Occassional thoughts about orienteering

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Thoughts inspired by a post at Attackpoint


As a rule I don't post to Attackpoint discussions. But, I read the discussions and now and then come across something interesting. Today I read a thread on "base training volume."

3000 meter times

Sergey wrote a bit about a running test the Italian team did. Sergey was impressed by Carlo Rigoni's time. But, what I noticed was that the top two Italians have really big differences in running.

Carlo Rigoni ran 8:47
Michele Tavernaro ran 9:52

For the test, Tavernaro was much slower than Rigoni. Does that represent a real difference in running speed? Well, I don't know. Maybe Tavernaro was sick or injured...or just took it easy. Maybe he really is slower.

Tavernaro and Rigoni are both quite good orienteers. You could probably make a case that either of them is a bit better than the other. Tavernaro is currently ranked a bit higher in the world rankings (65th compared to 88th for Rigoni). Rigoni's all-time best world rank was 36th (compared to 47th for Tavernaro). Tavernaro's best world ranking day was 1258 points scored (compared to Rigoni's best ever of 1250 points scored). Probably the most fair conclusion is that Tavernaro and Rigoni are about equal.

Rigoni is 34 years old this year. Tavernaro is 29.

One of the fascinating aspects of orienteering is that while it is a running sport, running doesn't decide it.


Sergey also wrote:

The difference between USA athletes and world elite is exactly this - running and navigational speed.
What can we do to correct this situation?

One obvious key would be motivation. Motivated orienteers train hard. Orienteers who train hard become stronger, faster and navigate better.

While motivation is a bit of a mystery, there are some fairly standard ways to motivate people. I think most people who read this have experience from the work place and I think most of us who have worked have been managed by good and bad bosses (some of us have even been good and bad bosses).

In a work place people need to know what they are expected to do, they need to have the tools to do what is expected, they need feedback on how they are doing, and they need to feel that what they are doing is worthwhile. Motivating orienteers is probably pretty similar. Obviously it is a bit more complicated that than. But, a management approach might be the answer to Sergey's question.

posted by Michael | 7:13 PM


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