How to Respond After Being Benched

How to Respond After Being Benched

Athletes Want to Compete, Play, or Start

But what happens when the athlete is benched or replaced in the starting lineup?

Your attitude towards the situation will impact your response, motivation, and the message you send to your team.

If you act out or talk poorly about your coach, you will cause tension within the team. Your effort will be lacking during practices as you think, “Why should I push myself in practice if I’m not going to get much playing time?”

This negative response worsens your situation and hurts you and your team. The key is to maintain a positive attitude and respond constructively.

When you maintain a positive attitude, you will be motivated to work harder and smarter in practice. In addition, your positive attitude will demonstrate that you are a team player.

Having a team-first mentality will influence how your coach views you and, most likely, improve your situation.

How can you respond positively after being benched or your playing minutes reduced?

You can take several positive actions to improve your situation:

  • Take control of the situation by asking yourself, “What can I do differently to earn increased playing time. Instead of blaming the coach, ask your coach, “What can I do to help the team succeed?” This positive response will give you specific feedback to improve your game and show your coach you are a team-first athlete.
  • Once you understand how to move forward, it’s time to get to work. Prove yourself to be a leader by having a positive attitude in practice, a strong work ethic, and being supportive of your teammates. If you need a boost, use your circumstances to motivate your efforts.
  • Stay mentally engaged whether you are in practice, in a game, or on the bench. If you are on the sidelines, watch your teammates and analyze game situations. There is always an opportunity to learn and gain a deeper understanding of the game.

New England Patriots wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster has performed at a high level during his seven years in the NFL.

After being benched in the closing minutes of an early season game, Smith-Schuster chose to stay positive rather than becoming a team distraction.

Even during his stint on the sidelines, Smith-Schuster remained optimistic, confident in his abilities, and committed to being a team player.

SMITH-SCHUSTER: “I’m not frustrated at all. I’ve been in this league way too long. When the time is called, the opportunity is called for me, I’ll be ready.”

Being benched or losing playing time can be frustrating, but it can also motivate you to kick your performance up a notch. Within every situation is an opportunity to become a better and mentally tougher player.

The number of minutes you play is not fully under your control, but you have complete control over your attitude, work ethic, and demeanor.

When your playing minutes are reduced, identify what you can control…

List three ways to improve your game, contribute to the team, and sharpen your mental skills.

Maintain a strong focus on these three aspects. In addition, remind yourself that within adversity lies opportunity.

And always be mentally and physically ready when your number is called so you can perform well.

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