11 Inspirational Sports Quotes That Motivate Players, Coaches & Parents

Yogi Berra

Looking for some inspirational sports quotes to help motivate yourself and your players? – read on!

When it comes to looking at how others overcome adversity and reach beyond their own limitations, you are wise to consider the words of some of the sporting world’s greatest players.

At the end of day – they’ve been there, done it and got the t-shirt.

No matter the sport, there is value in the words of each of these champions.  They have each faced untold challenges, put in the long hours training, and know just what it takes to be a true champion.  Both their words and actions show that they know the true value of hard work and just how important it is to listen to your heart and not to those who tell you what you want is beyond your reach.

You can use these quotes with your players and coaching staff if you need too.

Why not try and put your own spin on each quote?

Have fun!

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Inspirational Sports Quote #1:

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

– Ernie Banks

 Ernie Banks



A good sport is someone who plays a game because of their love for the game.  If, in the face of defeat, you are able to keep your composure and stay focused on why you play the game in the first place, then you truly demonstrate what it really means to be a good sport and a true athlete.

Inspirational Sports Quote #2

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

– Ken Doherty

 Ken Doherty



Spirit is what drives us to want to succeed.  Whether we are playing a game or working towards a deadline, it is the spirit within us that pushes us to do our best each time we try.

Inspirational Sports Quote #3

“I’ve learned that something constructive comes from every defeat.”

– Tom Landry

 Tom Landry


Each time we come up short, there is a lesson to be learned.  Either we make a misstep, face a new challenge, or find an opponent who has a skill we do not possess.  No matter the reason, if you are able to look back at a defeat with clarity of mind and examine what happened, you have a better chance at avoiding that same situation again.

Inspirational Sports Quote #4

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

– Tommy Lasorda

 Tommy Lasorda



Determination is what makes champions.  It is what pushes a person beyond their normal boundaries and encourages them to challenge what their own limits truly are.  Without determination, and average person will remain simply average and will never excel beyond their status quo.

Inspirational Sports Quote #5

 “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

 Arthur Ashe 


Your own mind is your greatest competitor.  While you may be facing another opponent, it is the confidence you have in yourself that will limit your chances to prevail.  Only when you overcome your own limitations, do you truly reach your true potential.

Inspirational Sports Quote #6

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

– Arnold Palmer

 Arnold Palmer



Never consider a match lost even if you are down from the onset.  If you walk away when things are looking bad, you can never be truly sure what the outcome may have been in the end.  Your ability to stick to your plan and to play an honest, true game is what will help you to not only learn from your experience, but also possibly overcome the challenges of the moment.

Inspirational Sports Quote #7

 “You have to expect things of yourself before you can do them.”

– Michael Jordan

 Michael Jordan


Only by believing in yourself can you begin to dream for your future.  Once you know your dreams, you can begin to make goals to achieve them. These goals will help you to stay focused throughout life, but without first expecting things from yourself, you will never be able to even begin to dream

Inspirational Sports Quote #8

“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

 Hank Aaron


Any ballplayer who chooses not to swing, makes the active choice to avoid greatness.  Any swing can turn the tide of a game and can lead to unknown possibilities.  It is important to stay continually focuses on what you are doing in the moment and avoid ruminating on all the things that might happen or have already happened.

Inspirational Sports Quote #9

 “Never let the fear of striking out get in your way.”

– Babe Ruth

 Babe Ruth



The best ballplayers often hit less than half the balls they swing at.  Even if you are worried about striking out, whether at the plate or in life, you must keep swinging.  By choosing not to swing for fear of striking out, you make the choice to let not only the ball, but also life, pass you by.

Inspirational Sports Quote #10

  “It ain’t over till it’s over.”

– Yogi Berra

 Yogi Berra



It is only at the very end of a game that the score becomes final.  If you consider something to be at an end long before the clock hits zero, you are selling yourself short.  There is no winning when quitting a game early whether you are ahead or behind.  Anything can happen at any moment in time, so stick it out until it’s over for everyone, not just yourself.

Inspirational Sports Quote #11

 “You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.”

– Wayne Gretzky

 Wayne Gretzky


There isn’t one person in this world who can accurately predict the future.  If you opt not to take a shot, you have undoubtedly missed an opportunity.  You can never know what might have been if you had chosen to act.

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