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Inspiring Quotes for Young Athletes

Do you play sports?

If you do, then you know the value of hard work, commitment, and determination in achieving success.  Playing sports can help you learn the importance of these values.

Sports can also teach you so much about yourself and the world around you. It can help you develop good character, values and habits early on in life.

To help you on your journey to becoming the best you can be on and off the field, we have compiled a list of inspiring quotes for young athletes.

As you will see, not all of these quotes are from athletes.  But all of them focus on values and habits that athletes need to develop.  Let their words of wisdom motivate you for success in sports and in life!

  • “Ability may get you to the top, but it takes character to keep you there.” – John Wooden
  • “The harder you work, the harder it is to surrender.” – Vince Lombardi
  • “If you want to find the real competition, just look in the mirror. After awhile you’ll see your rivals scrambling for second place.” – Criss Jami
  • “If you train hard, you’ll not only be hard, you’ll be hard to beat.” – Herschel Walker
  • “Even if you are on the right track, you will get run over if you just sit there.” – Will Rogers
  • “Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
  • “Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.”
    Zig Ziglar
  • “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” – Maya Angelou
  • “I will keep smiling, be positive and never give up! I will give 100 percent each time I play. These are always my goals and my attitude.” – Yani Tseng
  • “Either you decide to stay in the shallow end of the pool or you go out in the ocean.” – Christopher Reeve
  • “You will face your greatest opposition when you are closest to your biggest miracle.” – Shannon L. Alder
  • “A year from now you may wish you had started today.” – Karen Lamb
  • “If plan A doesn’t work, the alphabet has 25 more letters – 204 if you’re in Japan.” – Claire Cook, Seven Year Switch
  • “Don’t wait for your ship to come in, swim out to it.” – Cathy Hopkins
  • “The wishbone will never replace the backbone.” – Will Henry
  • “I am building a fire, and every day I train, I add more fuel. At just the right moment, I light the match.” – Mia Hamm
  • “Adversity causes some men to break; others to break records.” – William Arthur Ward
  • “One man practicing sportsmanship is far better than a hundred teaching it.” – Knute Rockne
  • “Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.” – Mother Teresa
  • “To me, teamwork is the beauty of our sport, where you have five acting as one. You become selfless.” – Mike Krzyzewski
  • “Well done is better than well said.” – Benjamin Franklin
  • “If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.” – Henry Ford
  • “The cautious seldom err.” – Confucius
  • “You don’t inspire people by showing how powerful you are. You inspire people by showing how powerful they are.” – Alexander Den Heijer
  • “Never let the fear of striking out get in your way.” – Babe Ruth

This video shows some great motivational sports quotes and the athletes who gave them to us.

Additional Resources:

Topics for Discussion:

  • Which quote means the most to you as an athlete? Why?
  • Do you think these quotes can be applied to other areas of life as well?

Take Action:

  • Focus on your favorite quote and try to apply it to your sport, hobby, schoolwork, or other pursuit!
  • Visit USA Volleyball’s website for a great list of lessons you can learn from sports.  Pick one or two to focus on in the coming weeks.

Teacher Features:

  • Here is a link to a Critical Reading Skills worksheet that you can use for elementary school students.
  • Here is a link to a Critical Reading Skills worksheet that you can use for middle school students.


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