Battle of the Bench

Exerpt from “This is Good: A Journey On Overcoming Adversity

“Unity is strength.” -African Proverb

At the center of Belmont’s culture was winning the Battle of the Bench (BOB). The idea behind it is that the majority of time when teams are somewhat equal, the team with the most engaged bench will win. Everyone has a role during every contest. If you are on the field, you have a specific role. When you are on the bench your job is to be completely engaged, keeping yourself mentally and physically ready to go at any moment as well as fueling your teammates on the field. Everyone on the bench stands and communicates the entire contest.

Communication includes giving support, cheering, or letting team-mates know what you see that can help them strategically. When I have introduced this to other teams, I occasionally will have someone say well that would get tiring. My response is, if it tires you to stand and actively engage with your teammates that are running up and down the field, then you probably are too tired to go into the game.

Why is BOB so important? First, it allows you to be ready if or when your number is called. Secondly, it adds energy to the field. When your teammates hear you yelling and encouraging them, it gives them just a little more energy to win that 50-50 ball or to make that tackle. BOB also creates unity. You are all in this together. This is strengthened when you are supporting each other as hard as you can. Lastly (not why you should do it but a side effect of it) it can irritate, intimidate, or just fluster the other team. BOB is never intended to ever say anything to or about an opponent. However, when an entire bench is giving their team energy, it can wear on opposing players.

When you are watching a sporting event, pay attention to the benches of each team. On teams that are connected, you will often find that you can’t tell if a team is winning or losing because the bench is engaged just as much when losing as they are when winning. This creates energy and momentum that becomes contagious.

Belmont players took pride in their ability to not just win BOB, but to dominate it. This was always a pregame goal. They often heard from opponents how much they hated playing Belmont because of their bench. In 2019, Belmont took BOB to a new level. Everyone did their part when on the sideline. Special kudos to Sarah Doyle, Taylor Dorenkott, Kayla Monis, Jordan Chawan, Emma Sharou, Haley Poynter, Emily Nguyen, Emily Abdoney, Hannah Diaz, Megan Porras, Morgan Pettit, Paige Hewitt, and Erin Patterson.     

Energy is deliberately created in teams.

Tami Matheny is owner of Refuse2LoseCoaching. She is a Mental Game Coach and Author. Her books include: “This is Good” at:, “The Confident Athlete: 4 Easy Steps to Build and Maintain Confidence”, “Challenger Deep: Stories, Fables, and Lessons to Help You Rise Above Adversity” and “The Confidence Journal”. All books can be purchased online at Amazon. For group discounts or signed copies contact

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