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300+ Best Sports Quotes About Greatness and Life

Legends are made, not born. These sports quotes from the greats will show you exactly why.

Norbert Juma, Editor
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Looking for inspirational sports quotes for athletes by athletes about working towards your full potential?

Tell us your favorite inspirational sports quotes in the comment section below.

All athletes need motivation and constant reminders to be at their best during both practice and gameplay.


Because it’s so easy to relax, fall off and fall back. Even when you love what you do!

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Research by the American Psychological Association found that athletes who use positive self-talk and motivational strategies like sports inspirational quotes are more likely to achieve their goals and reach their full potential.

The research also highlighted Inspirational sports quotes to effectively reduce stress and anxiety, helping athletes to stay calm and focused under pressure and improving their overall mental health and well-being.

What are the benefits of reading these inspirational sports quotes?

Most people cannot relate to the extreme work ethic it takes to be an athlete, and as we all know, a few words can go a long way in life.

If you are an athlete that is struggling with the pressure of it all, check out this great list of resources!

When we hear about some of the most successful athletes and sports stars, they were also master motivators.

We can learn many things from their quotes, like:

  • How to motivate ourselves and others
  • Be better athletes ourselves
  • How to handle disappointments and challenges

These athletes were experts at motivating their team to go beyond all previous limits, sending them and their teammates into new territory to achieve the highest performance levels.

And more times than not, the team listens and responds!

Jordan! Kobe! Wayne! Ray Lewis!

Just to name a few, are all master motivators.

We searched the web for the best inspirational sports quotes we could find to inspire athletes of all ages to be the best they can be, on and off the court/field/gym.

Enjoy these wonderful motivational sports quotes for athletes!

If you like this article, we suggest you explore our most popular quotes article, a list of short inspirational quotes for daily encouragement. 

Read more related content on our inspirational quotes category page.

Inspirational Sports Quotes For Athletes Who Want To Level Up

According to a survey by ESPN, many of the most popular Inspirational sports quotes of all time come from iconic athletes like Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan, and Babe Ruth, who have inspired generations of athletes with their words of wisdom.

In addition, many coaches and motivational speakers also use inspirational sports quotes to help motivate and inspire their teams.

1. “Only he who can see the invisible can do the impossible.” – Frank L. Gaines

motivational Sports Quotes

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2. “The man who has no imagination has no wings.” – Muhammad Ali

Sports Quotes about imagination

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3. “Today, you have 100% of your life left.” – Tom Landry

Sports Quotes about life

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

Sports Quotes about memories

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

Sports Quotes about age

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

Sports Quotes about winning

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

powerful Sports Quotes

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

Sports Quotes about victory

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

Sports Quotes about practicing

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10. “You have to expect things of yourself before you can do them.”   – Michael Jordan

Sports Quotes to motivate you

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Inspirational sports quotes for athletes looking for beast mode

According to research by the University of Queensland, athletes who use positive self-talk and motivational strategies like inspiring sports quotes may experience increased confidence, resilience, and a stronger sense of self-efficacy.

The research indicates that athletes at all levels of competition find value in inspiring messages.

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

Sports Quotes about champions

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12. “I always felt that my greatest asset was not my physical ability, it was my mental ability.” – Bruce Jenner

Sports Quotes about mental ability

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

Sports Quotes about moving fast

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

Sports Quotes about limits

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15. “Once you learn to quit, it becomes a habit.” – Vince Lombardi

Sports Quotes about quitting

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16. “Always make a total effort, even when the odds are against you.” – Arnold Palmer

Sports Quotes about effort

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17. “If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.” – Fred Devito

Sports Quotes about challenges

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18. “Victory is in having done your best. If you’ve done your best, you’ve won.” – Billy Bowerman

Sports Quotes about victory

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

Sports Quotes about players

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20. “The key is not the will to win. Everybody has that. It is the will to prepare to win that is important.” – Bobby Knight

Sports Quotes about the will to win

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Motivational sports quotes for athletes from legends

21. “I don’t plan on being disappointed. We plan on being really good, and obviously, we plan on winning.” – Gregg Troy

Sports Quotes on winning

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22. “A champion is afraid of losing. Everyone else is afraid of winning.” – Billie Jean King

Sports Quotes about champions

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

Sports Quotes about success

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

Sports Quotes about preparation

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Inspirational sports quotes from Hall of Fame athletes

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

Sports Quotes about mistakes

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26. “I’ve failed over & over & over again in my life & that is why I succeed.” – Michael Jordan

Sports Quotes about life

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

powerful Sports Quotes

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28. “I’ve got a theory that if you give 100% all of the time, somehow things will work out in the end.” – Larry Bird

Sports Quotes about giving your all

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29. “It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up.”  “Heroes get remembered, but legends never die.” – Babe Ruth

Sports Quotes about never giving up

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

Sports Quotes to motivate you

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Sports quotes for athletes about perseverance

31. “You might not be able to outthink, out market or outspend your competition, but you can outwork them.” – Lou Holtz 

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32. “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

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33. “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

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

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35. “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

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36. “Procrastination is one of the most common and deadliest of diseases and its toll on success and happiness is heavy.” – Wayne Gretzky

37. “Talent is God given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful.” – John Wooden

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38. “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

39. “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

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40. “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

41. “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 

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

43. “The highest compliment that you can pay me is to say that I work hard every day, that I never dog it.”Wayne Gretzky

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Inspirational sports quotes from winners

44. “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

45. “Adversity causes some men to break; others to break records.” William A. Ward

46. “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

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47. “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
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48. “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

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More inspirational sports quotes

49. “A champion needs a motivation above and beyond winning.” – Pat Riley

50. “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

51. “If you think it’s hard to meet new people, try picking up the wrong golf ball.” – Jack Lemmon

52. “Finding good players is easy. Getting them to play as a team is another story.” – Casey Stengel

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

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

55. “Never say never because limits, like fears, are often just an illusion.” – Michael Jordan

56. “In the end, the game comes down to one thing: man against man. May the best man win.” ― Sam Huff

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

58. “Pain is only temporary but victory is forever.” ― Jeremy H

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Inspirational sports quotes to give you motivation

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

60. “The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a man’s determination.” – Tommy Lasorda
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61. “The principle is competing against yourself. It’s about self-improvement, about being better than you were the day before.” – Steve Young

62. “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

63. “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

64. “Show me a gracious loser and I’ll show you a failure.” – Knute Rockne

65. “Winning isn’t everything, but it beats anything that comes in second.” – Paul Bryant

66. “Just be patient. Let the game come to you. Don’t rush. Be quick, but don’t hurry.” – Earl Monroe

67. “Nothing is black-and-white, except for winning and losing, and maybe that’s why people gravitate to that so much.” – Steve Nash

68. “You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.”– Wayne Gretzky

69. “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

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Inspirational sports quotes to help you develop a winning attitude

70. “It’s just a job. Grass grows, birds fly, waves pound the sand. I beat people up.” – Muhammad Ali

71. “Don’t measure yourself by what you have accomplished, but by what you should have accomplished with your ability.” – John Wooden

72. “Competitive sports are played mainly on a five-and-a-half inch court, the space between your ears.” – Bobby Jones

73. “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

74. “You can’t win unless you learn how to lose.” – Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

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

76. “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

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

78. “Passion first and everything will fall into place.” – Holly Holm
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79. “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

80. “I don’t have to wait for nobody, I move when I wanna move.” – Floyd Mayweather

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Sports quotes about confidence and winning

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

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

83. “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

84. “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

85. “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

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

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

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

89. “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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Sports quotes to elevate your perspective

96. “I’ve never lost a game. I just ran out of time.” — Michael Jordan

97. “Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up.” – Jim Valvano

98. “Winning solves everything.” — Tiger Woods
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99. “Life is gonna throw you curve balls and it’s how you deal with them and your attitude and your work ethic.” – Kerri Strug

100. “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

101. “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
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102. “Losing feels worse than winning feels good.” — Vin Scully

103. “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

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

105. “The most rewarding things you do in life are often the ones that look like they cannot be done.” – Arnold Palmer

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Sports quotes that will inspire you to win in the game of life

106. “Victory is fleeting. Losing is forever.” — Billie Jean King

107. “Some may have more talent than you, but there is no excuse for anyone working harder than you do.” – John Tavares

108. “No matter how much you’ve won, no matter how many games, no matter how many championships, no matter how many Super Bowls, you’re not winning now, so you stink.” — Bill Parcells

109. “To me the beauty of teamwork is the beauty of our sport, where you have five acting as one. You become selfless.” – Coach Mike Krzyzewski

110. “Winning is the most important thing in my life, after breathing. Breathing first, winning next.”— George Steinbrenner

111. “A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be.” – Wayne Gretzky

112. “When you win, say nothing. When you lose, say less.” — Paul Brown

113. “Watch your actions, they become your habits. Watch your habits, they become your character.” – Vince Lombardi

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

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

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Sports quotes to motivate you

116. “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

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

118. “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

119. “I am no genius; I just worked hard like my other teammates, and I believe all my teammates can win the title as they work hard, too.” – Lin Dan

120. “You’ve got to be very careful if you don’t know where you are going, because you might not get there.” – Yogi Berra

121. “Kill them with success and bury them with a smile.” – Usain Bolt

122. “I mean, it’s not important what kind of pants you were; it’s how you wear them.” – Ronnie Lott

123. “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

124. “From what we get, we can make a living; what we give, however, makes a life.” – Arthur Ashe

125. “I wouldn’t let the boys down, no way. If my arm came off I’d still play.” — Jack Bird

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Inspirational sports quotes that will make you think differently

126. “I would have thought that the knowledge that you are going to be leapt upon by half-a-dozen congratulatory, but sweaty team-mates would be inducement not to score a goal.” – Arthur Marshall

127. “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

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

129. “You are the handicap you must face. You are the one who must choose your place.” – James Lane Allen

130. “It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe.” – Muhammad Ali

131. “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

132. “Bodybuilding is much like any other sport. To be successful, you must dedicate yourself 100% to your training, diet and mental approach.” – Arnold Schwarzenegger

133. “In sports, players need to be reminded of their competition to become motivated to practice. The same can be applied in business.” – Gavin McGinnis

134. “Everybody’s got plans… until they get hit.” – Mike Tyson

135. “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

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Sports quotes to inspire you toward success

136. “Winning means you’re willing to go longer, work harder, and give more than anyone else.” – Vince Lombardo

137. “Every champion was once a contender that refused to give up.” – Rocky Balboa
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138. “At one point in your life you either have the thing you want or the reasons why you don’t.” – Andy Roddick

139. “It never gets easier. You just get better.” – Jordan Hoechlin

140. “Winners never quit and quitters never win. Sports do not build character. They reveal it.” – Heywood Broun

141. “It’s not about perfect. It’s about effort.” – Jillian Michaels

142. “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

143. “Pain is temporary. Quitting lasts forever.” – Lance Armstrong

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

145. “Ability may get you to the top, but it takes character to keep you there.” – John Wooden

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Sports quotes that will motivate you

146. “The best motivation always comes from within.” – Michael Johnson

147. “The secret of winning football games is working more as a team, less as individuals. I play not my 11 best, but my best 11.” – Knute Rockne

148. “To succeed…You need to find something to hold on to, something to motivate you, something to inspire you.” – Tony Dorsett
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149. “You don’t play against opponents, you play against the game of basketball.” – Bobby Knight

150. “Difficulties in life are intended to make us better, not bitter.” – Dan Reeves

151. “The rewards are going to come, but my happiness is just loving the sport and having fun performing.” – Jackie Joyner Kersee

152. “Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterward.” – Vernon Law

153. “Don’t tell me how rocky the sea is, just bring the ship in.” – Lou Holtz

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

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

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More sports quotes and sayings

156. “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

157. “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

158. “Never underestimate the heart of a champion!” – Doc Rivers

159. “If you don’t fall, how are you going to know what getting up feels like?” – Stephen Curry

160. “We old athletes carry the disfigurements and markings of contests remembered only by us and no one else. Nothing is more lost than a forgotten game.” – Pat Conroy

161. “Winning is a habit leadership is calmly maintaining that habit against all odds.” – Amit Ray

162. “Losing teaches you how to win, winning teaches you how not to lose.” – Matshona Dhliwayo

163. “You will never get the best out of anyone professionally unless you understand what motivates and makes them tick personally as a human being.” – Rasheed Ogunlaru

164. “Nothing else will show your true character than how you lose.” – Ken Gleed

165. “Success is where preparation and opportunity meet.” – Bobby Unser

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Best Motivational Sports Quotes by Football Players

166. “I would never do anything outside of the rules of play.” – Tom Brady

167. “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog.” – Archie Griffin

168. “A champion is simply someone who did not give up when they wanted to.” – Tom Landry

169. “For every pass I caught in a game, I caught a thousand in practice.” – Dom Hutson

170. “When you don’t give up, you cannot fail.” – Adrian Peterson

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

172. “Stay focused. Your start does not determine how you’re going to finish.“ – Herm Edwards

173. “Success isn’t owned, it’s leased. And rent is due every day.“ – J.J. Watt

174. “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

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

176. “Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.” – Lou Holtz

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Sports quotes to live your life by

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

178. “Winners never quit and quitters never win.” — Vince Lombardi

179. “If you come in second, you’re just the first loser!” — Tiger Woods

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

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

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

183. “Adversity causes some men to break; others to break records. ” — William Arthur Ward

184.“Somebody may beat me, but they are going to have to bleed to do it.” — Steve Prefontaine

185. “I’m playing; I’m here. I’m going to fight until they tell me they don’t want me anymore.” —Steve Nash

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

Short sports quotes

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

188. “Moment of victory is much too short to live for that and nothing else.” – Martina Navratilova

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

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

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

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

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

194. “When you see a good move, look for a better one.” – Emanuel Lasker

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

196. “No one ever won a game by resigning.” – Ksawery Tartakower

Motivational sports quotes from Peyton Manning

197. “It’s not wanting to win that makes you a winner; it’s refusing to fail.” — Peyton Manning

198. “Anyone who waits for someone else to make a change automatically becomes a follower.” — Peyton Manning

199. “I’ve never left the field saying, ‘I could’ve done more to get ready,’ and that gives me peace of mind.” — Peyton Manning

200. “Life is about choices. You ask the questions and you listen to the answers. Then you listen to your heart.” — Peyton Manning

201. “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

202. “I have to leave the games now if the announcer says something I don’t agree with. I’m thinking, ‘Peyton, it is not healthy to be all worked up before a game.’” — Peyton Manning

203. “I’m not 23 anymore. But the defensive ends and linebackers chasing me are. If I had to chose between youth and experience, I’d take experience every time.” — Peyton Manning

204. “I’ve been a Colt for almost all of my adult life, but I guess in life, and in sports, we all know nothing lasts forever. Times change, circumstances change, and that’s the reality of playing in the NFL.” — Peyton Manning

205. “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

206. “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

Inspirational sports quotes to help you play your best

207. “If you fail to prepare, you’re prepared to fail.” — Mark Spitz

208. “Sports serve society by providing vivid examples of excellence.” — George F. Will

209. “Persistence can change failure into extraordinary achievement.” — Marv Levy

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

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

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

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

214. “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

215. “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

216. “Number one is just to gain a passion for running. To love the morning, to love the trail, to love the pace on the track. And if some kid gets really good at it, that’s cool too.” — Pat Tyson

Inspirational sports quotes that will change your mindset

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

218. “It’s not the will to win, but the will to prepare to win that makes the difference.” – Bear Bryant

219. “Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.” ― Michael Jordan

220. “You wouldn’t have won if we’d beaten you.” – Yogi Berra

221. “That’s one thing you learn in sports. You don’t give up; you fight to the finish.” ― Louis Zamperini

222. “Seek opportunities to show you care. The smallest gestures often make the biggest difference.” – John Wooden

223. “Sooner or later, those who win are those who think they can.” ― Paul Tournier

224. “Your basketball goals should be out of reach, but never out of sight.” – Felicity Luckey

225. “I’ve never lost a game I just ran out of time.” ― Michael Jordan

226. “Some medals are pinned to your soul, not to your jacket.”— Gino Bartali

Sports quotes about teamwork

227. “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

228. “Team guts always beats individual greatness.” – Robert Zuppke

229. “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

230. “The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.” – Phil Jackson

231. “The way a team plays as a whole determines its success.” – Babe Ruth

232. “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

233. “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

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

235. “Great teamwork is the only way we create the breakthroughs that define our careers.” – Pat Riley

236. “Being a good teammate isn’t about recognition. I do it because it makes me whole and complete.” – Dwyane Wade

Motivational Sports Quotes That Inspire You To Win

237. “Sport is part of every man and woman’s heritage and its absence can never be compensated for.” — Pierre de Coubertin

238. “You play to win the game…Hello. You play to win the game.” — Herman Edwards

239. “You have no control over what the other guy does. You only have control over what you do.” — A. J. Kitt

240. “The integrity and self-esteem gained from winning the battle against extremity are the richest treasures in my life.” — Diana Nyad

241. “I’ll always be Number 1 to myself.” — Moses Malone

242. “We make too much of winning. The mere fact of winning doesn’t make you great.” — Wilt Chamberlain

243. “My only feeling about superstition is that it’s unlucky to be behind at the end of the game.” — Duffy Daugherty

244. “If you can’t win, make the one ahead of you break the record.” — John McKeithen

245. “All I know is, I don’t want to stop coaching, and I don’t want to stop winning, so we’re gonna break the record unless I die.” — Bear Bryant

246. “It isn’t hard to be good from time to time in sports. What is tough, is being good every day.” — Willie Mays

Sports quotes about mindset

247. “I got more bruises, grass burns and cuts in practice than in match play.” – Jonty Rhodes

248. “You must have confidence in your competence.” – Elijah Cummings

249. “Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, and others make it happen.” – Michael Jordan

250. “Whatever is going to happen will happen, whether we worry or not.” – Ana Monnar

251. “It’s what you learn after you think you know it all that really counts.” – John Wooden

252. “Fall down seven times, get up eight.” – Naoki Higashida

253. “Comfort the challenged, and challenge the comfortable.” – Ric Charlesworth

254. “I am facing a challenge, I am not facing defeat. Remember this.” – Nikki Rowe

255. “Act as if it was, and it will be.”― Lailah Gifty Akita

256. “It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.” – William Shakespeare

Motivational Sports Quotes To Help You Achieve Your Potential

257. “The ability to conquer one’s self is no doubt the most precious of all things that sports bestows.” — Olga Korbut

258. “In the sports arena I would say there is nothing like training and preparation. You have to train your mind as much as your body.” — Venus Williams 

259. “Sports teaches you character. It teaches you to play by the rules. It teaches you to know what it feels like to win and lose. It teaches you about life.”— Billie Jean King

260. “True disputants are like true sportsmen: their whole delight is in the pursuit.” — Alexander Pope

261. “Sport should be in your Blood/Veins, Not in the Joints or Bones.” ― Binoy Boban

262. “You have to have a real love of your sport to carry you through all the bad times.” — Nancy Greene

263. “In the field of sports you are more or less accepted for what you do rather than what you are.” — Althea Gibson

264. “You can’t let success diminish the desire to be a winner. There’s room for improvement in every sportsman.” — Lionel Messi

265. “In sports, it is not the strongest, who wins, but the most practical and skillful” — Sunday Adelaja

266. “Sports creates complicated men, proud enough to refuse to admit their mistakes, but humble enough always to put their team first.” — Fredrik Backman

Motivational Sports Quotes To Boost A Positive Mindset

267. “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

268. “Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.” — Will Rogers

269. “Just play. Have fun. Enjoy the game.” — Michael Jordan

270. “If you want to be the best, you have to do the things that other people aren’t willing to do.” — Michael Phelps

271. “I don’t count my situps. I only start counting once it starts hurting.” — Muhammad Ali

272. “No man can avoid being born average,but no man has to stay average.” — Satchel Paige

273. “So many players enter the game with the same approximate skills. The difference is not aptitude but attitude.” — Dave Winfield

274. “You learn you can do your best even when its hard, even when you’re tired and maybe hurting a little bit. It feels good to show some courage. “ — Joe Namath

275. “It is a rough road that leads to the heights of greatness.” — Seneca the Younger

Motivational Sports Quotes To Become a Champion

276. “The best and fastest way to learn a sport is to watch and imitate a champion.” — Jean-Claude Killy

277. “No one knows what to say in the loser’s locker room.” — Muhammad Ali

278. “Sport is singularly able to give us peak experience where we feel completely one with the world and transcend all conflicts as we finally become our own potential.” — George A. Sheehan

279. “Football games are generally won by the boys with the greatest desire.” — Bear Bryant

280. “Sport, at its best, at its most human, is able to inspire an innocence and joy that is unique to each of us.” — Richard J. Corman

281. “Good players want to be coached… Great players want to be told the truth.” — Doc Rivers

282. “What makes the difference between a great player and just a normal player is dedication, work, commitment.” — Thierry Henry

283. “I don’t have any ideas; my coaches have them. I just pass the ideas on and referee the arguments.” — Bear Bryant

284. “Close don’t count in baseball. Close only counts in horseshoes and grenades.” — Frank Robinson

285. “Sports for me is when a guy walks off the court, and you really can’t tell whether he won or lost, when he carries himself with pride either way.” — Jim Courier

Motivational Sports Quotes to Motivate Athletes and Sports Enthusiasts

286. “To paly the game is great, to win the game is greater, but to love the game is the greatest of all.” ― Palestra Palque

287. “Sports is human life in microcosm.” ― Howard Cosell

288. “If you watch a game, it’s fun; if you play it, it’s recreation; if you work at it, it’s golf.” ― Evan Esar

289. “You don’t just want to beat a team. You want to leave a lasting impression in their minds so they never want to see your face again.” ― Mia Hamm

290. “A good sport can be contrasted with someone who tries to ‘win at all costs’.” ― Nick Hunter

291. “A baseball game is twice as much fun if you’re seeing it on the company’s time.” ― William Feather

292. “The best athletes in the world are those who are willing to push harder then anyone else, and go through more pain then anyone else.” ― Ashley M.L.

293. “A well-adjusted person is one who can play golf and bridge as if they were games.” ― Evan Esar

294. “Love is playing every game as if it’s your last.” ― Michael Jordan

295. “If he is to become a ball player, he must learn the rules of the game. And, contrary to popular thinking, children appreciate rules.” ― Billy Graham

What motivational sports quotes stood out to you?

To achieve success in their sport, even the most talented athletes have to be at their best during both practice and gameplay.

So it’s not surprising that there are many great athletes and coaches who have produced amazing motivational quotes that we can all draw upon, whether you’re a sports person or not.

Hopefully, these inspirational sports quotes have motivated you to work harder towards your goals and dreams.

What quote stood out for you?

Share your favorite inspirational sports quotes below.

Also, what motivational quotes for athletes would you add to the list?

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  1. Dwana Bragado

    November 12, 2022 at 5:20 PM

    This website was… how do I say it? Relevant!! Finally, I have found something that helped me. Appreciate it!

  2. David PaCkMaN Ryan

    August 16, 2020 at 1:38 PM

    About 1/3 of these quotes are garbage (e.g. #3, #4, #5 etc.) A few are contradictory (e.g. #6 vs #64, #22 vs #23). At least 4 are duplicates (#9 & #58, #16 & #75, #20 & #144, #48 & #143).

  3. Elise M. Eriksen

    October 23, 2019 at 1:23 AM

    Great Quotes by some of the greatest. Going to share
    In hopes they will inspire the next generation (my 12yr old

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