Let’s face it: as an athlete, at one point or another you’ll be on the bench. What you do with that experience will teach you more about life than all the minutes you play combined. Coach Corey is a firm believer that expecting and preparing for that day on the bench is one of the more important skills you’ll need to develop as a young athlete.
When you find yourself in a more supportive roll on the team rather than being the superstar, take advantage of that opportunity to grow as a person. You’ll learn to be mentally stronger while overcoming your situation, however you’ve gotten there, and will hopefully come to realize why you tough it out. Because you love the game.
Work harder than the player who’s starting. In order to prove and improve your worth, be the absolute best YOU are capable of becoming. If you’ve left everything on the court or field after every practice, then you can know the satisfaction of being part of the team even if you don’t start.
Be the BEST cheerleader on that bench. Make it your job to see that your team is motivated and all players have their heads in the game. The way you support your team will make you an increasingly important part of that team, even if you aren’t playing.
You’ll learn how to be patient. Not everything comes to you every time just because you want it. You may need to increase your training, your attitude, your strength. Continuing to WORK HARD on your deficits over time will eventually pay off, but it may take time.
Take that time on the bench to observe the game. You have a front row seat, so take advantage! Strategy and game play is a very important part of being an athlete mentally. You’ll learn aspects of the game you never knew by paying attention to how your team plays, the strategy the other team is using, and what adjustments can be made to be more successful against your opponent. Don’t discount the value of taking this time to study the game.
Finally, when you DO get your opportunity to play, you’ll have nothing to lose. Play with no regrets. All the practices you actively participated in and all the time you spent watching and learning has a greater chance of paying off than if you sat the bench pouty, disappointed and discouraged.