Occassional thoughts about orienteering

Tuesday, October 26, 2004



Matthias started a discussion of baseball on the Attackpoint discussion page a few days ago.

Sorry to take the discussion away from Orienteering for a second....Or maybe it is related to orienteering after all - somehow it makes me want to go out and train.!(I'm sure Spike could tell us more about this)

I felt challenged. Could I write something about the world series and relate it to orienteering? I'll try.

I'm a Boston fan. Actually I'm a KC Royals fan, but during the world series I'll be pulling for Boston.

I generally favor the American League (again as a KC fan).

Another reason I'm a Boston fan is that they've employed Bill James. James is a KU grad (like me) and lives in my hometown of Lawrence, Kansas.

James is a baseball analyst and writer. He's known for making a serious effort to study baseball scientifically, using rational analysis to try to answer questions. His work, which began in the mid 1970s, is a bit part of the way some teams are approaching the game. James' approach gained a lot of support a couple of years ago when Michael Lewis wrote a best selling book called "Moneyball" about how the Oakland A's succeeded despite spending relatively little money.

A very short summary of the ideas in Moneyball is that a team can answer important questions through analysis and can find bargains when the competition puts the wrong value (either too much or too little) on some aspect of performance.

Now, to relate this to orienteering...

What would a Moneyball approach to orienteering training look like? I'm guessing it'd involve carefully thinking and analyzing the demands of upcoming races, really focusing on, for example, how best to prepare for the upcoming WOC in Japan. It'd also involve looking for ways to prepare that other orienteers hadn't thought of or had undervalued. Maybe Thierry Gueorgiou's 2-hour-a-day CatchingFeatures habit is an example of finding a new way to prepare?

posted by Michael | 8:32 PM


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