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Attackpoint - performance and training tools for orienteering athletes

Discussion: Tough job

in: Joshosh; Joshosh > 2016-10-03

Oct 4, 2016 12:31 AM # 
Daily coaching will beat less-frequent national coaching almost always.

I think the juniors were made aware, there is a possibility to join the French junior training centre in Clermond Ferrand for a year. Which doesn't mean we oughtn't develop local coaching programmes. But where and how? It'd be nice to have Sheep's Head in the centre of Dublin. Or a big orienteering club (and uni) in Killarney.
Oct 5, 2016 7:56 AM # 
It's not an easy fix. It pains me to say it but UCDO had a pretty good group training together almost full time for a bit, which is the way to go.

As regards lack of quality forest maps maybe we plant some forests and they're ready for the juniors in the future!
Oct 5, 2016 8:12 AM # 
Terrain is only a part of the problem. The navigation of the juniors can be pretty good. But for top results, one needs to take 5 minutes off one's 10km times (or equivalent in terrain, who cares about road speed).

Some primary school (UNTS) in Warsaw produced multiple (\geq 2) jwoc medallists. There are no hills nearby. There is no technical open mountain terrain. They learnt to run fast, good focus, to use a compass, to read a map while running fast. It is possible. One can do a lot with training camps if the physical preparation is done beforehand.

But... training is so much more fun on technical maps.
Oct 5, 2016 8:13 AM # 
In lieu of forest, maybe we could take a busload of juniors up Lough Firrib every time the fog rolls in.
Oct 5, 2016 8:30 AM # 
I'd be in agreement with the running speed argument. If you can't run near the top guys with no-navigation then you're not closing that gap in the forest. Maybe 3km, 5km, 10km time trials on a track, as well as the TT course, would be of use. I would say to make a WOC sprint final you probably need to be sub9 over 3km, I mean Yannick is sub8!

Can only work with what we have
Oct 5, 2016 9:17 AM # 
I would say these days you need to better than sub-9, maybe sub 8:50, or 8:45, or have a really great conversion rate:
3k running : 3k map-reading.
That would need to be better than most I think.
Oct 5, 2016 9:20 AM # 
I know this started off talking about juniors but it all applies to the seniors as well. You are right about running speed, if you're not fast enough you won't have a chance before you even start your race. I'm not sure if there is any point in sending people to woc who are not fast enough to compete (I'm looking at myself here!). I think it is about time we made running times over 3,5,10k a requirement. I think you'd find a big improvement almost straight away if you chucked out a fast running standard that needed to be met for selection.
Oct 5, 2016 9:29 AM # 
Absolutely it applies to seniors too.

Careful with the tt cutoffs. We still need the best relay team, and that's the best orienteers. And we need the best results in general. Competition is improving the standard. People know both speed and technique are important.

WOC is not just about medals, it's also about competing with the Belgians, Poles, Canadians etc.
Oct 5, 2016 9:35 AM # 
Id be of the view to disagree with "only sending people to woc who are fast enough to compete". Surely if you have met the selection criteria as laid out then you have a right to go to WOC and represent as you are the best that is available during that current year? But maybe a time over a set distance dependent on the discipline could be included in this. I mean if we have the places available they should be filled regardless. It's important for places at future WOC's.

I would say the same with the Juniors, the goal should be to send full teams to get them experience at higher level competition.
Oct 5, 2016 10:07 AM # 
I don't think a TT cutoff is the way to do it. You could certainly make some guidelines indicating that a fast running time could help your selection. The juniors already do a time trial twice a year which gives the coaches a good idea of where they are at. I'm not sure if there is a requirement associated with it. Juniors also need to be developed so I think you need to be sending people even if they would have missed the cutoff.

It might be a case where we could progressively increase the standard necessary to get on the team in order to have a long term strategy. Say start with a 10 min 3k (you might argue slow, but I'd already be off the team) and decrease the time each year? I agree that we should fill the places on the WOC team.

In terms of coaching programs I think the interest is almost there in Ireland. What it takes though is someone to do it and a core group to take part in it at the start. Choose a place and run the experiment for a winter. When I was a junior one of the first things I was told when I decided I wanted to get good was to join a running club. So, after getting to know and make some friends I had to go and join another group of people I didn't know doing something I wasn't particularly good at. I think to develop juniors you need to be having orienteers training together as much as possible.

If I was to take the example of Dublin, objectively how I would do it would be get the DUO and UCDO to cooperate, effectively doubling the available volunteer pool, and open training to juniors and any orienteers who are interested. I'm sure there are logistical issues with this but in terms of numbers that should be a sufficient base to start with.
Oct 5, 2016 10:22 AM # 
Dublin is the place for a co-ordinated training group effort, numbers make the difference.

There will be some discussion on selection policy for 2017 in the coming weeks, so if the squad as a whole thinks it's a good idea to look at faster running speeds, then i'm sure it can be considered.
Personally I wouldn't be against the idea but I do think there might be some issues in how it might be implemented, particularly in deciding on what the times should be. But even if a time isn't a requirement, it makes it a target to work towards, and goals are important to have for training.
Oct 5, 2016 10:54 AM # 
It's not about having a coordinated training group or technical terrain. It's all about the mindset of Irish orienteering. We think we're shit and therefore we do shit. And excuses about terrain and other things don't help. The odds that the juniors, and seniors, for that matter want to be world champions or make WOC finals more than anything in the world is extremely low. I'd say a lot of juniors don't even enjoy orienteering that much and they only go to internationals because it's easy to get on a team. I wanted to win EYOC sprint 2012 more than anything so I busted my ass trying to get good enough. I came 15th with a not so great race and I was pissed off with that result! It was a failure. But juniors and seniors coming close to last in JWOC and WOC couldn't care less. They don't have that drive to give everything they have to achieve a goal. And it's not because of the terrain we have, it's because our athletes don't have that drive or that mindset that says I can be the best. And yes, we should have fitness cutoffs and no, we shouldn't send full teams to internationals. There's no point sending juniors, who are shit on a domestic level to do shit on an international level. I can attest to that having gone to JWOC 2015 and 2016 and done horrendously shit. And this is why I won't be on another WOC team until I know I can compete at the highest level. It's time the individual athletes woke up and stopped hiding behind the excuses and the bullshit of not having proper support or terrain. Because it's just that, bullshit.
Oct 5, 2016 3:13 PM # 
I wouldn't bother with school or uni either. There are textbooks and internet out there. If you don't win a Nobel prize on your own, you just aren't motivated enough.

Edit: It's not that there isn't some truth in what you say, Jonny, but it's not the whole truth. What would you do to incite some juniors to fall in love with the sport? What would you do to incite some of those juniors to want a medal more than anything? Obsession is necessary, but it can't be demanded of everyone.
Oct 5, 2016 4:58 PM # 
Neil, you said the same thing to me as an obsessed junior.

I believe an unhealthy obsession is a prerequisite.
But this obsession must be tempered with a goal driven systematic approach to coaching/ training.

I think the biggest problem is that squad members in Ireland, in general, orienteer once or twice a week.
You want to perform at a world champs by doing your chosen sport once or twice a week. Just think about that for a sec before throwing out solutions.
You don't rise to the occasion, you fall to the lowest level of training.
Oct 5, 2016 6:00 PM # 
There are so many different points to agree & disagree with here. What a discussion.

There were some good points raised about Time Trials for selections.
My opinion would be that hitting a specific time shouldn't be compulsory to get onto the team, except maybe for sprint.
However, a time trial in the selection races could be used for all events. No missed standard means you can't go, but it will weigh against you possibly. Some countries (eg Czech) have points for various times you do on the track - sub 8:45 = 6pts, and then each 10sec slower is 1 point less. But they also assign points for your position in the orienteering selection races, and use these for selections.
Even publishing a list of times you want people at, if we're not making them now, once they're there, we'll start to get closer to them, and in a year or two, one would expect we will start hitting them.
I also think one-man relay, mass start races would be a great addition to relay selection, because being a good middle distance racer is not the same as being a good relay runner. Kris Jones, Scott Fraser, Murray Strain, these guys make the GBR relay teams, but they've run very few / no (?) WOC Middles.

There's no doubt that setting something up would have to happen in Dublin if anywhere. I don't think UCDO & DUO have enough motivated people to get the ball really going, but it is a hub for people to be able to train together more which is something.
From my experience in UCDO, it's not easy to coordinate with DUO because you can do most of your sessions on campus, and why would they come to you? At weekends, and one long run during the week are the realistic options.

But it takes a lot of motivated people to get the sessions going. Or a coach overseeing it all. And still a certain amount of motivated people need to be there to justify a coach. I don't know if there are enough to justify it, how many serious people would you get out to all your weekly sessions?

I think jonny's right & wrong - but fair fucks for saying it the way you see it, no bullshit.
In the junior setup there is definitely a mix of semi-motivated people, and people there because they can. That's the way it is.
I would be for sending full teams to the likes of JHIs, but being selective for EYOC, JWOC, JEC, I think they have a decent balance. People need experience, but people need to be serious if they want to wear their country's colours. The group now are not going to be medalling, and recent results have often been poor, but I think they're under performing, a lot of them are more talented than their EYOC results suggests - that is an area which should be addressed.
Still though, they are not near quick enough, and they don't train like they're competitive. I do think athletics clubs are the best for their age now, it's too hard to group junior orienteers due to lack of numbers and various other constraints / commitments - other sports, lack of independence / ability to drive themselves. If they joined the same athletics clubs as each other, that would be ideal to compete with each other in a team environment, but with an already good setup and other high quality athletes their age.

In the senior squad most people going to WOC do care about their results & when they do badly, but there is probably a certain amount of settling for competing with the Belgians, Poles & Candians.
We're not at podium standard, but we should at least in the near future have our relay teams looking for 10th-15th results as opposed to 20th-25th results.
But the standard is improving a lot at the moment I think. Yes, maybe the WOC performances (aside from Nick) were under performing a bit this year, but you can see solid results from stuff like WUOC instead. And that is the future.

I actually don't agree that the issue is lack of orienteering training. Yes, we don't orienteer enough, and it would be ideal to have weekly sessions. But I think a lot of the work can be made up with 4-6 weeks of orienteering specific work in the lead up to the competitions. That needs to be in good terrain, and ideally relevant terrain.
I think the bigger issue is we don't have Gueorgiou's " ticket" to finals or good results that other top athletes have because we can't keep up. We're not quick enough. I think a lot of the work to be done is physical. And then the technical stuff can come late in the build up. But that's just a personal opinion.

That said c.hill - you're in a bit of a dofferent situation to most. You have the speed better than most if not all on the squad, but having been out of the game for a while, more O could well be the thing.
Oct 5, 2016 8:56 PM # 
@ndobbs I'll be honest and say that I don't know how to incite someone to love the sport. From personal experience, success at the JK and other events at a young age really motivated me to train really hard but I got really into the sport before these (despite loathing it for a few years first!). As per how to motivate an athlete who wants to succeed, I think it's mainly down to the athlete themselves. Get a coach (very important!) and stick with a smart training plan, in conjunction with an athletics club. I never had a coach and my training was awful and my legs broke down as a result. If there is someone who wants to medal (which at the moment, I don't think there is), I don't want to see them make the same mistakes. Again from personal experience, playing catching features really enhanced my navigation as an m14/16. Virtually practising your technique/skills actually really does help as long as you do it with a lot of devotion.
Oct 7, 2016 11:20 PM # 
This is a list the Norwegians published in 2012 of their orienteer's times (and I added mine):
3000m-tider av O-løpere
Jan Fjærestad 7.57.06
Truls Nygaard 7.59.60
Pål Corneliussen 8.00.18
Oddmund Roalkvam 8.00.5
Yngvar Christiansen 8.01.78
Ola Tellesbø 8.08.0
Terje Næss 8.10.12
Øivind Hylleseth 8.15.33
Sten Erik Hammerquist 8.19.6
Kjetil Bjørlo 8.20.93
Øyvind Thon 8.23.8
Dagfinn Olsen 8.24,2
Jon Tvedt 8.24.42
Rolf Vestre 8.26.60
Jørn Therkelsen 8.26.6
Morten Hoffmann 8.28.0
Tore Sagvolden 8.30.33
Arild Aasheim 8.31.04
Håvard Tveite 8.32.25
Harald Thon 8.32.4
Bjørnar Valstad 8.32.-
Viggo Aaberg 8.32.7
Per Olaussen 8.33.88
Svein Jacobsen 8.35.0
Jarle Teigland 8.36.79
Lars Ølstad 8.37.04
(Eoin Rothery 8.37, 1985)
Holger Hott Johansen 8:38,0
Lars Drage 8.38.4
Lars Skjeset 8:39,0
Anders Eide 8.39.01
Gjermund Hanssen 8.39.30
Øystein K Østerbø 8:41,6
Oct 8, 2016 8:46 AM # 
I think one of the reasons that we always under-perform at EYOC, JWOC etc is that our juniors actually don't have enough practice at racing. Most people go to an event and have a run round, without pushing themselves properly, and often having a pretty good idea of what position they'll finish in. For example, in NIOA events, I can be almost certain that I'm going to win by a few minutes, so it's harder to find the motivation to orienteer fast to beat anyone, and that's my main weakness - I have alright running speed and good navigation, but when I try to mix the two things fall apart. And because of this, I end up always sticking at a comfortable speed during orienteering, so can never perform well outside of Ireland. I think more head to head racing would go some way towards fixing this - I find that relays are when I push myself the hardest, but only run at most 3-4 in a year, so have next to no chance of getting better at them. Possibly at junior (and senior) squad trainings we could do more mass start racing, to really get people into the mindset of trying to go as fast as they can.
Oct 9, 2016 7:43 PM # 
Eoin - what is that list referring to?
The top Norweginas in 2012? The top Norwegians over the last 20 odd years?
I wonder how well they all performed vs their 3k times
Oct 9, 2016 7:46 PM # 
Paul - I think you've hit on a really good point there and also what should be an effective solution. Definitely one for the suggestion box.
EDIT - I'm interested to know what, in your opinion, has been key to you becoming so damn fast that you can out-perform all other NI orienteers. Can Ballydrain take all the credit?!
Oct 9, 2016 10:13 PM # 
The list is the PBs (as at 2012) of best performed Norwegian orienteers who ran times for 3000m under 9 minutes. The list includes World Champions from as far back as 1978 (Jan Fjærestad) and 1979 (Øyvind Thon) as well as more recent champions (Øystein K Østerbø). It shows that the Norwegians placed some value on running 3k time trials. The sheer number of Norwegian orienteers under 9 minutes also indicates that their training methods work and that sub-9 should be achievable by many people with the right training.
Oct 10, 2016 10:36 AM # 
It also shows that if you are a damn good navigator, you can beat someone who is 5% faster, but not 10%. So your speed needs to be up there.

Interesting points all. Orienteering intervals are also good (to PaulP), but need to be planned separately to events I think. Training weekends! [Since midweek orienteering seems too much to ask for.]
Oct 10, 2016 12:15 PM # 
Interesting to note that a lot of those top Norwegian times are from when Norway was the top O nation. I know this is up until 2012 but still interesting to see that there are few of the more recent team members up there.

I've never been a fan of making running speed a compulsory selection factor (probably because I always avoided it) but it's hard to argue with the results. However, there's not point in being able to run if you can't read a map.

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