11 Greatest Inspirational Quotes for Athletes Looking to Make a Comeback

It’s time to make a comeback. Every Athlete experiences failure at one point in their career. The great ones use these setbacks as the building blocks to their success. It’s not always easy. Sometimes it takes some tears and looking yourself in the mirror to say I’m not giving up.

This list collects inspirational quotes from 11 phenomenal athletes and coaches who hit a roadblock but picked themselves up to achieve their version of greatness in their respective sport. If they can make a comeback so can you.

1. “Sometimes in a defeat, you can set the stage for future victory,” – Mike Krzyzewski 

Make a comeback quote Coach K

When you fall, get back up. Consider what you can learn from the situation and use it as a stepping stone to your success.

Coach Mike Krzyzewski is one of the greatest college basketball coaches in history. However, before his 1133 wins at Duke University, Coach K had experienced three disappointing seasons at Duke. 

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

Make a comeback quote Satchel Paige

No matter how many times you miss that shot, lose that game, or run a few seconds slower, DON’T GIVE UP, keep trying, keep looking for a better way. 

Don’t wallow in self-pity. Take a step back and reflect on what you did wrong and what you did right. 

3. “To sum it all up, the last five months, have been delayed gratification, things that I wanted to accomplish the last couple years that I couldn’t and I had to wait for it, and I had to be patient, and I did it, and it all paid off. I just thank God for putting me with the right group of people, with Andy, with a flagship organization, a great group of coaches” — Michael Vick

Make a comeback quote Michael Vick

Are you worried that it’s taking you longer to succeed than you expected? Michael Vick was an electrifying NFL football player until he went to jail. However, this setback did not deter him from pursuing his goals. He learned his lesson, improved himself, and made one of the greatest comebacks in football history.

Don’t let roadblocks deter you from success, whether in sports or business. Be patient, and keep improving your skills.  

4. “I decided that I want to live the rest of my life happy with what I’m doing. So, when I play tennis again, I have to play it for the right reason. I don’t want to play to get my No. 1 ranking back. I don’t want to play for the attention, or to earn more. I don’t even want to play because the world wants to see me do it, even though it’s nice to know that the world is interested. I only want to play because I love the game, which is the reason I began to play at age seven in the first place.”— Monica Seles

Make a comeback quote Monica Seles

What do you do when the sport you love almost kills you? 

Monica Seles was one of the most dominant Tennis Players until she was stabbed in the backed with a knife by a fan. Although she never fully recovered, she made a comeback after three years and won the Australian Open. 

Talk about bravery and love for the game. 

If you love the game, you won’t give up. 

5. “Only a man who knows what it is like to be defeated can reach down to the bottom of his soul and come up with the extra ounce of power it takes to win when the match is even.” — Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali quote

Ali lost his boxing license, had his heavyweight title revoked and went to jail for five years, but still came back and beat George Foreman in the infamous “Rumble in the Jungle.”

Don’t let failure weigh you down. Use it as your secret weapon for success. Navigate through them and keep pushing forward. Your victory is just around the corner. 

6. “Life is a lot like surfing… When you get caught in the impact zone, you’ve got to just get back up. Because you never know what may be over the next wave.” – Bethany Hamilton

Make a comeback quote Bethany Hamilton

Bethany Hamilton is an inspiration to millions worldwide.

She won her first national surfing title at 15 years. This was after a 14-foot tiger shark took her arm at 13 years. 

Don’t give up. If you love it, no amount of obstructions will prevent you from achieving success.

7. “I’d proven to the world that maturity, experience, dedication, and ingenuity can make up for a little senescence. Muscle tightening is not the only thing that happens to our bodies over time. We gain knowledge, focus, and understanding, and those things can help us win.” – Dara Torres

Dara Torres quote

Are you worried that you’re too old for a comeback?

Dara Torres proved that age should not limit you from following your dream. She became the oldest swimmer to compete and win in the Olympics.

8. “Remind your critics when they say you don’t have the expertise or experience to do something that an amateur built the ark and the experts built the Titanic.” — Peyton Manning

Make a comeback quote Peyton Manning

If you’ve been looked down as a beginner, don’t lose hope. Peyton Manning faced numerous naysayers but used the negativity to lead the Broncos to a Super Bowl title in his final NFL season

BELIEVE in yourself. 

9. “Some days, I cry. I’m really sad. I’ve had meltdowns. It’s been a really tough 11 months; If I can do it, you guys can do it too.” Serena Williams.

Make a comeback quote Serena Williams

Perhaps the greatest Female Tennis Player of all time, Serena Williams faced mental challenges in her bid to return to the game after giving birth to her child. 

Don’t let postpartum depression and motherhood keep you from the game. Although you’ll face multiple challenges, you can still make a comeback.

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

Make a comeback quote Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan famously proclaimed to have lost 300 games, with 20 of these being because he missed the winning shot. However, people mainly remember his wins. 

To become legendary, you’ll fail multiple times. Use these failures as your stepping stones to success. 

11. “The only thing you can do is take a learning experience from it, positives and negatives, and apply them to the future. What did you do right, what did you do wrong, and I did a lot of things right this week.”—Tiger Woods

Make a comeback quote Tiger Woods

When you fall, get back up. Look for what you can learn from your failures and use this to improve your game.

Which athlete comeback quote was your favorite or do you think there is one we should have added? Let us know on Twitter @9INEPOINT

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