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Attackpoint - performance and training tools for orienteering athletes

Discussion: Analysis

in: niamh; niamh > 2015-11-22

Nov 23, 2015 4:11 PM # 
I'm just going to hijack your log as your comment made me think of something. This is mostly my own theory on the idea.

As orienteers, we seem to feel a need to analyse a bad run much more than a good run. I do it all the time too. I was thinking about this since going over Regina's course yesterday and how can I help people improve better.

In reality the list of things that we should do is much shorter and more manageable than the list of things that we shouldn't do. Fair enough, one needs to learn to be able to cope with things going badly and how to fix them. However, I don't think looking at a course that went badly will teach you that much. Statements like "I need to concentrate more", "I need to have more map contact" aren't that much use. I think a better way to look at is more to look at a brilliant leg and understand what you did right. The level of concentration, aggressiveness, map contact etc. from that leg should tell you more about what you need to do for everything to go right.

In 2014 after a great training I did I wrote:
"Focus on the map, ensure I am reading the detail.
Attackpoints, use! Get close to the control
Safety, should have higher then 95% chance of getting the control (attackpoint + enlarge control)"
I feel I have got a lot more from those 3-4 lines than the pages of descriptions of what I have done wrong.

Nov 23, 2015 7:01 PM # 
Interesting (continuing the hijack theme).

Positive reinforcement. Focus on the positives and drill them home again and again.
If you focus on the negatives you remember the negatives and are more likely to do the same mistake again because you are thinking of it.

If the positives become your sole focus your 're enforcing the good habits.*

*Note: Niamh has qualified and run a near perfect race at a WOC Long Final in Scandi terrain.
c.hill usually fails (negative reinforcement) to hit the first control in any long distance
Nov 23, 2015 9:07 PM # 
This reminds me of an anecdote I read in a golf psychology book about Jack Nicklaus. He said that he had never missed a crucial putt on the last hole of an important tournament. Someone in the audience reminded him that he had, and he replied 'I didn't miss that putt. The ball missed the hole'. He was focussing on the positives, and what you can do well. He hit the ball well, but it just missed that time.

I agree with what you say about a tendancy to rush to analyse bad runs much more than good ones (I do this!). We should analyse every control, on every run. I do find that at this time of year it's useful to see what is misfiring, so that I can work on it over the winter, whereas coming into spring and competitions we don't have the luxury of playing around with technique as much. Ideally each analysis would have a mixture of both 'what I did well today' and 'what can I do better next time?'. Maybe the best way to summarise it would be to 'focus on the positives, but learn from what you didn't do well too'?
Nov 23, 2015 9:50 PM # 
And visually reimagine running the course better, correcting the mistakes before they happen... change your memory.
Nov 23, 2015 10:11 PM # 
I like that idea
Nov 25, 2015 11:23 PM # 
Interesting. The positive thinking stuff can be overdone, (was Jack Nicklaus deluding himself?), but roar has a good point. We do all seem to spend more time on the mistakes than the good parts (and they are more fun to talk about).
It is very effective to have a few positive points to keep in mind during a race, though they need to be quite specific. “use attack points” can work, I’ve been using “check direction every 20 seconds” which becomes almost automatic and keeps the focus.
But it’s not reasonable to expect to be properly prepared for every race, and a tired/unfocused/unready race can as Niamh says be valuable as a reminder of what kind of mistakes you tend to make and what causes them. Then you can translate that into positive specific points to keep in mind to avoid making those mistakes. For example I'm trying (partly successfully) to use “see a person – look at the map”!
Nov 26, 2015 8:25 AM # 
Saying I'm great, I will run well... is not particularly helpful, as routhe says. But training one's mind to spot warning signs is. Get those alarm bells ringing when there is still time to correct course.

This discussion thread is closed.