Here’s the Game Plan: Moving up through the ranks

Sports Editor Emily Stancliff is an athlete with a mission: to inform you, the sports community, about your bad habits. “Here’s the Game Plan” will give readers advice about everything and anything, ranging from fuel food to keeping your “cool” during a rough game


Shivering in my thin jacket, I stood along the sidelines of the turf field in agony, while I watched my fellow teammates run up and down the field gasping and wheezing for breath. I could not help but feel dejected as I watched the game unfold, thinking that I could help my team out. I wanted to play. I deserved to play, but I was stuck on the sidelines. What could I do?

At one point or another, many of us have experienced the horrifying prospect of sitting out a game or failing to get any playing time while on a high level team. In the hope of increasing your chances of getting more playing time, I have developed a foolproof way to get you on the field playing the game you love.

While many of us are told to practice during the off-season, I know from experience that there are few people who actually train for the upcoming season. While it is good to give yourself a break every now and then, it is equally important to hone your skills and techniques. By actually getting out there and practicing, you not only improve as a player, but also showcase your dedication when you are the only one to show up to tryouts in shape.

In the same vein, your effort in every practice, every game, and every run matters. The commitment that you show in each of these aspects shows your willingness to get your hands dirty and work hard. As a trainer, I can attest that I would much rather put in a player who tries their hardest, even if they are not perfect, than a player who slacks during practice, but plays well in games.

Another key facet that coaches look for is intensity. While I was never the fastest or the most skilled player on the field, I was typically selected on teams because of the quiet intensity I brought to the field.

Lastly, your attitude on and off the field is a cardinal feature of who you are to your coaches and teammates.

Always be the positive influence, encouraging and cheering on your fellow teammates, even if you are on the bench. In the depths of despair, you might be the push that other players need to boost their confidence, and thus boost their play.

No matter what kind of player you are, there will always be highs and lows on the field. Prove everyone wrong and be the one to step on the field with pride in the number on your back and the thrill of the game in your heart.

Emily Stancliff is a Sports Editor for The Patriot and