenner
Your basketball goals should be out of reach, but never out of sight. Felicity Luckey

Sports Quotes for Athletes About Perseverance

That’s one thing you learn in sports. You don’t give up; you fight to the finish. Louis Zamperini
Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must; just never give up. Dean Karnazes
Believe me, the reward is not so great without the struggle. Wilma Rudolph
When you go through a significant injury and have a major career change, you truly do go one year at a time, and you don’t look past what’s going on now, because you are not sure what’s going to happen. Tomorrow is not promised. Peyton Manning
Never say never because limits, like fears, are often just an illusion. Michael Jordan
I’ve got a theory that if you give 100% all of the time, somehow things will work out in the end. Larry Bird
Every champion was once a contender that refused to give up. Rocky Balboa
If you don’t fall, how are you going to know what getting up feels like? Stephen Curry
Stay focused. Your start does not determine how you’re going to finish. Herm Edwards
Persistence can change failure into extraordinary achievement. Matt Biondi
When you fall, get right back up. Just keep going, keep pushing it. Lindsey Vonn
Anyone can support a team that is winning — it takes no courage. But to stand behind a team, to defend a team when it is down and really needs you, that takes a lot of courage. Bart Starr
Set your goals high, and don’t stop till you get there. Bo Jackson
Push yourself again and again. Don’t give an inch until the final buzzer sounds. Larry Bird Inspirational Sports Quotes


Many of us enjoy sports for the entertainment it provides. It continues to offer ever expanding opportunites for wealth for professional (and now even some amateur) athletes, team owners, and advertising sponsors.  But this post was written to provide some inspirational thoughts from the field of sports and human competition.

There are millions of us around the globe who participate or have participated in some level of sports during our lifetime.

One quote I intentionally left out of this list that I see in many lists of famous or favorite sports quotes is “Sports do not build character, they reveal it.”  In my opionion, if that is true, then amateur sports (especially when they are organized and sanctioned through schools) are a large waste of time.

Certainly there is value in being physically active, but there are many ways to get exercise outsid of competitive sports.

Most if not all of the lessons from these inspirational sports quotes can be applied in all areas of our lives, not just sports.  Popular athletes can impact the lives of others by their examples of perseverance, grit, selflessness, work ethic, and sportsmanahip.  Coaches at all levels of participation should operate with a growth mindset mentality.  Coaches who do that usually do teach those same as well as additional life lessons to their teams and athletes.

Numerous studies have proven that students who participate in organized athletics leave school better equipped for success and happiness as they enter adulthood.

Among the findings are:

  1. A stronger sense of self-confidence in building relationships with others
  2. Having an expanded capacity for empathy
  3. Developing a better understanding of self and how their actions affect others
  4. Building foundations for lifelong fitness habits
  5. Improved academics
  6. Starting to develop a network
  7. Learning and applying time management principles

I do agree with the fact that character is revealed through athletics.  Regardless of the level of competition, athletes are sacrificing, competing, and open to criticism.  The way that they react in those areas But character is always always changing–hopefully for the 

The above data indicates to me that there is a lot of character building going on in sports.  At least amateur sports.  And that’s the way it should be.


Visited 2,272 times, 2 visit(s) today

Contact Us