Character & Mental Toughness- The Secret

The Secret

I have had many guys, who have played for me, who come up to me after our games, or drop me an email.

Sometimes I run into them at the grocery store, or at the mall.  Usually we don’t have but a minute or two to chat.

We catch up on what they are doing with school, or jobs or family. They ask about the team and maybe my kids.  We always remember something we laughed about and still find funny no matter how many years have passed since they played.

But before we part ways they ALWAYS tell me the same thing…..

They all use different words;  say it their own way, but they ALWAYS tell me the same thing,

They all tell me they wish they could play again.

But they say this for a reason that most of you don’t understand yet.

Sure they miss their friends and the Friday Night Lights, the band, the cheerleaders, walking with a little swagger in school with their jersey on.  Those things are certainly missed.

But that’s not why they say they wished they could play again.

They say it because they now know the secret.  The secret that, had they known it back then when they played ball, it would have made them good if they were just fair, or great if they had been just good back in the day, or legendary if they had been great.

Unfortunately, their playing days are done.  So they will never be able to use that secret they now know.

You might be wondering what that secret is.  You might think that if you could just know that secret, then you too could become a good player, a great player, a much better player than you are.  Maybe the kind of player where everyone knows your name, not only the kids in school, but the kids in other schools and their coaches too.

Well, I think you are right.  I think if you knew that secret you could become a much better player.

So I will tell you the secret.  I will tell you the secret that every guy who ever played this game wishes he knew back when he was playing.

But before I tell you, you have to answer this question for me.

How much are you willing to endure?

How much pain can you manage to stand and are willing to suffer through in order to earn what you want?

…..think a bit about that for a second…… let that sink in

How much exhaustion and pain are you willing to endure? In the weight room? Running in the summer? During practice? Games?

How much can you take before you give in?

As a football player you will have to choose when to give up on those things,

when to decide they are not worth the pain any longer

I guarantee you that decision time will come

Now back to the secret…the secret is this

This moment, this moment when you choose to stop giving it your best, it will be more important to you than you ever thought

Because I swear this to you; and so will those old players

no matter how many moments of glory you achieve, how many plays you make, or times you get your name in the paper, or all star teams you get named

to ……………..

it is THAT moment you remember..

it is that moment, when you said I had enough, I can’t hang on another second, I can’t run another step, I can’t get up another time….it is that moment when you said you could no longer give your best

that moment gentlemen…that is the moment you will remember….

because that is the moment

more than any other

that will define you…………………………..

and everyone who ever played this game realizes they could have been a little tougher than they thought; every player realizes that if they had been more mentally tough, they could have done better in that moment,

they could have given their best  far more often than they did

so now you know the secret

that you can give your best, way more than you think

that you can hold on much longer before you let your effort drop off

and I told you this secret for one simple reason…………

I love those guys just as much as I love you

And I hate to see the pain in their eyes when they tell me they wished they could do it all over again,

so that they could give their best more than they did,

so that they could be tough enough to get through the pain, longer than they did

I’m telling you this because some day that will be you along the rope line, or at the mall with your kids,

And  no matter what happens I hope we’ll talk for a bit, catch up a little, have a good laugh

And before we go our separate ways

I hope you can look me square in the eye

And in your own words, in your own way, let me know that you appreciate knowing the secret

because you gave it your truly best effort and you were as truly tough as you could possibly be

I just want you to know what is possible.


About coachbillmoore

Educator/Author/Speaker/HS & NCAA Coach Character Coach Read Coach Moore’s book “On Character and Mental Toughness” Paperback available at Barnes & Noble or Amazon. "The measure of your character and mental toughness is the space between what you are doing and what you could be doing." -Coach Bill Moore
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