If you are part of a small club, you are probably dealing with some of the same problems as us at SBOC;
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.
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.
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 Week: Interview with Cat Taylor
Posted by Athletics Weekly | 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.
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
Photo by Rob Lines
Last weekend the Yorkshire and Humberside Orienteering Association clubs hosted the British Champs weekend, three days of intense orienteering racing on varied terrain. Bradford University and College was the venue for the British Mixed Sprints event, for teams of two men and two women (in the open class) and at least one woman (in the junior and vets classes).
The arena was right in the heart of Bradford University at the Student Central, making an ideal venue for the handover between each leg of the relay. Being a Sprint relay, course leaders were only taking around 15 minutes per leg, so it was action packed for the spectators with great live commentary from Katherine Bett. Winners of the Open Class were Edinburgh University (Fay Walsh, Alistair Masson, Alexander Chepelin, Zoe Harding) with almost a 2-minute lead, but the battle for 2nd and 3rd was incredibly close, with Forth Valley just beating Bristol to the finish line.
The British Long Distance Championships were held on the open hillside of the Yorkshire Dales, at Arncliffe and Kilnsey. Runnability was very fast, but there were areas of detailed contours and rock, making sections of the courses technically very challenging. Winners had to combine fast running over the terrain with careful navigation in the complex sections.
The British Relay Championships completed the three-day weekend of events, and were held in Middleton Park in Leeds. The arena was the South Leeds Stadium, with runners completing half a lap of the track at the end of each leg. Another fantastic venue for relay spectators! Middleton Park is full of old mine workings, with a lot of bell pits and some intricate bushy vegetation in the woods, so again the challenge for runners was to combine fast running with careful navigation through the controls.
The weekend was a great success and the YHOA organising committee would like to thank all the members of YHOA clubs who volunteered at one, two or even all three races to help ensure they went smoothly. Thanks also to photographers Steve Rush, Wendy Carlyle, Rob Lines and Crawford Lindsay for providing access to their Flickr photo albums of the races.
Full results and photos of all three British Champs Weekend races are here.
The British Long Distance Championships was also a UK Orienteering League race.
See the latest standings in the league here: http://www.ukorienteeringleague.org.uk/
The Elite Classes at the British Long Distance Championships were the final race in the UK Elite Orienteering League.
Final results of that are here: http://www.ukeliteoleague.org.uk/