The Toughest Basketball Position
The Role of Bench Player

basketball games

Every basketball position has an important role on the team, including the bench player.

If you find yourself on the sideline during your basketball games, learn how you can help your team and earn more playing time in the process.

It all starts with a positive attitude!

Without a doubt, the most challenging, discouraging, and least popular position on the team is the role of bench player!

basketball position

Learn the player responsibilities of each basketball position

Unfortunately, there are more players on a basketball team than there are positions on the floor.

Youth basketball rules often mandate that every player plays at least half the game. But as players age, and the level of competition increases, those rules change.

With 10-12 players on the roster (and many more than that on most middle school teams) and only 5 players allowed on the court at a time, the reality is that some players don't see a lot of playing time.

These players are asked to fill the least popular basketball position on the team. They put in the same number of hours on the practice floor as the starters, but they don't get the same benefit in playing time.

Let's be honest - sitting on the sideline isn't much fun!

We don't try out for the team because we want to watch all the action.

No, we want to play.

And maintaining a positive attitude while you're sitting on the bench isn't always easy.

I know it may be hard to believe, but your role as a bench player is really important to the success of your team.

You don't believe me?

Here's how...

Few players can give 100% effort for an entire basketball game. Most players need breaks from time to time, and coaches need good substitutes at every basketball position to replace them.

The best teams in any league are those that have a strong bench. They have the depth that allows them to substitute solid players without losing any ground when the starters come off the floor.

They have bench players who are prepared and ready to go.

If you find yourself spending a lot of time on the bench during basketball games, don't be discouraged. Like every other position on the floor, you have responsibilities that only you can fill.

You may not have chosen your role on the sideline, but as a member of a team you owe it to your teammates to do your job.

Maintaining a positive attitude is the first step!

Once you've got your attitude in check, you'll be ready to tackle the following responsibilities head on.

Who knows? By doing your part to make your team better, you just might earn yourself a little more playing time in the process!

positive attitude
youth basketball
positions in basketball


You're #1 job as a bench player is to work your tail off during practice, pushing the starters to be as prepared as they can be at their basketball position for the games.

It would be awesome if you gave your teammates tougher competition everyday during practice than they will see during games.

Working hard to make your teammates better is one of the best contributions you make to your team, and I guarantee your coaches will notice.


You need to work hard to improve your individual skills with some fun basketball practice drills. Some players get discouraged at their lack of playing time and quit working to get better.

What a big mistake!

Your best chance to get off the bench is to improve every area of your game.


You have to be prepared at any moment to enter the game. You never know when you will be needed to step onto the court and when that time comes, you better be ready!

You need to know what offense and defense the team is running, who you are substituting in for, who you will be guarding, and what basketball position you will be playing.

There's nothing more frustrating to a coach to call a player off the bench only to find out they have no idea what's going on.

I guarantee you Coach will think twice before calling on you again!


No one expects you to be thrilled by having to sit on the bench, but you do have a responsibility to have a positive attitude, encourage your teammates, and build team unity while you're there.

It is not the time or place for complaining or negative talk or looks of boredom.

It is so important to players on the floor to see and hear their teammates on the bench pulling for them and cheering them on.

Remember, this is a team game.

When you get your chance out on the floor you will want your teammates cheering for you as well.


One advantage to being a bench player is that you're able to get a feel for the game before you're thrown in the middle of it.

Unlike starters who have to battle pre-game jitters and get in the flow of the game, you have a chance to watch and take mental notes.

What does your team need?

When subs come in the game they can lift up the entire spirit of a team!

What is the team missing that you can bring?

Chasing down rebounds?

Hitting the open shot?

Making the good pass?


Confident leadership?

When players on the court start to get tired, you can provide a much needed boost.

In fact, I've seen many players come off the bench with a burst of energy and single-handedly turn a game around!


Sometimes Coach will call you off the bench to enter the game in a pressure situation.

Maybe it's a close ball game, and you have to replace a teammate at another basketball position who is injured or in foul trouble or maybe they're just struggling somehow.

You're thrown into a situation where every shot you put up, every pass you make, every defensive stop you get is crucial.

Can you handle it?

As a bench player, you may not get to play a lot of minutes, but the few minutes you do play are really important ones!

The Bench Player That Could

Bottom line:

Every single player on the roster has an important role that only she can fill.

Every basketball position is important.

When everyone takes care of their responsibilities, contributing their part to the unit as a whole, you create a team that is really tough to beat.

Don't ever underestimate your value as a player when you find yourself on the bench.

Your team needs you!

Do your best to fulfill your responsibilities while you're there, and if you don't like your role on the sideline, do something about it.

Ask your coaches what specific skills you need to work on, and then...


>> >> The Bench Player