How to Make the Most of Time on the Bench

By Coach Mike Austin
I call this wonderful picture of my 8-year-old Grandson Jaiden, “RIDING THE PINE.”
For those who don’t recognize the term, it’s an old baseball saying for having to sit on the bench while the first nine are on the field playing.
This is a new experience for Jaiden. This was the first game that he hasn’t started since he was 3 1/2-years-old. Being the youngest and smallest player on his 10U All Star team this year has had its disadvantages (and advantages).  Sooner or later you  have to “Ride the Pine” some.
Now Jaiden expected it. While not happy about it, he took it like a champ. After coaching youth baseball for 35 years, I prepared him for it.
There’s another old baseball saying that says something like, “Work While You Wait.” The lesson for him in this is that as you go along in life and athletics there will always be someone ahead of you that’s older, stronger, more experienced or just plain better.
The lesson here for all you baseball (or any other youth sport) parents or grandparents is prepare your player for the inevitable day that, as great as they’ve played, as they move ahead, there will always be times when they too will have to “Ride the Pine.”
Encourage them to not be discouraged, teach them to use this time to “Work While They Wait.”  Work on your hitting, work on your fielding and work on your knowledge of the game so when the time comes they are prepared to take that starting position and play it the best it’s ever been played!  That’s baseball (and life). ?
(Jaiden finally got in that game for three innings and went 2 for 2 with 2 RBI’s and played flawlessly at 2nd base)


Angela Weight

Founder and publisher of Travel Ball, Angela Weight is still a little shocked to be running one of the most popular youth sports parenting sites on the web. Click the ABOUT US tab to read her story.

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