25 Best Youth Sports Quotes to Motivate Young Athletes

Tim Gusweiler
the best youth sports quotes to motivate your team
the best youth sports quotes to motivate your team
What are some of the best ways to learn lessons from the sports GOATs? Read and listen to their advice. In this post we’ve researched some of the best quotes that you can apply to youth sports.
Quotes can help teach sportsmanship in youth sports, motivate your sports team, and inspire your sports mission statement.
We’ve researched inspirational sports quotes from legendary athletes from every era, successful coaches, current All-Stars. Here are some of the best youth sports quotes to share with your players before next season.

25 best youth sports quotes to motivate young athletes 

1. Michael Jordan

The list of influential Michael Jordan quotes is seemingly endless. His combination of work ethic, talent, and intelligence led to one of the greatest careers in sports history. 
Teaching young athletes to not quit when times get tough is one of the biggest challenges of motivating a youth sports team.
Here’s one of Jordan’s greatest quotes. Even the greatest athletes often fail more than they succeed:
michael jordan youth sports quote i've failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why i succeed

2. Vince Lombardi

Vince Lombardi is one of the most quoted coaches in sports history. His players were known for their teamwork and commitment to the group’s goals.
vince lombardi youth sports quote

3. Babe Ruth

The Bambino is one of sport’s great legends and individual talents. But his teams were also incredibly successful and he was a part of 7 World Series winning teams. He knew it took an entire team to win championships.
babe ruth youth sports quote the way a team plays as a whole determines its success

4. Billie Jean King

The benefits of youth sports participation extend far beyond physical skills. Billie Jean King has dedicated her life to advancing opportunities for others and knew that sports can be a big part of individual development.
billie jean king youth sports quote sports teaches you character

5. John Wooden

Known as the greatest college basketball coach of all time, John Wooden developed the Pyramid of Success and wrote one of the most popular leadership books ever written.
He’s famous for helping his players achieve their personal best and encouraging them to be just a little bit better than they were yesterday. He emphasized this attitude in his own development with this quote:
john wooden youth sports quote the best competition i have is against myself to become better

6. Mia Hamm

Mia Hamm knew that in order to become one of the best soccer players of all-time she would need to be resilient.
"A winner is a person that gets up one more time than she is knocked down."

7. Muhammad Ali

The original Greatest of All Time was not short on quotes. Here’s one of his best that applies to young athletes:
"Don’t count the days; make the days count."

8. Albert Einstein

Not an athlete? That doesn’t mean Einstein can’t provide wisdom to young athletes about learning new skills. Sport specialization and “the need to win” can be issues in youth sports. Einstein would probably encourage young athletes to participate in lots of different sports at a young age and experiment with new skills rather than focus on winning every competition.
Here’s a quote from Albert Einstein that you can apply to youth sports:
“A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.”

9. Andre Agassi

“I question myself every day. That's what I still find motivating about this. I don't have the answers, I don't pretend that I do just because I won the match. Just keep fighting and maybe something good happens.”

10. Arthur Ashe

“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”

11. Bo Jackson

Bo Knows that setting ambitious, achievable goals is a great way to develop a youth sports team throughout the season. 
“Set your goals high, and don't stop till you get there.”

12. Derek Jeter

Derek Jeter is a Hall of Fame Player that is known equally for being a great team player as he was an individual contributor. He was on 5 World Series winning teams and surrounded himself with great teammates and coaches along the way.
“Surround yourself with good people. People who are going to be honest with you and look out for your best interests.”

13. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

One of the greatest all time NBA players knew a lot about teamwork.
“You can't win if you don't play as a unit.”

14. Knute Rockne

“One man practicing sportsmanship is far better than a hundred teaching it.”

15. Mary Lou Retton

“As simple as it sounds, we all must try to be the best person we can: by making the best choices, by making the most of the talents we've been given.”

16. Michael Phelps

“I think goals should never be easy, they should force you to work, even if they are uncomfortable at the time.”

17. Pat Riley

Pat Riley has been a successful NBA player, coach, and executive. He’s most well-known for developing “Heat Culture”.
“Excellence is the gradual result of always striving to do better.”

18. Phil Jackson

As a player and coach Phil Jackson emphasized the mental side of basketball as much as the physical.
“As much as we pump iron and we run to build our strength up, we need to build our mental strength up... so we can focus... so we can be in concert with one another.”

19. Christiano Ronaldo

“I am not a perfectionist, but I like to feel that things are done well.
More important than that, I feel an endless need to learn, to improve, to evolve, not only to please the coach and the fans, but also to feel satisfied with myself.
It is my conviction that there are no limits to learning, and that it can never stop, no matter what our age.”

20. Tom Landry

Coaching sports at any level is about getting each player to become the best version of themselves.
“Really, coaching is simple. It's getting players to play better than they think that they can.”

21. Wayne Gretzky

The Great One is one of the most talented players in hockey history, but he was most proud of his work ethic.
“The highest compliment that you can pay me is that I work hard every day, that I never dog it.”

22. Kobe Bryant

The “Mamba Mentality” is Kobe Bryant’s approach to always strive to be the best version of yourself. His work ethic and will to win was legendary, and this is one of many quotes about his journey as a basketball player. Here’s one of his most popular motivational sports quotes:
"May you always remember to enjoy the road, especially when it’s a hard one."

23. Usain Bolt

Are you looking for a quote to use as a sports parent? Usain Bolt rarely had to respond to adversity, but he has a great attitude toward handling failure.
“The measure of who we are is how we react if something doesn’t go our way.”

24. Georges St-Pierre

Regarded as one of the greatest mixed martial artists, GSP was known for his intelligence and wide range of skills.
“The more knowledge you get, the more questions you ask. The smarter you get, the more you realize that everything can be possible.”

25. Joey Votto

Joey Votto’s work ethic and longevity have led to becoming one of the greatest hitters of his generation.
“I want to be great at what I do. I take a lot of pride in it. And I try not to sell myself short in my work and preparation.”

Inspiring hard work amongst your team

Whether you’re growing a recreational youth sports league or coaching competitive sports, your athletes can learn lessons from the best athletes.
Work ethic, resilience, and teamwork are consistent themes across quotes from the greatest athletes across different sports. Sharing a short list of motivational quotes before and during your season can set an example for your team and help young athletes improve throughout the season.
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