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25 All-Time Best Inspirational Sports Quotes To Get You Going

25 All-Time Best Inspirational Sports Quotes To Get You Going

We often use sports as a metaphor for life. Overall, sports often package life’s lessons into neat 60-minute games or into perfect soundbites that summarize to achieve at a high level. For this reason, we sifted over the glories of all sports, seeking to find a few uber-inspirational sports quotes.

1. “I don’t count my situps. I only start counting once it starts hurting. ” -Muhammad Ali

    Muhammad Ali, the inventor of the modern overconfident athlete persona and multiple time world boxing champion, has many quotes that could have made this list, but we thought we’d get him out of the way early.

    2.  “Cancer can take away all my physical abilities. It cannot touch my mind, it cannot touch my heart and it cannot touch my soul. And those three things are going to carry on forever.” – Jimmy Valvano

      The speech Jimmy Valvano gave at the 1993 ESPY awards is choked full of wisdom and tightly-packed emotion, and it was hard to pick just one phrase from it. In it, legendary NC State basketball coach Jim Valvano is given the Arthur Ashe Courage Award, with everyone in the room knowing that he was going to die within a few weeks. It’s worth a watch.

      3. “I’ve failed over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” – Michael Jordan

        The world-renowed basketball player Michael Jordan is always thought of as the victor, the one who took the shot no one else could make, the one who transformed the game. In these simple lines quantifying his failures, Jordan shows that getting to success is never easy, and that the failures are what make us who we are.

        4. “The only way to prove you are a good sport is to lose.” – Ernie Banks

          No one knows enthusiasm and integrity better than Mr. Cub, Ernie Banks. A Hall Of Fame Shortstop, Banks knew about losing, playing mostly for terrible Cubs teams.

          5. “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

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            Recently retired First-Ballot-Hall-of-Fame shortstop accomplished a lot in his career with the New York Yankees, and was widely thought of as a class act. Jeter was a player’s player, a hard worker, and here he shows what got him there: hard work.

            6. “If you fail to prepare, you’re prepared to fail.” – Mark Spitz

              Nine-time Olympic champion Mark Spitz was an amazing swimmer, and nothing got him to where he wanted to be more than preparing. Spitz records stood until Michael Phelps broke them recently, so I’d say he has room to talk about preparation.

              7. “The road to Easy Street goes through the sewer.” – John Madden

                John Madden may be known for being a broadcaster and owner of a popular video game franchise, but before that, he coached the Oakland Raiders to two Superbowl Championship. In this, Madden shows how it wasn’t easy to get where he ended up.

                8. “Stubbornness usually is considered a negative; but I think that trait has been a positive for me.”- Cal Ripken, Jr.

                  Cal Ripken Jr. holds the streak in baseball, for most consecutive games played, with 2,632 games over the course of more than 16 years. You can see how he may consider himself stubborn, as he just trotted out there, every day, for more than a decade and a half.

                  9. “To uncover your true potential you must first find your own limits and then you have to have the courage to blow past them.” – Picabo Street

                    Olympic gold medalist Picabo Street, as an alpine skier, blew past her limits pretty consistently. Whizzing down a mountain at high speeds does take courage, and so does achieving your goals.

                    10. “Do you know what my favorite part of the game is? The opportunity to play.” -Mike Singletary

                      During his Hall-Of-Fame career with the Chicago Bears, Mike Singletary was known for his tenacity and his eyes. This must have been the result of a child-like vigor that he brought every day.

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                      11.“Never let your head hang down. Never give up and sit down and grieve. Find another way.” – Satchel Paige

                        Legendary Negro League pitcher Satchel Paige was big on creativity and perseverance. Sometimes thought of as one of the greatest pitchers to ever live, Paige would never quit, and never let his emotions take over.

                        12. “It is not the size of a man but the size of his heart that matters.” – Evander Holyfield

                          World Heavy Weight Boxing Champion Evander Holyfield knows a lot about fighting and the heart. He was the man who had his ear bit off by Mike Tyson, and was at one point the undisputed world boxing champion.

                          13. “You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.” – Wayne Gretzky

                            The Great One, Wayne Gretzky, was widely regarded as the best hockey player to ever play the game. In his best season, he had in average more than one goal per game, and was a four-time Stanley Cup Champion with the Edmonton Oilers. He never saw a shot he didn’t like.

                            14. “Wisdom is always an overmatch for strength.” – Phil Jackson

                              Hall-of-Fame NBA Coach Phil Jackson won a total of eleven (!!!) championships during his coaching career: six with the Chicago Bulls and then five more with the Los Angeles LAkers, which complimented two he had as a player with the Knicks. He worked with the aforementioned Jordan, as well as with Shaquille O’Neill, with Kobe Bryant, with many others, such as Scottie Pippen.

                              The man knows how to win, and, if he says wisdom is more vital than strength, you better listen.

                              15. “It’s not whether you get knocked down; it’s whether you get up.” – Vince Lombardi

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                                Vince Lombardi is the man the Super Bowl Trophy is named after. He was a legendary coach with the Green Bay Packers, and won the first two SuperBowls. Full of hard-nosed wisdom, Lombardi’s quote is one to live by.

                                16. “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.” – Tim Notke

                                  Tim Notke, a high school basketball coach, said this in a motivational speech to his players to encourage them to work hard in order to be the best.

                                  17. “Never say never because limits, like fears, are often just an illusion.” – Michael Jordan

                                    Michael Jordan is an American retired professional basketball player. He was said to be too short to be signed by Adidas, but with his hard work and persistence, he is now said to be “the greatest basketball player of all time”.

                                    18. “Good is not good when better is expected.” – Vin Scully

                                      Vin Scully is an American retired sportscaster. He has seen lots of good and great players and so he knows everyone has room to improve all the time.

                                      19. “Without self-discipline, success is impossible, period.” – Lou Holtz

                                        Lou Holtz is a former American football player, coach, and analyst. He is the only college football coach to lead six different programs to bowl games and guide four different programs to the final top 20 rankings.

                                        20. “It’s not the will to win that matters — everyone has that. It’s the will to prepare to win that matters.” – Paul “Bear” Bryant

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                                          Paul “Bear” Bryant was an American college football player and coach. He was best known as the head coach of the University of Alabama football team. He set a record (later broken) for more games won than any other collegiate coach.

                                          21. “A trophy carries dust. Memories last forever.” – Mary Lou Retton

                                            Mary Lou Retton Kelley is a retired American gymnast. At the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, she won a gold medal in the individual all-around competition, as well as two silver medals and two bronze medals. But to her, the process of doing the sports still matters more.

                                            22. “Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must; just never give up.” – Dean Karnazes

                                              Being hailed as one of the fittest men on the planet, Dean Karnazes can run for three days and nights without stopping. His persistence is definitely the key to his success.

                                              23. “What makes something special is not just what you have to gain, but what you feel there is to lose.” – Andre Agassi

                                                Andre Agassi is an American retired professional tennis player and former world No. 1 player. This is how he motivated himself to keep going and keep winning.

                                                24. “You win a few, you lose a few. Some get rained out. But you got to dress for all of them.” – Satchel Paige

                                                  Once again, Satchel Paige’s wise words have taught us to face failures positively.

                                                  25. “Never give up! Failure and rejection are only the first step to succeeding.” – Jim Valvano

                                                    Last but not least, here we have Jim Valvano again, who had an excellent coaching career at multiple teams. He always encouraged his teams to never give up, no matter how hard it might be.

                                                    Featured photo credit: Pixabay via pixabay.com

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                                                    Last Updated on May 21, 2019

                                                    How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

                                                    How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

                                                    For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

                                                    If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

                                                    Example 1

                                                    You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

                                                    You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

                                                    In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

                                                    Example 2

                                                    You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

                                                    People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

                                                    You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

                                                    Example 3

                                                    You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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                                                    The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

                                                    Example 4

                                                    You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

                                                    Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

                                                    If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

                                                    Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

                                                    • Understand your own communication style
                                                    • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
                                                    • Communicate with precision and care
                                                    • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

                                                    1. Understand Your Communication Style

                                                    To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

                                                    In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

                                                    Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

                                                    2. Learn Others Communication Styles

                                                    Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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                                                    If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

                                                    “How do you prefer to receive information?”

                                                    This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

                                                    To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

                                                    3. Exercise Precision and Care

                                                    A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

                                                    On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

                                                    Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

                                                    I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

                                                    I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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                                                    In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

                                                    The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

                                                    Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

                                                    4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

                                                    Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

                                                    In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

                                                    “Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

                                                    Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

                                                    Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

                                                    It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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                                                    It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

                                                    It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

                                                    Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

                                                    Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

                                                    The Bottom Line

                                                    When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

                                                    I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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                                                    Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

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