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121 Best Motivational or Inspirational Quotes for Athletes


Athletes are the embodiment of hard work and commitment. To get to the peak of their sport, even the most high skilled athletes need to give it their everything.

Quotes for Athletes

Most of us watch sports for entertainment and fun. More than the enjoyment people love their favorite athlete to deliver the best during the game. This makes them happy, excited and thrilled. That is the nature of sports.

These inspiring quotes for athletes can give you the lift and make you significantly more starved for achievement.

Most Inspiring Athlete Quotes in History:

1. “One man can be a crucial ingredient on a team, but one man cannot make a team.” – Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

2. “If you push me towards a weakness, I will turn that weakness into a strength.” – Michael Jordan

3. “Push yourself again and again. Don’t give an inch until the final buzzer sounds.” – Larry Bird

4. “Good, better, best. Never let it rest. Until your good is better and your better is best.” – Tim Duncan

5. “Talent is never enough. With few exceptions the best players are the hardest workers.” – Magic Johnson

6. “If you are afraid of failure you don’t deserve to be successful!”– Charles Barkley

7. “You can’t get much done in life if you only work on the days when you feel good.” – Jerry West

8. “Basketball doesn’t build character. It reveals it.”– Anonymous

9. “Your biggest opponent isn’t the other guy. It’s human nature.”– Bobby Knight

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


11. “Set your goals high, and don’t stop till you get there.”– Bo Jackson

12. “Show me a guy who’s afraid to look bad, and I’ll show you a guy you can beat every time.”– Lou Brock

13. “Never let your head hang down. Never give up and sit down and grieve. Find another way.”– Satchel Paige

14. “It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up.” – Babe Ruth

15. “One man practicing sportsmanship is far better than 50 preaching it.” – Knute Rockne

16. “Without self-discipline, success is impossible, period.”– Lou Holtz

17. “If you can believe it, the mind can achieve it.”– Ronnie Lott

18. “It’s not whether you get knocked down; it’s whether you get up.”– Vince Lombardi

19. “I’ve learned that something constructive comes from every defeat.”– Tom Landry

20. “You’re never a loser until you quit trying.”– Mike Ditka 

21. “Today I will do what others won’t, so tomorrow I can accomplish what others can’t.”– Jerry Rice

22. “The more difficult the victory, the greater the happiness in winning.”– Pele

23. “If you only ever give 90% in training then you will only ever give 90% when it matters.”– Michael Owen

24. “It is more difficult to stay on top than to get there.”– Mia Hamm

25. “If we perform as a unit and if every single player gives it his very best, everything can happen.”– Oliver Kahn

26. “Everything is practice.”– Bill Shankley

27. “A champion is someone who gets up when he can’t.”– Jack Dempsey

28. “I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life a champion.” – Muhammad Ali

29. “It is not the size of a man but the size of his heart that matters.”– Evander Holyfield

30. “You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take.”– Wayne Gretzky 

31. “If you fail to prepare, you’re prepared to fail.”– Mark Spitz

32. “You find that you have peace of mind and can enjoy yourself, get more sleep, and rest when you know that it was a one hundred percent effort that you gave–win or lose.”– Gordie Howe

33. “Persistence can change failure into extraordinary achievement.”– Matt Biondi

34. “Age is no barrier. It’s a limitation you put on your mind.”– Jackie Joyner-Kersee

35. “You have to train your mind like you train your body.”– Bruce Jenner

36. “Each of us has a fire in our hearts for something. It’s our goal in life to find it and keep it lit.”– Mary Lou Retton

37. oncentration is why some athletes are better than others. You develop that concentration in training and concentrate in a meet.”– Edwin Moses

38. “Mental will is a muscle that needs exercise, just like muscles of the body.”– Lynn Jennings

39. “An athlete cannot run with money in his pockets. He must run with hope in his heart and dreams in his head.”– Emil Zatopek

40. “Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must; just never give up.”– Dean Karnazes 

41. “It’s all about the journey, not the outcome.” – Carl Lewis

42. “When I race my mind is full of doubts – who will finish second, who will finish third?” – Noureddine Morceli

43. “Champions keep playing until they get it right.” – Billie Jean King

44. “You have to believe in yourself when no one else does – that makes you a winner right there.” – Venus Williams

45. “What makes something special is not just what you have to gain, but what you feel there is to lose.”– Andre Agassi

46. “Always make a total effort, even when the odds are against you.”– Arnold Palmer (Professional golfer)

47. “Make sure your worst enemy doesn’t live between your own two ears.” – Laird Hamilton (Professional Surfer)

48. “We must train hard. It’s not about denying a weakness may exist but about denying its right to persist.”– Vince McConnell (Personal coach)

49. “Under pressure you can perform fifteen percent better or worse.”– Scott Hamilton (Figure skater)

50. “Competing at the highest level is the greatest test of one’s character.” – Russell Mark (Double trap clay target shooter and shooting coach) 

51. “Every time you sleep in, every time you miss a workout, you make it that much easier for me to beat you.” – Anonymous

52. “You can have results or you can have your excuses. You cannot have both.”– Anonymous

53. “The man who cannot believe in himself cannot believe in anything else.”– Anonymous

54. “Quitters never win, and winners never quit.”– Anonymous

55. “Gold medals aren’t really made of gold. They’re made of sweat, determination, and a hard-to-find alloy called guts.”– Dan Gable

56. “Never give up! Failure and rejection are only the first step to succeeding.”– Jim Valvano

57. It ain’t over till it’s over.”– Yogi Berra

58. “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

59. “Never let the fear of striking out get in your way.”– Babe Ruth

60. “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  

61. Adversity cause some men to break; others to break records.”– William A. Ward

62. “The will to win is important, but the will to prepare is vital.”– Joe Paterno

63. “Wisdom is always an overmatch for strength.”– Phil Jackson

64. “Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever.”– Lance Armstrong

65. “You can’t put a limit on anything. The more you dream, the farther you get.”– Michael Phelps

66. “If you aren’t going all the way, why go at all?”– Joe Namath

67. “What do do with a mistake: recognize it, admit it, learn from it, forget it.”– Dean Smith

68. “Just keep going. Everybody gets better if they keep at it.”– Ted Williams

69. “If you have everything under control, you’re not moving fast enough.”– Mario Andretti

70. “Do you know what my favorite part of the game is? The opportunity to play.”– Mike Singletary 

71. “Win If You Can, Lose If You Must, But NEVER QUIT!”– Cameron Trammell

72. “Excellence is the gradual result of always striving to do better.”– Pat Riley

73. “Make each day your masterpiece.”– John Wooden

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

75. “If you train hard, you’ll not only be hard, you’ll be hard to beat.”– Herschel Walker

76. “I didn’t believe in team motivation. I believe in getting a team prepared so it knows it will have the necessary confidence when it steps on the field and be prepared to play a good game.”– Tom Landry

77. “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

78. “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

79. “Most talented players don’t always succeed. Some don’t even make the team. It’s more what’s inside.”– Brett Favre

80. “You win some, you lose some, and some get rained out, but you gotta suit up for them all.”– J. Askenberg  

81. “Leadership, like coaching, is fighting for the hearts and souls of men and getting them to believe in you.”– Eddie Robinson

82. “The mind is the limit. As long as the mind can envision the fact that you can do something, you can do it, as long as you really believe 100 percent.”– Arnold Schwarzenegger

83. “When you win, say nothing, when you lose, say less.”– Paul Brown

84. “Nobody who ever gave his best regretted it.”– George Halas

85. “The road to Easy Street goes through the sewer.”– John Madden

86. “What you lack in talent can be made up with desire, hustle, and giving 110 percent all the time.”– Don Zimmer

87. “You were born to be a player. You were meant to be here. This moment is yours.”– Herb Brooks

88. “Good is not good when better is expected.”– Vin Scully

89. “Continuous effort — not strength or intelligence — is the key to unlocking our potential.”– Liane Cardes

90. “If at first you don’t succeed, you are running about average.”– M.H. Alderson 

91. “Most people never run far enough on their first wind to find out they’ve got a second.”– William James

92. “If you can’t outplay them, outwork them.”– Ben Hogan

93. “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

94. “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

95. “The five S’s of sports training are: stamina, speed, strength, skill, and spirit; but the greatest of these is spirit.”– Ken Doherty

96. “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

97. “A trophy carries dust. Memories last forever.”– Mary Lou Retton

98. “When you’re riding, only the race in which you’re riding is important.”– Bill Shoemaker

99. “The only way to prove that you’re a good sport is to lose.”– Ernie Banks

100. “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.” – Tim Notke 

101. “The harder the battle, the sweeter the victory.” – Les Brown

102. “Winning isn’t everything, but wanting to win is.” – Vince Lombardi

103. “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

104. “I became a good pitcher when I stopped trying to make them miss the ball and started trying to make them hit it.” – Sandy Koufax

105. “When you’ve got something to prove, there’s nothing greater than a challenge.” – Terry Bradshaw

106. “Sports do not build character. They reveal it.” – Heywood Broun

107. “Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths.” – Arnold Schwarzenegger

108. “It’s all about the journey, not the outcome.” – Carl Lewis

109. “To give any less than your best is to sacrifice a gift.” – Steve Prefontaine

110. “I’ve learned that something constructive comes from every defeat.” – Tom Landry 

111. “I never worry about the problem. I worry about the solution.” – Shaquille O’Neal

112. “It’s not the will to win that matters — everyone has that. It’s the will to prepare to win that matters.” – Paul “Bear” Bryant

113. “Skill is only developed by hours and hours of work.”- Usain Bolt

114. “Do not undervalue yourself. Be able to express your value and what impact you can make. Show how your experiences translate and can help a company.” – Katie Smith

115. “Courage doesn’t mean you don’t get afraid. Courage means you don’t let fear stop you.” – Bethany Hamilton

116. “Boos don’t block dunks.” – Kobe Bryant

117. “I think luck falls on not just the brave but also the ones who believe they belong there.” – Novak Djokovic

118. “The knowledge that everything good can be taken away at any second is what makes me work so hard.” – Ronda Rousey

119. “Winning and championships are memorable but they come from the strength of the relationships.” – Jim Calhoun

120. “Believe me, the reward is not so great without the struggle.” – Wilma Rudolph

121. “Do your best, one shot at a time, and then move on.” – Nancy Lopez