Motivation: 29 of our favorite inspirational quotes, from leaders in their fields

The best coaches have just the right words for just the right moments.

It doesn’t matter if you’re Gregg Popovich guiding the Spurs to an NBA title, or a volunteer coach teaching your team how to play with heart and sportsmanship in middle school — communication is key, and these words inspire.

28. “Build up your weaknesses until they become your strong points.”

— Knute Rockne

27. “The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor.”

— Vince Lombardi

26. “The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.”

— Phil Jackson

25. “Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel.”

— Socrates

24. “Players with fight never lose a game, they just run out of time.”

— John Wooden

23. “Excellence is an art won by training and habituation: we do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but rather have these because we have acted rightly; these virtues are formed in man by doing his actions; we are we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”

— Will Durant

21. “Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.”

— Vince Lombardi

20. “If you make every game a life and death proposition, you’re going to have problems. For one thing, you’ll be dead a lot.”

— Dean Smith

19. “Are you going to show integrity only when someone is watching you — or are you going to show it all the time?”

— Mike Krzyzewski

18. “Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something.”

— Plato

17. “People of mediocre ability sometimes achieve outstanding success because they don’t know when to quit. Most men succeed because they are determined to.”

— George Herbert Allen

16. “You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.”

— Plato

15. “Change will not come if we wait for some other person, or if we wait for some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”

— Barack Obama

13. “The key is not the will to win. Everybody has that. It is the will to prepare to win that is important.”

— Bobby Knight

12. “A champion is afraid of losing. Everyone else is afraid of winning.”

— Billy Jean King

11. “It is not the size of a man but the size of his heart that matters.”

— Evander Holyfield

10. “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

9. “Individual commitment to a group effort — that is what makes a team work a company work, a society work, a civilization work.”

— Vince Lombardi

8. “One thing I never want to be accused of is not working.”

— Don Shula

7. “Believe me, the reward is not so great without the struggle.”

— Wilma Rudolph

6. “Keep your dreams alive. Understand to achieve anything requires faith and belief in yourself, vision, hard work, determination, and dedication. Remember all things are possible for those who believe.”

— Gail Devers

5. “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

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

— Tom Landry

3. “Continuous effort — not strength or intelligence — is the key to unlocking our potential.”

— Liane Cardes

2. “Don’t give up, don’t ever give up.”

— Jim Valvano

1. “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

— Theodore Roosevelt

We hope these quotes inspire you, too. If you liked this article, please remember to log in and recommend it, so that others can enjoy it!

Thanks very much,

The SportUp Team

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