Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Metrogaine, novelty O, nav coaching and cultivating young orienteers

Tomorrow night is the last Metrogaine event for the year. This is by far the most difficult course planning that I've undertaken. The area is challenging with the road closures (restricts the flow of the course and makes sections unusable) and using a Scatter-ScoreO format (as opposed to the rogaining format Metrogaine is based on).

This meant a smaller area and a lot of juggling of control placements to get specified minimum distances on the courses. It's fun to have my course planning powers completely and utterly stretched and exercised. Tomorrow night the proof, of course, will be in the eating of the pudding that is Metrogaine when the participants set out to spend 90-minutes on my map.

On Sun 7 December I'm looking forward to the annual Xmas orienteering event. It's always a novelty-style event and this year it is at that paintball place off the N1. Entry fee is a gift (labelled men, women, child) to the value of R40. You hand it in at registration and during prize giving you receive one. It's good fun.

I'm also excited about doing some navigation coaching on the 6th with bunch of sporty, adventure racing women (and I think one guy). I always enjoy coaching sessions and I think this group will be a hoot.

I'm in the process of setting up a new Orienteering Schools League (OSL) for schools in eastern Jo'burg. On Monday I'm coaching a teacher's workshop. I did one in October (in our northern OSL area) and the teachers were superb and enthusiastic. The response for the workshop hasn't been great - but the timing is not ideal for everyone with year-end, exams and marking. Three geography teachers are confirmed and I look forward to exploring opportunities to align orienteering with map-related syllabus components - for practical map reading experience that will make maps 'real' and fun.

Two weekends ago I had the pleasure of putting two children through one of my orienteering cone grid games -  a six-year old boy and a nine-year old girl. I've never done cone grids with a child as young as 6. He nailed map orientation within a few minutes of being shown what to do and he got addicted, trying grid course after grid course. This weekend I'll try them on a 4x5 grid... and maybe a 7x7 grid too. Yes, they're totally being cultivated.

(Download the grid cards and instructions for Counting Coloured Cones and give it a try too.)

Maps, maps, maps... there's navigation opportunities everywhere!

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