Last week my daughter’s high school volleyball team ended their summer league season. Since she was one of two freshmen playing up with the varsity, she sat on the bench more than she ever has before. So, I gave her the following advice:
View the situation as an opportunity to learn.
While my daughter would have rather been on the court than on the bench, this was a good opportunity for her to watch the more experienced players and learn from how they play the game. By watching how they moved, how they communicated, and where they positioned themselves, she could learn some things that could help her improve as a player. And by sitting close to her coach on the bench, she could ask questions and hear strategy that could advance her knowledge of the game.
Commit to being a great teammate.
Instead of sulking on the bench or complaining about having to sit on the bench, the best use of my daughter’s time was to invest herself in supporting her teammates the best she could by being an encourager, a cheerleader, and a ready helper to her coach. Doing those things would keep her engaged in the game and help her bond with her teammates.
Find a way to make sitting on the bench fun. While that advice may have sounded strange to my daughter, since it’s more fun for her to be in the game, the purpose of my advice was to remind her that she was still part of team who was playing a game she loves. By controlling her attitude toward the situation, she would be making the situation more positive.
Now, here’s why I am telling you this.
Many times in life we find ourselves in situations we don’t like. We have to “sit the bench” when we would rather be in the game. In those moments we have a choice: we can be bitter about our circumstances or we can use our circumstances to better ourselves. Having a bad attitude simply compounds the “problem” by adding more stress to our system; but viewing the challenge as an opportunity to get better brings a sense of meaning to the circumstance that adds positivity to our system.
So the next time you’re sittin’ the bench, make the best of the situation by viewing it as an opportunity to learn, by committing to being a good teammate to the people around you, and by finding a way to have fun.
You’ll feel better about things if you do.
Have a great week!