Rob Mendez was named the coach of the year at the 2019 Epsy’s Awards.
Ron encapsulates the spirit of determination and perseverance as he was born without arms or legs but with a strong love for football. Rob learned how to play football by using Madden video games as his gateway to the field according to USA Today. During his Freshman year, he started his coaching career as the Team Manager and then proceeded to work as an assistant coach for the next 12 years. Ron was then offered the head coaching position for Prospect High School in Saratoga, California for their JV team, leading them to an 8-2 season in his first year. During his stirring speech, Ron stated; “When you dedicate yourself to something and open your mind to different possibilities and focus on what you can do instead of what you can’t do, you really can go places in this world,” he said. Finding your why and developing a positive mindset provide the guiding values to overcome any obstacle. Ron is the perfect of example of how developing a positive mindset, and following your passion can bring you closer to your goals. One of the most powerful tools for any game is getting your mind in the right place. Here are a few steps on how to develop a positive mindset:
1. Check-in with yourself. What’s getting in your way? As children, we dream big. You can be anything you want, but as you get older, we start narrowing down our possibilities. It is good to be realistic, but sometimes we become our worst naysayers and will squash passions and possibilities before even trying to take a risk. So, check-in with yourself or your athletes, what thoughts are holding you back?
2. Challenge! Once you have figured out what thoughts are getting in the way, ask yourself some questions about it. This is the first step to developing a Teflon mind, letting the negative thoughts stream into consciousness but do not allow these thoughts to camp out there holding you back from your goals. Use failures as teaching points by problem-solving solutions rather than dwelling on what went wrong. Encourage athletes to keep a journal of their goals, make weekly reflections on their progress, and identify what thoughts are holding them back.
3. Befriend Fear. Players often hold back due to fear. Fear of taking risks, fear of making mistakes, fear of negative judgment. To push your team further, create an environment of risk-taking, by ensuring that there is an acceptance of failure is a crucial step to making a championship culture. You can’t move forward, if you are constantly looking back, afraid of what might happen, you have a hard time moving forward. Make team goals and praise athletes that take risks. Knowing that someone is there to support you, will help athletes get past the fear hurdle.
4. Make goals and check-in with progress with your team: think about times when you are in the thick of it. It can be hard to think of positive thoughts when you are in a negative spot. Write down inspirational thoughts, success stories, and review how far you have come. Goal setting takes place over days, weeks, months, and years. Making small steps to help others achieve potential is a marathon and takes time rather than making a sprint to the finish line. Developing these goals and mindset will help athletes on and off the field.
Ron’s coaching philosophy is evident by his passion and ability to help his athletes realize their potential.
“Let me tell you, the best part of coaching for me is seeing someone’s potential and making them realize what’s possible,” he said. “So, for anyone out there not sure if they can do something, it can be in sports, it can be in your job, it can be in your life, whatever it is, I’m here to tell you that you can do it.”
By developing a positive mindset as an athlete or coach, the possibilities are endless. Thank you, Ron, for being an inspiration to us all!