For many, sitting on the bench carries negative implications. This is especially true for parents who guide their children through the early years of competitive sports. These parents continuously criticize the coach and pump their children with false perspectives. The reality is that not everyone can start a game. The reality is some players are more skilled than others. The reality is, you don’t deserve to be on the field…yet.
Sitting on the bench isn’t easy to accept and kids certainly don’t need their parents adding to this experience by inflicting disappointment. Rather than moan and groan, parents should use this as an opportunity to instil a positive perspective into their children.
Whether you’re a parent or player reading this blog, whether your son/daughter is sitting on the bench or you yourself are sitting on the bench, this is a great opportunity to become a better player and a better person. Let me explain.
“It’s not whether you get knocked down; it’s whether you get back up.” – Vince Lombardi
First and foremost, you have to accept the reality of the situation – maybe you just aren’t good enough to start yet. I find it hard to believe that your on the bench because the coach doesn’t like you. Au contraire, the coach wants you to succeed just as much as you want to succeed. So, take tips from the people that are better than you and ask a lot of questions. If your team mates are more skilled than you that’s fine, but learn to outwork them. If you care enough and work hard enough, your chance will come…be patient.
When you’re actually on the bench during the game, study the action. Who is playing your position? If you were to go on, where would you be playing? Who would you cover? What are the opponents tendencies? How are you going to beat the person guarding you? Don’t just sit there frustrated or, even worst, talking about nonsense with team mates. If you’ve studied the game, when the coach calls on you you’ll be ready to jump in seamlessly. If you’ve wasted your time, you’ll most likely jump in and struggle to adapt to the action.
A bad attitude not only hurts you but it creates tension and unease for the entire team. Every individual on a team plays a key role. Each person has his/her function. If one part of a machine isn’t functioning properly, the entire system struggles. If you can learn to work hard, have a positive attitude and be a team player, you will have already succeeded. Your chance will definitely come to show your stuff so be prepared. Best of all, and most importantly, you will have developed into a stronger person. These characteristics will carry you through life.