Playing backup as an athlete in youth sports is a job that is often under-valued. But backup positions are actually much more important than most athletes think.How often have we seen second and third string players put in the game in key situations and end up taking their team to victory?
It happens all the time in the pros. I remember one game a few seasons back when Miami Dolphin’s third string QB Tyler Thigpen suited up for what he probably assumed was just another day of watching the game from the sidelines.
But when the first string QB was injured in the first quarter, and the second string QB was injured in the third, 3rd string Tyler was put in the game. Here was his big chance to make a statement! Fortunately, for him and for his team, he led the Dolphins to a much-needed victory.
Can’t you imagine Tyler’s mom after the game? “Tyler, I told you, honey, you always have to be ready! You never know what could happen!”
Playing Backup is not for the Faint-hearted
I echoed Tyler’s mom many times when my son was backup QB in his junior year of high school. He watched most games from the sidelines, wondering when his time would come.
“You never know,” I’d say to TJ. “You’re one play away from getting in. Playing backup means you always have to be prepared.”
And every once in a while, he did get in. When the 1st QB suffered a tweaked ankle, a cramp, a hard hit, TJ was called in to lead the team for a few plays. And because he was prepared, he always did a good job, helping the offense not skip a beat.
If your child’s role on the team is one of back-up–whether it’s 2nd or 4th string–it might be easy for him to get lazy because he thinks he will never get into the game. What can you say to encourage them? Read on…
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