What should I say and how should I say it? Here is some advice on how to cheer before, during and after a race.
- The one over-arching rule: Don't interfere!
- It's okay to wave, smile or yell a quick "Go Trojans", "good luck", etc.
- Avoid engaging a runner in much conversation--this gets more important the closer you get to race time.
- Let your runner indicate to you what level of contact they want from you.
- Avoid the team camp area. (If you have to drop off something for your runner, get in and out quickly)
- The runners have jobs to do. Let them prepare mentally and physically as they see fit.
During the race:
- Again, one over-arching rule: Be positive!
- Absolute statements are rarely true, but here is one anyway: Saying something negative will never improve a runner's performance. If you are frustrated with your runner, keep it to yourself. You are here for them, not the other way around.
- It is helpful sometimes to let a runner know that someone is gaining on them, but don't overdo it.
- Remind them of what they already know-- they are strong, they look great, they look loose.
- Cheer on everyone, not just your child.
- Avoid cheering against an opposing team/runner.
- Point out that they are gaining on the person in front of them; encourage them to focus on that competitor.
- Don't worry about sounding and looking foolish, as long as you are being positive.
After the race:
- Allow the coaches first chance to talk to the runners. Keep a respectful distance.
- Let your runner know how proud, impressed, inspired you are. If you aren't, then you have probably never run competitively, because regardless of time or place every runner should inspire you.
- Find out from your runner what they want from you. Some want parents to be supportive and nothing else. Others may appreciate help with analyzing their race.
- Remember, no one steps up to the starting line intending to run less than their best.