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Tweet Wednesday 22nd May 2019

Swansea Bay Orienteering Club Coaching Series 2019

If you are part of a small club, you are probably dealing with some of the same problems as us at SBOC;

  • reliance on a small team of very busy people doing a lot of organising and planning,
  • worrying about where the next generation of orienteering champions is going to come from.

In order to try to solve some of these issues for the future, we are trialling some beginner-focused coaching sessions this spring as a way of getting more people signed up for events and spreading the love for this amazing sport. If this sounds like something that you are/would consider for your club, read on.

Firstly, the idea came out of discussions by the club committee.  We have always done our best to break people into the sport gently by giving a bit of help on their first event, however, this often means a 2min lesson in how to orientate the map then showing them how the dibber works before sending them on their first course.  Some of these people have returned for a second event but some probably haven’t. A bit of more formal coaching, we thought, might encourage more of them to stick at it and get some success.

Mass start on the Score Course (session 2) at Pembrey Country Park

A plan was duly hatched and a programme of sessions was together with help from some of the committee sorting out maps, funding, incentives and access etc.  The original plan was to book people onto four consecutive sessions which would follow a series of logical progressive skills based on the ‘step system’, each including a short practise competition and culminating in an introductory event using SI punching in a relatively friendly area that would hopefully give people the confidence to enter events such as our summer league events.  As an incentive, we planned to offer free membership for a year and a free copy of Carol McNeil’s book for people booking onto the full series.  To promote the sessions we spent about £20 on Facebook advertising and put an Ad in the local ‘What’s on’ publication. Of the two, Facebook gave the best results, possibly as social media makes it easy to click on details and booking forms and also encourages sharing with friends.  50% funding support from the Welsh Orienteering Association helped to run the programme, incentives and advertising and make it affordable for the club.

Locations are a key factor in providing an enjoyable event and even more so for getting beginners hooked. We opted for Pembrey Country Park, Clyne Valley and Clyne Gardens, all easily accessed from the Swansea/Llanelli area and with reasonably non-intimidating, safe terrain with good path networks. Having some open areas where it is easy to keep an eye on the junior beginners was also useful.

Each session basically consisted of a map walk with coaches helping out beginners, some coaching exercises followed by a small event using old school control cards for the first few then SI punching on the final session. Club members helped out with the coaching so we could work with groups of 3-5 beginners for most exercises.  Getting buy-in from the more experienced club members is essential to get the programme to work and we are fortunate at SBOC to have some very enthusiastic and capable orienteers who are happy to pass on their expertise. 

New Juniors having completed their first Yellow course with SI timing

Learning points: 

  • A lot of the participants are not going to be available for all the events so you will probably end up with people paying for individual sessions, not the whole series. Families that are interested in trying orienteering are also likely to be involved in other sporting activities so think about the timing of sessions to avoid clashes with junior football, gymnastics or other events in the area.
  • Following on from this, people will miss session one or other sessions so the carefully planned sequence of coaching is likely to need adjustment.  Every session, therefore, needs to have the capability of looking after complete beginners as well as people who have done the basics already.
  • Some of your participants will have done some orienteering before, others will have no idea what the symbols are or how to use a compass, therefore you need a range of options.  If possible, it is good to combine the introductory coaching with something suitable for club juniors so that new families can meet your club members and see the range of ages involved in the sport. We also got the Welsh junior squad coaches to help out with the final session so that new juniors could get an idea of the progression opportunities.
  • For successful sessions, you will need support from the rest of the club. One of the main factors that will impact on whether new-comers come back is if they feel welcome and enjoy the company of the club members. 
  • Venues need to be beginner-friendly; not too steep, sheltered from the worst of the weather and with a good path network. It also helps if you have easy parking, toilets close by and not too much mud. Bear in mind that most participants will not have specialist O shoes so it’s good if the terrain is Ok to run in trainers.
  • Facebook advertising worked really well for this and was certainly better value for money than printed publications.
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Tweet Monday 20th May 2019

World Orienteering Day and Octavian Droobers Orienteering Club

Octavian Droobers Orienteering Club juniors Florence and Tabitha Lunn were live on BBC Coventry and Warwickshire radio on Tuesday night last week talking about World Orienteering Day happening at Abbey Fields, Kenilworth on Wednesday 15 May – celebrating the start of World Orienteering Week.

They also spoke enthusiastically about their recent performance representing England at the World Schools Orienteering Championships in Estonia and this weekend helping their school to win the West Midlands Schools Championships at Cannock Chase.

Karin Kirk Publicity Officer for and member of Octavian Droobers Orienteering Club, said: 

“As well as our World Orienteering Day event on Wednesday last week we have also welcomed and given instructions to 40 school children around the grounds of Compton Verney in Warwickshire. It was their first ever experience of orienteering.”

"A thrilled 6 year old having completed her first orienteering course said that she 'cannot wait to come to our next events'."

 

British Orienteering would like to thank Octavian Droobers Orienteering Club for again supporting World Orienteering Day and for putting on two great local events. 

World Orienteering Day 2019
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Tweet Monday 20th May 2019

World Orienteering Week: Interview with Cat Taylor

World Orienteering Week: Interview with Cat Taylor

Posted by  | May 19, 2019 |

The elite orienteer discusses her route into the sport and its crossover with running.

Cat Taylor started orienteering at the age of seven and made her GB debut in 2012, going on to achieve results including bronze at the European Championships and a win at a World Cup round.

After seven years of living and training in Sweden, the South Yorkshire Orienteers athlete now lives in Sheffield and combines training with work as a translator. In the spring and summer she is often on the road for camps and competitions and is currently on a training camp in Norway.

Ahead of August’s World Orienteering Championships in Norway and as part of World Orienteering Week, Taylor shares some insight into her sport and its crossover with running.

Athletics Weekly: What was your route into orienteering? Were you a runner, or an orienteer, first?

Cat Taylor: I’ve been orienteering since I was tiny, I was definitely an orienteer first! I did cross country at school, along with lots of other sports, and I was okay but never great. Of course I do a lot of running now but it’s all as training for orienteering. I run a few fell races and have done a couple of 10km on the roads (my best is 35:32) but it’s never been a main focus. I do enjoy racing any kind of running where I can fit it in but I always have quite a packed programme.

Cat Taylor

AW: What do you love most about orienteering?

CT: I first got hooked when I started running off the paths, just straight through the forest. It’s a great feeling of freedom. I also like that the physical and technical challenge is really different from place to place. A track is the same anywhere but for example, a forest near Stockholm is a lot different from one near Madrid and to be consistently good at orienteering you have to be very adaptable.

AW: How do you prepare for major championships? Do you have an ‘average’ training week?

CT: At home, I try to do a good mix of running training – a bit of everything on all surfaces – and consistent technique training. It means quite a bit of variety but I do have a consistent week plan. The toughest thing with this sport is that specific preparation for a championship means travelling to terrain and race in similar conditions to those you’ll face on the big day. You’re not allowed to run or even visit the area you will race in before you actually start but can get a good idea of the kind of challenge by training in the forests nearby. So this year I’m spending altogether about five weeks on World Championships training camps (near Oslo, Norway). All the travel can sometimes disrupt training but it’s a necessary compromise.

AW: Can you talk about the crossover between the two sports and the necessary skill sets?

CT: Once you’ve learned the basic navigation techniques you need to orienteer, it’s mainly about managing the balance between running quickly but still concentrating on navigation. The higher your aerobic threshold, the faster you can run without being in the “red zone” (where you need to concentrate hard on the running, meaning you can’t make decisions as well and risk getting lost!). My physical training works towards being as good an all-round runner as possible; you have to be strong up hills, down hills, in rough terrain, through marshes, over rocks and on flatter, fast surfaces.

The biggest difference for me is the feeling on the start line. Even in cross country you know exactly where the course will go, where it’s going to hurt, you can have a pretty exact plan for how to run each bit. In orienteering you can have very little idea of where you’ll be going until the clock starts, you pick up the map and runoff. You’re also often alone all the way and have to be very good at pushing yourself and keeping positive because it’s almost impossible to run completely without technical mistakes.

AW: What are your key 2019 targets in both running and orienteering?

CT: I’ve actually had a pretty rubbish time this last winter. I’ve been injured and doing a lot of alternative training but I’m still aiming to be back in top shape by August to fight for the very highest positions in the World Orienteering Championships (near Oslo, Norway). I’ve frustratingly had to reign in running plans while I recover but am gradually getting back into action. Because all the most important competitions this summer are in soft terrain I’ll not prioritise racing on the road or running much track at all, but I’ll hopefully have time for some local fell races in the coming months.

AW: What are you most proud of having achieved in your elite career so far?

CT: I’ve had a few good international results so far, including a win at a World Cup round and a bronze medal at the European Championships. I’m happy any time I feel like I’ve got the most from myself on an important day, it means that the project I’ve been working on for months or even more has been successful and it’s that feeling that makes all the pain and expense worthwhile!

For more, see cattaylor.net

For more on the latest athletics news, athletics events coverage and athletics updates, check out the AW homepage and our social media channels on TwitterFacebook and Instagram

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Photo by Rob Lines

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Tweet Monday 14th May 2018

Switzerland and Norway European Champions in relay

It was back to Tesserete for the Men’s and Women’s Relays, the penultimate races of this years European Championships.

The forests which would meet the competitors were open and fast beech woods, with little in the way of vegetation to impede the runnability. This meant that the runners would have to cope with an extremely high running pace throughout the race, which would mean the risk of over running and making a mistake was extremely high.

The Women’s relay kicked off proceeding, with Jess Tullie of GBR1 (supported by Cat Taylor and Hollie Orr) and Jo Shepherd for GBR2 (followed by Charlotte Watson and Alice Leake) leading off for the Brits. The pace was high right from the start, with Switzerland’s Judith Wyder for their first team taking the lead and never relinquishing it. Behind, the chasers could only scramble for positions in the pack, with the Fins and Swedes leading the charge, but Jess and Jo well placed.

Onto the second Leg and the Swiss first teams lead began to come under pressure from one of their own runners. The second team runner Simone Aebersold slowly began to close down on her teammate Elena Roos, catching her by the second TV split at the “Tower of Spirits”, before turning what had begun as a 30-second deficit into a minutes lead by the changeover. Behind a chasing pack of Russia, Sweden and Finland had formed but could do nothing to impact on the pace of Aebersold. Cat Taylor for GBR1 was slowly moving through the places from 14th and would change over in 8th place just ahead of Ida Bobach of Denmark, sending out Hollie Orr and Maja Alm together, 3 and a half minutes down on the lead.

Sarina Jenzer of SUI2 would feel the pressure from behind almost immediately, with her teammate Julia Gross slicing her lead in half by the first radio. To the TV control at the “Tower of Spirits”, it was Sui1 ahead of the chasers, with SUI2 falling back but still holding onto second and Sweden’s Karolin Olsson closing the gap to the lead. Olsson would soon create a gap to her fellow chasers, but not enough to make any major inroads into the lead of Gross until she made a mistake on the third to last control. This allowed Denmark’s Alm, who had been running the quickest out of everyone in the forest and had bridged the minute or so gap to the chasing pack back into the hunt for the silver medal. Both women entered the finishing straight together, but it was Sweden who would have the better sprint finish and take the silver, with Denmark settling for bronze. Sadly, Alm’s relentless pace was too much for Orr, who would bring the team home in a commendable 7th place.

Onto the men’s race, and with the favourable terrain, the race was wide open for a fantastic British result. Kris Jones would start first for GBR1 (followed by Peter Hodkinson and Ralph Street) with Hector Haines - making his debut this week - running for GBR2 (supported by Sasha Chepelin and Ali McLeod). The pace from the start was ferocious, with the Swiss teams wanting to romp away with another gold and the Swedish (who have had a sub-par championships for their men’s team) looking to put their championships back on track.

There was much changing in the lead throughout the first Leg, but Kris remained in the top-three throughout, even breaking away with Florian Howald of Switzerland 2 at the arena passage, before they were closed down; but Kris didn’t falter, coming in in the lead of a quartet of runners.

It was a lead, but a small one. Peter Hodkinson was under pressure in a pack which included several world champions, including Matthias Kyburz, Fabian Hertner and Magne Daehli. Peter kept his cool, did his own navigation and by the time of the long, ungaffled leg back to the arena he was in the pack and holding on. Sadly the elastic snapped after the arena passage and Pete would lose a minute from an additional small mistake but had done a fantastic job at keeping GBR in touch for a bronze.

Out on last Leg and Ralph Street was being hunted down by some of the best last leg runners in the world. A couple of small errors at the start of the Leg meant that Ralph was on the back foot, with Czech, France and Russia hunting him down. It was France who would sneak ahead, with Fredric Tranchand breaking away from the chase and clear into bronze. Small mistakes from all the runners would creep into their runs, with Ralph entering the long Leg back to the arena in fourth place. By the run through though the Czechs have snuck ahead and by the finish, it was as precious, with Ralph finishing in 5th, just behind Vojtech Kral of Czech in 4th.

Results EOC Relay

Women:

1) Switzerland 1 1:45:56
Judith Wyder
Elena Roos
Julia Gross

2) Sweden 1 +2:11
Lina Strand
Sara Hagstrom
Karolin Ohlsson

3) Denmark 1 +2:13
Cecilie Friberg Klysner
Ida Bobach
Maja Alm

Men:

1) Norway 1 1:55:40
Eskil Kinneberg
Mahne Daehli
Olav Lundanes

2) Switzerland 1 +0:30
Florian Howald
Matthias Kyburz
Daniel Hubmann

3) France 1 +3:07
Nicolas Rio
Lucas Basset
Frederic Tranchand

 

Official results EOC women

Official results EOC men

Official results (full)

eoc2018.ch

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