Coaching

We recommend moving up a level once you have a good grasp of the skills required at your current level, and have proven your ability to yourself at a recent event by remaining in control of your navigation for the whole course and arriving at the finish line confident and satisfied.

Where are you at in your orienteering adventure? Don’t kid yourself, good navigation is hard to learn, and bad habits are harder to unlearn. OrienteeringNZ is here to help you gain skills and confidence as you work through these techniques, so get in touch with Gene Beveridge at [email protected] for more assistance.

Orienteering maps are like a new language. Become familiar with the common symbols and colours before starting your course. You can’t expect to remember all the symbols, but familiarising yourself with the basic colour schemes and shapes is the best place to start.


Download and read the basic symbol set below. Memorise what you can. Do the colours and symbols seem logical to you? Get used to checking the symbols when you are orienteering.

Maps can be different scales and getting a sense of how far 100m is on the map helps you keep track of your movement.


Stand in a known location and look at a distinct feature more than 50 metres away. Measure the distance between 2 points on the map.

Sometimes you will see a landmark before you see its symbol or colour on the map and sometimes you will see the symbol or colour on the map before you look for the landmark. You should get used to doing both.


Walking with the map, identify obvious nearby landmarks and find them on the map, then find a nearby symbol on the map and spot the landmark that the symbol represents. Stay interested in matching things up, even if you get confused at times, and don’t worry about moving fast.

Getting the map and your body facing in the correct direction should be the first thing to do on each leg.


Give yourself time at the start of each leg to line the northlines on the map with the compass needle. Check that the map around you makes sense.

Keeping your thumb on your current location makes it easier to find where you are when you look back at the map.


Each time you look at the map update your thumb position to where you think you are. It’s easy to forget so practice practice practice.

Between every control you will need to know what safe landmark is best to follow. These safe landmarks that you can follow from one place to another are called handrails.


At the start of each leg, read the map to find the best landmark that will take you from your current control to your next. At the end of the leg, ask yourself if you felt confident following your chosen handrail.

Knowing what you are looking for in advance helps you recognise landmarks when you see them.


At the start of each leg, make a list in your head of the things you will see on the way to your next control. When you’re ready, make your way to your next control and check off the things on your list as you pass them.

Although the checkpoint is always directly in the centre of the control circle, the control description gives you a bit more information on exactly where the checkpoint is placed.


At the start of each leg, read the description of the next control. Does this make sense looking at the centre of the circle on the map?

Misspunching is when you miss a control or punch another control instead of the correct one. If you misspunch you haven’t actually completed the course, so will not get a result. This sucks, don’t allow yourself to miss a control by checking the number on each checkpoint.


Check the number on the map and on the control flag at every control. Make good habits early.

Orienteering maps are like a new language. At yellow-level you can stick with the same common symbols you would have become slightly familiar with at white-level, but now that you have more orienteering experience you should understand these common symbols more clearly than when you first started.


Download the basic symbols below and make sure you know what they all mean. Go through examples of how best to use certain features by talking to a coach or looking over completed courses if you have kept the maps.

Between controls you will need to choose safe landmarks such as tracks, fences, streams and forest edges to join together and follow.


At the start of each leg, read the map to find the best combination of landmarks that will take you from your current control to your next. At the end of the leg, ask yourself if you felt confident following your chosen handrail.

An attackpoint is the closest feature to the control that you know you can find easily. Using good attack points gives you more confidence in the final 50 metres to the control.


Identify your attackpoint at the start of each leg and navigate to the attackpoint as if there is a control there. Then do the remaining distance from the attachpoint to the control.

Use your compass to help you move in the right direction, while on safe features like tracks and fences and while cutting corners for short distances.


Give yourself time at the start of each leg to line the north lines on the map with the compass needle and align your body in the direction of the leg line. Check that the map around you makes sense.

Recognise when it is shorter to go cross country rather than always following the safety of handrails like tracks, fences.


From your safe handrail, decide on the best place to cut the corner and use the compass and the map to get your direction right before you leave your handrail.

Planning what features you will be using in advance helps you make a safe plan that is best for you and gives you confidence.


Making a checklist

To simplify your job, list the handrails and the attackpoint before you start each leg.

Map memory

To simplify your job, list the most memorable handrails and the attackpoint before you start each leg.

Although the checkpoint is always directly in the centre of the control circle, the control description gives you a bit more information on exactly where the checkpoint is placed. The is the same idea as practised at white-level, but the checkpoints will be a little harder at yellow-level.


At the start of each leg, read the description of the next control. Does this make sense looking at the centre of the circle on the map?

Once you leave the safety of tracks and fences you will need your compass to help you move in the right direction through the terrain.


Practice intermediate compass bearings

Pay great attention to your compass at all times. Take the time to align your compass, your map, your body, and your eyes. Check features in the terrain to get feedback on how you’re tracking.

Relating the map to landforms (hills, depressions, slopes, etc) allows for confident cross-country navigation.


Map walk

Go for a slow walk on a map. Notice all the distinct features around you. Spend extra time comparing the height of hills and looking at the shapes of the contours. Understanding contours is the biggest learning challenge for orange-level orienteers and without this skill you will not be able to move on to red-level.

To know where the control will be placed you need to convert the map into an image in your mind of how the terrain near the control will look.


Visualisation

Before navigating to the control, list all the features close to the control and imagine what they will look like so that when you get there you will recognise it easier. You should consider the size, shape and proportions of the features to form a good mental image.

Magnification

Use a magnifying glass to have a good look at some control circles on the map. Get used to using the magnifier when it’s needed and rotating it to the side when it’s not needed.

An attackpoint is the closest feature to the control that you know you can find easily. Using good attack points gives you more confidence as you navigate the final step to the control.


Planning attackpoints

Before you start each leg, choose the best attackpoint and plan a route to get to the attackpoint before moving on to the control.

Between controls you will need to choose safe features such as ridges, slopes, streams, and vegetation changes to join together and follow.


Planning handrails

At the start of the leg, choose the best route and identify lines in terrain to run along like imaginary tracks to make navigation easy. These lines could be easy to follow like tracks or fences, or harder to follow like vegetation changes or a line of hills. When you get to the control, think about which parts of your route were safest and easiest, and which parts were slowest and riskiest.

Linearisation

Plan and simplify each leg into lines such as tracks, fences, ridges, valleys, edges of distinct areas, or a number of smaller features in a row. Follow these lines through the terrain to make navigation easier and give you confidence.

Dividing a leg into smaller sections between distinct landmarks helps you avoid big mistakes and gain confidence. These distinct landmarks are called stepping stones if they can be used to know exactly where you are.


Planning stepping stones

Choose a route and identify all possible stepping stones before you start each leg. These should be obvious or distinct features that you can navigate between confidently. If you lose contact, return to the previous stepping stone and do that section of the leg again.

A catching feature is something very obvious behind the control that can be used to relocate quickly if you overshot the control.


Practice using catching features

At the start of the leg, identify the catching feature behind your control and navigate loosely to it, before relocating on the catching feature and finding the control from there.

Aiming off is purposely aiming right or left of your target (usually the target is the control) knowing that you will hit a distinct feature to the side of the control and then know which way to turn to reach your ultimate target.


Practice aiming off

At the start of the leg, identify the place where you will start your bearing from and the distinctive feature you will be aiming towards. Execute your plan.

There may be multiple ways to do a leg, each option with different challenges that should be compared before committing to one route over another.


Test and compare intermediate route choices

Do a course with interesting route choices with a partner or group to compare the speed and safety of the different options. Discuss the pros and cons of each route before and after each leg.

Distance judgement is about understanding the how distance on paper relates to distance in the terrain, and what that looks like in specific types of terrain.


Test and practice approximate distance judgement

From a place with a good view, identify a feature in the terrain more than 50m away and find it on the map. Measure the distance on the map and run or pace count the distance to your feature.

Relocation is how you use the terrain around you to work out where you are when you lose map contact.


Intermediate partner relocation

To regain contact with the map and to minimise time lost you need to find an obvious and unique feature or combination of features and get high to get a better view.

Understanding the different colours and symbols on an orienteering map and what they look like in terrain.


Read and discuss the common symbols

Cover all the symbols on the legend and then discuss the different contour shapes with a coach. Go through examples of how best to use certain features, especially contour features.

Understanding what common symbolic control descriptions mean is helpful for knowing precisely where the control is placed.


Check descriptions on course

At the start of each leg, read the description of the next control. Does this make sense looking at the centre of the circle on the map? Visualise the control placement.

Read and discuss the control descriptions

Download the file below and take a look through the official symbolic control descriptions. Can you relate them to the symbols on the map?

The systematic process that you follow for planning each leg and keeping your brain on task.


Test mental systems

Repeat your system for each leg and review at the end of the course whether you felt more or less confident.

Relating the map to landforms (hills, depressions, slopes, etc) allows for confident cross-country navigation.


Map walk

Go for a slow walk on a detailed map. Compare the height of hills and look at the precise shape of the contours and formlines.

Control picking

Develop a clear mental image of all the contour features, how they relate to each other and how you will flow through them. You should flow though control sites just as you flow through the rest of the leg.

Holding a straight line is essential for navigating confidently in both detailed and vague terrain.


Practice advanced compass process

Pay great attention to your compass at all times. Take the time to align your compass, your map, your body, and your eyes.

Bubble controls

Pay great attention to your compass at all times. Take the time to align your compass, your map, your body, and your eyes. Identify key features in the bubble and spot them as early as possible.

White out

Pay great attention to your compass at all times. Take the time to align your compass, your map, your body, and your eyes. Identify key features on the other side of the white out as early as possible.

Exiting

Align your map to the next leg and see your exit before you punch the control.

On the line

Keep moving yourself back onto the line by using firstly your compass, secondly by aiming for the features ahead of you, and thirdly by referencing your position from the features beside you.

Curved line

Stay on the line by knowing exactly what feature you are heading for next and what should be either side of you as you move along the line.

To maintain high confidence and speed you need to select visible and unique stepping stones and handrails.


Instructional

Identify the most visually unique features and instruct your partner on what to look for. Guide them around the course by relating their movement to key features they can see. You must stay behind them and cannot point to features or tell them which direction to more. Swap roles every 2 controls.

Out of bounds

Plan your route through the out of bounds areas by identifying places where there is a risk of accidentally touching an out of bounds area. Identify key features to help you avoid touching an out of bounds area.

Inverse corridor / referencing

Look as far as you can to check your position relative to features either side of you. Adjust to the left or right to stay on the line.

Draw simplification map

Draw the map for your partner with 3 colours in 3 minutes. Make the navigation easy by identifying key stepping stones and handrails.

To flow through a control with high confidence you will need a distinct and unique attackpoint to guide you in.


Practice using attackpoints

Before you start each leg, choose the best attackpoint and plan a route to get to the attackpoint before moving on to the control.

Traffic lighting

Identify an attackpoint before you start each leg and navigate a full speed to this points before slowing down and doing the final section into the control very precisely.

Having an accurately calibrated sense of distance is crucial to navigating confidently in detailed and vague terrain.


White out

Pay attention to your direction and the distance covered to know when you should be arriving in the control circle.

How you use the terrain around you to work out where you are when you lose map contact.


Partner relocation

A partner will take your map off you and take you to somewhere within 250m of your control, ideally at high speed, before giving you your map back. Relocate and find your control by getting high and/or find distinct features to help.

Identifying the key features you need to get to the next control and using them to navigate rather than reading every feature along the way


O-intervals

Focus on just the most important features (and maintaining direction) and read the map with urgency. Think of it as a navigation interval.

Tennis match

This is a kind of O-Interval with a partner. Run fast and read the map with urgency by focusing on just the most important features and maintaining direction.

Pressure start

By starting close together in high speed training (less than 1 minute apart) there is extreme demand on the orienteers ability to stay focused on simplifying navigation. It’s important to practice getting more confidence from the map (as opposed to more wishful thinking) as the best response to stress.

Rapid redraw

Draw the map for your partner with 3 colours in 3 minutes. Make the navigation easy by identifying key stepping stones and handrails.

To know where the control will be placed you need to convert the map into an image in your mind of how the terrain in the control circle will look.


Control picking

Develop a clear mental image of stepping stones and handrails, how they relate to each other and how you will flow through them. You should flow though control sites just as you flow through the rest of the leg.

Without a good plan is it easy to react to surprises in the terrain by making features fit the map even when you are in the wrong place. Losing confidence may also cause you to slow down.


Planning short legs

Before you get to each group of controls you must have planned every detail of your route through them. Take the longer legs at an easy pace and lift intensity through the controls if you can. Prior planning is not be used as memory, instead it is to identify the key features in advance and to increase familiarity during execution.

Traffic lighting

Identify risks before you start each leg and plan how you will manage your physical and technical intensities to maximise confidence and reduce the chance of losing control. Find opportunities to run fast when navigation is safe and focus on precise navigation when there are risks.

Route choice planning

Use the short leg to plan the long leg. Be disciplined and take the short leg slowly if you need the time to plan ahead. You must have the whole long leg planned before you finish the short leg.

Understanding all the different colours and symbols on an orienteering map and what they look like in terrain


Read the full legend

Cover all the symbols on the legend and then discuss the different contour shapes. Go through examples of how best to use certain features, especially contour features.

See the official ISOM 2017-2 document here.

Understanding what all symbolic control descriptions mean is helpful for knowing precisely where the flag is placed.


Check descriptions on course

At the start of each leg, read the description of the next control. Does this make sense looking at the centre of the circle on the map? Visualise the control placement.

Learn from rules

Go through the complete IOF document of symbolic control descriptions. Name and visualise all of them.

The ONZ Coaching Framework outlines the skills required to qualify as an accredited coach. There are 4 levels that coaches can move through. All levels are important to the operation of clubs and ONZ and it is essential that those who like coaching find the right level for them.

The ONZ Coaching Framework is overseen by the Coaching Working Group:
– Gene Beveridge (NWOC)
– Jean Cory-Wright (PAPO)
– Michael Croxford (NOC)
– Kieran Woods (AOC)

Foundation Coaches are our first port of call for beginners to orienteering. Every club in NZ will have foundation coaches at there events to help newcomers doing white and yellow-level courses get the basics of orienteering sorted.

Getting qualified as a Foundation Coach means that your club trusts you to help beginners at their events and training events AND trusts you to support aspiring new coaches. All qualified coaches get invited to ONZ Coaches’ Catch Ups.

  • To help beginners at events and training events by teaching white and yellow-level techniques
  • To help beginners register and start at events
  • Can complete orange courses confidently
  • Can work 1 on 1 with beginners at events and training events
  • Can welcome newcomers to orienteering and clarify any concerns they have

A foundation coach needs to teach these techniques. Some of these techniques also have pre-made lesson plans to give you an idea of how to present these new concepts in the most effective way.

White

Yellow

  • Can explain all techniques for white and yellow to an Intermediate Coach
  • Has been assessed helping 3 beginner orienteers by a Intermediate Coach, and has received feedback

Intermediate Coaches are essential for handling the bulk of a club’s coaching needs. They can teach orange-level orienteers and train Foundation Coaches.

Getting qualified as an intermediate coach means that your club trusts you to lead training exercises for groups and teach Foundatation Coaches how to coach the exercises.

  • Lead training sessions and exercises for club members
  • Support new coaches by showing them how to teach techniques for white and yellow
  • Can complete red courses confidently
  • Can work 1 on 1 with orange level orienteers at events and training events
  • Can support Foundation Coaches to help at events and training events and clarify any concerns they have

An intermediate coach needs to teach these techniques. Some of these techniques also have pre-made lesson plans, exercise ideas and video explanations to give you an idea of how to present these new concepts in the most effective way.

  • Can explain all techniques for orange to an Advanced Coach
  • Has helped organize or coach at 3 training sessions
  • Has been assessed helping 3 orange level orienteers by an Advanced Coach, and has received feedback
  • Has been assessed qualifying a Foundation Coach, by an Intermediate Coach, and has received feedback

Advanced Coaches are the big movers and highly valued for organising training days for clubs, and training camps for regions and for ONZ. The can teach red-level navigation and they can also train Intermediate Coaches.

  • To help beginners at events and training events by teaching white and yellow-level techniques
  • To help beginners register and start at events
  • Can complete red courses confidently
  • Can work 1 on 1 with red level orienteers at events and training events
  • Can support Intermediate Coaches to organise coaching events and lead coaching sessions for club their club

An advanced coach needs to teach these techniques. Some of these techniques also have exercise ideas and video explanations to give you an idea of how to present these new concepts in the most effective way.

  • Detailed contour interpretation
  • Precise map orientation and bearings
  • Advanced handrails and stepping stones
  • Advanced attackpoints
  • Precise distance judgement
  • Relocation
  • Simplification
  • Visualising control circle precisely
  • Planning ahead
  • Magnification
  • Know all symbols
  • All symbol control descriptions
  • Can explain all techniques for red to an Elite Coach
  • Has organised a club training event or junior camp under the guidance of an Elite Coach.
  • Has been assessed helping 3 red level orienteers by an Advanced Coach, and has received feedback
  • Has been assessed qualifying an Intermediate Coach, by an Advanced Coach, and has received feedback

Elite Coaches are required for overseeing travelling teams and high performance training camps. They are valued for their depth of experience and ability to challenge and support each orienteer according to their individual strengths and weaknesses. Here there is scope to challenge conventional thinking in pursuit of competitive results.

  • To organise training camps, training plans, and competition trips for competitive orienteers
  • To challenge competitive orienteers as individuals with unique strengths, weaknesses and ambitions
  • To challenge conventional wisdom and innovate new training exercises
  • Can complete red courses competitively
  • Can work 1 on 1 with competitive red level orienteers at events and training events
  • Can support Advanced Coaches to organise training camps and training plans tailored for upcoming events

Elite Coaches have a deep understanding of how to coach techniques for red level orienteering and the ability to tailor the presentation of training exercises for competitive individuals with specific performance goals and terrain types in mind.

  • Has organised a club training event or junior camp under the guidance of an Elite Coach, and received feedback

For information on the Coaching Framework and how to use it, or to provide feedback, please contact Gene Beveridge on [email protected]