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Discussion: Shadowing

in: Orienteering; General

Jul 14, 2023 9:09 PM # 
Does anyone know where to find the guidelines for shadowing?
Jul 14, 2023 10:37 PM # 
The OUSA policy on abuse and misconduct is where to look, see para8c
Jul 14, 2023 11:41 PM # 
Question is whether LKohn refers to guidelines on safety or on whether there are rules about the shadowing person being able to compete themselves, and whether a shadowed athlete may still count towards an award?
If the latter, there does not appear to be anything in the OUSA rules (nor IOF if considering NAOC?), like the British rules
have for shadower for their own competing as well as for the shadowed person.
Jul 15, 2023 9:48 AM # 
Shadowing sounds like a dangerous activity.
Jul 15, 2023 4:13 PM # 
I thought she meant as a training activity.
Jul 15, 2023 5:15 PM # 
Re shadowing a youth in competition:
Im not sure there are any formal rules in the US (actually I'm pretty sure there are not). But as a general principle, shadowing is ok (the shadowee is eligible for awards) if no assistance is given. Should there be an exception for explaining an unfamiliar word on the control descriptions (say "copse" or "prominent")? Most would probably say that isn't a real violation. But it is VERY hard to shadow and truly give NO assistance whatsoever, even subconsciously. Even a glance toward the correct direction, or waiting by the trail while the child visits an off-trail control can give a subtle clue of "go this way" or "come back to the trail". As for the shadower, it is generally accepted that he/she can only be eligible if completing his/her course first, before shadowing the child, unless the child's course is on completely separate map and terrain. Shadowing, even without a map, gives some indication of trail and vegetation conditions, etc.
Jul 15, 2023 5:54 PM # 
I am a huge fan of the “course preview” option allowed for White and Yellow courses in competition. It’s an opportunity to verbalize understanding of the map and boundaries, as well as to clarify symbols or anything else that might not make sense before starting the course. It allows a clarifying conversation to take place without having that sense of having provided navigational aid.

I think COC may have some good guidance for shadowing from WIOL experience, but it’s been awhile so I won’t try to reproduce from memory.
Jul 15, 2023 9:03 PM # 
It's easier for the shadower to not give inadvertent help if they haven't looked at the map. If you're doing the course preview, a different adult can be there to explain things like "copse", if enough adults are available.
Jul 15, 2023 9:31 PM # 
Pink Socks:
I plan on being an expert at CascadeOC's shadowing rules by November. I do know that adults who shadow (on the elementary school course) are allowed to run competitively in the adult leagues, even if they shadow first. School league start times are assigned by the league, and adult leagues are self-selected during the week before the race.
Jul 15, 2023 10:58 PM # 
I have seen the chat pre-start lead to kids (and parents) being ready to go out without a shadow before they would have been ready when the course is a complete surprise.

At NEOC NREs when we use the preview, we’ve given guidance that after the orienteer punches the start (if there’s a shadow), the shadow doesn’t talk to them about the course and the map, just speaks up if there are safety concerns.
Jul 16, 2023 1:09 AM # 
When I've shadowed, I've tried to always stay well back, like five meters or more
Jul 16, 2023 2:03 AM # 
There are no formal OUSA rules about shadowing, other than the generic rules about not getting any help on the course (i.e. a shadow should be for safety and give no course assistance). As cmpbllv pointed out, current OUSA rules do allow for assistance prior to starting as long as this is clear in the meet info so that the opportunity is the same for all starters in any White/Yellow class.

At an NRE it's preferred that shadows do their shadowing after their own course, but it's really up to the organizer to determine whether following the beginning courses as a shadow is enough violation of embargo to require tight enforcement. That might vary with the terrain and the course designs.
Jul 16, 2023 3:51 AM # 
“Tight enforcement of shadowing”. Is that really what the sport needs to encourage kids and newcomers?
Jul 16, 2023 9:34 AM # 
Unless it's a championship why have any guidelines for shadowing? As O-ing says we need to give kids and newcomers all the encouragement we can.

In Australia the national Champs have the class M/W10N ('N' for Novice, and separate from M10A and W10A) where the youngsters can be shadowed. It's not a championship class, there are no placings and everyone gets at least a certificate if not a badge. Starts are not scheduled, allowing parents time to do their own age class course before shadowing their child(ren).
Jul 16, 2023 2:22 PM # 
Having shadowed both before and after for ~13 years of my orienteering life, three main observations:

1. I can’t think of a time when a White or Yellow course shadowing experience gave me a navigational advantage on an advanced course. Not one.
2. The extra 1-2 hours I spent shadowing on top of running my competitive course were physically draining, particularly in hot weather. Meanwhile, everyone else can run their courses and leave. Definitely detrimental during multi-day events.
3. The logistics of shadowing meant I always had to run NREs early and alone, which was incredibly frustrating when I’d hear how my fellow orienteers benefitted from seeing each other and pushing each other in the woods.

It is hard to grow new, young orienteers. We should support those making the effort as much as possible, and especially our families with adults still committed to high-level competition.
Jul 16, 2023 3:24 PM # 
The "tight enforcement" would ostensibly be on the parents, not on the children. Because by being out in the forest seeing the terrain where the beginner courses go, that would provide an unfair advantage when later competing on a Blue/Red/Green course.

But c'mon, seriously?
Jul 16, 2023 9:49 PM # 
Mr Wonderful:
Orienteers worried about losing to a parent who shadows before their run are hereby authorized to shadow with that parent.
Jul 17, 2023 12:06 AM # 
Haha - I like Mr. Wonderful’s suggestion :)
Jul 18, 2023 2:19 AM # 
In conclusion, is there any official information about shadowing at NAOC? My kid is running F10, and I’d like to know what is allowed, and what is not.

Another question is about streamers. How does it look like? Could officials provide any example photos?
Jul 18, 2023 2:29 AM # 
@SBiryukov - you may want to move your questions under Event Discussion. Organizers may not have the time to read every comment in the "Orienteering Topics" to see whether there are any NAOC questions hidden in there. Or you may want to write directly to the organizers.
Jul 23, 2023 11:57 PM # 
Belatedly, for this weekend, only rules are that the parent should have already run their course, and not provide navigational help to the kid (per the organizer I asked). So the M12 parent holding her kid's map and telling him where to run was maybe stretching things a bit
Jul 24, 2023 4:30 AM # 
We went with "you may only be shadowed by other kid(s) on your course who have already run the course". The counterincentive is right there, they aren't going to tell the shadowee where to run, their own position on the results list is at stake. Social aspect is all there! as well as building up future rogainers and ultra-adventurers with 8+ km of racing each day! and my kid now has friends from a different country and knows the capital of British Columbia! everyone won and I didn't have to do anything.
Jul 24, 2023 11:25 AM # 
As a start line volunteer/ late starter I caught up with - or perhaps they caught up with me - a trio of youngsters at the NAOC long. It turns out the boy was one I have known for several years and seen as his dad shadowed him around courses in Ottawa.
Now, he is perhaps 11 years old and shadowing two girls one about his age another perhaps a bit younger but very quick-witted. (Yes I dawdled a bit to chat with them)
Sentence then deleted to recognize generational sensitivities. Back in the old days 'score' meant simply getting along with someone.
Jul 24, 2023 1:07 PM # 
Jul 24, 2023 1:35 PM # 
Remember that youth read these threads, too. What we post has an impact - there are a lot of “perceived expectations” out there and they can have a really negative effect. Gord, I’m not comfortable with your last paragraph and how it might make some of our youth orienteers feel about their sense of community, and I think it undermines the impact of what you’re trying to share.
Jul 24, 2023 1:45 PM # 
I totally agree with Tori, this is not how many youth orienteers (including me) feel about our orienteering community. @gordhun perhaps you kinda missed the point of this thread.
Jul 25, 2023 2:06 AM # 
I don't have kids but I love that idea & outcome, T/D. :-)
Jul 26, 2023 1:38 AM # 
Re the parent holding the map and telling their kid where to run... I wonder if no one told them what the expectations were. Some shadowers are new to major events or even orienteering. Maybe course notes/bulletins should explain this.

But really if a kid is below 14, the shadower should not have to be so concerned about providing some basic tips if the kid is having a bad time and has the map upside down, etc.
Aug 1, 2023 11:41 PM # 
Love this discussion! Couple of points to add:

1. I agree with somebody who said, above, that shadowing without the course map is a better way to avoid coaching. I found that it took extreme effort not to telegraph anything to the kid, no matter how far back I stayed.

2. Makes sense to me to be casual about rules for local meets and more careful for national meets.

3. I remember the disillusionment of my kids, when they were no longer being shadowed, at being beaten by kids whose dads were running behind them shouting directions. My kids adjusted their expectations, concluding that orienteering wasn't a serious sport that offered fair competition, and they should just enjoy doing courses and compete against their own previous performance. Which is probably not the message anyone here would want kids to receive. That's the other side of the coin, when you choose to be more flexible in order to be welcoming to young people.
Aug 2, 2023 12:02 AM # 
Maybe we should have a discussion in the US about whether or not awards are appropriate for kids who are young/inexperienced enough that they need to be shadowed. At that age it's the fun and the feeling of developing skills and sense of accomplishment that are important, not competitive awards.

Let's turn to Norway, no slouch in the athletic development arena, for inspiration. In Norway, children in the 10- age classes are not allowed to be ranked/ordered, and children can not compete in a national championship ("open" events are ok) until age 13. All kids 12 and under get prizes if prizes are awarded. This holds for all sports in Norway.

If we made the 10- (and sometimes 12-) classes non-competitive, then kids could get whatever help they needed in order to ensure they had a good time, and we wouldn't have to worry about what fair shadowing is. If they want to compare splits with their friend who they know had the same level of shadowing, great! But they wouldn't ever have to worry about losing out on a medal to someone whose parents told them where to go. And, hopefully, it would be a positive experience for everyone.
Aug 2, 2023 1:39 PM # 
As probably mentioned above, at Aus national champs there are M & W10A categories for non-shadowed participants that have proper awards and then a combined M/W10N for shadowed youngsters. That way it's fair for those that go it alone and for those that don't they still have fun (and all Novice course participants get a certificate or other trinket).
Aug 2, 2023 3:13 PM # 
We sometimes encourage or require shadowing not because kids are young/inexperienced but because they are small mountain lion bait.
Aug 2, 2023 4:19 PM # 
Small mountain lions like children, or mountain lions like small things?
Aug 2, 2023 5:01 PM # 
The number of times I hear 'Ooh Australia has dangerous animals, I'm not going there' and then you post that.
Aug 2, 2023 10:56 PM # 
Mountain lions like small, running things.
Aug 2, 2023 11:54 PM # 
Who protects the kids from coyotes at road races?
Aug 3, 2023 5:54 AM # 
Acme anvils.
Aug 3, 2023 8:47 PM # 
Ha ha. Meep meep!
Aug 5, 2023 2:35 PM # 
Cristina, tRicky +1
and maybe have something more positive in the time column than an mp or dsq for the M/W -10 categories as well as at least the White- and Yellow-Open (or whatever color or number in non-US) categories. Like the numbers of controls found if less than all. I know, probably a bit more work but still... Kind of like the Northern Virginia Senior Olympics did in 2022
The seniors on the advanced course may even have gotten a smile out of having found contours rather than controls...
Aug 5, 2023 8:18 PM # 
We do this with basically all our point to point courses now at local events. There’s usually an explicit “Explorer” option which is for getting however many you want in whatever order. In addition, anyone who attempts the point to point course and doesn’t finish gets moved to the Explorer class with their number of controls found listed in addition to time. No DNFs or MPs, more smiles.
Aug 5, 2023 8:56 PM # 
@Cristina - what is the software your club is using for the local events?
Aug 5, 2023 9:03 PM # 
We use SI-Droid for most of our events.
Aug 5, 2023 9:31 PM # 
More smiles for the win.

Speaking of smiles have organizers thought of using the ikskolning approach used in Sweden. a happy or sad face to indicate right way vs wrong way are placed a few 10s of m after every decision point after a control for young kids.
Aug 6, 2023 9:36 PM # 
Yes. But I have to admit that the practicalities of the day means that I just use the sad face in selected locations. Where an error would result in serious problems. I hope that finding controls is as good as happy faces:-)) PS our beginner course standard requires a control at every decision point.
Aug 7, 2023 11:45 AM # 
Why is the shadowing article in the abuse and misconduct section?
Anyway I shadow my 2 year old around on courses. Sometimes he takes the map, sometimes he chases birds, sometimes I carry him. It’a what ever he wants to do at the time and we learn and discuss things along the way like just last week we diverted to a cave to see it a bear was in it. ( we live in Australia)
Aug 7, 2023 4:08 PM # 
A caramello koala bear obviously.
Aug 8, 2023 3:51 AM # 
Surely a drop bear
Aug 10, 2023 1:07 PM # 
There is a reference to shadowing in the Abuse & Misconduct (SafeSport) policy to explain expectations when shadowing minors. The rest of this conversation is addressed (or proposals that might be addressed) in Rules of Competition and Coaching documentation.

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