If you are on a team, then you have a role on that team. Understanding the given role can increase motivation and determination in an athlete. In this week’s blog post, I’m sharing the top 10 puzzle pieces on how to become an impact player off the bench.
However, before getting into the spicy stuff, I would like to mention that these tips are certainly not for every player in particular. There are different circumstances and factors involved in who a coach chooses to put on the floor. Remember, it isn’t always the smartest, fastest, most physical, experienced, or valuable player who’s on the floor, and you might ask me why? Because the person in control of the playing time is the coach and not you. Instead of trying to understand your coach/es, accept that you have different views, and work on what you can change, yourself. Therefore, always be the best version of yourself.
- Stay in the game no matter where you are. Be dialed in as much as you can, show that you are FOCUSED. Even if this isn’t the optimal chance for you, be the teammate you wish others were for you. Eyes are on you even when you don’t think so.
- Use the time thoroughly. Instead of trying to show what you can do and go out of your comfort zone, show composure, control, and bring a fight to the floor, even if it’s only for half a minute. Do what you are good at, avoid improvising.
- Make them need you, bring something to the team that no one else is. It could be your voice on the floor (from the bench/floor), be what the team is missing. No team is entirely complete, and therefore there are always little things that can get better.
- Always know the time, score, and the last situation/call before a dead play/time out/end of quarter/halftime. Pay attention so that if there is a question, you can answer it. The coach will see/hear that you are listening, and s/he will give you another chance sooner or later.
- Scout the other team inside out, know their weaknesses and share your knowledge with your teammates, help them be better. You will get noticed for that at some point, perhaps not on the team you are on but keep doing it because people see, hear, and talk more than we think in sports.
- Play your game and do your job. If you are a shooter, then for the love of humanity, shoot. If you are a point guard, control the game. If you are a center, do what the coach wants you to do in the paint. Avoid doing things that aren’t in your role description. No one likes surprises (at least the coach who is giving you the playing time.) Start expanding your game and going out of “role” when you have the green light to do so from the coach.
- Never and I mean NEVER compare yourself to anyone else on your team. Comparing will have you sitting on the bench even if your stats and skills are ten times better than whoever you’re comparing yourself to. If you’re on a team, the coach and everyone else on/around it want to see TEAM PLAYERS, so be one and put your ego aside.
- Be committed and determined to do whatever it takes to get what you want. Dare to ask what you need to better in your game to get more minutes and then WORK on it. Avoid making the common mistake where you ask, and then don’t do anything about it.
- Be the best representation of the team/club that you can be. No matter how many negative thoughts are running through your head, push them away and concentrate on doing everything you can to be a role model to all the other players that are in the same position as you are. You aren’t alone.
- Perhaps this team isn’t the right fit. If you have done every step so far, you have tried most of it, and you should be proud of yourself. Now, it is your turn to pick and chose if you want to continue to play for a coach that doesn’t recognize you. Dare to make a change.
Players all over the world are sitting on the bench. The question is, what are they doing with that time? Use the time wisely, make yourself memorable in one way or another. If you still aren’t getting what you want, perhaps it is time to move on and try to get on another team. Not all coaches and their philosophy will fit you. The way workers change jobs because they aren’t using/the boss isn’t valuing what they have to give doesn’t mean that they have to stay and grind out for years before they mentally burn out. Be smart about your time and what coach you want to play for. In another blog post, I wrote about what you should look for in a coach, check it out, and avoid making silly mistakes already before you’ve come to the new team.
Until next week, read through all of the nine points that I mentioned, and make sure you’re entirely using your potential 😉