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After upgrading to the junior coach advanced level, Dai Li received another gift pack. But inside the pack was only a piece of golden paper.
"A paper?" Li looked at it carefully. There were three bold words: Morale-Boosting Book.
"Morale-Boosting Book? What the heck is this?" Li was confused.
"You know what morale is, don't you? For athletes, keeping morale high can stimulate their performance, and even help them reach new heights. But if their morale sinks low, the athletes will lose confidence, to the point where they can't perform to even half their abilities," explained the system.
"You mean this is for stimulating morale?" Li was upset. He looked at the rest of the paper.
"Step 1: Praise the athlete before the game.
"Step 2: Give applause when the athlete enters the court.
"Step 3: Cheer up during the game."
Li's face twitched. Those were all he had on the paper, and they all looked unreliable.
"What is this shxt? Praise, applaud, and cheer up? Define method!" Li swore in his mind.
"Don't doubt it. Think about this. What if the audience cheers you on when you are on stage? Have you ever noticed that local athletes have better performances when they compete in their hometown? This method is definitely useful, and when you combine this with the other two methods, the effect will be amazing! Even if the athlete just broke up with his or her significant other, they can gain confidence again," the system explained. "Remember that there are three key points. Firstly, the efficiency lasts from the time the athlete steps on the stage to the time he or she leaves, rather than from when the game starts and ends."
Li thought hard for a while. "I think I get the idea. Say there is a 100m dash, the efficiency lasts from the beginning to the end; but if there is a game like shot put, javelin, weightlifting, or diving, which requires athletes to perform several times, the methods work whenever they are performing; for sports like basketball, soccer, or volleyball, which has intervals and substitutions, the methods work when the athletes are on the field. Am I right?"
"Good job! Take basketball for example: sometimes an athlete may only play one round, then be substituted. It still counts. Or he might only pitch once before they call for a time-out. This also counts. The Morale-Boosting Book can stimulate the athlete's morale no matter how long he or she plays," the system explained in detail.
"Got you. What about the second point?" asked Li.
"Secondly, in the same period of time, the effect can't be stacked. Say you are cheering up an athlete. It works the same whether you cheer him up one time or hundreds of times. Thirdly, you can use the skill for groups. If you were the coach of a basketball or soccer team, you could use it to stimulate the whole group of athletes," the system explained, bringing the other two points together.
"I see. If I were a soccer coach and I told them "You are the best!" before they enter the field, applaud all of them when they are about to start the game, and cheer them up during the game, they would all be helped, right?" asked Li.
"What if the player is a foreigner? Should I cheer him up in English?" asked Li.
"Well, it shouldn't be difficult for you to speak English. One word is 'Go!' Two words are 'Come on!' Actually, the language is not very important as long as the athlete understands what you mean," explained the system.
His second day back, Li went through formalities, then returned to the weightlifting team.
"Hey Li, you are finally back!" Aiguo Jiang looked excited. The others also welcomed Li back. Before Li had left, the weightlifters had all gotten used to Li's massage. Once Li was absent, no one could replace him, and it was at that time that they realized Li's importance.
During the four month separation, Aiguo Jiang participated in a national championships substation game and a weightlifting championship. Without the explosive force halo Jiang didn't win a medal, but he still placed. Jiang was now going to take part in the National Weightlifting Championships in the Final Competition.
"Li, I thought you would stay there forever. There are three weeks left before the final competition, I would not dare show up to the game without you," Jiang laughed.
The final competition was the last game of this year's weightlifting contests. All points gained in all substation games determined whether an athlete was allowed to participate the final game or not. In other words, only the best weightlifters had a chance to compete in the final game. To Aiguo Jiang, this game was decisive. One more year and he could retire, which meant the final game would be Jiang's ending competition in his career.
Li wanted to examine the effectiveness of the Morale-Boosting Book, but unfortunately, Jiang didn't give Li the chance. In the next three weeks, Jiang had kept his morale high, meaning he was over-excited. Li inquired about what had caused Jiang's excitement, and later heard from the others that a few days ago some volunteers from Operation Smile had come to Qingcheng City and offered Jiang's daughter the second operation. It was successful. Jiang was euphoric about it.
Operation Smile was a nonprofit charity which offered special care and medical treatment for poor kids with cleft lips and other deformities of the head and face. A large part of volunteers were national or international specialists. Although Jiang's family wasn't poor, Jiang requested a British specialist to provide an operation for his daughter through the charity.
Jiang's current life was full of hope, and the effect lasted for the entire three weeks prior to the final competition. To an already cheered-up athlete, the Morale-Boosting Book was useless. Li didn't see any difference, which made him upset.
Jiang placed well. He won bronze in the game, which was an extraordinary result for a 32-year-old athlete. With the end of the competition, the weightlifting team was ready for the holidays. As Spring Festival approached, many nonlocal athletes and coaches were permitted to leave early. Li was also preparing to return home.
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