45 Inspiring Words of Encouragement for Athletes

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Even though you are blessed and gifted with the ability to run fast, jump high, and exhibit incredible feats of strength… it still does you mind and soul good to receive words of encouragement.  Whether in sports or life, setbacks and defeat are certain

Those unfortunate circumstances are sure to bring pain and frustration.  And to overcome and get better, you may need someone who believes in you and motivate you not to give up after a tremendous setback. 

Those people may be your parents, coaches, trainers, teammates, friends, etc. 

Why Give Words of Encouragement?

Everyone needs words of encouragement from time to time.  However, when disappointment happens or we have unmet expectations, we can get in our own heads and become overwhelmed by our circumstances. 

Words of encouragement help us gain a better perspective on how things are.  When we are down mentally and emotionally, we tend to look at the landscape of our situations from a negative vantage point.  As a result, nothing seems to be good. 

Because we are disappointed, we may feel everyone is disappointed in us, and we should give up.  If we aren't careful, that negative line of thinking can spiral to worse things unless someone steps in and encourage us to overcome those challenges.  

Give words of encouragement because it makes you feel good to do so.  Your comments make a difference.  See how they brighten someone's countenance and give them the courage to keep doing what they are doing.  Your words will inspire someone to try something new or be true to themselves.  You will feel like the hero and be so glad you did.

Why Are Words of Encouragement Important for Athletes?

Athletes need encouragement because knowing someone believes in them is more powerful than being gifted or talented.  Words of consistent encouragement become etched into an athlete's mind, and they use it for fuel when their body and minds want to give up.  Those words “give athletes the courage” to realize their full potential.

I once read a biography of Charles Barkley.  He is a TV sports analyst and a retired Hall of Fame, professional basketball player.  He played in the NBA (National Basketball Association) from 1984-2000.  He is considered one of the greatest of all time.  However, he wasn't receiving much playing time when he first entered the NBA. 

He felt his career was about to be over before it even started.  Fortunately, he had a seasoned teammate named Moses Malone, who gave him some straightforward words of encouragement.  He told Charles that he had all the potential to be great, but he was fat and lazy.  Sounds harsh, right?

But Moses told Charles he would work with him to overcome the obstacles before him and reach his potential.  Moses' guidance and encouragement helped Charles go higher and farther than either of them ever imagined.  But it all started with Moses deciding to invest in Charles and give him the courage to be great.  

This leads me to my last point.  For your words to stick in the minds of an athlete, they may need to be brutally honest. 

Sometimes, words of encouragement are words that snap us back into reality.  They may sound harsh or damaging at first, but they are spoken with the same goal: to encourage the athlete to be the best. 

As a kid, who was also an athlete, I used harsh words as fuel.   I had uncles I trusted who could speak to me, even in not-so-nice ways at times, that encouraged me to apply myself and be great.  Because, like Charles Barkley, I was told I was too fat to play basketball. 

But words of encouragement, positive or not so great, served as a measuring stick to see how far I had come in developing my skills.  Inspirational words of encouragement are a lifeline to those who thrive off of affirmations, which I needed at the time.

45 Inspiring Words of Encouragement for Athletes

  1. Dedication makes dreams come true. ~ Kobe Bryant
  2. All your hard work is finally paying off.
  3. Repetition, repetition, repetition leads to mastery. Mastery leads to domination.
  4. It's been said practice makes perfect but perfect practice makes perfect.
  5. “Do you not know that in a race, all the runners run [their very best to win], but only one receives the prize? Run [your race] in such a way that you may seize the prize and make it yours!” – 1st Corinthians 9:24

Do you not know that in a race, all the runners run [their very best to win], but only one receives the prize? Run [your race] in such a way that you may seize the prize and make it yours!” – 1st Corinthians 9:24

  1. Never say never. With a strong will and determination, nothing can hold you back.
  2. You may fall seven times, but you’ll rise up eight!
  3. “You fail at 100 percent of the chances you don't take.” ~ Unknown
  4. Every time you lose is an opportunity to learn from your mistakes and become better.
  5. You have the mental toughness to push past fatigue and finish strong.
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  1. “Many times, I had to dig deep and perform. All of that adversity helped me and drove me to want to be the best.” —Hayley Wickenheiser
  2. You’ve got to dig down deep if you want to come out on top.
  3. “Teamwork makes the dream work.” – Every Coach, Manager, and CEO
  4. On your worst day, you are still the best to ever do it.
  5. You have bulldog tenacity and determination; those are skills you can’t teach.
  6. Do you want to be good, or do you have the discipline to be great?
  7. You may not be playing well right now. But you have what it takes to be the best.
  8. “You can do all things through Christ who gives you strength.” – Philippians 4:13
  9. You're no follower. You have what it takes to be a leader.
  10. “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

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

  1. While the opposition is sleeping, you're reaping. All your hard work has given you an advantage.
  2. When you know you’re unstoppable in your mind, you’ll become unstoppable on the field.
  3. You’ve got to go through the Hall of Pain to get to the Hall of Fame.
  4. You are the first one here and the last one to leave. That’s how you separate yourself from the pack.
  5. You inspire me every day to give it my all.
  6. When you have given your all, that is all you can give.
  7. “Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean.” — Ryunosuke Satoro, Japanese author.
  8. Remember, when you are on a team, you automatically have others on your side.
  9. Play to your strengths while you perfect your weaknesses.
  10. Sweat equity brings tremendous returns.
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  1. Sometimes, you've got to fake it till you make it. ~ Anonymous
  2. Play nice. That is until the referee blows the whistle.
  3. Go out there and have fun. Show the world what we already know about you. That you are unstoppable.
  4. Keep your head on a swivel and stay liquid.
  5. You are our secret weapon, the secret ingredient, and the stealth weapon that will help us win the championship game.

You are our secret weapon, the secret ingredient, and the stealth weapon that will help us win the championship game.”

  1. “There is no I in team. But there is an I in win.” – Michael Jordan
  2. You are a joy to watch and make every obstacle look effortless.
  3. You may be slow now, but your commitment to improving will make all the difference in the world.
  4. We are so proud of you.
  5. It doesn't matter who believes in you as long as you believe in yourself.
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  1. We expected more from you, and you didn't disappoint us.
  2. I appreciate how you remain coachable despite your success.
  3. Thank you!
  4. I love you!
  5. I want a greater commitment from you. You’re the leader. Everyone marches to the beat of your drum.

Final Thoughts on 45 Inspiring Words of Encouragement for Athletes

Hopefully, this article has enlightened you and given you great ideas of what to say to the athlete in your life to encourage them to keep striving to be the best they can be

No athlete would have achieved success without an encouraging voice in their ears.  Whether those words were inspirational or a kick in the pants.  Especially when they know those words come from a place of love, admiration, or respect.

Success doesn’t happen by accident.  When you give your blood, sweat, and tears to a sport, it's incredible when someone reminds you that it's worth it and sees the best in you in times when you can't see it for yourself.

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