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Discussion: Is There a Volunteer Coach Available for One Afternoon?

in: Troll Cup and Junior National Champs (Apr 28–29, 2018 - Holyoke, MA, US)

Apr 16, 2018 4:38 AM # 
After many years absence there will be a team from Florida competing at the Junior Nationals and Troll Cup. From South Sumter HS, they are a great bunch of kids and finished third as a team at the recent Navy JROTC Nationals. Thanks partly to some generous contributions from AP members and O clubs they have raised enough money to drive to MA but not enough to fly. No matter; they will be there and they will enjoy the experience with thanks to you.
But here is another problem. None of them -NONE- have ever participated in an orienteering event outside of Florida so they are not at all faminiar with at least two features of Mt Tom orienteering, rock features and contour lines, particularly contour lines that are close together.
I have set them up net Saturday for a practice in an abandoned mine (AKA quarry) near them. They will do a line-O with the trails removed from the map but that just scratches the surface. I have them doing some other preparatory exercises both physical and theoretical but that is still not the real thing.
The team will arrive at Mt Tom in time for the practice session on Friday but I'll have trouble getting there in time. Is there any APer who would like to step up to help the team get acclimatized to the Mt Tom terrain and map features? Please contact me if you can help and I'll put you in touch with them.
Apr 17, 2018 12:11 AM # 
Gord, I'll be there Friday, but most of my students have not experienced anything like this terrain either. And i'll have my hands full with them. But for your students, their main goal should be to get out on the map, get as comfortable as they can with the symbols and with what's mapped and what's not. Distinctions between what's shown as a boulder, a cliff, or a knoll are important. And don't get hurt or too worn out. Have them go out in pairs or threes, but each with a map and TALK - point out everything they notice and how its mapped. They will be each other's best teachers.
Apr 17, 2018 7:22 AM # 
That's the idea Mike.
I have someone - a very good someone - who has also volunteered to help but is also busy with his own team.
I find just running more O legs does not help the students very much. They concentrate on looking for the flag and not studying the terrain.
I hope to find where the training controls are then use an old map to set a line O course incorporating some of the controls and hope someone will be there to help.
I'm not asking any potential helpers to go out there cold turkey.
Apr 17, 2018 11:53 AM # 
Gord, have you looked at the model map, now linked from the event web site? There's some topology on the northern loop showing large spurs and reentrants, some areas of tightly and widely spaced contour lines. On the southern loop, there are some rock features. I think you could demonstrate a fair number of orienteering concepts using this area.
Apr 17, 2018 1:57 PM # 
Yes, I have looked at the model map and it is great. We'll definitely be using it. These kids have never seen such terrain and while the model area is not as steep as parts they will see on the Saturday and Sunday it iaa a gereat introduction. Heck In 48 years of orienteering I have never orienteered at Mt Tom so it will be an adventure for me, too. I hope to get there for the later part of the model event.
I have also suggested they do a google search for Mt Tom orienteering maps. There they will find routes by greats such as Alex Jospe, PG and Charlie de Weese. Charlie's is a great example of how things can be going well and then KABOOM!
I want to set up a line-O exercise on the model map so the Floridians will concentrate more on the contours and less on the leg/flag. I'm looking for someone or a few to help coach the kids around, not lead them but to follow up and re-inforce.
To help them prepare I've asked them to practice course setting on old copies of th4e Mt Tom map. But I guess everyone is doing that.

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