Occassional thoughts about orienteering

Friday, December 05, 2008

A hypothetical try out system


Here's a rough )(i.e. not very carefully thought out) outline of my hypothetical try out system:

1. Have the orienteers run a short (maybe 2.5 Km) O' course - fairly simple orienteering. Have the orienteers treat it like a race.

2. Have them re-run the same course, but this time with the route marked by tapes. Again, have the orienteers treat it like a race.

Comparing the times for 1 and 2 should give you some good information on running ability and navigating ability. The difference between the first and second time they run the course is a measure of navigation.

3. Provide some instruction to the orienteers. Pick some specific technique - maybe using handrails or attackpoints or something.

4. Have the orienteers run a short O' course that emphasizes the technique you'd provided instruction on. Treat it like a race.

5. Have them re-run the same course, but with the route marked by tapes. Treat it like a race.

Comparing times for the course gives you another set of measures of both running and navigating ability. It also is a test of the orienteers' ability to learn.

After each O' course, spend a few minutes asking the orienteers to explain how they'd run. Try to get a sense of how they navigated and learned. Look for indications that they really liked (or hated) orienteering.

Finally, watch what the orienteers did before and after each course. Look for things like crossing the finish line and then starting to look at the map. Treat that as an indicator that they might have some level of O' fanaticism.

I figure this approach would give me a few measures of each of the 4 attributes I was looking for: running, navigating, learning, and O' fanaticism. The measures aren't all especially good - the measures of O' fanaticism are especially squishy. But, I think that by trying to measure these attributes I'd learn something. At the very least, being systematic would help me understand what I was thinking about what makes a good orienteer.

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posted by Michael | 4:33 PM


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