Six M/W15 juniors assembled in Stirling for a busy training weekend during October half-term as part of a British Orienteering learning pilot around youth retention. Lead coach Chris Smithard, a member of the British Senior Squad, welcomed the teenagers for the first of a series of three linked sessions during the winter.
"This programme is aiming to coach a small group of athletes in some of the advanced skills needed to perform to a high standard,” said Chris. “The small size of the group enables us to focus on the individual needs of each athlete”.
The first weekend looked at agreeing personal goals for 2019 and set the athletes a mix of sprint training, Night-O and forest-based training sessions in the Trossachs. Sprint training made use of online tools that can analyse route choices, comparing distances and providing insight into which routes would be the quickest. Night-O was held in Stirling town centre, with its steep slopes near the castle.
Moving to the forest, the group performed a technical exercise at Little Druim Wood, navigating out and back along the sloping terrain. “The exercise on running across slopes was new for me,” said one young athlete. “I was videoed by my support coach, which will help me analyse my terrain-running style”.
On the final morning, the group tackled two loops at the Trossachs, one of UK’s most challenging area, both physically & technically.
The aims and objectives of the pilot are to:
1. Learn more about the coaching and training needs of this mid-teenage age group, placed within the context of youth retention
2. Understand in greater detail the value of adopting an athlete-centred, relationship-based coaching approach
3. Appreciate and learn lessons from the logistics of running a small coaching group.
The programme will run from October to February and will be athlete-centred by offering individual 1-1 discussion time with each athlete, as well as group sharing after the training sessions. In addition to focusing on individual needs, the programme will also introduce the concept of “self-help” encouraging the young orienteers to take control of their own training needs and act on them.
Run as a pilot with the support of British Orienteering the intention is to develop further knowledge of how personalised coaching can support the retention of young people in the sport.
“We would like to encourage more athlete-centred coaching in future. All orienteers have different aspirations, pressures and circumstances, and it is important that the sport offers athletes a way forward that can adapt to their needs,” said Craig Anthony, Head of Development for British Orienteering.
The Every Junior Matters Youth Strategy can be viewed here.
British Orienteering's Youth Strategy "Every Junior Matters" aims to attract and retain more young people in orienteering.
You can read the short and full versions of the strategy below:
Guildford Orienteers presents the Southern Night Championships 2018 (Level B) at Puttenham Common and Britty Wood
on Saturday 24 November.
The organiser of the Southern Night Championships, Jeremy Wilde, commented:
"Puttenham Common has been gorgeous if rather cold on these recent clear nights under the full moon. Plans for the Southern Night Champs are well advanced and we are looking forward to a great evening on the 24th of November.
We have hired Myrtle's Courtyard on the Hampton Estate - the Common is part of the Estate - to use as our Event Centre. Tom's burger wagon will be there serving up the usual hot drinks and food, as well as Ian's Ultrasport van. Be there - for a night of O-delight!"
Entries are still open: book online via www.fabian4.co.uk by Saturday 17 November 2018.
Organiser: Jeremy Wilde (Guildford Orienteers)
Planner: Tim Denton (Guildford Orienteers)
Controller: Alan Wallis (Southern Navigators)
This is a UK Orienteering League event.
For more information about the Southern Night Championships visit here.
Photos supplied: Guildford Orienteers
British Orienteering would like to thank all volunteers from Guildford Orienteers and surrounding clubs for their hard work in putting on this event and wishing all members a great evening of night orienteering.
British Orienteering is pleased to announce the Senior GBR Squad for 2019. The squad features 25 athletes, 15 men and 10 women, with a wide range of experience.
Many familiar faces return including European Championship Sprint Bronze medallist Kris Jones and Mixed Sprint Relay Bronze medallists from Round 1 of the 2017 IOF World Cup; Cat Taylor, Peter Hodkinson and Ralph Street.
'Being part of the squad since 2004 has been great for my orienteering development as it provided me information on the aspects around elite sport, it allowed me to experience a variety of different terrain, and it gave me a way to access funding sources' said Ralph.
Many of the World Orienteering Championships Team from 2018 are back intent on building on some strong performances over the year. With the International calendar seeing some significant changes, moving to a forest only World Championships in 2019 followed by a sprint World Championships in 2020 there will be opportunities for athletes focussed on both or either discipline to shine in 2019.
In addition to the familiar faces, there are three new members. The Selection Panel recognised the results and performances of some younger athletes with Matthew Fellbaum’s Silver at the Junior World Championships faces meaning he joins the senior squad along with Alex Carcas and Jamie Parkinson.
More than five hundred people travelled to New Beechenhurst in the Forest of Dean on Sunday 6 May for the annual Bristol Orienteering Klub (BOK) Trot which this year was part of the massive OMM (Original Mountain Marathon) Running Festival.
In addition to the 446 entrants, there were at least 60 children who ran the string course, many from OMM families, which was a great way of introducing new children and their like-minded families to orienteering.
Despite the fact that the memory of the incredible weather will probably outlast the orienteering, some very fine runs were achieved.
Ben Mitchell of Swansea Bay Orienteering Club (SBOC) won the Black course by a whole 7 minutes, James Hargreaves won the brown by 13 minutes and Oliver Tonge (M16) was only 2.08 minutes behind Martin Ward (M50) the winner of the Short Brown.
Bristol Orienteering Klub's Clive Hallett (M55) won the Blue in just 55.36 minutes but was closely followed by Phil Scarf (M55) of East Pennine Orienteering Club (EPOC) a few minutes later. Nick Norse (M55) of North Wiltshire Orienteering Club (NWO) and BOK's Jim Bailey (M16) followed three minutes later giving Clive some serious competition.
The Green course was run by Clive Wilson (M60) of South Yorkshire Orienteers (SYO) in just 57.34 minutes, but close on his heels was Ian Cooper (M75) of Berkshire Orienteers (BKO) just 3 seconds behind, and Jackie Hallett (W60) of BOK just 19 seconds behind. A good performance was also seen by BOK's Bryony Stagg who won the orange course.
The day was a huge success with wonderful scenes of fit, healthy runners of all ages gathering together in the blazing sunshine to run, cycle, and relax in the Forest.
Photo credits: Scott Bailey, Bristol Orienteering Klub