Teams are just starting to lock in their fall rosters at all levels and no one anticipates sitting the bench as they look towards a new year, but today's blog by Dena Tyson touches on how, if you do have to sit the bench, you can make it a positive.
Dena is a Corona Angels head coach at the 18U and 16U levels and has found success as a club coach for the last decade after an All-American career at Washington.
At PGF Nationals this summer Dena led her 16U team to a 3rd place finish.
The daughter of legendary Corona Angels head coach Marty Tyson, she competed at the University of Washington from 2002 to 2007 and was part of Husky teams that made the Women’s College World Series three times (2003, ’04 and ’07).
As a senior for UW, Dena was a 1st Team All-American and was selected to the WCWS All-Tournament Team.
We love today’s blog because it underscores the point that coaches are ALWAYS watching you and for Dena she was offered by one college coach based on something she did when she WASN’T playing!
I was asked the question: “How do you deal with not playing, or as “riding the bench?”
This is a tough question. Why?
Because as a parent, or as a player you have to look at yourself honestly. Sometimes you just aren’t good enough, sometimes you may be playing on a team with favorites, or maybe someone else is just hot right now.
If you are playing on a team with favorites, then run! There is no fixing that!
But really be honest with yourself before you make the decision to leave.
I haven’t dealt with this issue a lot in my career, but I have ridden the bench for many different reasons:
- It wasn’t my rotation
- There were other girls getting recruited
- I was in a slump
Whatever the reason, I was raised under the philosophy that the team always comes first. Now that I’m coaching, I wish I had kept my recruiting emails because being on the bench is not always a negative thing!
During my recruiting process, for example, some coaches told me the exact moment that they knew they were going to offer me.
I had a specific college tell me: “We knew that you were the one we wanted when we saw you in a game you didn’t even play in. You were at the front of the dugout cheering your teammates on and, on defense, you were right next to your coach staying involved in the game.”
You see, I played well in other games they had seen, but I solidified my scholarship offer when they saw the way I reacted to being on the bench.
Why is this an important trait?
Because coaches need to know how you will react to not playing and they need to know you won’t be a distraction to your teammates.
Another reason I recommend staying involved in the game when you are on the bench is because you just never know when your bell will be rung!
If you are involved in the game when you are asked to pinch hit or pinch run, you are ready!
Let’s address the elephant in the room: I coach for the Corona Angels, my dad is Marty Tyson and, yes, we are known to carry heavy rosters.
So, yes, our program encounters this situation with our athletes frequently. What I can tell you is some players’ first experience with pinch hitting comes in college or later on in their career.
In an elimination game at this past PGF Nationals, I brought in two pinch hitters in a row. The first one tied the game and the second one put us ahead.
These are mental moments they will collect and take with them throughout their career.
As one of my favorite rappers Suga Free says: “If you stay ready, you ain’t got to get ready!”