Discover what they learned & how to earn playing time
It is so hard watching your child sit on the bench!
I have three boys and my two older sons have each experienced riding the pine. As their mother, I feel sick when I see how sad they are. But I want to take a moment to share with you why sitting on the bench can be a very valuable life skill that can help your kid succeed later in life.
My Personal Story Of Riding The Pine
When I first started playing basketball in grade nine, I was the worst on the team. They took me purely for my height and I sat on the bench a lot. During the summer I worked my butt off and walked into my grade 10 year a different player and soon made it into the starting line up. Then I found a rep team and was the worst player on that team. As that year progressed, I worked my way up to a starter again. Then I spent my last year in high school as an all-star, recruited by a long list of schools. I finally decided on UofT. I remember walking around the school on my recruiting trip feeling like I was the woman! It was the top basketball program in the country, and they wanted me. When I arrived for frosh week, I was shocked to find out they had recruited 4 other rookies, 3 of which played my position. I realized that I was in for another round of working my way up into the starting line up.
What I learned Riding The Pine = The Big Fish / Little Fish Life Cycle
Athletes are used to cycling through being a little fish & then working hard to become the big fish.
At every level from elementary, high school, university to playing pro, athletes that become all-stars or keep playing at higher levels are the ones that constantly try to push themselves through this cycle. The athletes that stop trying to improve are the ones that get comfortable and drop off because the next fish wants it more than them.
The practice your child gets working through the Big Fish / Little Fish Life Cycle will help them achieve success in their careers.
Because they have practiced starting at the bottom and working their way up over and over again.
Think about it. When you start a new job, you are the little fish. You just need to figure out the success criteria to become the big fish on your new team. Your kids are practicing this skill every season.
Now, I am not saying it is easy! In fact, I am saying watching your child sit on the bench is one of the hardest things to do as a sports parent. But, if you remember that they are learning and building a huge life skill you will both be stronger at the end.
My Top 2 Tips To Get More Playing Time
Just because I think it is great for kids to go through this cycle I also think it is important that they advocate for themselves.
When my kids are benched I encourage them to talk to the coach to find out why and what they can do to earn more time. I ask them to find out what really causes them to be yanked off the floor.
And of course, I encourage them to keep working.
This season might be hard for both of you, but remember you are not alone.
Stephanie uses easy-to-understand principles—simple, relevant, practical solutions for dealing with mediocrity at work, at home and on the athletic field—without quick fix schemes.