Inspiration: Watch an inspiring movie – 50 for 50 Idea #45

posted on: December 15, 2018
author: Brian Lomax

InspirationWhen I was 11 years old, I started listening to music to get myself pumped-up for tennis tournaments. At the time, my preferred pump-up selections were from the soundtracks to Rocky and Rocky II. I owned each of them on vinyl and my routine was to play them on the turntable in my room before leaving the house to go compete. The music brought me back to the dramatic moments of each movie in which Rocky would overcome the odds to perform better than anyone expected. Such an inspiration! The music got me energized to compete just like Rocky Balboa.

Whether it’s in preparation for a competition or just in the daily work we do to be successful at our sport, we want to be fueling our motivation and inspiration. It’s not easy to “love the grind” and I’m not sure that’s even realistic. However, if we design routines that can keep us motivated and inspired along the way, we have a better chance of bringing the required intensity and energy necessary to be successful consistently.

Idea #45 – Watch an inspiring sports movie or documentary once a month

I love movies. Watching movies and talking about them is one of my favorite hobbies. And I’ve seen a lot of them. When I want to learn something or be inspired, I will often watch a sports movie or documentary. Sometimes I learn more about what I should do, and other times I learn about what I should never do. Both types of lessons are valuable. Either way, watching these films keeps me connected to sport and competition. And that’s the point. I want to stay connected, and I want inspiration.

Below are some of my favorites in the sports movie and documentary categories.


  • Miracle
  • The Peaceful Warrior
  • Breaking Away
  • Hoosiers
  • Rocky
  • Field of Dreams
  • The Blind Side
  • Moneyball
  • Eight Men Out
  • Brian’s Song
  • We are Marshall
  • The Rookie
  • Invictus


  • Senna – This documentary raises the bar for all sports documentaries – highly recommend.
  • 30 for 30: You Don’t Know Bo
  • 30 for 30: Once Brothers
  • Icarus
  • The Armstrong Lie
  • Red Army
  • The Other Dream Team
  • 30 for 30: The Two Escobars
  • Undefeated

Friend and colleague, Dr. Rob Bell, has compiled a list of his top 10 documentaries that will make you mentally tougher.  And for sure, they’ll provide you with inspiration.  Check out his post to add more documentaries to your watchlist:

Top 10 Documentaries that will make you mentally tougher


This list should keep you busy for a while. Most of these are available on some streaming service, so search for them on your favorite platform. As with all lists of this type, I may have left out one of your favorites. Feel free to let me know which movies and documentaries inspire you. If I haven’t seen it, I’ll be sure to add it to my watchlist.

Share This Post


Follow PerformanceXtra


About the Author

Brian Lomax founded PerformanceXtra™ in 2009 with a mission of helping athletes achieve their goals and their top performances more consistently through a progression of mental skills that enables them to focus on what is truly important.

Learn more about the author:

2 responses to “Inspiration: Watch an inspiring movie – 50 for 50 Idea #45”

  1. Joe Barbarie says:

    Hi Brian:

    As you are probably aware, it is rare to find a movie about tennis that gets the on-court action right — even the best actors can’t seem to mimic tennis strokes to more than a NTRP 2.5 or 3.0 level of competence. Sadly, this plagues even fairly good movies (like Woody Allen’s “Match Point” which features a net-cord metaphor as its central conceit). Even the otherwise fascinating “Borg/McEnroe” could not disguise the fact that Shia LaBeouf is a bit of a beginner — although the guy who plays Borg was a dead-ringer . . .

    The one director who got it right was Alfred Hitchcock — watch “Strangers On A Train.” For the on-court stuff, Hitch intercuts scenes of his leading man (John Garfield) with scenes of real pros going at it. I don’t know who these extras were — the movie is from the 40s (so I’m not familiar with anyone from that era other than big names like Budge, Kramer, Sexias, etc.). However, the tennis scenes work really well, and add to the dramatic tension of the movie.

    P.S.: “Wimbledon”, with its hokey CGI ball-effects, was pure misery to watch.

    • Brian Lomax says:

      Hey Joe,
      Thanks for the comment! Strangers on a Train is one of my favorite movies so I have to agree with you on the quality of the tennis scenes.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *