Occassional thoughts about orienteering
Thursday, December 04, 2003
Training with "coach" LarsYears 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).
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.
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