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30 Inspiring Coaching Quotes

sports coaching quotesCoaches push us to achieve more and support us when we’re struggling. Think of who your coach is — on or off the field — and check out these 30 inspiring quotes by some of sport’s most legendary play-callers.  

  1. Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up. – Jim Valvano, former N.C. State men’s college basketball coach and national champion.
  2. It’s not whether you get knocked down; it’s whether you get up. – Vince Lombardi, former Green Bay Packers head coach and two-time Super Bowl champion.
  3. The interesting thing about coaching is that you have to trouble the comfortable, and comfort the troubled. – Ric Charlesworth, former Australian national women’s field hockey coach.
  4. Failures are expected by losers, ignored by winners. – Joe Gibbs, former Washington Redskins head coach and three-time Super Bowl champion.
  5. Set goals – high goals for you and your organization. When your organization has a goal to shoot for, you create teamwork, people working for a common good.  – Bear Bryant, former Alabama college football coach and six-time national champion.
  6. A champion is afraid of losing. Everyone else is afraid of winning. – Billie Jean King, former U.S. women’s tennis coach and player.
  7. The key is not the will to win. Everybody has that. It is the will to prepare to win that is important. – Bobby Knight, former Indiana men’s college basketball coach and Basketball Hall of Fame member.
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  1. 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, former U.S. diving coach responsible for 12 gold medals.
  2. One man practicing sportsmanship is far better than a hundred teaching it. – Knute Rockne, former Notre Dame college football coach and three-time national champion.
  3. 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, former Cincinnati Bengals head coach.
  4. Excellence is the gradual result of always striving to do better. – Pat Riley, former NBA head coach and three-time NBA Coach of the Year.
  5. Victory is in having done your best. If you’ve done your best, you’ve won. – Bill Bowerman, former U.S. track and field coach.
  6. There are three types of baseball players: those who make it happen, those who watch it happen and those who wonder what happens. – Tommy Lasorda, former Los Angeles Dodgers manager and two-time World Series champion.
  7. Our emphasis is on execution, not winning. – Pat Summitt, former Tennessee women’s college basketball coach and Basketball Hall of Fame member.

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  1. Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best you are capable of becoming. – John Wooden, former UCLA men’s college basketball coach and 10-time national champion.
  2. What do you do with a mistake: recognize it, admit it, learn from it, forget it. – Dean Smith, former UNC men’s college basketball coach and two-time national champion.
  3. There is nothing so uncertain as a sure thing. – Scotty Bowman, former NHL coach and nine-time Stanley Cup champion
  4. In basketball — as in life — true joy comes from being fully present in each and every moment, not just when things are going your way – Phil Jackson, former Los Angeles Lakers and Chicago Bulls head coach and 11-time NBA champion.
  5. Talent sets the floor, character sets the ceiling. – Bill Belichick, New England Patriots head coach and five-time Super Bowl champion.
  6. Champions behave like champions before they are champions. – Bill Walsh, former San Francisco 49ers head coach and three-time Super Bowl champion.
  7. Discover your gift, develop your gift, and then give it away every day. – Don Meyer, former Lipscomb men’s college basketball coach.

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  1. Do your best when no one is looking. If you do that, then you can be successful in anything that you put your mind to. – Bob Cousy, former Boston Celtics head coach and player and six-time NBA champion.
  2. You were born a player. You were meant to be here. This moment is yours. – Herb Brooks, former U.S. men’s ice hockey coach and gold medalist.
  3. You can see and you can listen, but you have to have moments in which you feel. – Mike Krzyzewski, Duke men’s college basketball coach and five-time national champion.
  4. The best teams have chemistry. They communicate with each other and sacrifice personal glory for the common goal. – Dave DeBusschere, former Detroit Pistons head coach.
  5. Treat a person as he is, and he will remain as he is. Treat him as he could be, and he will become what he should be. – Jimmy Johnson, former Dallas Cowboys head coach and two-time Super Bowl champion.
  6. You can't get much done in life if you only work on the days when you feel good. – Jerry West, former Los Angeles Lakers player and head coach.
  7. If what you did yesterday seems big, you haven’t done anything today. – Lou Holtz, former Notre Dame men’s football coach and national champion.
  8. Be led by your dreams. Not by your problems. – Roy Williams, UNC men’s college basketball and three-time national champion.
  9. The measure of who we are is how we react to something that doesn’t go our way. – Greg Popovich, San Antonio Spurs head coach and five-time NBA champion.
Whether you’re a sports professional or weekend warrior, use these quotes as motivation to tackle the impossible.  

Kyle Eng is a college student who loves spending time with his family, playing music and watching his Carolina Tar Heels — and Tom Brady — win.