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Attackpoint - performance and training tools for orienteering athletes

Discussion: What is control picking?

in: Orienteering; General

Mar 3, 2012 4:22 AM # 
I've gathered that it has to do with a lot of controls in a small area.. but does it imply anything else than that?
Mar 3, 2012 5:36 AM # 
That's basically it. I'd say it generally:

1. has a lot of controls in a short distance
2. has higher tempo (faster running)---so little climb and not a lot of bad vegetation
3. little route choice
4. tends to have a lot of change of direction

In a long, it's sort of like a section of middle (?)

In a sprint, it is an intense section of fast, short legs.

I probably shouldn't admit this, but when I look at most control picking sections on a map, my brain thinks the words "bouncy bouncy fun fun".
Mar 3, 2012 8:32 AM # 
Pink Socks:
My brain says "ping pong" or "pinball".
Mar 3, 2012 8:58 AM # 
Succinct, but informative.
Mar 3, 2012 6:35 PM # 
According to the previous link:
"a course consisting of a lot of short legs with many changes in direction..."

I would object slightly to the "higher tempo (faster running)" part of cedarcreek' s explanation above though.

The objective of control picking as a training exercise is usually to practice the last bit into the control and the first bit out of the control - and it´s not so smart to run faster there. That´s where you should be extra careful - there´s a greater risk of losing whatever time you gain by running fast if you make even the slightest mistake there.

Running fast into the control may make you miss it and running too fast out of the control easily transfers into parallell errors.
Mar 3, 2012 6:42 PM # 
Everything the rest say, but that can all be summarized as our coach in the yorkshire squad used to, by saying that you use the previous control as the attack point for the next.
Mar 3, 2012 7:13 PM # 
Expanding on Becky's comment:
And because of the "traffic light" orienteering rule, you do your precise orienteering from the attackpoint to the control, this means through out the whole control picking part you need to be careful and precise of your navigation.

Also usually those are short legs, so exiting in the correct direction is really important.
Mar 4, 2012 4:49 AM # 
My response was really describing control picking in a regular competitive event, not a specific training exercise. I'd stand by my "higher tempo" comment in an event, but bubo's probably right for a training exercise.

I try to make control picking legs long enough that the last control isn't always the best AP, but there is certainly a place for that for some small percentage of legs.
Mar 4, 2012 3:28 PM # 
Aha! Thank you!

I sorta knew what it was, but I wanted to know more about 'why' people do it. This answers my question!
Mar 4, 2012 3:42 PM # 
I imagine the name control picking comes from orienteers running with a map, with no marked course, picking a feature, running to that feature, and then quickly picking another nearby feature, and repeating. If you attempt to pick quality long legs with good route choice then your pace will slow down too much. Picking features close at hand keeps you moving and is really fun on a map with lots of features.
Mar 4, 2012 4:08 PM # 
I thought it was like fruit-picking, get one, move a little, get another...
Mar 4, 2012 4:33 PM # 
I'm usually mixing control picking with this. I get more out of it.
Mar 4, 2012 11:29 PM # 
Control flow practice.
Mar 7, 2012 11:12 AM # 
TG said:
I use this exercise mainly to train my compass routine when I leave a control. If a leg is short, I believe that if I succeed to leave the control in the right direction, 90% of the work is done. It means that when I punch the control, the first thing I do is to check my compass."
Mar 7, 2012 7:01 PM # 
TG said...
Exactly my sentiments.

Great minds think alike :)
Jun 16, 2017 6:10 PM # 
At least as Nadim Ahmed explained it to me, which was very helpful: "At least as I'm using the term, a control picking exercise is a series of short legs often with sharp turns. Unlike a predominantly route choice course, navigation between the controls won't be that difficult. You're practicing attacking and exiting the controls many of which can be considered technically advanced. The exits can be planned nearly as much as the attack so that one saves time knowing which way to turn when starting a new leg. Attacking is attacking--choosing a good and easily identifiable feature to get to, that you can then attack the control on bearing or via some other technique. Often one can attack from the previous control in control picking. "
Jun 16, 2017 7:27 PM # 
I really like Nadim's explanation and I think it gels well with the more informal ideas from the Master!

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