Frequently Asked Questions
What are the official practice times?
Our team will practice from 4:00pm to 6pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays from September through March. The team will practice from 4:30pm to 6:00pm in the spring. In general, physical practice will end at 5:45pm and pickup can begin at 5:45pm. Please do not arrive later than 6:00pm to pick up your child. Of course, our coaches will NEVER leave a child behind. If you are running late, please call or text your child or one of the coaches.
Do we practice in inclement weather?
For the most part, we do NOT cancel practice. We will run in the rain, cold weather, light snow, and heat. We watch the radar and always make decisions based on safety. Your child should prepare appropriate clothing for practice before leaving for school, each day. An email and website posted in created by 1:30pm on the day of cancellations, when possible. We average 2 cancelled practices per YEAR.
What should my child bring to practice?
Your child should bring as little to practice as possible. The only thing they need is appropriate clothing. Early fall and spring, this includes a tee shirt, shorts, and running sneakers. As mid fall arrives, sweats or compression tops and bottoms may be worn. Towards the end of the fall and winter season, sweats are mandatory. A water bottle is a must at every practice. PLEASE LABEL ALL CLOTHING IN PERMANENT MARKER.
What should my child have for breakfast before a race?
Choosing your race day breakfast can make a difference in your performance. Keep it simple. Make sure that you eat breakfast at least 2 hours before your race is scheduled to START. Do not try NEW foods on race day, as you may not be sure how your body will react. Eat what you are used to and love. The best bet is simple items, such as cold or hot cereals and oatmeal, fruits, bagels, rolls, and other pastries that are not too sugary. Avoid large amounts of dairy and meats. Avoid fried and/or greasy foods. Fruit juice, milk, hot chocolate, teas are fine
with the meal. Only water should be ingested after the meal, not sports drinks.
What fluids should my child use to stay hydrated?
Here’s a simple rule to follow. Water before and during races and practices. Recovery drinks for refueling after racing or training. Gatorade, VitaminWater and other sports drinks are high in sugar. Diluting will help. Chocolate milk (with real milk, not Chocolate “Drink”) is the best recovery drink. Again, water before, during, and after is best. You child should carry a water bottle to school and practice, each day. The bottle should be refilled whenever emptied. Please make sure that your child has an identifiable water bottle.
What if it is raining the morning of the meet or on a practice day?
Practice is rarely cancelled for rain. We will train in light rain, snow, or cold weather. Practice will be cancelled in cases of severe thunder and lightning storms, tornado and hurricane warnings and steady, relentless rain. An email, Twitter message, and website posting is normally posted by 2:30pm on a practice day, if cancelled. Races are RARELY cancelled due to weather. An email, Twitter message, and website posting is will be posted as soon as the meet is cancelled. This has only happened once in 4 years. Your child is expected to be at practice and meets, regardless of the weather.
What if we need a ride to the meet?
The Prospect Park Youth Running Club parents are the most amazing group in the world. We have never had trouble getting all of our athletes to and from the competition venues. Weekly, we have volunteer parents meet at the Pavilion Movie Theater before leaving for the meet. Normally, the information about an upcoming meet is posted on our website at the beginning of the week. This will include directions, arrival times, and carpool/share times. The best way to develop relationships with other parents is to socialize at practices and meets. It takes a village and PPYRC is more like a small City. You are not obligated to transport other children, but if you have extra seats and are willing, please offer each week that you are available. The drop off location will remain the Pavilion Theater, unless a child lives near you.
When should we plan to arrive at the meet?
ALWAYS know the arrival time for your child. This is always posted on our site in advance. If various arrival times are listed based on age groups or events, make sure that you understand the details specific to you and your child.
What should we bring with us to the meet?
Most important, you should bring your child, in full team uniform. It is strongly advised that you bring your own folding chairs to meets. Often, there is no place for parents to sit, especially for a team of our size. During the Fall and Spring seasons, you may also consider pop-up tents or a simple canopy. This can be used for shade, shelter from rain, as well as meeting points for our team. You should ALWAYS monitor the weather and pack extra clothing and or blankets. It is advisable to pack a lunch for you and your child. Cross Country meets are fairly short, but spring meets can be longer. If you have younger siblings, consider packing something that may keep their attention during the meet.
How can I assure that my child does not lose their team uniform items?
We have a roster of approximately 100 children for our Fall, Winter, and Spring seasons. Each age division has 25-30 children. This increases the potential for your child to lose their team clothing at practice or meets. PLEASE USE A PERMANENT MARKER to label their gear. Weekly, dozens of items are picked up. Unless the items are labeled, they may not be returned to the rightful owner. Please do this, asap.
What division is my child in for competitions?
PPYRC is a member of two national organizations which govern youth Track & Field. These organizations, USATF and AAU adjust the division criteria, each year. For example, in 2012, the division parameters were:
“ 8 and UNDER”-Sub-Bantam-Born 2005 and after
Parents and athletes should be aware of the divisions, as announcements will be division-based. Early in the cross country season, many races are co-ed. Boys and girls will be separated for the championship meets.
What does my PPYRC membership include?
Your membership includes the basic uniform, which includes a racing tank top and shorts, hooded sweat top and bottoms, T-Shirt, and bag. Our athletes also receive one year memberships to the two National Organizations that govern our sport in the United States, USATF and AAU. The team receives insurance from both organizations. Membership also includes all race fees FOR THE CURRENT SEASON.
What should we do when we arrive at the meet?
Look for our team. Settle in and make sure that your child joins the other athletes. Listen for instructions and support the coaches and parents as they begin to prepare the team for competition. If numbers are being distributed, send your child to the adult in charge. Please do not claim the number yourself. We want the children to learn to be self sufficient. You may help your child pin the number on his/her tank top, if needed. Ask another parent if you missed any instructions. If you arrived late, make sure your child reports directly to a coach to see if anything was missed. If your child needs to use the bathroom, please assist as soon as you arrive.
When should my child warm up?
Your child will be instructed to warm up based on the time schedule. All athletes within a given division, event, or relay will warm up together. Your child should not warm up separately from the group, unless you arrived late.
What should we do while waiting for our race?
Socialize with other parents, be positive with the chidren, and wish them all luck. It is important that you do not appear nervous for your child. It is contagious. Refrain from coaching, but be the biggest cheer leader in the world. Echo the coaches’ instructions and add to the positive vibe of our team.
Can I run alongside my child to cheer him/her on?
No! Never! This is illegal and cause for disqualification. It is called pacing and can results in your child being DQd. As a result of a child being DQd, the team can be penalized in the results. You can cheer as loud as you want, just stand still as the runners pass.
How can we help at the meet?
Occassionally, we will ask for parent volunteers to accept important tasks. This may include collecting medals, collecting sweats at the starting line, distributing race bibs (numbers), recording times, walking the younger groups to the start, shaking a cowbell, and other random tasks. All of these jobs are important and make the day go smoothly. Listen for the call for volunteers, but do not take on a task without being asked. Another parent may already be assigned. If it appears that no one is assigned, asking a coach may be helpful. Sometimes, the coaches are really busy and may overlook the task. We have far more parents than jobs. The best thing you can do at a meet is spread out along permissible locations on the race course (cross country). Consistent cheering helps our athletes get the job done. In addition, we are ALWAYS looking for photos of our children for our webite. Over the years, our amazing parent photographers have documented the progress of our club. These images are usually displayed at end of the year celebrations.
I think my child won a medal. Can I pick it up from the officials?
Do not claim the medal for your child. Meet management asks that only coaches and designees report to the results table to collect medals. We will assign this task to coaches and specific parents. Please respect this rule. If you have to leave before your child’s medal is ready, we will collect the medal and distribute at practice.
After my child’s race is over, can we go home?
All athletes are encouraged to stay until the meet is over to support the other children. If it is an emergency, please inform a coach before you leave. During the winter and spring seasons, you may be assigned separate arrival and departure times when meets are longer.
What can my child do outside of practice to improve?
Our coaching staff is well experienced, knowledgeable, and dedicated to your child’s improvement. That being said, traing at two organized practice sessions per week if ample for youth aged athletes. If your child is highly motivated and wants to add a little more work to his/her regiment, consider the following options:
You and your child can enjoy cycling on Mondays and/or Wednesdays. Doing a loop or two (4-7 miles) around Prospect Park is a good option for cross training without adding stress to their bodies. Your child may also opt to run on his/her own on Mondays or Wednesdays. The added running CAN ONLY BE SIMPLE DISTANCE AND MUST BE DISCUSSED WITH A COACH BEFORE BEGINNING. Do not allow your child to engage in additional running or intense exercise between Thursday’s practice and meets. If your child has access to a pool (gym or swimming classes), this is another excellent endurance-based cross training option for Mondays or Wednesdays. Your child may always choose to run on weekends when there is no competition, or Sunday’s after a meet. Again, this should be distance-based and discussed with a coach, first. Simple push ups and sit ups and core work is encouraged, as long as the child enjoy doing it. Please do not force your child to do ANYTHING EXTRA, if they are reluctant. Physical activity should be enjoyable and their choice.
How can I support the PPYRC program?
The Prospect Park Youth Running Club is a registered 501(c)3 Not-For-Profit program. We accept donations for our program from individuals, as well as, corporations. If you or your employer would like to make a donation, please speak to one of the coaches. If you are interested in or helping with organizing fundraising activities please see a coach. Also, if you know of or have experience with grant writing please let us know. Volunteer parent runners are helpful at practice too.
Is my child expected to travel with the team?
Athletes that qualify for regional and national meets are encouraged to attend. This is a prestigious honor and the children work hard for this reward. If you have questions concerning our travel team, please speak with a coach.