Occassional thoughts about orienteering

Tuesday, March 04, 2003

Sking and strategy and coaching and orienteering....


The color commentator for the Eurosport coverage of the men's 4x10 Km relay at the x-country ski world champs was interesting (thanks largely to some interesting questions from the other commentator). Magnar Dalen provided the color. He was the Swedish national coach at last year's Olympics. During the relay race this year, the other commentator, whose name I didn't catch, asked Dalen a bunch of questions about strategy for the race.

One question was about the extent to which the coaches told the skiers what to do. Dalen said that different countries have different approaches. The Swedes and Norwegians generally let the athletes decide how they'll ski their leg. The Germans and the Russians are given explicit direction from their coaches. If a German skier is in the middle of the pack 4 km into the event, it is probably because the coaches told the skier to be in the middle of the pack at that point.

In orienteering I suspect that strategies for a race are usually left up to the runner. But, I wonder if it might be better -- at least for some orienteers -- if coaches talked through race strategies with the orienteers before a race.

Talking through race strategies might make a lot of sense for orienteers from the U.S. who are likely to have relatively little experience. On the other hand, the U.S. national team coaches haven't typically been very close to the orienteers on the team. Having someone give you advice, even just talking through strategy, who you don't feel comfortable with is probably just a waste of time.

posted by Michael | 7:34 PM


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