If you spend time on this website then you know how important the team concept is. Think for a second about how you become a better basketball player…yes you put in the hard work; you get stronger faster, etc. but when it comes time to start the season…you become a better player when you are challenged day-in and day-out. This daily competition at practice is a key to team and individual success. This is true if you are fighting for a starting position, you are getting beaten up every day by the best player, or you are being pushed in practice each day by the 2nd string
No team has a game every day and every team has a large number of practices before they get into the real games. Who are you playing against every day? Is there someone on the 2nd string that makes you work hard every day? They guard you physical, they sprint through the plays, and they know your game and anticipate your moves?
This is the natural order of basketball. Great teams have great benches. The bench guys (and in the case of grade school, high school, and college…Underclassmen) push the 1st string. Sometimes it’s frustrating, b/c they play the plays, or they reach or they hack, or they play physical, but trust me…it is all making the 1st string better. The other side of the equation is this hard work, helps the underclassmen develop as players. From my personal experience…If I hadn’t had to guard a 27 ppg scorer every day of my 10th grade season, I wouldn’t have become a strong defender and cracked the starting lineup as an 11th grader. It was that constant challenge of guarding a superior player that pushed me and challenged me to get better.
So coaches, don’t underestimate the impact of the bench…reward them, praise them.
First-string players – don’t complain about the 2nd string for “playing the play”, going too hard at walk-throughs, or for fouling and reaching. They are making you better and they are making the team better.
And bench guys, keep working hard, keep getting better, keep pushing the team. If you work hard enough you never know where it will get you!
photo credit: MattRadickal