Occassional thoughts about orienteering

Sunday, March 08, 2009

MAP model of orienteering performance


You can think of orienteering performance being a function of three things: map use; approach to preparing and competing; and physical ability to get around the course.

Map reading/use refers to the sort of thing that we think of as O' technique. It include things like making route choices, matching up the terrain and map, recovering from mistakes, and so on.

Approach refers to the sort of thing that we often think of as mental ability and motivation. Approach gets at the drive to get out the door and train on a cold, rainy day. Approach gets at the ability to have just the right level of nerves to perform your best when it really matters.

Physical ability refers to...well, I guess it is obvious. Think about the ability to run through the relevant terrain, run at just the right pace, jump over obstacles, and have the endurance to maintain a good pace.

Orienteering performance = f(map, approach, physical)

I'll call this model MAP (from map, approach, physical).

Like any model, MAP is a gross oversimplification. You could, for example, split each of these factors into many sub-factors. The Swedish elite plan has maybe a dozen different factors that make up O' performance. You can also think of orienteering as being made up of navigating and running - just two factors.

I think that an individual can get better at each one of the factors. You can improve at using a map, at approaching the sport, and at running. Each factor can be developed.

We know a lot about how to develop running. We know a lot about how to develop map use (though not as much as we know about running). We know something - but not alot - about how to develop the approach.

We can easily measure running. We can measure map use, but it isn't as easy as measuring running. We can make some educated guesses to measure approach, but it is quite difficult to really measure.

Physical - well known, easy to measure.
Map - reasonably well known, harder to measure.
Approach - not well known, hardest to measure.

I think there are some interesting implications of a model like MAP. And if a brand new Simpsons wasn't coming on in a few minutes, I might spend some time writing about a couple of them.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 5:53 PM


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