With outdoor track season upon us many high school students will decide to join their school’s track team. This decision means something different for each kid: some will dream of going to the Olympics, some will want try something new, and some just want to skip school for track meets. Each of these types of runners are important to a high school team.
If you’re a parent looking to support your child through their athletic career, we have gathered some tips you can use to help them achieve their goals.
The Do’s and Don’ts of Track and Field Parenting:
Do ask your child how much they would like you to spectate. While support is appreciated, some kids want more support and others prefer to do it alone.
Do understand your child’s goals. Track is very objective, and objectivity is a double-edged sword. On one hand, goals are easily set, on the other hand, goals are obviously missed. Try to know what the goals for the day are and be supportive whether they are missed or achieved.
D0 encourage your child to pack lots of food. This might sounds obvious, but buying food at the meet isn’t always an option. Track meets can be far from restaurants and grocery stores and the runner’s are very active ALL day. Better safe than sorry.
Do buy your child spikes. They make a big difference. Also, thankfully, this is the only big gear expense of running track and field at the high school level.
Don’t compare your child to other runners, your child will do that themselves. Instead, try to focus on their own performance and how they feel they can improve.
Don’t argue with an official. Reading this in a rational, level headed state it’s a easy to assume you would never do that. But people love their kids and know how much work they put into their sport, so things can get heated. Regardless, yelling won’t solve anything.
Don’t minimize the effort your child is putting into athletics. Running, and sport in general, are very worthwhile pursuits for your child. Track and field is a sport that requires a lot of discipline and the skills that your child will learn on the track are highly transferable to other aspects of life.
Don’t coach your child, unless you’re actually the coach of the team. Leave the technical and tactical advice to the experts. The best bet of a parent is to provide emotional support pre and post race.
The most important thing to remember is that track and field at the high school level should be fun. If your child chooses to continue on in the sport, there will be many years devoted to hard work and seriousness. The best advice you can give your child is to enjoy themselves – because running is great.