55 Quotes by Renowned Athletes On Mental Toughness in Sports

The most important factor that has a direct impact on performance is an athlete’s mental toughness. The ability to focus on the matter at hand is an indication of mental toughness. Even the best performers in sports history struggle to compete at the highest level without mental toughness. Athletes can improve their performance amid adversity by building mental toughness. Nothing major can be accomplished without a great deal of work. And perseverance along with mental toughness is the secret to success.

Also See: Positive Mental Health Quotes from Professional Athletes All Over the World

In this post, we’ve compiled motivational quotes from notable athletes who achieved success at the highest levels of their respective sports thanks to their tenacity and disciplined work ethic.

Image Quotes/ Quotes Wallpaper

Guess the quote’s author

Let’s take a quick quiz now before reading these inspiring sports quotes. Your task in this quiz is to identify the authors of the quotes we’ve provided from this post. You’ll have three choices to choose from, so think carefully! Match the words to the person who said them!



  1. Every detail, every possession is important, so you’ve got to be ready, of course physically, but you have to have some mental toughness, and just to be yourself and play your role. – Nemanja Bjelica, Basketball player.

  2. As hard as the moment is that you are in, the more you have to remind yourself, the more you have to talk to yourself. – Novak Djokovic, Tennis player.

  3. I definitely think it [success] relates a lot to my mental toughness because if you’re not mentally there, it’s really hard to come out and do anything. You really have to be mentally focused. – Serena Williams, Tennis player.

  4. Mental fitness for me is just really learning to shut down,  have serious boundaries, and I don’t let anyone cross those boundaries. – Serena Williams.

  5. I think it all starts even before you get out on the court. You know what you do to get yourself mentally prepared for the match for you to get yourself in a right state of mind where you’re calm, composed, serene enough but yet you have the right intensity and the drive and motivation to to play well and be dynamic and fast on the courts. – Novak Djokovic, Tennis player.

  6. Mental strength is just as important as physical strength and will help you achieve your goals. – Cristiano Ronaldo, Football player.

  7. Mental fitness means presence. No matter what I’m doing, my attention is locked. It means awareness. I can see my surroundings with clarity and I can calculate my options. – LeBron James, Basketball player.

  8. [After the rehab] I was able to jog and then run but then I had loads of injuries along the way. The only thing standing between success and failure is mental toughness; it’s about being resilient. – Asha Philip, Olympic athlete.

  9. A lot of people may say well Michael Jordan never had weaknesses. Michael Jordan had weaknesses. He just had to dig deep inside himself to figure out what they were and challenge himself to improve those weaknesses so mentally I like to challenge myself to go out and play a perfect basketball game. – Michael Jordan

  10. You can make all the excuses you want, but if you’re not mentally tough and you’re not prepared to play every night, you’re not going to win. – Larry Bird, former basketball player.

  11. I grew up with tough circumstances but even that had its upsides, I don’t think I’m the only one who experienced that sort of situation growing up. This gives me a strong mentality. – Romelu Lukaku, Professional footballer.

  12. I stopped thinking too much about what could happen and relied on my physical and mental strength to play the right shots at the right time. – Novak Djokovic, tennis player.

  13. Mental toughness and mental strength was one of the most important key factors for a successful career, especially for the long term. Roger Federer, tennis player.

  14. It’s always internal, and me trying to be as great as I want to be, you go through tough times. But not to ever shy away from it. You’ve got to be the same person when you’re scoring 60 and the same person when you’re 3-of-15 and you’re losing a couple games and everybody’s looking at you.  – Jayson Tatum, Basketball player.

  15. I just believe that mental toughness is like probably most important thing in tennis right now because everybody can play on the highest level. But the ones that are tough and that can handle the pressure are the biggest ones. Iga Świątek, Polish tennis player.

  16. We all have ups and downs and our good times and bad times throughout the match, but mainly you focus on yourself and you try to keep your mental toughness, you know, at the high level and just hang in there, those tough moments where you have to really have to grind through and play those points smart. – Jelena Janković, former tennis player.

  17. It really just comes down to mental toughness. I really think that the hard thing to do when you’re in the midst of struggling. – Mackenzie Hughes, professional golfer.

  18. I’ve always been mentally tough on the court, not letting anything, like, bother me on the outside, just focusing and keeping my face on the strings. Just thinking about the match and that’s it. – Melanie Oudin, tennis player.

  19. The game is a game of mental toughness. It starts there. – Kirk Ferentz, Football coach.

  20. To me, football is so much about mental toughness, it’s digging deep, it’s doing whatever you need to do to help a team win and that comes in a lot of shapes and forms. – Tom Brady, American football player.

  21. Mental toughness is the ability to stay focussed in the present irrespective of what is happening at the match. – Dinesh Karthik, cricket player.

  22. Concentration and mental toughness are the margins of victory. – Bill Russell, former basketball player.

  23. Every quarterback can throw a ball; every running back can run; every receiver is fast; but that mental toughness that you talk about translates into competitiveness. – Tom Brady, American football player.

  24. It’s about not giving in or enjoying the plateaus, but about embracing the periods where you’re failing, because you know if you stick with it, you have the mental toughness and the grit to stay the course. That’s where the big gains are. But if you don’t embrace the downtimes there’s really no improvement. It’s a very low, boring, and safe landscape. – Steve Nash, professional basketball coach.

  25. There are going to be ups and downs, but if you try to finish what you’ve started, to get outside your comfort zone and stay positive, that’ll help you feel good about yourself and find the mental toughness you need to keep going. – Andre De Grasse, Canadian sprinter.

  26. Your mental toughness is one of the signature things about who you are. – Draymond Green,  basketball player.

  27. You have to have that determination that you’re willing to do whatever it takes to put them [opponents] back on the plane. So, we can call it what we want to, mental toughness, all of that stuff, but it’s going to be needed – Monty Williams, basketball coach.

  28. I never let things go inside my mind, whether my opponent has hit a winner against me, whether he has done something crazy on the other side of the court. I’m being tough on myself when I play. It takes a lot of mental toughness and mental stability to be able to beat those players and perform at my best. – Stefanos Tsitsipas, Greek tennis player.

  29. To be a top 15, top 20 player, top 10 player for a while, it takes mental toughness. It takes a lot more than just strength or speed or talent to get there. – James Blake, Tennis player.

  30. I’m a really tough player. I never give up. Doesn’t matter what the score is. And I think that makes me tough to beat, as well. I think that’s one of my strengths. – Caroline Wozniacki, Danish tennis player.

  31. Legs and athleticism are worth nothing without mental toughness. You also need to be stubborn. – Gonzalo Higuaín, former soccer player.

  32. Mental toughness is spartanism with qualities of sacrifice, self-denial, dedication. It is fearlessness, and it is love. – Vince Lombardi, football coach.

  33. I believe in my ability and my mental toughness. I know I can pick up a playbook, like anybody can, and I can compete with anybody. – Stefon Diggs, Football wide receiver.

  34. The most important attribute a player must have is mental toughness.– Mia Hamm, retired soccer player.

  35. I had loads of injuries along the way. The only thing standing between success and failure is mental toughness. It’s about being resilient. – Asha Philip, English sprinter.

  36. As much as we pump iron and we run to build our strength up, we need to build our mental strength up… so we can focus… so we can be in concert with one another. Phil Jackson, former basketball player.

  37. Mental toughness is doing the right thing for the team when it’s not the best thing for you. Bill Belichick, American football coach.

  38. Staying mentally tough and strong and patient and just continuing to work on your game and try to keep improving on certain things whatever it is your game that you think you need to improve on the most and just keep grinding along trying to beat everybody every week. – Brian Gay, Professional golfer.

  39. The difference between a great player and a good player is intelligence and mental toughness. – David Taylor, former basketball player.

  40. Toughness is not a talent; it’s a skill.  It is something you can develop. – Matt Rhule, American football coach.

  41. Toughness is mental and physical strength to do what you are supposed to do no matter what the circumstance, no matter how hard it is, no matter what the conditions are, no matter how you feel. – Matt Rhule, American football coach.

  42. There’s some things in life placed in your way to provoke change, tenacity, patience, empathy, Love & mental toughness. Keep on going through it all with a smile & don’t ever give up. – Deion Sanders, American football coach.

  43. Mental toughness is many things. It is humility because it behooves all of us to remember that simplicity is the sign of greatness and meekness is the sign of true strength. – Vince Lombardi, American football coach.

  44. There is only a half step difference between the champions and those who finish on the bottom. And much of that half step is mental. –Tom Landry, former American football player.

  45. Mental toughness is going out there and doing what’s best for the team – even though everything isn’t going exactly the way you want it to. – Bill Belichick, American football coach.

  46. Never let anyone question your effort or attitude. Take pride in your mental toughness. – Anonymous

  47. If you get tough mentally, you can get tough physically and overcome fatigue. – Pat Riley, former basketball coach.

  48. Mental toughness is a state of mind – you could call it ‘character in action’.” – Vince Lombardi, American football coach.

  49. A big thing in developing mental toughness is you want people around you to tell you the truth in a moment. And then are you willing to accept that truth in that moment? Or do you find an excuse or do you rationalize?. – Mike Krzyzewski, American basketball coach.

  50. The hardest thing to dothe thing that requires a lot of discipline is to focus on the next most important thing and so when we see people do that in real time we notice it and we celebrate it. It’s important for people to understand that that’s what mental toughness looks like.” – Jack Clark, former rugby union player.

  51. You have to be tough on yourself. You have to realize that when you’re going through a good time that you’re not really that perfect and when you’re going through a bad time that you’re not that bad. – Buck Showalter, baseball manager.

  52. Whoever says you can’t develop mental toughness or anything else doesn’t truly understand the human mind or the human spirit. – David Goggins, American runner.

  53. We are built to overcome anything. The hard part is trying to find what drives us to a place mentally that most people can’t even understand. – David Goggins, American runner.

  54. Build a way of thinking, a mental toughness to where you just do it because you know it’s going to benefit your life. –Roman Reigns, professional wrestler.

  55. My game is my mental toughness. Just not only to be able to play, to win, but to be able to come back when I’m down. Serena Williams, tennis player.



A fun quiz is a great way to summarize the lessons we can take from these inspiring quotes. This fun quiz is intended to help you remember the key ideas and takeaways from the quotes in our blog post.

How to play?

In this quiz, you must complete the quote you’ve just read from various athletes and coaches by selecting the correct option from the options provided. The aim of this quiz is to help you recall key takeaways from the quotes. You will receive one point for selecting the correct option. Are you ready? Let’s get started.



Also See:

Inspiring Sports Quotes About Resilience

Inspiring Sports Mindset (Mentality) Quotes


Tags: Motivational

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Featured Image Credit:

Anish Morarji from St Albans, England, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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