Squad Training at Belfast

The weekend of 8-9 May saw the South African JWOC team, together with a few other National Junior & Senior squad members, assemble in the Belfast forest for an intensive training camp led by National Junior coach, Nicholas Mulder.

The participants didn’t have to worry about food, as all meals were lovingly prepared by “junior mum”, Denise Courtnage.  Denise was heard to remark how the squad, “fed like locusts, leaving hardly a scrap”.

The senior squad members helped coach Nic by hanging controls for the various exercises and by providing close shadowing and insightful commentary to some of the Junior squad.  The various exercises included, a traffic light exercise, a control picking exercise, a pairs map-memory exercise, a night orienteering exercise and a star relay.

In one particular twist the various participants were asked to plan their own courses to particular specifications.  Later in the weekend the devious planners were given a taste of their own medicine as they had to run their own courses.

The physical exercises were interspersed with ample time for discussion and the usual cheerful banter.  After the recent rains in the areas, part of the fun of the weekend was getting to the various training locations.  JWOC team manager, Alex Pope, demonstrated his commitment bynursing his trusty wagon through some impressively deep puddles.

The squad was also treated (we hope) to two talks by senior orienteers, Jeremy Green and Garry Morrison.  Jeremy talked about periodisation – the art of training in which the training effort is planned in a series of cycles all building towards peaking for a few selected events.  Garry talked about an orienteering technique termed, “Visionary Head-Start”  based on a paper by Swiss elite coach Martin Lerjen.

The weekend was a great success, providing all the participants with good opportunities to repetitively apply a number of important orienteering tools.  This was most important for the JWOC team, who have less than 6 weeks to go before they depart for Denmark.