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Tweet Saturday 16th December 2017

Malham Training Camp...continued 1: Anika Schwarze-Chintapatla (EBOR)

Jennie Taylor Communications Officer at British Orienteering caught up with Anika Schwarze-Chintapatla (Eborienteers) and Stanley Heap (Southdowns Orienteers) who are both athletes in the British Orienteering’s Talent Squad. Both attended the recent Malham technical training camp with the rest of the Talent Squad. Stanley and Anika both kindly agreed prior to attending camp to keep a diary account of their training over the training camp weekend.

Training Camp Diary:  Anika Schwarze-Chintapatla

Talent Squad
Club: EBOR Orienteering Club

Read Anika's diary account.

Anika Schwarze-Chintapatla

Day 1: Friday 1 December 2017


As the Squad consists of members from all over the country, everyone had a fair journey to make so that we could all arrive together. With this camp taking place in Yorkshire, I had an easy drive to the Field Centre (though a little icy) and arrived with a hot meal awaiting us (Evie, my sister and I), whilst the others arrived on a minibus from the train station.


Once everyone had arrived safely and had eaten and unpacked, we spent a bit of time previewing and outlining the plans for the weekend ahead, so we were prepared for the exercises in the morning and were all ready to take on the challenges of the next day.

After which we had some time to catch up with our friends and relax in the warmth of the fireplace. As we wandered up to our rooms a little way from the Field Centre, we found some of the squad had already been hard at work building a snowman. O-top and all!

Day 2:
Saturday 2 December 



The snowman had already begun to melt 


An hour in the morning may seem like a bit of a journey… but when you have music blasting in the minibus the whole way there, it flies by! (Shout out to Zac’s Spotify and his mega tunes - featuring ‘Run The World’ by Beyoncé)


Technical Session 1 – Direction & Distance Judgement

Once having arrived in Ilkley Paul lead a preview of the first session we’d be doing that day. Before getting started on the technical exercise, it was important to do a thorough warm-up especially given the cold weather that lead some of us to wear up to 7 layers! After doing some drills to work on our running technique, we were ready to get orienteering…. on a blank map. Blank aside from an empty circle around the control site and the line of our bearing. This, of course, proved difficult at first and lead to a lot of confusion on my part for the first few controls. However, this exercise turned out to be extremely useful and after a couple of courses was no longer too difficult. The exercise was aimed to focus our attention to direction (fine compass bearings) and distance judgment-which was key, particularly in an area like Ilkley Moor. Once we had the blank map nailed, we moved on to allowing ourselves to see the map of the control circle. This next step was particularly helpful for the skill of visualization of the control site. I found that with the circle being the only bit of the map we could see, it forced us to really take in and focus on what we would be seeing when we arrived in the control circle. As someone who often drifts off my bearings, I found that having a coach shadowing me and pointing out key elements of taking a bearing extremely useful – even if it meant having someone ask you what your siting is every step of the way! Finally, we put all that into two longer courses (both still with the Leg of the map blank) to practice and put that new technique into action. It was great to be surrounded by people who are as keen to get the most out of their training as I am. No-one was asking when we’d be done but instead asking what the next exercise would be. In an atmosphere where everyone was focused and analytical, it was much easier to get the most out of each exercise.


Running around all morning is exhausting so lunch was a well-needed break. We drove up to our next area, where there was a small café and we could buy ourselves a hot drink to warm up.


Technical Session 2 (as pictured)
Now you might’ve hoped that this afternoon you’d get to run the course with the full map…not quite! These exercises were based on Norwegian-style orienteering where the map of the Leg you are about to run, is attached to the control. This is great for map memory and making sure you plan the whole Leg as you won’t have the map on the run. This was tricky but well worth the time spent at the control planning, as it allowed us to make a simple yet accurate plan at the beginning, giving us the time to focus on running and execution whilst actually running the Leg. As well as this being a fun area to orienteer on, we were blessed with a beautiful view from the top of the rocks overlooking all of Ilkley – a perfect photo opportunity of course.


After climbing on rocks (strength and conditioning yeah?) and soaking up the view, we had a Christmassy bus ride back, with Christmas songs featuring in our minibus. By 16:30 we were back at the Malham Field Centre to have showers and a bit of free time before dinner during which we received our new kit. Everyone loved the nice warm fleeces.


Technical Review Session

After a day full of technical training and a lot of learning curves, it was important to reflect on the day’s work. Mark lead a review session, so we could reflect on any mistakes we’d made during the day, what those mistakes were and how to fix them. This was really helpful in terms of learning how to analyze your progress/mistakes and training as this was something I haven’t done in the past. In the Talent Squad, I’ve found there is a large focus not only on the training itself but evaluation of training and the importance of planning your training to specifically improve your areas of weakness. It was really helpful investing time to think about everything we’d been doing post training so that the next morning we could focus even more on things that had gone wrong. It was really interesting to see the range of programmers you can use to help analyze your orienteering online.

Just before the end of the review Tara and Niamh ran out of the room without explanation. I was really confused and thought one of them might be sick but luckily, I was surprised by a birthday cake instead which had been wholeheartedly decorated!


Individual Reviews

This was a chance we had to talk individually to a coach about how we were getting on, not just with our personal training but how we were settling in and finding our experience with the squad. This meant that anyone new to the squad like me could ask about anything they didn’t understand in the group review or anything they were unsure of in general. It was really helpful talking through aspects of orienteering one to one and what I could do to get the most out of training opportunities.


We had plenty of time that evening to chill out together and relax. For some of us that involved playing cards, for others watching YouTube videos and some spent even more time in the orienteering zone, looking at the new specifications for orienteering maps (starting in 2017). By the time we headed up to our rooms the snowman had lost his eyes and was partially melted.  :(

Day 3:
Sunday 3 December



The last we saw of that snowman, he was a sad pile of snow.


Technical Session 3 – Combination

On our final day of training, Pendle Forest Orienteers were kind enough to let us use their event at Tockholes as a training area. There, instead of doing the courses set at the event, the coaches planned us our own course-specific as a follow up to the training we’d done the day before. This meant our map included lots of different exercises, such as corridors, lines, blank maps and contours only. This was my favourite exercise of the weekend as it was orienteering with even more of a challenge. One moment we were navigating through intricate contours and wet marshes and the next moment the map had been blanked out and we were left to rely on our compass. We were always adapting to the next challenge.

This variation of techniques and exercises gave us lots of practice in a slightly more race style experience, although as it was training we were still encouraged to redo Legs that didn’t go well and talk through controls with coaches out on the course.

Having coaches shadowing us for parts of the course was really helpful as it meant they could see how we were getting on when left to ourselves and give us feedback after we finished or if something went wrong, right then so we could redo it and correct it straight away.


After finishing our courses and doing a cooldown, we had an individual briefing chat with whichever coach shadowed us on our course to take us through what went well and any mistakes we did.

After saying our goodbyes, we set off on our way home. It was a great weekend and I can’t wait for the next one!


Jennie Taylor, Communications Officer at British Orienteering, says: “Many thanks Anika for sparing the time to write and share your diary account of your time away.  Best wishes with your training in the last days of this year and in the new year."





Find out more about the full Talent Squad attending training camp here.

Read Stan Heap's diary account tomorrow here.

The next Talent Squad Training Camp is being held at Blencathra in the Lake District in January 2018.