20 Motivational Quotes for Youth Athletes

20 Motivational Quotes for Youth Athletes

What credit do you give motivational quotes in sports success? When you think of sports you automatically think of the physical actions it takes to do perform the various moves and plays. Being athletic, physically gifted, and talented plays a big part. But after you reach a certain level, everybody is athletic, gifted, and talented physically. But not everybody is mentally tough or exceeds at the emotional parts of playing sports. A motivational quote delivered by a coach in the 4th quarter of an important game can have more influence over game turnout than you might think. 

Mentally and emotionally tough

Many times this is what separates the good and great athletes. As a parent and youth coach I’ve learned that some kids require some help in this area, while others seem to be born with it, or had it instilled by their parents or other coaches. I understand the importance of teaching them how to do the fundamentals and how to train their bodies for the rigors of sports. But it is just as important to prepare them mentally and emotionally.

Coaching mental and emotional toughness

This may be harder to coach, as we can’t just demonstrate a drill and have them do what we’ve done. To some degree we have to get inside their heads. Sometimes this is about planting the right seeds, or saying the right words which will stick in their heads, and be there for them to retrieve at just the right moment.

Listen to the best

Motivational or inspirational quotes are one way to plant the right seeds in a youth athlete’s mind. Here are some great motivational quotes for athletes for you to become familiar with, and begin to add to your coaching dialogue with your kids and players.

  1. “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.” – unknown
  2. “Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.” – John Wooden
  3. “I believe in myself.” – Muhammad Ali
  4. “Winning takes talent; to repeat takes character.” – John Wooden
  5. “Set your goals high, and don’t stop until you get there.” – Bo Jackson
  6. “If you train hard, you’ll not only be hard, you’ll be hard to beat.” Hershel Walker
  7. “To be prepared is half the victory.” – Miguel Cervantes
  8. “Adversity causes some to break; others to break records.” – William Ward
  9. “Ain’t no chance, if you don’t take it.” – Guy Clark
  10. “The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary.” – Vince Lombardi
  11. “There is no ‘I’ in team” – unknown
  12. “I am the greatest. I said that before I knew I was.” Muhammad Ali
  13. “If you accept the expectations of others, especially negative ones, then you’ll never change the outcome.” – Michael Jordan
  14. “Success is dependent upon effort.” – unknown
  15. “It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get up.” – Vince Lombardi
  16. “Wisdom is always an over match for strength.” – Phil Jackson
  17. “Do what needs to be done, when it needs to be done the best way it can be done, and do it that way every time.” – Bob Knight
  18. “I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I cannot accept not trying.” – Michael Jordan
  19. “Show me a guy who’s afraid to look bad, and I’ll show you a guy you can beat every time.” – Lou Brock
  20. “Just play. Have fun. Enjoy the game.” – Michael Jordan


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