Inspirational Sports Quotes to Inspire Your Team Towards Success

Looking for inspirational sports quotes? Many of the greatest inspirational quotes that can inspire entrepreneurs and business owners to persevere in the pursuit of their dreams come from successful sports people.

From legendary baseball, basketball and soccer players and coaches to Olympic gold medalists and other sporting superstars, there is so much inspiration to be found in the words of these great sports men and women.

Here is an extensive selection of the most inspirational and motivational sports quotes provided for us by so many great sports stars over the years, grouped loosely together in similarly themed categories so you can quickly find the exact kind of motivation you need.

Inspire Your Team to Success with These Sports Quotes

Sports Quotes About Teamwork

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A lot of business success revolves around good teamwork. Working well together with each person playing their part to drive the business towards its goals can be the difference between establishing a successful business or not.

There are many different elements that go into making a successful team, such as good communication to ensure everyone understands everything they need to. The most important thing though is just making sure everyone is pulling in the same direction.

To motivate your team to work well together, here are 11 team-inspiring quotes from some sporting legends.

  • Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships. ~ Michael Jordan (Basketball)
  • The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don’t play together, the club won’t be worth a dime. ~ Babe Ruth (Baseball)
  • People have similar goals: health, happiness and an opportunity to provide for their families. ~ Steve Kerr (Basketball)
  • Being a good teammate isn’t about recognition. I do it because it makes me whole and complete. ~ Dwyane Wade (Basketball)

Each Person Holds so Much Power within Themselves…

  • Each person holds so much power within themselves. Sometimes they just need a little nudge; direction, support, coaching. ~ Pete Carroll (Football)
  • Building a baseball team is like building a house. You look for the best architects, the best builders, and then you let them do their jobs. ~ Pat Gillick (Baseball)
  • If a team wants to intimidate you physically and you let them, they’ve won. ~ Mia Hamm (Soccer)
  • One man can be a crucial ingredient on a team, but one man cannot make a team. ~ Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Basketball)
  • Most talented players don’t always succeed. Some don’t even make the team. It’s more what’s inside. ~ Brett Favre (Football)
  • 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 (Ice Hockey)
  • I don’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 (Football)

Sports Quotes About Goals

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Ensuring each part of the team is working towards the same goal is also crucial for the success of a business. Individual goals may differ across the team in the short term, but everyone must be working toward the same goal in the long term.

Whether you are focused on your own individual goals or you are responsible for keeping the team on track for their collective targets, there is plenty of inspiration to be gained from sporting greats who all know exactly what it takes to set yourself a goal and then go for it.

Here are some great sport quotes about setting goals and making the most of your opportunities.

  • Competing is a privilege. Make the most of the opportunity by pushing yourself to the limit of your abilities. ~ Tony LaRussa (Baseball)
  • What keeps me going is goals. ~ Muhammad Ali (Boxing)
  • To uncover your true potential, first find your own limits, then have the courage to blow past them. ~ Picabo Street (Skiing)
  • No matter how good you get, you can always get better. That’s the exciting part. ~ Tiger Woods (Golf)

Every Day is a New Opportunity…

  • Every day is a new opportunity. You can build on yesterday’s success or put its failures behind and start over again. That’s the way life is, with a new game every day, and that’s the way baseball is. ~ Bob Feller (Baseball)
  • Set your goals high, and don’t stop till you get there. ~ Bo Jackson (Baseball)
  • 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 (Tennis)
  • 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 (Bodybuilding)
  • 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 (Boxing)
  • You can’t put a limit on anything. The more you dream, the farther you get. ~ Michael Phelps (Swimming)
  • Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can. ~ Arthur Ashe (Tennis)

Sports Quotes About Leadership

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Business owners and team leaders have extra responsibility as they must not only motivate themselves but those around them as well. They are responsible for keeping an eye on the big picture while each of the team members focus on their own individual duties.

A leader must also ensure the team is operating at full capacity by making sure each individual in the team is able to perform to their best ability. For many, such responsibility is too great a burden to bear, while others thrive with the added pressure of leading a team.

Here are some brilliant sports quotes from sports stars and great thinkers about what good leadership really means.

  • The most important thing in coaching is communication. It’s not what you say as much as what they absorb. ~ Red Auerbach (Basketball)
  • Individuals make the team. How they think and what they do is important to the team. It’s important who these people are. ~ Nick Saban (Football)
  • Players don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. ~ Pat Summitt (Basketball)

A Catcher Must Want to Catch…

  • A catcher must want to catch. He must make up his mind that it isn’t the terrible job it is painted, and that he isn’t going to say every day, ‘Why, oh why with so many other positions in baseball did I take up this one’. ~ Bill Dickey (Baseball)
  • Leadership, like coaching, is fighting for the hearts and souls of men and getting them to believe in you. ~ Eddie Robinson (Basketball)
  • 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 (Diving)
  • 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 (Football)
  • Sports serve society by providing vivid examples of excellence. ~ George F. Will (Political Commentator)
  • Only he who can see the invisible can do the impossible. ~ Frank L. Gaines (Basketball)
  • Winning is not a sometime thing, it is an all the time thing. You don’t do things right once in a while. You do them right all the time. ~ Vince Lombardi (Football)

Sports Quotes About Perseverance

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In business just as in sports, it is crucial to persevere through hard times. There will always be peaks and troughs so it is important to cultivate an attitude of determination that will keep you going when the going gets tough.

So whether it is a period of slow sales or a valuable deal that didn’t get closed, you can find a lot of inspiration in quotes from sports men and women from throughout history.

Here are a few examples of such quotes to help inspire you when you need inspiration the most.

  • It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get up. ~ Vince Lombardi (Football)
  • 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 (Business Magnate)
  • When you’ve got something to prove, there’s nothing greater than a challenge. ~ Terry Bradshaw (Football)

Never Give Up, Never Give In…

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  • 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 (Football)
  • The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a person’s determination. ~ Tommy Lasorda (Baseball)
  • Persistence can change failure into extraordinary achievement. ~ Marv Levy (Football)
  • I’ve learned that something constructive comes from every defeat. ~ Tom Landry (Football)
  • Most people never run far enough on their first wind to find out they’ve got a second. ~ William James (Philosopher)
  • Champions keep playing until they get it right. ~ Billie Jean King (Tennis)
  • Stubbornness usually is considered a negative; but I think that trait has been a positive for me. ~ Cal Ripken Jr. (Baseball)
  • In life, there is no such thing as impossible; it’s always possible. ~ Venus Williams (Tennis)

Sports Quotes About Focus and Determination

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Another aspect of sporting success that is applicable to business is the ability to focus. There are so many distractions around these days with so much social media constantly nagging for attention that it is easy to lose focus and fall behind schedule. But when there is an important task to be completed then it is crucial that we keep our focus on that task.

The way to do that is by practicing the process of refocusing on the task each time you get distracted. It can take time to train yourself into refocusing the moment you notice you have lost focus, but over time it can be turned into a natural and instinctive reaction.

To help steer your mind back on course, here are some excellent motivational sports quotes to remind us of the importance of paying attention to the moment.

  • When you’re riding, only the race in which you’re riding is important. ~ Bill Shoemaker (Horse Racing)
  • Always make a total effort, even when the odds are against you. ~ Arnold Palmer (Golf)
  • Continuous effort — not strength or intelligence — is the key to unlocking our potential. ~ Liane Cardes (Author)
  • 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 (Swimming and Diving)

My Motto Was Always to Keep Swinging…

  • 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 (Baseball)
  • Without self-discipline, success is impossible, period. ~ Lou Holtz (Football)
  • Push yourself again and again. Don’t give an inch until the final buzzer sounds. ~ Larry Bird (Basketball)
  • Do not let what you can not do interfere with what you can do. ~ John Wooden (Basketball)
  • Gold medals aren’t really made of gold. They’re made of sweat, determination, and a hard-to-find alloy called guts. ~ Dan Gable (Wrestler and Olympian)
  • 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 (Basketball)

Sports Quotes About Visualizing Success

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Visualizing your success is a great way to keep your mind focused on the job so you are always moving towards your goals. When you are aware of the rewards of your work and the progress you are making, no matter how incremental, it serves as fuel for your fire and helps you look forward to every new day that you get to continue working towards your goals.

Of course, visualization is something many sports stars actively practice in order to help them perform at their maximum.

Whether it is basketball player visualizing his movements around the court or a soccer player visualizing a perfect strike of the ball, there are so many ways that visualization can help both sports and business people.

Here are some motivational sports quotes to help you make your vision of the future come true.

  • The man who has no imagination has no wings. ~ Muhammad Ali (Boxing)
  • An athlete cannot run with money in his pockets. He must run with hope in his heart and dreams in his head. ~ Emil Zatopek (Olympic Long Distance Runner)
  • You have to expect things of yourself before you can do them. ~ Michael Jordan (Basketball)
  • Talent is God given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful. ~ John Wooden (Basketball)

I Don’t Plan On Being Disappointed…

  • I don’t plan on being disappointed. We plan on being really good, and obviously, we plan on winning. ~ Gregg Troy (Swimming)
  • I always felt that my greatest asset was not my physical ability, it was my mental ability. ~ Caitlyn Jenner (Olympic Decathlete)
  • Victory is in having done your best. If you’ve done your best, you’ve won. ~ Billy Bowerman (Track and Field)
  • The principle is competing against yourself. It’s about self-improvement, about being better than you were the day before. ~ Steve Young (Football)
  • Don’t measure yourself by what you have accomplished, but by what you should have accomplished with your ability. ~ John Wooden (Basketball)
  • Just be patient. Let the game come to you. Don’t rush. Be quick, but don’t hurry. ~ Earl Monroe (Basketball)

Sports Quotes About Hard Work

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When the going is good, working hard is easy! But we all have moments where the motivation to put that extra effort in just doesn’t seem to be there. In moments like this, seeking inspiration from successful sports stars who have worked hard for their success can be just the motivation you need to spur yourself into action.

Here are 12 great sports quotes to inspire that hard-working attitude.

  • Today, you have 100% of your life left. ~ Tom Landry (Football)
  • 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 (Baseball)
  • The more difficult the victory, the greater the happiness in winning. ~ Pele (Soccer)
  • You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. ~ Wayne Gretzky (Ice Hockey)
  • If everything seems under control, you’re not going fast enough. ~ Mario Andretti (Racing)

A Champion is Someone Who Does Not Settle for that Day’s Practice…

  • 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 (Soccer)
  • If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you. ~ Fred DeVito (Fitness Guru)
  • The key is not the will to win. Everybody has that. It is the will to prepare to win that is important. ~ Bobby Knight (Basketball)
  • Today I will do what others won’t, so tomorrow I can accomplish what others can’t. ~ Jerry Rice (Football)
  • You can’t get much done in life if you only work on the days when you feel good. ~ Jerry West (Basketball)
  • The highest compliment that you can pay me is to say that I work hard every day, that I never dog it. ~ Wayne Gretzky (Ice Hockey)
  • 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 (Boxing)

Sports Quotes About Business Success

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Most quotes from sports people may have originally been about the very sport that they play, but the underlying sentiments they reveal can be applied to business ventures as well.

Whether it is ensuring that important tasks are completed on time or cultivating determination, sports are a mine of valuable inspiration. Here are ten more sporting quotes to inspire you to achieve great business success.

  • Procrastination is one of the most common and deadliest of diseases and its toll on success and happiness is heavy. ~ Wayne Gretzky (Ice Hockey)
  • In baseball and in business, there are three types of people. Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen, and those wonder what happened. ~ Tommy Lasorda (Baseball)
  • You can’t let success diminish the desire to be a winner. There’s room for improvement in every sportsman. ~ Lionel Messi (Soccer)

Winning Takes Talent…

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  • Winning takes talent. To repeat takes character. ~ John Wooden (Basketball)
  • Never allow the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game. ~ Babe Ruth (Baseball)
  • What you lack in talent can be made up with desire, hustle, and giving 110 percent all the time. ~ Don Zimmer (Baseball)
  • I never left the field saying I could have done more to get ready and that gives me piece of mind. ~ Peyton Manning (Football)
  • 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 (Basketball)
  • 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 (Cycling)
  • 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 (Tennis)

How to Use Inspirational Sports Quotes Elsewhere in Your Business

MethodHow to Use Famous Sports Quotes
Social Media EngagementShare inspiring sports quotes on your business's social media profiles to motivate your audience and convey leadership values.
Employee MotivationIncorporate these quotes into team meetings, emails, or newsletters to inspire and rally your employees toward common goals.
Office DecorPrint and display these quotes in your office space to create an inspiring and motivational work environment for your team.
Sales and Goal SettingUse sports quotes during sales meetings and goal-setting sessions to encourage your team to strive for success and set clear objectives.
Customer EngagementShare relevant sports quotes with customers to convey your commitment to excellence and inspire loyalty.

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Gabrielle Pickard-Whitehead Gabrielle Pickard-Whitehead is a staff writer for Small Business Trends and has been a member of the team for 7 years. She is based in the United Kingdom and since 2006, Gabrielle has been writing articles, blogs and news pieces for a diverse range of publications and sites. You can read "Gabrielle’s blog here.".