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How to: Contribute as a Bench Player


Providing the spark


As we grow up playing basketball, everyone imagines being the star for a team, but no one has dreams of being a benchwarmer. However, the reality of the game is that only five players will start the game for any team, leaving the majority of players to fill the bench. Although this can be disheartening, any player in the rotation will have the opportunity to contribute towards team success. After all, value is often indicated by who finishes the game, not who starts for their team.


Second unit leadership: Players who provide a spark off the bench can be more valuable than many starters. As the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year award attests, the ability to lead the second unit is important for team success. To do this, you will generally have to be versatile enough to play multiple roles, such as setting up your teammates or providing scoring off the bench. In addition, it is crucial to minimize any mistakes, in order to earn sufficient playing time to display your capabilities.


Positive attitude: Even if you do not receive sufficient minutes, you can strive to keep your head up and cheer your teammates on. Playing time is dependent on factors such as team requirements or fit, and may not be a direct gauge of your skill level. In any case, your teammates will appreciate having encouragement and a positive presence from the bench, rather than having to deal with negativity or internal strife. Ultimately, it is the win that counts, not individual point totals.


Motivation: Although an ideal role player will remain optimistic and upbeat, he or she is not a player who is satisfied with their smaller responsibilities. Instead, teams need a bench that is willing to put in the work every single day to push their starters and challenge for playing time. This drive will improve the play of every player in due course and prevent the team from remaining stagnant.