Top 150 Motivational Quotes for Athletes

As athletes, you constantly require that extra push to achieve greatness

As much as we enjoy sports, you also need to be aware that there are lots of life lessons we can learn from them.

From their strict dedication to being the best in their craft to their work ethic and focus, there is a lot we can take away from the life of an athlete.

Here is a list of the top 150 motivational quotes to help you stay inspired and push through your life issues.

Credit to the following sites for their help in curating this list




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

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

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

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

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

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

7. “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

8. “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

9. “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

10. “There may be people that have more talent than you, but theres no excuse for anyone to work harder than you do.”– Derek Jeter

11. “Baseball is the only field of endeavor where a man can succeed three times out of ten and be considered a good performer.”– Ted Williams

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

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

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

15. “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

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

17. “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

18. “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

19. “Persistence can change failure into extraordinary achievement.”– Marv Levy

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

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

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

23. “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

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

25. “People ask me what I do in winter when there’s no baseball. I’ll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring.”– Rogers Hornsby

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

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

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

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

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

31. “The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a person’s determination.”– Tommy Lasorda

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

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

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

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

37.“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

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

39. “Sports serve society by providing vivid examples of excellence.”– George F. Will

40. “The principle is competing against yourself. It’s about self-improvement, about being better than you were the day before.”– Steve Young

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

42. “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

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

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

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

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

47. “Stubbornness usually is considered a negative; but I think that trait has been a positive for me.”– Cal Ripken Jr.

48. “You’ve got to take the initiative and play your game. In a decisive set, confidence is the difference.”– Chris Evert

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

50. “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

51. “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

52“When I go out there, I have no pity on my brother. I am out there to win.”– Joe Frazier

53. “During my 18 years I came to bat almost 10,000 times. I struck out about 1,700 times and walked maybe 1,800 times. You figure a ballplayer will average about 500 at bats a season. That means I played seven years without ever hitting the ball.”– Mickey Mantle

54. “I never left the field saying I could have done more to get ready and that gives me piece of mind.”– Peyton Manning

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

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

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

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

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

60. “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

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

62. “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

63. “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

64. “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

65. “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

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

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

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

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

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

71. “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

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

73. “Excellence is the gradual result of always striving to do better.” – Pat Riley (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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

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

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

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

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

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

80. “Push yourself again and again. Don’t give an inch until the final buzzer sounds.” – Larry Bird (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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

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

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

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

85. “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

86. “Wisdom is always an over match for strength.”– Phil Jackson

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

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

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

90. “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

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

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

93. “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 

94. “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 Ali95. “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

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

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

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

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

100. “I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 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 

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