Some athletes who are benched may experience identity crises, the impact of which may be long-lasting and far-reaching for them. Case-study interviews with three athletes who have experienced such crises are presented. The similarities in the case studies suggest that the bench/identity crisis may be a relatively common phenomenon. Suggestions are offered for athletes, coaches, and sport psychology consultants to help respond to such experiences effectively.
Robert J. Rotella and Douglas S. Newburg are with the Department of Health and Physical Education, Memorial Gymnasium, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22903.