Firstly we awarded a grant to the British Schools Orienteering Association to assist with taking a England team to the World Schools Orienteering Championships in April 2017. The competition is being held in Sicily, Italy, and the grant will help go towards covering the higher than normal travel costs.
The World Schools are held every other year, and often give aspirant school orienteers their first experience of international orienteering competition. Selection races take place at the British Schools Orienteering Championships in November 2016, and athletes compete either as individuals or representing a whole school. We wish all those who are selected the very best of luck in the competition.
Secondly we awarded a grant to Chris Smithard to assist with the development of a new website to help orienteers analyse and evaluate their orienteering technique. As Chris reports:
Most orienteers learn how to orienteer by themselves with sporadic input from others. Even when coaches are involved it is difficult to provide appropriate structured long term progression (as I have experienced through the junior and senior squads). There are online tools for recording and analysing physical training (e.g. attackpoint.org) but nothing really exists for the technical side of orienteering.
This tool follows an analysis process developed by Kris Jones with his background as a sports scientist and high standard international orienteer that breaks down the technical side of orienteering into quantifiable parts. It is named Plan-Direction-Picture (PDP) and as it suggests utilises 3 main parameters which are common to every control an orienteer tackles. After completing a race/session you spend a few minutes going through each control simply answering 'Yes' or 'No' to the questions 'Was your plan/direction/picture suitable for this leg?'. This data along with split times, time lost, control number, type of race, type of area etc will then be displayed in charts for individual races or grouped together over longer periods of time. This provides a way to see patterns in the individuals orienteering technique and therefore a basis to set specific training to improve the performance of the individual.
Chris is a well known orienteer having been part of the GBR Mixed Sprint Relay team at WOC 2016 in Scotland. We look forward to seeing him bring his wealth of orienteering experience to bear on this project, and hope it can help many orienteers maximise their potential.