Inspirational Sports Quotes

Words of wisdom and motivation

Women running on athletic track. Credit: Jupiterimages / Getty Images

The motivation that inspires you to excel in sports and exercise can come from just about anywhere. An inspirational sports quote could be just what you need to hear to get your head in the game or rev up your workout. In fact, a motivational quote can be considered a form of positive self-talk, like a mantra, that athletes can use to reinforce a confident mindset. The words coaches and athletes use that inspire us to succeed are another facet of sports psychology.

An athlete's self-talk often becomes a belief that is realized on the court or field.

These inspirational quotes from famous athletes, coaches and other well-known thinkers are no doubt great sources of motivation. They may even offer thought-provoking insight for athletes of all levels.

Motivation & Inspirational Athlete Quotes

“Make sure your worst enemy doesn’t live between your own two ears.” - Laird Hamilton

“If you don’t have confidence, you’ll always find a way not to win.” - Carl Lewis

"The best motivation always comes from within." - Michael Johnson

"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

“Every strike brings me closer to the next home run.” - Babe Ruth

"Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterward." - Vernon Law

"If you can't accept losing, you can't win." - Vince Lombardi

"Never let the fear of striking out get in your way."- Babe Ruth

"Concentration is a fine antidote to anxiety." - Jack Nicklaus

"A team is where a boy can prove his courage on his own. A gang is where a coward goes to hide." - Mickey Mantle

"The difference between the old ballplayer and the new ballplayer is the jersey.

The old ballplayer cared about the name on the front. The new ballplayer cares about the name on the back." - Steve Garvey

"The rewards are going to come, but my happiness is just loving the sport and having fun performing." - Jackie Joyner Kersee

"As you walk down the fairway of life you must smell the roses, for you only get to play one round." - Ben Hogan

"Do you know what my favorite part of the game is? The opportunity to play." - Mike Singletary

"It's a round ball and a round bat, and you got to hit it square." - Pete Rose

"God gets you to the plate, but once you're there you're on your own." - Ted Williams

"I was told over and over again that I would never be successful, that I was not going to be competitive and the technique was simply not going to work. All I could do was shrug and say, we'll just have to see." - Dick Fosbury

"What other people may find in poetry or art museums, I find in the flight of a good drive." - Arnold Palmer

"A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be." - Wayne Gretzky

"You owe it to yourself to be the best you can possibly be - in baseball and in life." - Pete Rose

"Toughness is in the soul and spirit, not in muscles." - Alex Karras

"I always felt that my greatest asset was not my physical ability, it was my mental ability." - Caitlyn Jenner

"I figure practice puts your brains in your muscles." - Sam Snead

"When I step onto the court, I don't have to think about anything. If I have a problem off the court, I find that after I play, my mind is clearer and I can come up with a better solution. It's like therapy. It relaxes me and allows me to solve problems." - Michael Jordan

"The ideal attitude is to be physically loose and mentally tight." - Arthur Ashe

"My thoughts before a big race are usually pretty simple. I tell myself: Get out of the blocks, run your race, stay relaxed. If you run your race, you'll win... channel your energy. Focus." - Carl Lewis

"Mental will is a muscle that needs exercise, just like muscles of the body." - Lynn Jennings

"Luck? Sure. But only after long practice and only with the ability to think under pressure." - Babe Didrikson Zaharias

Motivational & Inspirational Coach Quotes

"Sports do not build character. They reveal it." - John Wooden

“Do not let what you can not do interfere with what you can do.” - John Wooden

"I never criticize a player until they are first convinced of my unconditional confidence in their abilities." - John Robinson

"Wisdom is always an overmatch for strength." - Phil Jackson

"The road to Easy Street goes through the sewer." - John Madden

"You don't play against opponents, you play against the game of basketball." - Bobby Knight

General Motivational & Inspirational Quotes

"Know yourself and you will win all battles." - Lao Tzu

"Always do your best. What you plant now, you will harvest later." - Og Mandino 

"Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars." - Khalil Gibran

"Positive thinking isn't the answer, but it is the critical beginning to all positive action." - Phillip L. Neil

"A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination. " - Nelson Mandela

"To begin, begin." - Peter Nivio Zarlenga

"If you can't see anything beautiful about yourself, get a better mirror." - Shane Koyczan

"Those who think they have no time for exercise will sooner or later have to find time for illness. " - Edward Stanley

"We are what we repeatedly do; excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle

"Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent." - Eleanor Roosevelt

"You may be disappointed if you fail, but you are doomed if you don’t try." - Beverly Sills

"The things you do for yourself are gone when you are gone, but the things you do for others remain as your legacy." - Kalu Ndukwe Kalu

"Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will." - Mahatma Gandhi

"Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Confidence comes not from always being right but from not fearing to be wrong." - Peter T. McIntyre

"If we all did the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves." - Thomas Edison

"Nothing will work unless you do." - John Wooden

"Failures are finger posts on the road to achievement." - Charles F. Kettering

"Most people never run far enough on their first wind to find out they've got a second." - William James

"He who has overcome his fears will truly be free." - Aristotle

"Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, I will try again tomorrow." - Mary Anne Radmacher

"Knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens." - Jimi Hendrix

"It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop. " - Confucius

Just for Fun Quotes for Athletes

" 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

"Even if you are on the right track, you will get run over if you just sit there." - Will Rogers

"Play some today. The opposite of play is not work. The opposite of play is depression." - Steve Keil

"Golf is a good walk spoiled." - Mark Twain

"I am not young enough to know everything. " - Oscar Wilde

"It's good sportsmanship to not pick up lost golf balls while they are still rolling." - Mark Twain

"If winning isn't everything, why do they keep score?" - Vince Lombardi

"Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out." - Art Linkletter


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