Shadowing Juniors at SOLs
In itself there is nothing wrong with shadowing and it is a very good way of helping and coaching any orienteer. Should it be allowed at a competitive series like the SOLs?
I have now added a response at the end of the comments section (Apr 30).
(What follows is my own view and not that of SOA. I encourage feedback.)
Probably not really. However if we do not have ‘B’ or short courses for juniors any more then maybe there is a case for it. In which case the shadowed juniors (or their shadow) should make sure that the start team know the junior is shadowed and so not competitive. This seems only fair on the non-shadowed competitors. Also of course, no shadow should act in this capacity before their own run.
There is a case for scrutinising shadowing more closely and more than one person has contacted me about this. Suggestions include ensuring anybody not running alone is non-competitive and noted as such by the start team. However this requires another rule or guideline and more effort from the organising club.
I would rather not go this route if possible. Instead I would urge all parents to respect the spirit of the SOL competition. Where is the merit in a child finishing high in a class if they were running effectively as a team against other children competing alone? Sounds like a hollow triumph to me. The answer is clear. Declare if you are shadowing.
As a foot note I thought I should check the BOF website to see what the official rules are on shadowing. I used the search box, putting in the words ‘shadow’ and ‘shadowing’. Three results came up none of which was remotely related to what I had in mind. So I am not able to give you the official line right now. No doubt someone will oblige…