So you're all stretched, have your cleats on, warmed up your arm and did your agilities... get in the dugout right before game time, check the roster and realize coach has you sitting.
Or maybe you've been playing 5 innings and coach makes a switch... you're now benched the rest of the game.
Or maybe your last at bat you got a double... it was super close so you had to slide and got injured.
Whatever the reason is that your on the bench, it's important to keep your head in the game and support your teammates 100% of the time. When going to summer tournaments and watching the new talent, I notice all too often that when a player is benched, they check out. They're done. Be the player that stands out, the player college recruiters notice because you go that extra mile... because you're a REAL team player.
Follow these 5 ways you can support your team when you're on the bench and you're sure to stick out at your next tournament.
P.S. want to start contacting college coaches? It's never too early or too late. Make sure to download my FREE player profile templates HERE. I designed 3 professional profiles that are sure to help you get noticed.
1. Watch the Runners
There's nothing more frustrating than watching the opposite team advance another bag, only to get in scoring position by a safe steal that could've been prevented. Although, you might not be in the game, the dugout has a pretty hefty role to fill.
Your teammates are down and ready, in defensive position ready for anything that comes their way. Infield doesn't have time to watch the runners, ball first right?! Their main focus is to watch the hitter and see where the ball goes. Not only that, but the runner on the bag is BEHIND them. Making it impossible for them to watch the ball and the runner at the same time
Outfielders may be able to see the runners, but again... their main focus is ball first. They're not always able to focus on runners 100% of the time.
This is where YOU come in. Yes, the dugout. When you have a runner on the bag, your main focus is to watch that runner intently. As soon as you see that runner take off, trying to steal a bag on your team... you yell GOING as loud as you possibly can.
This alerts your teammates ASAP that this chic thinks she's stealing a bag. Now your teammates don't even have to think... especially the catcher. As soon as she catches that ball, she knows to come up throwing. She doesn't even have to think about it, shaving seconds off the throw. And hopefully throwing this chic out (booyah!).
So any time a runner is on the bag and you're on the bench... you should be watching for steals.
2. Get Your Teammates Gloves Ready
You know the feeling, you're a runner on second and infield just caught your teammates ball (ugh) making it 3 outs. You run to the dugout scrambling to take off your helmet, rip off your batting gloves, grabbing a quick drink and looking for your glove (I swear I left it on the bench right here, lol), #TheStruggleIsReal.
How nice would it be to come in and have everything you need right in front of you ready to go? (ummm... yes please)
I once had a teammate that when she wasn't in the game, would gather all the outfielders gloves, stack 'em on top of each other and leave the on top of the bench in the far corner closest to the outfield.
She did the same for the infielders gloves. Only piling them on the bench in front, closest to the infield. No one was ever scrambling to find their glove because we got so used to this routine, that it became second nature.
We'd come in, put down our helmet, run to the end of the bench, grab our glove and run out to your position. Once she started doing this, whoever was on the bench that game starting do it too. It become a team thing. Whoever was out of the game, made sure to get their teammates gloves ready to go.
Your teammates will LOVE you for this... you just made their life a hell-of-a-lot easier.
3. Pick The Other Teams Signs
You're team's out there playing defense... the other team is up to bat and it's a super close game. Runner on first and your pitcher is about to pitch the ball and you yell "watch the bunt!!!"... your first and third basement quickly move up last minute, the bunt goes down, first base is so close they snatch it up and throw the runner out at two.
Uhhh... you could've just saved the game for your entire team! (can I get a high-five?)
The only way this was possible was because you've been watching the third base coach and studying his signs for the last 3 innings.
You're on the bench, and other than watching the base runners... you're not doing a damn thang. Take the time to watch the third base coaches signs for every single batter and take note on what signs he gave during a bunt, slap, hit a& run, etc. By the 3rd inning you should have their sign down.
4. Know the Numbers
Know what the score is, know how many outs there are, know where the other team is in their lineup, etc.
Have your teams back by knowing everything there is to know about this game. Make sure you're reminding your teammates from the dugout how many outs there are and where the play is.
Keep track of where the other team is in their lineup and let your teammates know where they hit last.
And it might sound obvious, but know the damn score. There's nothing more annoying to a coach than a player sitting the bench who doesn't know the score. Show your coach that you're paying attention and ready to be put in if needed.
Which leads me to my next point...
5. Stay Warm
What's the point of having anyone on the bench if you're not ready to go in at the drop of a hat? If you're sitting the bench, make sure to warm up in between innings. And I don't mean just going out to throw the ball to you outfielders when switching to defense.
Show your coach that you're ready to take the field by running, stretching, doing a few agility workouts and swinging a bat in between innings.
If a player gets hurt and you have to quickly take their place, you'll be good and ready to go. Your teammates (& coach) can rest assured knowing you're ready to play the game and get dirty.
Well there you have it... 5 ways to support your team when you're on the bench. I hope that from here on forward, you do every single one of these.
This is being a good teammate, this is being a good player... these are the things college recruiters are looking for. It's easy to see your talent. How well you play defense, how well you swing a bat... but you better believe they'll be watching you when you think no ones watching.
They want to see how you support your team when you're NOT on the field.
Don't forget to download my softball player profile templates below so you can start contacting college coaches now!