Occassional thoughts about orienteering

Wednesday, February 19, 2003

Spiking controls


A month or so ago there was a discussion at Attackpoint of how to define a "spike."

Without getting into a definition, I've got a few thoughts about "spiking." I like to identify the legs and races that I've done very well. I want the bar to be set high. I want a "spike" to be common but not so common that it is typical. If I had to guess, I'd say I typically don't "spike" more than about 25 percent of the controls on a course. I don't usually boom more than a couple of controls each race. Most of the legs in a race are ok, but not spikes. I'm not really describing what I mean very well, but that's ok.

The reason I try to identify my best legs and races is to spend some time understanding what was going on when things went well. I look at booms and bad races, too. But, I try to focus on figuring out why I did something well. If I can figure out why I spiked a control, then I can try to do that again. Maybe I'm thinking a certain way before a good race (or warming up a certain way or whatever). Maybe I prepare a certain way before my good races. Maybe I can recreate those ways of thinking and preparing and have another good race.

This might sound like "positive thinking." It isn't. It is a way to make sure I spend time understanding what it takes to do well, not just what it takes to do poorly (which is, to some extent, what focusing on analyzing mistakes does). I want to make sure I don't take orienteering well for granted. It isn't something that just happens. It isn't something that happens easily. But, it is something that I hope I can make happen more often.

posted by Michael | 10:05 PM


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