My son was on the bench. For four weeks. Injured from his favorite sport. Or shall I say his passion ? It was rough, for all of us. It was physically painful for him, not to mention emotionally painful — for him — and for all of us. Some kids find themselves on the bench…following an injury…awaiting their call to the line-up…as a result of committing a penalty…or being “put there” by a coach to carry forth a lesson.
What can our kids learn from The Bench?
They learn how to view life, sports, and “the team” from a different perspective — to see things outside of the box. A great deal of sports strategies and tactical plays arise from watching from the sidelines. Some kids on the bench can find themselves in the perfect position to learn not only what to do . . . but what NOT to do. Sometimes watching from the sidelines can be its own premier training, especially for those visual learners. It can be prime time viewing of “where I or the team needs to go from here.” When my son was injured, I encouraged him to take on a consultative role from the bench. “Become the expert,” I said, “Identify what the team is doing well and what it needs to work on. Maybe even offer your observations to the coach.”
Kids on the bench can learn how to improve . . . everything from skills and techniques . . . to sportsmanship — or lack thereof.
They learn humility, character, as well as the need for tenacity, patience, and determination from The Bench. Whether benched because of an injury, a penalty, or developing skills, “that which doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger.”
From the bench, kids can adopt empathy, putting themselves in other (active) players’ shoes. Seeing how their team members are treated on the field can give them a taste of how they want to be treated — and how to treat others — both on and off the field.
There are lessons to be had from The Bench. Embrace them. Share them with your kid. It’s a lifelong journey of learning, on — or off — The Bench.
(And, if you’re encountering other . . . learning opportunities . . . with your pre-teen, check out my book: Bork Reveals the Real Deal about the Facts of Life, perfect for the 9-13 year old boy.)