Friday, 20 December 2013

Navigation coaching - who needs trails?

Trail running is the next best thing since mountain biking and the number of events and participation has soared over the past five years.

And yet orienteering, in South Africa, remains very small. The moment the word m.a.p. is mentioned, numbers drop.

Earlier this year I restructured by AR navigation coaching sessions according to principles learned during my British Orienteering Federation Level 2 coaching qualification process. Also, things have changed in AR on the nav side where we don't need to know how to plot CPs and instead these sessions can focus on the practical aspects.

I ran a series of sessions in April-May-June and just recently had two open group sessions, assisted by other coaches. We've got a super bunch of students who I look forward to working with more in the new year.

I'm also doing some one-on-one coaching with two chaps. It is very seldom that I've had the luxury of doing one-on-one coaching. It offers me a lot more freedom to change and mix up the sessions according to the level of the students and how quickly they progress and what skills they need to work on. At the moment we're building a foundation and from here I can really stretch my coaching to prepare challenging and interesting games for them.
I'm really enjoying all the coaching that I'm doing - I find it very rewarding.
At the end of the month - from 30 Dec - 3 Jan, I'm participating in the Big 5 O event. It's a five-day international orienteering event hosted here in SA - our second one (only held every two years). I'll be writing about my navigation successes (and blunders) here throughout the event. I'll also be mentoring and coaching our your orienteers from Polokwane, which should keep me on my toes.

One of our orienteers posted a link to this super cool orienteering video on FB this morning and watching it I thought, "Who needs trails when you've got a map?". It's very much why I love being able to navigate - I just choose my own routes.

This video is of two top Swiss orienteers (brothers) racing each other through forested terrain. One is a former World Champion. And yes, they really do run this fast! Well worth a watch even if you're not an orienteer or navigator.

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