It’s not easy playing for a team when you’re the 12th man on the bench. But sometimes that’s just where you have to start…
This is how a lot of players start before they are called up to play. No one said it’ll be good for your confidence, but over the years I’ve noticed that guys that start their basketball careers follow either of three fates:
1) Bench Warmer for Life – they get comfortable coming off the bench, or at least think that’s the best they can do, so they settle for it.
2) Quit – because they come to practice, work out with the team, and game time…they just sit and watch. It sucks, so they quit. A lot of the time they don’t even show any energy or motivation for the team.
3) Rise – It does suck to be on the sidelines while your teammates play. Not because you’re jealous of them, but you want to be out there with your team. Show energy and motivation, practice hard, and eventually everything will pay off. So when you come to practice early, stay late, and train an extra day. Soon enough, the coach will be calling your name more and more. Example – When Jeremy Lin was with the New York Knicks, he did not play a single minute for the season, but showed to all the practices, and finally one day he got the call and proved to himself, the team, the coaches, and the fans that he can play and be a star. And I’ll tell you from my experience, only one of those three is a real option. You never quit, never settle, just rise.
When I was playing at Eastern Prep, I came in as a 13th man – more of a ball boy than a player as they only had space for 12 players.
It was interesting because for the first few months, I didn’t even play, I would come to all the practices, and attend all the workouts but I just wouldn’t play. But slowly, my Coach started playing me in blowout games and I made steady progress to the point that he began playing me more consistently. I think it was about 4 months into the program when I finally cracked the rotation…
I wasn’t satisfied by just cracking the rotation, I wanted more, I wanted to be a starter, I just wanted to get better. Fortunately for me, I realized complacency was a disease at a very early age. I ended up in the starting lineup halfway through the season because I found a role as a 3 point shooter. By the end of the season, I was one of the 3 leading scorers on the team. That opened the gates to receiving multiple scholarship offers throughout Canada and some in the US. My high school journey ended when I settled on University of New Brunswick to begin my next chapter.
The thoughts in your head might sound something like this
If there’s something you’ll take from this, I hope you understand that anyone who is hungry to get better and wants to play has a spot on some team somewhere. There you’ve got an opportunity, make something of it. Rise.