All-Star Spotlight: Go ahead and motivate

Every week in “All-Star Spotlight,” members of the ESPNHS All-Star team tackle a hot topic in high school sports. Today, Bella Rutkowski, a senior at Simsbury (Conn.), shows how hard work at practice can motivate the rest of your team.

Imagine your average girls’ high school sports team running its daily 2-mile warm-up run before practice.

When I imagine this scenario, I picture the majority of girls running together at an average pace, a couple lagging slightly behind, and those two or three girls that always have to be first. Well, during one of my field hockey seasons, I was one of those girls.

Now keep in mind, I was one of those girls only because my closest friend on the team pushed me to run as fast as I could and not give in to my body every time it told me I was about to die.

Over the course of that season I had mixed feelings about always being one of the first girls to return to the coach after the warm-up run.

On one hand, I was thankful that my friend dragged me (literally) through each of those runs and raised my standard of physical feats. I felt motivated and slightly smug when I would be one of the first girls to pass the guys’ soccer fields on the run back. I also felt extremely strong and confident in my running ability that season, and I probably had most of my best field hockey games that year due to my physical skill as well as my confident mental state.

On the other hand, however, being one of the first to finish something always ends up with you having stepped on some people’s toes along the way. Some girls were noticeably frustrated when I would beat them back to the starting point.

Luckily for me, over the course of the season all the girls became more motivated and we were all running alongside each other by the end of the season. The girls who had been running behind the group ended up becoming more motivated when pushed by us, their teammates, just like my friend had done for me.

Throughout this experience I’ve realized that when a team applies an effective strategy and makes it work for everyone, the result will be a positive one.