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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 Thursday 6th December 2018

British Orienteering supports campaign for children's #righttobeactive

British Orienteering is proud to support the Sport and Recreation Alliance #RightToBeActive campaign, which asks all of society to join the call for the government to embed the fundamental right of all children to be active into policy, regulations and legislation.

Click here to sign the petition now to show your support

The campaign aims to place a child’s right to be active on the same footing as their rights to education, shelter and nutrition. The benefits of being physically active are huge. However, shifts in society can mean that children don’t have the same exercise habits as previous generations.

Britain is not active enough. We are the most obese nation in Western Europe, with rates rising faster than any other developed nation.

#RightToBeActive Campaign

Statistics show that:

  • 80% of girls and 77% of boys are not active enough to stay healthy;
  • 20% of children are obese by the end of primary school;
  • 93% of children say they like being active but we are failing to use physical activity to improve their health.

Sport and recreation can help solve many of the biggest threats facing our children. Making it part of their daily lives will make them healthier and happier.

What needs to happen?

Join the Sport and Recreation Alliance’s call for the government to give every child the fundamental #RightToBeActive by:

  • Establishing a new law requiring councils to provide all children with the opportunity to be active and to coordinate and promote physical activity across everything they do;
  • Creating a long-term, properly funded and child-focussed strategy to transform the physical and mental wellbeing of our children;
  • Introducing new legislation to make it a requirement for government ministers and public bodies to put the United Nations Rights of the Child, the right to play and lead a healthy life, at the heart of decision making.

Help spread the word about this important initiative by simply signing the Alliance’s petition (https://bit.ly/2xIaR9v) and sharing it with others to help the Sport & Recreation Alliance reach its initial target of 10,000 signatures.

The Sport and Recreation Alliance believes that every child has the fundamental #RightToBeActive. The problem of inactivity among our children and young people is far-reaching and we must work together to solve this crisis. The Alliance is calling on government, the sport sector, schools, communities, families and the public to show that they will not allow this to continue.

Since the petition was created it has gained over 1500 signatures from people who are ready to see a change. However, Sport and Recreation Alliance still need more support to reach their 2500 signature goal.

Please sign and share this petition! Together, we can make a stand and provide a better, healthier future for children across the UK.

To sign the petition - click here

For more information about the #RightToBeActive campaign, including how you can get further involved, please head to the Sport and Recreation Alliance website.

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