Occassional thoughts about orienteering

Thursday, December 04, 2003

Training with "coach" Lars


Years ago, Dan and I had a mini-training camp with "coach" Lars Lindquist. We spent about 5 days training in Harriman Park in New York. We spent the entire time on the Silvermine map, which I think was the only map in the park at the time (mid 1980s).

Memory sessions

Lars would pick out a point on the map and show it to Dan. He'd study the map for as long as he wanted, then hand the map to me as he took off. I'd run behind him and keep track of where we were going. When we'd reached the spot Lars picked, we'd do the same thing again, this time with me leading.

It was a good way to train. Not because you need to memorize maps when your orienteering, but because it taught you to see the larger structure to the terrain and orienteer by the larger features.

It also made for a dramatic demonstration of how much faster it is to orienteer if you're navigating by the large structure and keeping ahead of yourself. The person following, the one who had the map, constantly struggled to keep up and to keep track of where we were. The leader, who was navigating by the large structural features, moved fast.

The leader would orienteer by the structural features and constantly was looking ahead, actively looking for the next feature. The follower was passive, checking off features as we went and usually looking at a lot of the smaller features.

Those sessions taught me a lot.

Another test

I used the same approach at a training camp in Sweden in 1988, but this time I was the "coach." I was running a training course with a sports psychologist who was studying orienteering. I gave him points in the forest and talked through how he'd run the leg. The guy had very little experience with orienteering, so I had to point out the terrain structures on the map and explain to him what he'd see. We'd spend several minutes looking at each leg. Then he'd run the leg. He'd done very little orienteering, but he was able to run those legs at a respectable pace (if I remember correctly, he was running 8 min/km on the legs).

I think he was able to run reasonably well because he was orienteering by the structure of the terrain, wasn't fixated on the details, and was looking ahead the whole time.

Last Monday's post

Last Monday, I wrote about a memory session that some Norwegian orienteers did. The concept is similar to the training Lars was doing, though it was set up a bit differently. The Norwegians drew their own sketch maps (which serves the same function as memorizing the leg).

Check out the Wing OK web page to see photos of sketch maps from the training session.

posted by Michael | 8:20 PM


Comments: Post a Comment
March 2002April 2002May 2002June 2002July 2002August 2002September 2002October 2002November 2002December 2002January 2003February 2003March 2003April 2003May 2003June 2003July 2003August 2003September 2003October 2003November 2003December 2003January 2004February 2004March 2004April 2004May 2004June 2004July 2004August 2004September 2004October 2004November 2004December 2004January 2005February 2005March 2005April 2005May 2005June 2005July 2005August 2005September 2005October 2005November 2005December 2005January 2006February 2006March 2006April 2006May 2006June 2006July 2006August 2006September 2006October 2006November 2006December 2006January 2007February 2007March 2007April 2007May 2007June 2007July 2007August 2007September 2007October 2007November 2007December 2007January 2008February 2008March 2008April 2008May 2008June 2008July 2008August 2008September 2008October 2008November 2008December 2008January 2009February 2009March 2009April 2009May 2009June 2009July 2009August 2009September 2009October 2009November 2009December 2009January 2010February 2010March 2010April 2010May 2010June 2010July 2010August 2010September 2010October 2010November 2010December 2010January 2011February 2011March 2011April 2011May 2011June 2011July 2011August 2011September 2011October 2011November 2011December 2011January 2012February 2012March 2012April 2012May 2012June 2012July 2012August 2012September 2012October 2012November 2012December 2012January 2013March 2013April 2013May 2013July 2013September 2013