Try telling that to your youth athlete, however, and you're likely to be greeted with an eye roll. Instead, try sharing these quotes from sports legends to help them maintain a positive mindset the next time they start to feel discouraged.
ACTIVEkids.com spoke to Positive Coaching Alliance Communications Manager David Jacobson and FC Dallas Youth Director of Juniors Player Development Chris Clarke to get insight on what each quote means and how youth athletes can use them to stay motivated.
Know Your Strengths1 of 12
"Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do."
"John Wooden is often regarded as one of the top coaches in major American team sports history and was named the recipient of PCA's highest honor, the Ronald L. Jensen Award for Lifetime Achievement," says Jacobson. "[Wooden's] quote points out the importance of looking at the positives. While we all have weaknesses upon which we can improve, it is just as important—if not more so—to ensure that we continue offering that at which we already excel."
Look It Up2 of 12
"The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary."
- Vince Lombardi
"Lombardi's quote is pithy and therefore calls attention to the importance of hard work and effort, two traits we at PCA look to cultivate in athletes and coaches, alike," says Jacobson.
Try, Try Again3 of 12
"I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I cannot accept not trying."
"We cannot control results, we can only control our own effort," says Jacobson. "As long as you can look at yourself in the mirror and know you gave maximum effort, learned and did not let mistakes or fear of mistakes deter you, you are a winner—regardless of scoreboard results."
Believe In Yourself4 of 12
"If you don't have confidence, you'll always find a way not to win."
"As a youth athlete, you need to have a self-belief in your ability to accomplish anything," says Chris Clarke, Director of Juniors Player Development for FC Dallas. "If not, you will look for excuses as to why you were not successful, rather than fixing it and trying again, and again and again. Athletes should develop a 'can and will' attitude."
No Quitting5 of 12
"Win if you can, lose if you must, but never quit."
"Regardless of the outcome, nothing but your full effort will satisfy the athlete within you," says Clarke. "When you give it your all, you gain the respect and integrity of finishing no matter what."
Lose Control6 of 12
"If you have everything under control, you're not moving fast enough."
"I agree with the notion that there is great value in pushing boundaries," says Jacobson, "but there is a time and a place for both control and for aggressiveness."
Swing For The Fences7 of 12
"Never let the fear of striking out get in your way."
"You will never know what you are capable of until you try," says Clarke. "So don't let the fear of failing ever keep you from striving towards your goals—because you will fail along the way. Be the athlete who tried, not the one who wishes he had."
Get Back Up8 of 12
"A champion is someone who gets up when he can't."
"I'd prefer to interpret this as 'A champion is someone who gets up when he thinks he can't,'" says Jacobson. "If you really can't get up, you can't. But there is a lot to be said for mind over matter."
Stick With It9 of 12
"You're never a loser until you quit trying."
"Winning and losing are temporary outcomes," says Clarke. "There are always challenges that will impede your journey. Confidence, self-belief, ability, teamwork and drive will account for nothing if you don't want to do it. Stopping is the easy solution; instead, strive to find a way to do the tough thing and overcome."
Preparation is Key10 of 12
"It isn't the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it's the pebble in your shoe."
"That is so profound. It's the little nagging mental aspects of a challenge—usually tied to a failure to prepare or to pay attention to detail—that thwart us," says Jacobson
No Fear11 of 12
"If you are afraid of failure you don't deserve to be successful."
"Failing at something is not the problem; choosing not to do something because you might fail is the real problem," says Clarke "The feeling of accomplishing something far outweighs the feeling of failure, so don't be afraid; be confident and brave and finish what you want to accomplish."