SAOF National Training Camp Belfast

The National squads held their second training camp of 2011 over the Workers Day long weekend. For the third straight year, the venue was the Lakenvlei Forest Lodge and the surrounding Belfast Komatiland Forests, an ideal venue for the three day long camp. There was a high turnout of 18 national squad members, representing a balance of senior, junior and youth squads. The Belfast camp has grown in stature over the years, such that three Cape Town-based members were enticed to make the trip up to the highveld for what is now regarded as the highlight of the squad training season.

Belfast is renowned for being one of the coldest places in the country and once again, it didn’t disappoint. Temperatures were quite low, with some gloomy weather; but thankfully the rain waited until nightfall. The orienteers however weren’t given much time to feel the cold, as they were kept warm by a constant series of training exercises. Over the three days, the squad slotted in 10 training sessions, most of which focused on the technical aspects of orienteering. The general feeling was that the sessions were extremely beneficial and well focused on the weaknesses of most of the squad members.

The strong attendance of squad members also ensured that there was some good natured, yet tough competition on the handful of physical sessions. This allowed the orienteers to practise techniques whilst racing head-to-head, a feature not too common in South African orienteering, yet vital to competing well on the international stage. With the squad members staying all together in the Lodge accommodation, a great team spirit was also developed. Apart from the physical and technical benefits of the training camp, everyone was also able to enjoy the social side of being part of the national squad. The evenings featured not only a couple of guest presentation on training and long-term development, but also saw some enjoyable social activities.

A big thank you must go to Denise Courtnage for catering for this training camp. She went well beyond all expectations of all of the squad members (which were very high to start with)! Secondly, a big thank you must also go to Brian Courtnage, who helped in the smooth running of the camp by collecting all the controls after each session. Their help was a major contributor to ensuring the training camp ran as effectively as possible.

Overall, the performances of the national squad members was very impressive. A lot of talent, willingness and spirit was shown in the squad, which is undoubtedly heading in the right direction and helps put the High Performance strategy of the South African Orienteering Federation’s on a good footing. The camp was deemed very successful, being enjoyed both by the youth and junior squads for the social and sporting environment as well as the senior squad for its technical challenges.

Nicholas Mulder

High Performance Manager

South African Orienteering Federation