Occassional thoughts about orienteering

Friday, March 24, 2006

Talent and ice skating


Talent and ice staking? Actually, that's two separate topics.

Ice Skate Orienteering

Check out the results and photos from some ice-skate orienteering in the Czech Republic. I can't read a word of the page, but it looks like fun.


When I wrote about the Theory of Orienteering I threw around the term "talent." I did it without much thought. Though, "talent" is something I've thought about a lot.

Among other things, I wrote, "I think that natural talent is relatively unimportant in orienteering."

A couple of comments disagreed:

I think natural talent is very important in orienteering. Some people have a 'sense of direction' - others don't.


Talent counts for elite orienteering. Some skills can be trained and developed, but if the talent are not there, it doesn't work.

I'm not sure what I think about "talent." In fact, I'm not even sure I've figured out what it means.

A part of talent is some sort of genetic physical ability. Another part is some sort of mental ability. But, figuring out what is learned versus what is natural is probably impossible.

A couple of times a year, Mary and I have a discussion about map reading talent. I'm convinced that there isn't such a thing. I suppose that is too strong and too absolute. The truth is probably that there is some talent, but I'm not sure there is much. Most of what might be considered natural map reading ability is just a very well learned skill. I like to think of map reading as a language. Anyone can learn it, but if you learn it right, you won't have an accent. You'll think in map reading (just the way someone who is raised in France thinks in French).

Talent is an attribute many of us use to talk about other people. We figure that we don't have talent, we just put in the hard work. Other people have talent. "Think of how good I'd be if I were so talented."

I might have to spend some more time thinking about talent. I clearly don't really understand what I'm writing, let alone what I believe.

But, now I'm off to go get a burrito.

posted by Michael | 6:19 PM


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