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Ride the Bench to Success

I love my kid.

Shocking, I know. Actually I love all of my kids but this blog is about just one of them.

For about 5 years now my almost 13 year old has wanted to play basketball at the highest level - whatever level that is. So I will start at the end, then work backwards illustrating leadership points along the way in the hopes you will appreciate the information and incorporate these ideas in your own lives.

Jason is on the varsity basketball team. He tried out for this team twice before and failed to make the team. He finally made the team this year and we were thrilled for him. When I asked him why he wanted to be on the team he said "Dad, I saw a kid with one of the cool jackets that only players on the team get...and I said to myself 'I want that jacket'!".

The kid, in his home whites!

TIP 1 - set a goal, visualize it and be determined

Now here's the best part of the story: he doesn't start. He's not the 6th man off the bench. He's not even the 7th or 8th man. Actually most games he doesn't play. When he has played it's only for a few minutes.

And he couldn't be happier.

TIP 2 - you define your success. Don't let anyone else define it for you.

At each and every timeout he's the first one off the bench to cheer his peers on. He's engaged. He's focused on winning. He works on his game. He talks to his teammates. He wants them to be great. He wants to win.

Tip 3 - does it always have to be about you? Can you be a good teammate as well as a good leader?

By the way, let me also say that his parents (that's me and my wife) DID NOT AND HAVE NOT EVER gone to his coach and begged for playing time, asked why he didn't make it in the past, called him, begged him, bribed him.

Tip 4 - your child needs to learn how to succeed AND fail at some things to be a mature person

So the tip today is my kid rides the bench. More importantly, can you love the mission and/or love your team enough to be as invested in their success as your own? People are most likely willing to cheer for you if you are willing to cheer for them. That makes you a good teammate.

He couldn't play due to injury in the last game. And even though playoff football was on tv and even though his aunt was visiting and even though he couldn't play and even though yada yada yada....he was still dressed in a shirt and tie, sitting on the bench 1 hour before tip off. His team lost but he won.

I love this kid.

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