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30 of the Best Words to Describe a Good Athlete

30 of the Best Words to Describe a Good Athlete

As a sports fan, we can use many different words to describe athletes.

These words to describe athletes can be based on anything that you find interesting or unique such as physical characteristics and personality traits.

You can also use words to describe athletes that work well with their teammates and are at the top of their game.

In this post, we’ll highlight 30 of the best words to describe a good athlete and how you can use them in any sports discussion.


8 words to describe a great athlete’s physical characteristics

A huge part of what makes a great athlete is his/her physical characteristics. This generally determines how well he/she performs at a specific sport, whether it is football, soccer, or tennis.
Here are 8 words to describe athletes based on their physical characteristics:

The word agile describes an athlete, or anyone really, who can move very quickly and easily. This person can accomplish certain feats others can’t manage to do without toppling over or failing completely.
E.g. “For someone approaching her 30s, she’s just as agile and graceful as teenage gymnasts.”


man in red tank top getting ready to run on the athletic field
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio under pexels license


Energetic is a good word to describe an athlete who plays a sport that requires a lot of energy. This means that the athlete does not tire easily and has great stamina or endurance.
E.g. “He makes a great defender because he’s aware and energetic.”


Another term for “fit” is “in good shape”. This means that the athlete is in good health and has the ideal physical characteristics to perform well at the sport.
E.g. “Even though she had to sit out last season, she came back looking fit and ready to dominate the arena.”


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Photo by Ricardo Iwakura on Reshot


A flexible athlete is one who can move their body with a deeper range of motion than the regular person without pain or injury.
The most popular example is a gymnast, but flexibility is also required for sports such as figure skating and swimming.
E.g. “Her flexibility gives her an edge over the other swimmers, making her swim faster with ease.”


While not all sports require a person to be muscular, there are many such as weightlifting, boxing and wrestling where a muscular build can serve as an asset.
It is good to use this when an athlete’s muscles are well- defined and they have great physical strength.
E.g. “His muscular body makes him a great pick to represent the school in throwing events like discus and hammer throw.”



Being tall is an asset in many sports such as netball, basketball and hurdles. Players who are 5’8 (female) and 6’1 (male) and above are generally considered tall.
E.g. “She’s so tall she can touch the rim without much effort. The other girls must be so intimidated!”


Athletes are more susceptible to injury than the ordinary person. As a result, they have to be tough, or able to withstand physical and mental pressures in order to succeed.
E.g. “Even though he’s the smallest player on the football team, he doesn’t let himself get bullied and proves just how tough he is in every single match.”


running competition
Image from Canva – under one-time use license


Sports such as track and field, football and hockey require players who are quick and can reach the goal or finish line at a speedy rate.
Use this word to describe athletes who can move very fast or complete something in a fast time.
E.g. “Soccer players need to be quick, but I feel like his speed would be better utilized on a track!”


8 positive words for a great athlete’s personalities

A huge part of what gives certain athletes a fanbase is their personality. It can also influence how well they do at a sport.
Here are 8 positive words to describe athletes based on their personality:

Aggressive in this sense does not mean the athlete is ready to fight anyone or be violent. Aggression is necessary for athletes to show determination and passion for the sport.
An aggressive athlete will run faster, perform better and endure longer because of his/her hunger for victory.
E.g. “He shows great potential but he needs to be more aggressive on the court and push through the defense!”


football player running

Photo by Geoff Scott on unsplash


A coachable athlete is one who is able to take constructive criticism and learn from it. He/she is also willing to try new methods in order to achieve the necessary goal.
E.g. “Being coachable is an important part of succeeding as an athlete. That’s why she has climbed the ranks so hard: because she is willing to listen and learn.”


A committed athlete is one who is a team player willing to go the extra mile and put in all the work needed to succeed. He/she is a great leader, as well as a great follower.
E.g. “She has committed most of her life to baseball and deserves all her roses.”


A competitive athlete is one who is “in-it-to-win-it”. This means that he/she will do whatever is ethically necessary to win and will go the extra mile to be successful.
E.g. “He has been competitive since he was in the junior league and takes the sport very seriously.”



Disciplined athletes are those who follow the rules of the sport, meaning they don’t cheat or use steroids to win.
They are dedicated to their craft and put in the blood, sweat and even tears required to succeed.
E.g. “She jogs every morning and afternoon and is just as dedicated and disciplined as the pros. She’ll go very far if she continues to take it seriously.”


man running with number 178
Photo by Quino Al on unsplash


An enthusiastic athlete is one who has a positive mindset and has a true love for the sport. He/she is also eager and passionate.
E.g. “After winning so many medals and awards, he’s still as enthusiastic as his first day on the track.”


Focused athletes are dedicated to their respective sports, spending a lot of time and energy on accomplishing their goals. It means that they do what is needed while avoiding distractions and deterrents.
E.g. “By keeping her eyes focused on the prize, she’s able to summon incredible strength and skill when needed.”


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Photo by Markus Spiske under Pexels License


A persevering athlete is one who is persistent, even in the face of defeat.
It means he/she never gives up despite any obstacles which may come his/her way and will continue to work hard and strive towards a goal.
E.g. “He performed poorly last year, but his persevering personality kept him going until he was able to outperform himself and others!”


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Photo by Markus Spiske under pexels license


4 positive words to describe an Olympic game champion

Olympic game champions are the crème de la crème of their sports and have dominated at the highest possible level.
Here are 4 of the best words to describe athletes who are Olympic game champions:

A confident athlete is one who believes in himself/herself and his/her abilities. He/she shines on and off the court/field and does not feed into negativity.
E.g. “Although he is new on the scene, he remained confident and didn’t let himself get intimidated by the veterans.”


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Image from Pixabay under pexels license


A gifted athlete is one who has that little something extra or special that sets him/her apart from the rest, which explains his/her success. It also means he/she has an exceptional natural ability or knack for the sport.
E.g. “Now that she is a gold-medalist, no one can deny how gifted she is.”


Some very good players turn people off because they lack sportsmanship. A humble player is one who does not brag and is modest in his/her approach.
This does not mean he/she is not confident; it simply means he/she is not overbearing or obnoxious.
E.g. “For someone with a world record, he’s very humble and pleasant to his competitors.”


selective focus photography bokeh shot woman running near people

Photo by Quino Al on unsplash


Outstanding Olympic game champions are those who do exceptionally well and are a cut above the rest. They are clearly more skilled than other competitors and consistently give great performances.
E.g. “Not only was her performance this season outstanding, but now she has an award to commemorate it!”


4 positive words to describe athletes who are Olympic game losers

Not everyone can win the gold medal. There has to be someone who comes in second, third, and even last.
Does that mean that athletes are not good at the sport? Quite the opposite.
Competing on the Olympic stage means that you are among the best in the world at that time, and it is something to celebrate, even if you do not place first.
Here are 4 positive words to describe athletes who are Olympic game losers:

Using the word capable to describe an Olympic loser means that he/she has the skills required to excel at the sport, regardless of not placing first.
It means that he/she is good at the sport and perhaps just needs a bit more training to perform even better.
E.g. “I believe she’s fully capable of snagging that gold if she continues on this path.”


person swimming on body of water race

Photo by Guduru Ajay bhargav under pexels license


An honorable Olympic game loser is one who is a good sportsman despite losing and wishes all competitors well. He/she handles the loss well and does not try to discredit the winner or cheat.
E.g. “Though this was his last year to compete and he didn’t win the gold, he remained honorable and stayed behind to congratulate the winner.”



Olympic athletes train for a very long time for their moment, and it can be very disappointing to not finish first. It takes great maturity and class to not throw a tantrum or react negatively to a loss.
E.g. “Despite their ongoing rivalry, she was mature about the situation and extended well-wishes to the winners of the race.”


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Photo by alexandre saraiva carniato under pexels license


Resilient is a good word to describe an Olympic loser who has faced defeat like a champion. This means that he/she dusts himself/herself off and gears up to try again to succeed.
E.g. “If there’s one thing I know about [insert name of player], it is that he is very resilient and next time around he will get that trophy!”


6 words to describe a good sports team player

Team sports require more from athletes than just being good at the sport. It requires them to get along well with their team and work together as a single unit.
Here are 6 words to describe athletes who are good team players:

An adaptable athlete is one who can adjust to new roles and plays, and even complete changes for the betterment of the team. He/she can also fit well into new teams if necessary and work with them to succeed.
E.g. “It doesn’t matter that he used to play [insert role] for [insert name of the team], he’s highly adaptable and will fit well wherever the coach places him.”


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Photo by Andrea Piacquadio under pexels license


A dependable team player is one that the rest of the team can rely on. In other words, the team can count on him/her to be consistent and perform at the same level as the rest of the team.
E.g. “She is loved by all her teammates because she is dependable and reliable.”


Fairness is required in team sports as disagreements may arise. It is important to be unbiased and think about the well-being of the team instead of choosing favorites, especially if the athlete is the leader or captain.
E.g. “The team chose him as their captain because they can rely on him to be fair and make just decisions on their behalf.


football player wearing black gear carrying brown football

Photo by football wife under pexels license


It is not unheard of for team spirit to fluctuate depending on their performance and outside influences. A good athlete will motivate his/her team to do and feel better, which in turn will improve morale.
E.g. “Her motivating nature is a key reason this team has been able to stay at the top for so long.”


Optimistic athletes are those who have a positive mindset and help to keep the rest of the team happy and focused on the goal. This is necessary to keep the team working together as a unit and lessens distractions.
E.g. “While their squad might not be at the top of their game right now, his optimistic outlook is helping the team and the fans stay positive about the upcoming season.”


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Photo by RUN 4 FFWPU under pexels license


Selfish players may be able to cause a good team to win, but they can ruin harmony among the team. Being unselfish is important because “there is no I in team” and everyone is equal.
This means that the athlete won’t do things like hog the ball or try to steal the spotlight from his/her teammates. He/she will also put the well-being of the team above his/her desires to ensure a victory.
E.g. “My favorite thing about her is how unselfish she is, allowing everyone to shine in their own way even though she is the undisputed fan favorite.”



There are many words to describe athletes that you gravitate towards.
Since the hard part is done for you, all you have to do is browse the list for the ideal words and use them whenever you have your next sports discussions with other fans or the opposing fandom!