Basketball is not a stress-free sport: it necessitates physical and mental persistence and an indomitable conviction that success is possible. Encourage your players to push themselves by emphasizing that perseverance is what separates a player with potential from a player who achieves that potential.
It's essential that everyone in your program - players & coaches alike - understands that talent can only take you so far. In the end, the team that wants it more often ends up coming up with the majority of hustle plays. And many times, those hustle plays determine who wins the game.
Inspire your players with these basketball quotes that highlight the unbreakable drive inherent in so many basketball players and coaches.
1. “Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up.” – Coach Jim Valvano
This emotionally charged basketball quote was spoken by the former North Carolina State Coach as he accepted the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage at the ESPY Awards. Grappling with a fatal cancer diagnosis, Valvano offered future generations of athletes the kind of hope by which he lived. Basketball is a game of courage, one that involves tireless physical, mental, and emotional effort, even in the wake of overwhelming odds and heartbreak. The drive to keep pushing forward even in the hardest of times is nurtured by the game of basketball, and that attitude has the power to be absorbed into an individual’s mindset, just as it was for Valvano.
2. “I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” – Michael Jordan
Michael Jordan’s incredible self-awareness and attention to the sheer magnitude of his failings showcases that even legends like Jordan aren’t perfect. Jordan emphasizes his failures not to beat up on himself, but to reveal that success and talent do not develop overnight: they are the culmination of constant failed attempts and the adjustments and improvements that follow.
3. “Once you have been through a certain amount of things in life, you definitely grow more comfortable with yourself. To persevere and hang in there and believe in yourself.” – Steve Nash
As a coach or a player, it’s hard not to take your role personally. You’ve poured not only your talent, but parts of yourself into basketball, and a failure in a game is easily seen as a personal failing. There’s comfort to be found in all the hard moments teams and individuals face: the reactions from opposing crowds, the lost games, and the days nothing seems to go right. In the process, athletes and those who inspire them learn how to move on after a rough period, to believe that they have the potential to do better, and not to let any experience rob them of the conviction that they have the ability to achieve phenomenal feats.
4. “The game honors toughness” – Coach Brad Stevens
Basketball is a game that demands physical, mental, and emotional toughness. Players can build toughness through perseverance. The physical pain of collisions and injury, the emotional pain of losing, and the mental strain of having opponents and crowds look for ways to undermine your team’s performance are all demanding aspects of the game. The difference between coaches and players who let the pressure overtake them and those who let it toughen them is perseverance. Pushing past barriers and strengthening resolve, time and time again, is what allows players to become more resilient and confident. And the game honors them for it.
5. “It’s not just about working hard, it’s about working together. You have to care more about the team than you do about yourself.” – Coach John Calipari
Perseverance has a team dynamic, as Kentucky Coach Calipari has seen from his years of exceptional instructing. No one should have to carry a team on their back. A huge part of pushing through a season and doing your best no matter what involves caring about the team. That’s an important lesson for coaches to stress. You persevere not only out of personal strength, but out of consideration for your team, because they’re continuing to train and give all their effort for you as well.
Recently suffer a tough loss? Use these 10 basketball quotes to bounce back and stay positive!