Coaching at The Olympics

Coaching at The Olympics

I am humbled, honored, proud and happy to announce that I will be coaching at the Olympics this summer in Paris! I will coach goalkeepers of the women’s national team of South Korea alongside with dedicated and ambitious coaches, Henrik Signell, Erik Larholm, and Anton Claesson.

After working with the goalkeepers of the senior men’s team of South Korea for the last 2 years, I was now offered this amazing, interesting and exciting opportunity to work with the goalkeepers of the senior women’s team of South Korea, to help them reach higher performance levels at the Olympics in Paris.

I know that there are some goalkeeper coaches out there who already took part in several Olympics, and I know that I shouldn’t make any big deal about this whole thing. But this is the very first time for me, and I feel beyond excited, honored, and proud about it! Especially because I know how different, not easy, unconventional, and unassisted my whole journey was.

Despite the fact that I had to pull my sleeves up and dive deep into how to make my coaching journey possible – there were always wonderful people along my path who embraced my enthusiasm, and who showed me extreme levels of trust, respect and who supported my work. I would like to express my gratitude to all the amazing people that I met and worked with over the years in Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Hungary, Iceland, Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, USA, South Korea, and so many other countries… Especially, I would like to thank all the amazing “goalkeeper parents”  that I met in all those countries, and who kept reaching out to me long after our projects ended. I appreciate every single one of you!!!



Even the Biggest Dreams do Come True

The most amazing thing about this exciting, new project is that The Olympic Dream (that every single coach has) is now finally coming true for me. After I have invested 26 years of my life into handball (in a few different roles), and after I have been working hard, committedly, devotedly, and selflessly every single day of those 26 years!!

Even in moments when it felt like I was “failing”, and when nothing made sense, and when it seemed like there was no way forward, even then – I still kept pushing Forward! I kept investing my entire being into mastering my skill, researching, and perfecting my knowledge about so many different topics that could eventually help me become a better coach.

Sadly enough, some of my “failures” were connected to things over which I had no control, but I still had to suffer the consequences of them – sometimes (even in some big handball countries), I was turned down as a coach only because I was a Bosnian (or a “Balkan”), only because I was born in Bosnia and Herzegovina… I still have hard time wrapping my head around that – because I really couldn’t choose where I was born and where I grew up.

A few other times, I was rejected as a coach because I was a woman. As if somehow my gender and the place of my origin had to do anything with limiting or “side tracking” my extreme devotion in learning everything I could about handball and about how to become a better goalkeeper coach.

But I walked through all those “failures” in the best way I knew how  – I mourned, I cried, I regretted, I stayed open and vulnerable, I forgave, and I kept going Forward and doing what Felt right.

During that entire process – I kept sharing my knowledge generously and freely in so many videos, articles, and blog posts on my website and on my social media. I never expected anything in return. I was (and still am) happy that I could help to so many coaches and goalkeepers who reached out to me in the last 15 years.

Being able to coach at the Olympics this summer makes a Full Circle for me as a coach, and it makes me feel so, so, so humble and so grateful for the opportunity that was given to me. And it makes me feel grateful also for all thousands of other opportunities and steps that I was courageous and daring to make in the meantime.


Remember – in order to reach and realize some of your wildest dreams – you need to be “crazy” enough to devote your entire life towards stepping closer to those dreams. You need to be dedicated, courageous, devoted, persistent, and lucky. Because often, no matter how hard and how well we do our work, no matter how good we are in our work – unless we are also lucky to be given those big opportunities, we will not be able to realize our full potential. But at the same time – it’s not only about being lucky. Being lucky without strong work ethics and dedication won’t open big, new levels and opportunities for you.

On the journey toward achieving our Dreams, we will often encounter seemingly unbridgeable obstacles that will test our mental strength and our determination, challenge our patience, and stretch our capabilities to their absolute limits. These painful moments of struggle are invaluable lessons that shape our path to success (whatever the “success” means for you).


The Illusion of Failure

In my world, a failure is just feedback, a redirection, it’s life telling us: “the path you’re on now is not the best for you, you need to pivot.”

The truth is, at the heart of every “failure” lies an opportunity for growth, a hidden life lesson waiting to be uncovered. What we perceive as failure is often just a signpost pointing us towards a new direction we might not have considered otherwise. It’s a fundamental shift in perspective – seeing failure not as a stop sign but as a detour to a potentially greater and more fulfilling destination.

For coaches, this perspective should be the core of their mindset, and also it should be a lesson they give to every athlete they work with. The path towards the most fulfilling and the most accomplishing place (that we all choose individually based on our desires) is paved with setbacks, and each one is a big opportunity to learn, adapt, overcome, and evolve. It’s about willingness to adopt and instill Resilience to face defeat, to learn from it, and to always bounce back stronger.

As the famous quote says: “Life is not about how many times you fall down. It’s about how many times you get back up.”

Failure is not the opposite of success but a part of it.


The Role of Coaches – Beyond Winning

Coaches play a very big role in teaching their athletes how to transform failure into fuel for success. It’s about creating a safe environment for athletes where failure is not feared but embraced as part of the learning process. Coaches who share their own stories of setbacks, and how they overcame them, offer a powerful example to the value of never giving up. It’s a lesson in humility, hard work, and the relentless pursuit of excellence, regardless of the obstacles.


The Journey Itself is the Reward

The true measure of success is not only in winning the trophies, but also in the journey towards those big achievements – all the growth, all the challenges overcome, and all the lives that got touched and inspired along the way.
It’s important to always be grateful for how far we’ve come, while keeping a strong dedication and perseverance while continuing our journey.

It’s so important to keep a higher vision that extends beyond personal coaching achievements. The higher goal should always be to help, serve and uplift others, to impart lessons that transcend the sport and resonate through the lives of those around us. This selfless approach enriches our Purpose, fueling our commitment to never give up, no matter the odds.


Never Stop Believing

To every coach facing seemingly impossible obstacles, please remember that your perseverance is a light of hope for those you coach. Even if they never tell you that, and even when you have zero feedback about your work – your dedication and your inner strength will always be inspiration for someone out there! Your unwavering belief in your Dreams, and the Dreams of those you coach, is the foundation upon which great life stories are built.
Embrace every setback as a step forward, a chance to grow and to refine your approach.

Never underestimate the impact of your dedication, your resilience, and your capacity to transform lives through your work. Keep striving, keep learning, and keep believing in the transformative power of never giving up. Your journey, with all its potential ups and downs, is a proof of the eternal spirit of perseverance, it’s a legacy that will keep inspiring you, and it will possibly inspire many other people, too.


Always Reflect on Where You Came From and be Grateful for Where You Are Now

When it comes to handball, I literally came from nowhere, without anyone’s help, and I got to pave my entire path by myself, every single step of the way.

I started playing handball by chance when I was 14 years old. I grew up not even knowing what handball was – no one in my family nor in my environment played it, so I didn’t get introduced to it until later in life.

Starting at 14 was quite late, but I couldn’t really start any earlier because we had a war in Bosnia and Herzegovina prior to that for a couple of years. This is why my entire handball journey is a miracle to me!!! And after all, it seems like everything happened exactly how it was meant to happen.

In the picture below, on the left side is a 14-year old me biking 5km (in one direction) to her handball practice (after which she had to bike another 5 km back home). On the right side, it’s a 40 year old me preparing to go to the Olympics. Both of them have the same daring, same curiosity, and same dedication to never give up!

I got very emotional a few days ago, watching the image on the left, right after I signed my new coaching contract and after I realized that I will coach at the Olympics this summer… Because that girl in the picture had to bike to and from her handball practices most of the time, and she didn’t have a goalkeeper coach, she had no idea what she was doing, she had no idea that handball will become her life and that it will take her to over 25 countries professionally, she didn’t know any of that, but she always kept pushing Forward! She had no idea what kind of an amazing path she would build for herself in the future, but she kept working towards that path and towards her Dreams in the best way she knew. She never stopped Believing.

Choosing to keep believing in ourselves, and to never give up also cultivates a sense of deep, heartfelt gratitude and a wider perspective on life. In the relentless pursuit of our goals and dreams, we learn to appreciate the journey, and everything that journey consists of, every stumble, every victory. This gratitude for the process makes our experience richer and more meaningful, making us more resilient and present. It teaches us to value what we have, while we are trying to reach and explore some higher levels.


Vanja Radic Coaching - Never Stop Believing


The Importance of Never Giving Up

To never give up, to be resilient, and persistent is to have an unwavering commitment and strength in the face of adversity. Never giving up is like navigating through a storm, it’s about persevering through challenges, and keeping your goal in sight, even when the waters are rough and the outcome uncertain. When we adopt these principles and start living our lives from the perspective of never giving up, that cultivates resilience within us, it fosters inner growth, and it transforms potential failures into stepping stones toward success.

At its core, the act of never giving up is actually an exercise in building resilience. Life’s journey is filled with obstacles that test our willpower in so many different ways. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed, afraid, confused, and weak when faced with adversity, but the choice to push forward, despite all the odds, strengthens our ability to cope with any future challenges.


A Few Words About Resilience

Over the years, I have developed an extremely high level of Resilience, and I would bet that this is what helped me the most to endure through all challenges.
Resilience is the ability to bounce back from adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or significant sources of stress. It’s often thought of as the “mental reservoir” of strength that people can call upon in times of need to help them handle stressors and setbacks in a healthy way. It includes the capacity to make the best of an unpleasant situation and emerge from it with increased level of inner strength, resources, and wisdom.
Resilience is not a trait that people either have or do not have, it involves behaviors, thoughts, and actions that can be learned and developed in anyone.
Resilience is not innate, there is no “resilience gene” that you either have or not have. Resilience is gained throughout life, through staying persistent and refusing to break down in front of temporary setbacks and seemingly impossible challenges.

Resilience is the remarkable ability of individuals to bounce back from adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or significant sources of stress. It’s often thought of as the mental reservoir of strength that people can call upon in times of need to help them handle stressors and setbacks in a healthy way. Resilience is not a trait that people either have or do not have; it involves behaviors, thoughts, and actions that can be learned and developed in anyone.

At its core, resilience is about enduring difficult circumstances and finding a way to grow despite challenges. It includes the capacity to make the best of an unpleasant situation and emerge from it with increased strength, resources, and wisdom. Resilient individuals are adept at seeing past the immediate turmoil and maintaining a focus on the long-term, which helps them to not just survive but thrive.

Key components of resilience include a positive attitude, growth mindset, optimism, the ability to regulate emotions, and the ability to see failure as a form of helpful feedback. Resilience doesn’t stop or eliminate stress, nor does it erase life’s difficulties. Instead, it gives people the strength to tackle problems directly, to overcome adversity, and to move on with their lives no matter what challenge they are facing. This is exactly how I felt every single time when I faced with any challenge or difficulty in my life – I just pushed through, or I stopped when I needed to, but I never gave up. And ultimately, this is what brought me to where I am today.


Why is Persistence so Important?

Persistence is the quality that allows someone to continue doing something or to keep trying to do something even though it is difficult or opposed by other factors. It’s characterized by the constant effort and movement toward a Goal, despite obstacles, challenges, or setbacks. Persistent people have a strong vision, a goal that they strive to achieve, and the determination to achieve it regardless of the challenges they face. They understand that to reach your goals and dreams takes time, patience, and continuous, relentless effort.


Final Thoughts

Lastly, I hope that this story will inspire you at least a little bit to keep chasing your big goals and dreams, and to know that you should never give up believing in yourself!

After all – you are your biggest asset! You are your biggest return on investment! Never doubt that! Never doubt yourself! And never stop believing that anything is possible for you!



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