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A Parent's Guide to Cross Country

 

Congratulations!  Your son or daughter has joined the Bravo High School Cross Country Team.

 

What is Cross Country?

Cross country is a team running sport that takes place in the fall on a measured three mile course over varied surfaces and terrain.  Cross Country races are typically held on dirt trails or in parks.  The Cross Country season runs from August to November, approximately 10 weeks.

 

How Cross Country is Scored:

A cross country meet is scored by each team adding up the places of its top 5 finishers.  The low score wins (just like in golf).  For example, a team that scores 26 points places ahead of a team that scores 29 points, as follows:

                   Bravo                              Franklin

                       1                                       2

                       4                                       3

                       5                                      7

                       6                                         8

                        10                                       9

                    ____                                   ____

Score              26                        Score     29

                           (Bravo Wins!!!!!)

 

A team's 6th and 7th finishers can also figure in the scoring if they place ahead of other teams' top finishers.  When that is the case, they become "pushers" by pushing up their opponents' scores, as follows:

                   Bravo                                 Franklin

                      2                                           1

                      3                                           4

                      6                                           5

                      8                                           7

                      9 (10) (11)                            12

                 _______                              _________

Score           28                              Score    29

                             (Bravo Wins!!!!)

 

Only a team's 6th and 7th finishers can be pushers, regardless of how many of its runners may finish ahead of an opposing team's top 5 finishers.

 

If there is a tie, the team with the fastest 6th place finisher wins.  If neither team has a 6th place finisher, the team with the fastest 4th place finisher wins.

 

Levels of competition/Participation:

 

Bravo High School is a member of the Southern League of the Los Angeles Section of the CIF.  We will be participating in 5 triangular (three teams competing) meets.  In these meets all team members can participate.  There are 6 divisions:

          Girls' Varsity        Girls’ Junior Varsity                 Girls’ Frosh Soph

         

          Boys' Varsity        Boys' Junior Varsity                Boys' Frosh-Soph

 

We will also be competing in several invitationals and our championships series.  In Invitationals and League and City Championships our teams are limited to 7 - 10 runners in each division depending on the meet.

 

What it takes to be successful:

 

More than anything else, success in Cross Country takes time... time to learn; time to train; time to sleep, rest, and recover; class time; after-school time; weekend time; time away from family and friends; time away from other interests.  With the academic responsibilities of being a high school student, most student-athletes are busy all the time.  The willingness to devote the time that success demands is called Dedication.

 

Being a member of the Bravo Cross Country Team carries other expectations and responsibilities.  Doing what is expected of every team member is called Commitment.  Attending team practices every day is one of the commitments we expect.  Your son or daughter has received a packet of information outlining our team rules and policies, and the athletic code of conduct and rules of eligibility from the Los Angeles Unified School District.  Ask your son or daughter to see this.  Our goal is to develop team loyalty and individual responsibility and accountability among all our team members.  High school sports are a wonderful vehicle for personal growth.  We hope that you as parents will appreciate this and support our goals.

 

Another commitment we expect is Communication with the coaches. If a problem or illness is going to force your son or daughter to miss practice or a meet, we expect him or her to notify the coach personally and in advance (this does not mean relaying a message through a teammate or friend).  All problems or injuries should be communicated to the coach.  Many problems and/or misunderstandings can be solved when we communicate.

 

How you can help your son or daughter

 

As your aspiring young runner begins the first weeks of training, you may wonder what you should expect and how you can assist her or him as a parent in terms of recovery, eating, sleeping and mental attitude.  As a rule, we don't recommend you change any aspect of your normal routine of home responsibilities, family meal planning, bedtime, and social guidelines. 

 

A normal consequence of beginning to train is muscle soreness, which will soon go away.  If your son or daughter has not participated in sports before, this may persist up to two weeks.  They should communicate this to us so we can adjust their training. 

 

Any athlete engaged in intensive training and competition can be subject to injury.  We can prevent most injuries when our runners tell us about their aches and pains before they become disabling. 

 

Nutrition/Hydration

 

Nutritious, well-balanced meals are essential for an athlete.  Start the day by drinking two glasses of water immediately after getting up in the morning,   It’s important to start the day off hydrated after going without drinking all night.

 

Don’t skip breakfast.  The day needs to start with fuel.  Taking a multivitamin with iron at breakfast is a good insurance policy.  Also take advantage of Breakfast in the Classroom and the school lunch at school.  Eating several smaller meals throughout the day is better than loading up in just one or two meals.

 

 Especially on race days, fatty and fried foods, and carbonated or acidic drinks should be avoided.  Smaller portions of easily digested foods eaten at least 2 to 3  hours before competition or practice are generally best, but water intake should never be limited.  Most athletes feel best when they race or train a little hungry.

 

 Hydration before, during, and after practice is essential.  Many athletes carry a disposable water bottle with them so they can hydrate all day.

 

After training and racing, refueling is vital to recovery.  Eating lean protein and carbohydrates within 30 minutes of the end of the race or practice is considered optimal .  Nonfat or low fat chocolate milk can be great if it fits into your child’s diet and preferences since it provides protein, carbohydrates, and liquid. 

 

Hard training will result in higher calorie intake, especially for boys.  There is strong research also supporting that the ingestion of protein before bedtime can be beneficial (Again chocolate milk can be a good choice for some people.).  A healthy diet of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein will help a runner succeed and stay healthy.

 

 

How to buy running shoes

 

If you are buying your own shoes, if possible go to a store that deals primarily with running footwear and apparel.  These stores have experienced runners as sales persons who can help you choose the right shoe with the right fit for your athlete.  There is no getting around the fact that running shoes are expensive, but to run in poor shoes is an invitation to injury.  The best way to prolong the life and function of a new pair of running shoes is to wear them for running only, not as school shoes or for other sports activities.  A typical shoe life is about 400 miles.  The fit should be snug around the instep and the heel (no slip) with a roomy toe box.  The longest toe should be a thumb nail width from the end of the shoe.  A mid weight shoe is best for training (a heavy shoe is discouraging; a light weight shoe won't last as long.)  85% of runners could use a medial post for pronation control.  Most runners would do better replacing the sock liner with a Spenco arch support.  Cross trainers are not really designed for running.   Some runners will choose to get racing flats too (to be used only in racing): they're light weight, have good traction, and can help an athlete get "psyched-up" for competition. But they should not be used for regular training.     

 

   

 

Cross country vocabulary

 

Dual meet -- a meet between two teams

Triangular meet -- a meet between three teams

Invitational meet -- a multi-team meet (Kenny Staub, Mt SAC) on a Saturday

Top 7 -- the scoring members of a team

Course -- the marked and measured rout of a race

Starting Box -- designated area to which a team is assigned on the starting                                  line

False Start -- leaving the starting line before the gun sounds

Finish Chute --  a rope bordered funnel past the finish line that moves runners                            into single file order of finish

Pace -- running speed over a particular distance

Surge -- a tactical increase in pace during a race

Kick -- a burst of speed at the finish of a race

Pack -- a group of runners  in close proximity

Personal Record (PR) -- a best-ever performance on a given course

Racing Flats -- special, light weight shoes designed for racing, rather than                                  daily training

Training Flats -- running shoes designed for long wear, cushioning, and                                     support for daily training (called "flats" because they have no spiked bottoms)

Warm-up -- a running and stretching routine that gradually warms up the                          body for intense running (training or racing)

Cool Down -- a jogging, walking, stretching routine that allows the muscles                               to purge themselves of lactates and the body to gradually                              lower its temperature to normal following a workout or race

Workout -- a daily training session

 

Preparing to watch your first Cross Country Meet

When you arrive at the meet site, ask to see a map of the course.  First, locate the start and finish, then try to scout central points where you can see as much of the race with as little moving around as possible.  Notice the different uniform colors as the teams warm up before the start.  We wear maroon shorts and a white singlet with a gold horizontal stripe on the front.  Our league meets will have 3 to 4 different divisions starting about 20 minutes apart.  The Saturday invitationals, however, that have many teams, can last all morning.

 

Do not expect the attention of your son or daughter once we get to the meet.  The athlete need time to warm up on the course, be briefed by the coach, and to prepare for the race with their teammates.  Many parents are initially surprised at the seriousness their son or daughter shows prior to and during a race.  The intensity of competition may reveal a side of your young athlete's personality you haven't seen before.

 

During the race, you can move form point to point along the course to cheer the runners as they pass.  Be careful, however, to stay off the runners' path and out of their way.  Rules also forbid running alongside a competitor to pace or encourage him or her.

 

At the finish of the race, the runners file through a finish chute.  It's OK to greet them then, but they may have to turn in their finish card or tag to the coach ASAP so scores can be tabulated.  Our runners have other responsibilities after their finish.  We expect them to actively support and cheer for their teammates; they are also expected to jog and cool down as a team. 

 

Some runners are more spent than others after a race.  Typical symptoms of their effort and fatigue are breathlessness, general weakness, rubbery legs, glassy eyes, salivating, and sometimes nausea.  A mistake parents sometimes make is to take their son or daughter off by themselves to take care of them.  Please do not do this.  The coach is experienced in dealing with these symptoms, trained in first-aid, and responsible for their care.  To aid recovery, water is the best thing to drink immediately after a race.

 

Expect the possibility of some disappointment by your athlete after the race if his or her team did not win, and/or if he or she failed to achieve all or her or his goals.  Athletes may need some emotional space afterward from both you and their coach.  Later on, they will need verbal support rather than criticism.

 

Once the meet is over, please do not take your daughter or son home with you without first checking with me.  I am legally bound by state law for athletes' safe transport to and from the meet.  You also need to know that high school athletes are not allowed to drive themselves to a meet when bus transportation is provided.

      

We're looking forward to a great Cross Country Season at Bravo.

Robert Russell

Please click here to access the calendar for Parent Teacher Conferences:

https://calendly.com/rrussel/parent-teacher-conferences?month=2021-04

 

 

Schedule 2022 -- 2023

 

Period 1  English 10 Honors

Period 2  English 10 Honors

Period 2  AP English Language

Period 4  English 10 Honors

Period 6  Cross Country

Nutrition/Hydration for Athletes

 

Nutritious, well-balanced meals are essential for an athlete.  Start the day by drinking two glasses of water immediately after getting up in the morning,   It’s important to start the day off hydrated after going without drinking all night.

 

Don’t skip breakfast.  The day needs to start with fuel.  Taking a multivitamin with iron at breakfast is a good insurance policy.  Also take advantage of Breakfast in the Classroom and the school lunch at school.  Eating several smaller meals throughout the day is better than loading up in just one or two meals.

 

 Especially on race days, fatty and fried foods, and carbonated or acidic drinks should be avoided.  Smaller portions of easily digested foods eaten at least 2 to 3  hours before competition or practice are generally best, but water intake should never be limited.  Most athletes feel best when they race or train a little hungry.

 

 Hydration before, during, and after practice is essential.  Many athletes carry a refillable water bottle with them so they can hydrate all day.

 

After training and racing, refueling is vital to recovery.  Eating lean protein and carbohydrates within 30 minutes of the end of the race or practice is considered optimal .  Nonfat or low fat chocolate milk can be great if it fits into your child’s diet and preferences since it provides protein, carbohydrates, and liquid. 

 

Hard training will result in higher calorie intake, especially for boys.  There is strong research also supporting that the ingestion of protein before bedtime can be beneficial (Again chocolate milk can be a good choice for some people.).  A healthy diet of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein will help a runner succeed and stay healthy.

 

 

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