By March 29, 2013 4 Comments

If we did not have any fears, what could we accomplish? Where do we learn fear? I have a two-year-old son who is fearless, and I wonder how he will develop his fears. One day as our family was driving home, my son had my iPhone and was going through the pictures. This was before he was two. It immediately got me thinking: the possibilities for him are limitless. I began to think how the only true limits we have in life, coaching, and sports are the ones we place on ourselves.

I will always remember a conversation I had with Coach Adam Falloon roughly five or six years ago. He had been our offensive coordinator for our football team for a couple of seasons and was now moving on to become a head coach at another school. I was going to move up and replace him as offensive coordinator. We were out by the football field after a spring workout and were talking about calling plays and philosophy. He made a comment that has stuck with me since then and always will. His remark was “Don’t be afraid to put things in. Call what you want, attack, and be creative.” He talked about how the kids are smart and they’ll pick up on things that you want them to. We also talked about how coaches are afraid to take risks and this holds the team back.

I thought then (and still do today) that sometimes we as coaches allow our fears to take over, and it prevents our athletes from achieving the success they might be capable of. To a certain degree what we as coaches can do with our teams will always be limited to the athletic ability the current players possess. However, no matter what that talent level may be, there is always room to be creative and take risks. There are always moments in games where a coach can be bold and creative, but sometimes they don’t because they fear what the outcome will be. How good could the team be if the coach approached every season, practice, and game with the notion that the sky is the limit? Coaches, do not hold back. Do not hold your athletes back. Don’t be afraid to put things in and fear that it is too much. Give them everything and coach them with the idea that the possibilities for success are limitless.

Just as coaches do this with athletes, parents do this with their children. We allow our fears and insecurities of failure and rejection to creep into the lives of our children.  We hold our children back because we do not want them to face failure. Honestly, I believe this is a huge problem within our society. We love our kids so much that we protect them too much. Everyone needs to experience a little bit of failure, rejection, and pain. If they don’t, they will not make it. I firmly believe that. I look back on all the failures and heartaches of my life, and wouldn’t change any of them because they’ve shaped me into the person I am today.

I think sometimes parents think that if they let their kids experience failure and feel the pain, that they’re not being good parents. Sometimes the best thing we can do is to let our kids know that it is ok to fail. The most important thing is that we teach them is to get back up, dust themselves off, learn from the experience, and improve.

It’s amazing what kids are able to do today with technology. I am trying to learn as much as I can and keep up with them. I just watched a video a former student posted on Twitter the other day about computer coding and how important it is for our kids to know how to do this. The video talked about how important coding is to our future, but that only one out of every ten schools in our country teach it. People like Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg talk about how it doesn’t take a genius to be able to code, just basic math skills and the ability to work hard and persevere. I think most people would look at the phrase “computer coding” and turn the other way. Many would think, “I’m not smart enough to do that.” Too often we as adults let the fast-changing and ever-growing world of technology discourage us from learning new things. Our kids however, do not. They embrace technology, learn it quickly, and are able to use it with ease.

It amazes me to watch my son pick up my phone, open it, find pictures and scroll through them as a two-year old. His future is limitless. Our younger generation’s future is limitless. We need to eliminate fear of failure and rejection from our way of thinking. We need to not let fear hold our children back. Our children and our athletes can accomplish anything they set their mind on. Our job is to make sure we cultivate the curious, daring, innovative, risk-taking, and bold mindset within our children and athletes.

The future possibilities for us all are limitless. Be bold.


Thanks for reading, have a great day, and be an RGP today!


Join the discussion 4 Comments

  • Bonnie Burton says:

    I enjoy reading your articles every week. Through your articles I am watching you grow as well. I love the way you reference your kids you coach and apply it to your son. It all goes hand in hand and it amazes me you realize that and expand on it. Keep up the good work, Fridays are now my favorite day because that is the first thing I do is look for your article.

  • kelmendorf says:

    Thanks, glad you like them. I appreciate it!

  • Nick Walls says:

    When is your first book coming out. I really enjoy reading your material it is very informative
    and thought provoking. Keep it up. Thanks Nick

  • kelmendorf says:

    Hey coach, thanks for reading and commenting. I appreciate it. The first book should be out in the next couple of weeks. Then I’m going to have a Character Ed book that will be out early summer. Hope all is going well for you!