Local orienteers improve their coaching skills

We’re delighted to have Hilary and John Palmer out here from the UK. They’re experienced orienteers and coaches and they’re delivering a British Orienteering Federation Level 2 Coaching Course to eight local orienteers, from Jo’burg and Cape Town, who aim to improve their coaching skills.

The first part of the course took place on the weekend of 13 and 14 October. Here Hilary and John took the group through many aspects of coaching from planning activities to drawing up risk assessments and even how to asking the right questions of students to better their learning. After a weekend of lessons and activities, the eight were sent home with a stack of notes, DVDs, activities and pages of homework to be completed, including a lesson plan for their assessment sessions on Saturday, 20 October 2012.

Top row: John Palmer, Bruce Meier, Garry Morrison, Craig Ogilvy and Lisa de Speville.
Bottom row: Hilary Palmer, Sarah Pope, Margaret Archibald, Zoë Brentano and Tania Wimberley.

Hilary and John have been orienteering for almost 30 years. “Fairly soon after taking up the sport we became coaches – having been squash coaches previously – and then coach trainers and assessors,” Hilary says. “”We’ve coached adults and juniors from beginners up to our regional squad juniors and on a couple of Great Britain (GB) junior training camps too.”

As John had a hip replacement 15-years ago, he keeps his orienteering to short courses.

Hilary is enjoying success as an age-group orienteering competitor. “I am very competitive especially since discovering that my map-reading love from childhood through a Geography degree and teaching gave me a bit of a head start and I just had to try to get fitter to get into the top few in my age class in GB.”

She coaches every Tuesday evening at a community club, which meets in a local park. “I really enjoy setting the weekly challenges to encourage newcomers into orienteering,” she adds.

In the two weeks between the two-day course and the assessment weekend, the pair are visiting family and travelling. Their first stop is the Pilanesberg National Park to see wildlife.

It’s a pleasure to have them here and for our orienteers to benefit from their experience in coaching. This course has been made possible by funding received from the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund and the Department of Sports and Recreation South Africa.