In each of us there is the potential to excel and do even better than we already have been and sometimes all that is needed to tap on that potential is a little encouragement.
An incident of the power of encouragement I experienced was during the basketball semi-finals of the inter-varsity-polytechnic games in 2010. As with all other matches, we always have strong bench support. The bench is cheering on every good play and basket we make, calling out reminders to our players on court, and stomping our feet and clapping our hands to the rhythm of our cheers. Off court, our bench support is ferocious, on court, the acknowledgement of assist passes and baskets made through a simple nod or high-five is evident and heart-lifting.
The semis was the closest match we have had all season as the lead alternated between the opponent and us. What was different in the bench support in this game was that the bench cheered both when we were on offense and defense, so it was non-stop cheering throughout the game. We made more effort on the on-court encouragement by making it a "rule" to acknowledge every assist or basket that our teammates make.
Even as one of our players on court got angry at the fouls the referees were not calling for us, the other players who saw that encouraged her to press on and that simple act renewed her determination to fight on and she continued to perform and prove herself as a threat to the opponents.
During our debrief after the game, players expressed appreciation at the on and off-court undying support. It is the perpetual belief and encouragement from all the players that put us a rank above the rest.
A small gesture or that verbal encouragement is sometimes all that is needed to rejuvenate our spirits to achieve even greater heights. That, is the power of encouragement.