During this XC season I believed that I have learnt how to act as a leader. Being asked to serve the team as captain, it had enhanced and even strengthen my abilities to motivate and help others reach their maximum potential and improve their times week by week during our meetings at Tama Hills. Throughout the practices every week and even at races, I believe my strengths were my ability to keep myself motivated and even dedicated to run faster as time goes by. Furthermore, I learnt how to plan out the amount of energy I use during the running route, being effective in balancing out my energy at the beginning and sprinting at the end to throw off all the energy I had conserved before.
One of the challenges I have not come across in XC was my leadership skills. In the past, I have only learnt to contribute as a team member and dedicate my time to myself, solely focusing on my times that I wish to improve. Although, this year was different for me since I was laid the responsibility to look after my team mates. Especially during practices I would have just been assigned to run Yamashita Park. However, I had planned out different routes and see whether or not those routes I’ve chosen would benefit my team members to use different parts of their energy against flat roads, steep hills etc. Apart from practices, at races we would huddle together and I would put forward a few motivational words to get everyone on their feet. I believe the main highlight of this season was the fact that XC in YIS was finally qualified for AISA. Hence, being honoured to be elected as one of the representing runners of YIS, 10 runners(including me) flew to Seoul, South Korea for an inauguration XC tournament against other international/American schools in Korea and Japan. It was my first time, traveling to another country to participate in sports so it was a challenge for me to get use to run in unfamiliar areas and even take on more steeper hills and rigorous running routes than the ones we have been practicing in Tama Hills.
I had collaborated with every team member effectively. Mostly team members were focused and felt confidence and showed their effort and dedication putting into the practices and even races. In the beginning, some people were quite nervous and even tired to run longer distances. Although, by sharing my experiences with XC in general and even putting forward some advice, it had boosted their confidence as their motivation grew day by day. Whilst I’d run in practices, I would pass people who are walking and feeling exhausted already, but I had pushed their limits and ensured that nobody was walking at all, instead even jogging at minimum expectations.
Leadership and commitment does integrate very smoothly into this experience of mine. By acting as a leader to encourage people to development their cardio skills and perceive them improve their times, it simultaneously motivates me and without realising my dedication and commitment had increased and I believe all my peers and teachers have seen it too. I had devoted my time to shorten my time week by week. As a result that goal of mine had shown on my time records on athletics.net.
Reflecting upon the season, discerning skills that I have not before and compared to as of now, I had drastically improved in many areas. One major aspect that stands out the most is my leadership skills. Setting an example to have people follow my lead and help each other to gain more dedication, giving out advice was a huge step-up for encouragement, and even self perseverance to strive for better times. My communication skills was identifiable, for instance conveying straight forward motivational words to my team mates before races and even advising them during practices to show better running techniques.
If I were to repeat this activity again and still is to serve as captain, I would probably implement more running techniques and discover even more routes to find an optimal training method that suits everyone. The advice I had conveyed were quite broad e.g. “Swing your arms back and forth for more speed”, “Breathe at a constant rate.” I would research more professionally approved skills that will help boost the YIS XC reputation much higher against other schools. Despite after experiencing this sport, I still wonder where YIS will go further with AISA and how the upcoming training styles and seriousness of the team will become. I still hope to this day that I had been able to set an example for upcoming leaders to follow and even implement more teaching styles than what I have ever left in the team. From this experience, I had branched out to other ideas being quite intrigued in knowing more about the “Hakone University Student Marathon” which takes place every year. Their coaches develop their team mates to become such impeccably skilled runners that rank highly within the country, and watching them on TV is very intimidating and intense. But I wonder how the coaches teach their runners and their training styles which brings them up to a level that could even compete closely in the Olympics and other major track and field events in the world.