There are certain things in football (and in life) that are mandatory.
For example: you must have a physical before you practice, you must wear the proper equipment, you must go to practice in order to play in varsity games, you must pay your sports fee, you must obey the rules. Those are all mandatory. You have to do them.
The rest of football is optional, meaning things you don’t have to do. Examples are lifting weights, running, going to camps, working on your character and mental toughness, giving a great effort, working on your technique and skills, helping your teammates get better. Nobody can force you to do those things. They are optional.
The mandatory stuff decides whether or not you play football. The optional stuff decides whether you, and the team, will be any good at football.
Players that do the optional things, and do them well, are far better off than players who only do the mandatory things.
Character & mental toughness are so important because once you have them, you will do the optional. If you don’t have character and mental toughness you will only do the mandatory. If you do not work on your character and mental toughness you will only do the optional when it is easy, or convenient, or you feel like it.
A day of blowing off the optional leads to days of blowing off the optional. Which leads to weeks and years of blowing off the optional. Which leaves you way behind the players with character and mental toughness at our school and other schools. Which leaves you, and as a result our team, in a pretty bad position come game time.
There are certain things in life that are mandatory. We all have to do them. There are other things that are optional. It will be your character and mental toughness that determines what you do with those options. It will be what you do with those options that determines how successful you are in life.
If you only do what is mandatory, you are likely not going to get very far.
Success in life is optional.
Do more, get more. Do less, get less. Do what you have always done, you will never have more than what you always had.
Mandatory defines your team, your school or workplace, your organization.
Optional defines you.
Mandatory is easy. Optional is hard.