I organised the LOC group at the National Coaching Day at Blake Holme today. Carol McNeill had planned a set of exercises that we were able to make use of to individualise training for the people who attended. I added a rather simpler loop for a couple of Orange/Lt Green juniors.
We had 19 people in our group, 8 juniors and 11 seniors. Heather Burrows was my assistant for the day (what a great assistant!). Each person went out on one of three loops to warm up and get used to the map. Following on from last week’s session most were sent back out to try to improve on their performance before choosing one of the other loops to continue with.
A number chose to do a Window version of a Control Pick loop, before repeating with a full version map. This gave them the chance to practice short compass legs before combining compas and mapwork. This seemed to work well. This was extended when we moved to a second start after lunch, when people were allowed to chose their own exercises from a wide variety.
I accompanied one person on a line exercise (that they were repeating), which they found useful as we were able to discuss the detailed contour interpretation that was necessary. This later encouraged a general discussion on the use of form lines on maps.
I also shadowed someone returning to orienteering on a longer loop. She is quite competent when relying mainly on her compass, but struggled reading the detailed contours and simplifying contours into line features. That was the area suggested for her to work on in her next event.
After lunch we had short discussion about why we train. I suggested that in order to be good at the sport we needed to internalise the basic skills. I said that I have done that for certain of the skills, particularly contour interpretation. When these skills are internalised they are then used almost instinctively when planning and executing legs, to the point where someone very good couldn’t tell you exactly which skills they had used when navigating around a course.
It was good to see other coaches that I had met at the Cairngorm camp last year. There were several junior squads and full squads there, along with a number of individuals.
On the whole a good day out with 5 hours coaching, and 2 hours preparation. Must have reached my CPD for this year.