15 Year Old That Made the Team but Warms the Bench

Updated on May 10, 2010
C.M. asks from Des Plaines, IL
16 answers

Hi All, My 15 daughter (HS-Sophmore) has never been a great athlete & she is aware of this fact. She has a sister (HS-Junior) that is a pretty good athlete, good enough to make the Varsity Softball Team, starting Center Field. So she walks in sisters shadows in her mind. My 15 yr old made the HS JV team but gets very little play time... and the times she has played she has done well. I know in the big picture of life it is how it is, and I really believe in trying out for any team sport & the coach chooses.. but my issue is how can I use this as a learning-teaching experience? How do you explain to a 15 year old to find the positive in this experience? Be the best team supporter? She will not make Varisty next year & she is saying she is OK with that fact, but because she tried out & made the JV team she would like to play more, but that is not going to happen. I will not let her quit, the season has an end-date & she needs to see it through.. I am looking for some clever ways to put a positive spin on this to a 15 year old girl.. It has come to the point that before her last game she sent me a text that read. I don't know if your leaving work early to come to my game-but don't I'm not playing".. I told her I was coming to her game & we can both support the team. The team is also having a great season at 13-2 so the bus ride home is full of did you see that great play... Thanks for listening.

1 mom found this helpful

What can I do next?

  • Add your own comment
  • Ask your own question
  • Join the Mamapedia community
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

Featured Answers



answers from Chicago on

Michael Jordan was cut from his H.S. basketball team. I wonder how his feelings about that impacted his drive.
My daughter played volley-ball because her older brothers and friends played but she never excelled. She settled for being part of the team but traded peer acceptance as an average player over competing with and possibly outshining some of her teammates. In the end she went with her heart. So the next year she went out for the dance (something she loves) team & made it.
My brother was a v-ball coach & he says its a matter of hustle and a players energy (especially an eagerness in responding to the coach) that decides who gets playtime. If they have a real passion for it, it shows up in their energy and they are rewarded for it.

Edit My Answer
1 mom found this helpful

More Answers



answers from Chicago on

Let her know that regardless of who makes a home run or score, she is still part of the team. I agree with you, she does not need to quit now. Remind her that that if she quit she will regret not finishing the rest of her life. Let her know that sometime the out come does not always go our way, however we did finish. Now encourage her to try another sport or activity. I had the same circumstances with my two sons. The one in the shadow eventually found his nich in wrestling, and not baseball.
Good luck and tell her not to give up, get joy from the teams progress and look forward to her own comfortability.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Peoria on

Although it may be hard for her to appreciate right now, all the practices are making her a better ball player. Her skills, even if not good enough to get much playing time, are something she can value for the rest of her life. She can play intramurals with confidence in college. She can play recreational adult softball. She can coach or help coach her own kids one day!!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

first of all , good mom for going even when she said she wasnt going to play. yep that is how you show her, you support her and the team just by being there, smiling, cheering, and saying kind supportive words. She can still talk and laugh with the other girls on the team, there is more than just playing, there is the social aspect of being amongst peers and learning about the sport even just by watching. You can tell her there is more to get out of it. however it is also fun to play and participate physically, so I can see where this is hard on her but she does get to practice and play with friends that is a positive too.
what is wrong with this coach is my question? Is she the only one not playing or are there other girls? I do not care if they are having a winning season, give everyone a chance. Keep finding the positive, support her b y going no matter what and smiling and giving her that special wink showing you are proud no matter what and of course keep hugging your daughter a bit tighter each time and in the mean time see what we can do about this coach to make it a bit more tolerable for the others! I agree get a plan in line with the coach so that he knows ans your daughter knows what she needs to do to get to play more. This will tune the coach in a bit too. and yes when you have somthing to work towards in your mind that will help!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Diego on

I've ALWAYS been a great athlete... not bragging... it's just how I'm wired AND THIS IS WHY... i always preferred individual "team" sports.

Don't get me wrong, I can play team stuff with the best, and in HS was courted by both the boys baseball (they allowed girls but only had 2 on the team, and knocking balls around during lunch the coach saw me), and girls basketball team (similar situ). :P Instead I stuck with my swimming, diving, skating, horseback riding, surfing, fencing, dance, and crew teams. The idea of "starting" or "warming" ticked me off. I would rather play in a rec league where EVERYONE got to play... or on a school team like the ones I was on where EVERYONE got to swim/dive/row... then be forced to watch others play.

Fact of the matter was, I probably would have been one of the ones playing... but I had spent time on the sidelines in soccer as a kid, and it was the WORST feeling. Just heartbreaking. So I out and out refused to participate in any sport that had others feeling the way that I did, or left me the possibility.

Hugs to your daughter & you. She's a better woman than I was.



answers from Chicago on

Hi there. I can relate to your daughter, my junior year of HS I made the varsity team and was a bench warmer. Many of my other bench warmer friends quit. I did not, mostly because my parents taught me to stick out a commitment and making a team was a committment. It wasn't easy. It sucked. Just listen to her complain about it and let her know that it isn't easy to ride the pine but that you are proud of her for being positive with her team mates and sticking to the commitment. It is that level of commitment to the crappy times that will help her get through the times when she can't stand a co-worker, is not feeling appreciated by a boss and all the other things we experience as adults. (which of course she won't understand until later on... I didn't)

You are also setting a great example for her by attending the games and letting her know that you are not only there for her but for the team. This is hard but it is also just one of those things that many kids experience as part of growing up. Good luck to the team and you and your daughter.



answers from Chicago on

I played HS and college sports. In the beginning of my 7th grade basketball season, I was not a starter. I went to many basketball camps to improve my skills, in fact, it was a year round thing. Eventually, I beat out some of the starters and began playing the starting position. If your daughter is serious of wanting to play more, have go to some of those batting cages or play more during the summer. Practice makes perfect. I have been in all the sports like volleyball, tennis, basketball, track and softball. There is always something going on during off season. I played softball during the summer in some rec leagues to improve for next season.



answers from Houston on

My son will be a Sr next year and hes always been on the football team but never first string anything....until this year. Of course he has to be on Varsity being a Sr, However the coaches are so excited with the improvements he has made since JV last year he will be starting. For whatever reason he just wasnt quite there yet....Tell her to try her hardest at all practices and games. The coaches are always watching and they might see one player laging or simply not trying and see her trying with everything she has and boost her up!
He never gave up and always gives it his all. When he just stood on the side lines he was always next to the coaches to get excited right with them and show his support...All team sports are hard but if your in a team sport you need to give the whole team support and hopefully they will give you the same when its your turn!



answers from Chicago on

Well, I suppose you could take the, "You always need to be ready because you never know when someone might get sick or injured, etc." route. I think showing up even when you know she won't be playing is a great way to show your support, and even if she doesn't appreciate it now, she likely will someday. Really, on a JV team, I think it is kind of lousy of the coach to not spread playing time around a little more. Not that you should intervene w/the coach, but maybe this is one of those "life isn't fair" lessons, and being a team member means doing whatever you have to for the cause, even if it means honing your pine-riding cheerleading skills.

I remember those days well. Similar to PP, no JV when I was in HS. Only played my sophomore year. I think I still have the newspaper clipping from the Fri. double-header of prom night, when none of the jrs & srs showed up and the coach was forced to play me. I went 4 for 4 in one game! Sad to say, though, that experience really sticks in my mind as the one and only year (from the time I was 8 until I was pregnant w/my dd @ 38!) that I did not look forward to playing summer softball. I didn't go back the next year - was too busy with a leading role in the spring musical - or so I justified.

Does your daughter have good friends on the team? I was only friends with one other girl on that softball team. However, while I, too, was more mediocre at volleyball, for some reason it was just a lot more fun for me. Maybe because the team was loaded with my group of pals. That one I stuck with for 4 yrs.

You are doing a great job encouraging her, but I agree w/PP, if she wants to do something else next year, encourage that as well. In any event, sticking with something is definitely worth encouraging. But encouraging a variety of extracurricular activities, and exploring what she really enjoys is even more important.

One of the best learning experiences I ever had was making the JV basketball team my freshman year - when I really could not play basketball! It stunk, it wasn't fun, I wasn't getting any better and...it was one of the few things I ever quit in my life! Guess what? The world didn't end, I didn't become a lazy loafer, and I learned something hugely important: Sometimes, especially if something isn't working for you, it is really ok to quit. That notion came in handy down the road in a particularly difficult career situation which ultimately led to a career change!

Great job helping to keep your dd's chin up!



answers from Chicago on

I think you are doing a great job!

Personally I would ask her what she thinks she needs to work on to improve. Then encourage her to work on that. Have her talk to the coach and ask what she needs to work on. As long as she's on the team, she should be putting a lot of effort forth to be the best she can be. As long as she's working on a plan to get better, sitting on the bench won't feel so bad.

I'm sure it's hard to "walk in your sister's shadow" and I would encourage her to find her own passions where she excels. So many times I see sisters trying to do exactly what their big sisters do! Instead she should be developing her own talents. Perhaps she's never separated herself from Big Sister to find out what they are!

Good Luck!


answers from Fresno on

Well, that's the issue with most team sports. Unless you're a superstar, you won't see much playing time. If your daughter is not talented in softball, then she should pick something she is better at, or explore other areas to find out what she's good at. If she doesn't like softball and wants to quit, then why make her suffer through? I was an all-american swimmer in high school, but only after I figured out that basketball and volleyball were not my thing! In college I decided I didn't want to swim anymore and became a cheerleader (I have a dance background). Guess what? When you're a cheerleader, if you make the team, you are expected to fully participate in EVERY event! People who haven't been cheerleaders often don't understand, but these kids are often the most in-shape of any athlete (I could military press my own weight and could run stadiums longer and faster than the football players) - so other than the outfit, there's nothing fluffy about the sport. It's a real sport, a real team, and everyone participates.

So, swimming and cheer are just two of my suggestions for sports. If she is not competitive by nature, then how about theater or dance? There are so many ways to shine, she just has to find the one that is hers.



answers from Philadelphia on

In HS, I was a pretty good athlete and enjoyed playing both team and individual sports. My younger sister was not much of an athlete but played sports just to live up to my standard. She was, however, a phenomenal artist. I could never figure out why she kept trying to compete with me when she had such a fantastic talent of her own. I, on the other hand, couldn't draw a tree to save my life. It took my sister many years to just be herself and now she makes her living (and a pretty good one at that) using her artistic talents. I've chosen to be a SAHM who no longer plays sports (well, I do occasionally work out...). We're as close as two sisters could be after many years of emotional distance.

When you're in HS, everything seems so important and life is full of the passion of being a teenager. Every decision seems like THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN THE WORLD! And high school athletes are at the top of the pile, unfortunately. Although your daughter might not be actually playing, she's still a member of the team. If they win, she wins, if they lose, she loses. Actually playing is, in my opinion, not the most important part of being on a team. Aren't there teams out there that totally suck, but the kids on the team love the sport and their teammates? Keep encouraging your daughter to finish out the season as a teammate. If she loves playing softball but the school can't accommodate her next year, see if there are any intramural leagues through your township or maybe the YMCA. If she's just not that interested, maybe she could try another sport that her sister has nothing to do with. Or even better, encourage her to try an individual sport like tennis or golf. Those are sports that you can play your whole life and don't need a team to do so. Or encourage her to try a completely different activity altogether like art or music. There's so much more out there besides sports and your daughter will find what she loves!



answers from Chicago on

First of all, you are an awesome example as a loving and supportive parent. Way to go!! As the wife of a high school coach, I would encourage her to communicate directly with the coach and ask the coach for help and direction as to how she can get more playing time. Hopefully the coach will catch on to this and make an impact. This is another great life lesson - although it can be hard to sit by and watch. You are clearly doing an amazing job!!



answers from Chicago on

One positive is that it will go on a college ap. There are always spots to fill in for extra curriculars and volunteer etc. the more well rounded a kid is and the more they have participated in stuff the better the college ap. so not sure if that helps but it is something to tell her.


answers from Dallas on

I think it's great that you encourage her and show up to her games. Where is her heart? I know she is in the shadows of her sister, but does she have the same "love" for the sport... If she does, don't ever let her quit. I'm 36 years old and I was good and basketball not great and my junior year I did a lot of sitting that I wasn't use too. I quit my senior year and have regretted ever since, I even have dreams of playing my senior year. I loved the game. Now, if she's just doing it because her sister did, let her decide if she wants to go out next year. Hey Michael Jordan got cut in High School and became the greatest basketball player ever (I think). Talk to your older daughter who is the athlete and have her work with her sister... I really do think it's great of you to be such a big supporter.



answers from Chicago on

I don't have any advice for you, other than to encourage the approach that you are already taking. I definitely sympathize with your daughter. I made Varsity my freshman year, but mostly rode the bench from 9th-12th grades. I was a DH and back up 1st baseman, but I was one of the hardest working team members in practice, and one of the best cheerleaders on the bench. I am glad that it never occurred to me to quit, as I only have two amazing athletic experiences from hs--once when I hit a home-run off of one of the best pitchers in the state (it wasn't even in a game, just in batting practice) and another when I hit a tournament-winning grand slam with my dad present (the only softball game of my entire HS career that either of my parents were able to attend.) Here I am, about to attend my 10 year HS reunion this summer, and I think about how much I miss playing softball. My hubby never played baseball, so I have to wait for our 3 year old to grow up before I can even play catch again!!

Encourage her to finish out this season, and then if she feels up for a new sport next year, it would be a good time to try it. I was mediocre at volleyball, so after not getting a lot of playing time on JV during my sophomore year I switched to soccer and was able to play at the JV level (small, Catholic school--they let pretty much anyone play.) I'm glad I had that experience, as it exposed me to new experiences and allowed me to get a bit closer to some other girls that I had not spent a whole lot of time with.

Next question: Sports Mom Concerns