I always say to myself, “If I knew back then what I know about mistakes now, I would probably  have tried to make more.”

FEAR is a Liar

As a young student-athlete, the fear of making mistakes crippled me mentally and held me back from my maximum potential. As such, I am committed to ensuring my students attack life without fearing errors.

At Empower Me Academy, we understand that basketball is a game of mistakes. we teach student-athletes to be comfortable when making errors, and how to move past them. One of our favorite mantras is The most important play is the next play.”  The coaching and playing emphasis should always be to look ahead. In other words, student-athletes must develop short-term memory.

The ELM Tree of mastery

There are two ways to win and feel successful in sports. Most people think of winning as the “Scoreboard Winning” (to outscore your opponent). The other way to win and feel successful is to take a “Mastery Approach.” The Positive Coaching Alliance uses an acronym, ELM (Effort, Learning, Mistakes), to keep coaches, athletes, and parents mindful of a Mastery focus (see document in newsletter). This type of winner focuses on Effort, Learning, and looking past Mistakes. Teaching the philosophy of being a mastery winner is most meaningful and satisfying because its’ values apply to life outside of sports.


The three most important things we teach at our sessions are:

  1. Effort – measuring what you can control.
  2. Learning – when students learn new skills, it brings them closer to mastering their craft.
  3. Mistakes and looking past them – frees our students to pursue more learning and improvement; attacking fearlessly.

Mistakes are common in all sports as well as life, and we encourage our students to commit them when they are pushing their boundaries, as opposed to being afraid. We do not want to develop players who play worried about making mistakes because of what the result might be. Errors are bound to happen, so we want our student-athletes’ errors to come from working past their comfort zones and trying something different. It is important to own the process of making mistakes because people learn and grow from their mishaps.


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