What advice would you give Eddie (who makes errors in/near the circle)?

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Eddie Bergeron asked for advice on his training log (it is at attackpoint.mit.edu). Here is what Eddie wrote:

Fast between controls, but I'm still making errors in/near the circle. Weak attacks? Fooling myself with collecting features that don't exist? I dunno. Can someone recommend an exercise for this?

What advice would you give him?

-- Michael (meglin@juno.com), November 15, 2000


One general bit of advice would be to look carefully at the controls where you did not have any errors in/near the circle. What did you do on those controls?

I can think of several ways to practice techniques to work on the last bit of the leg (i.e. in/near the circle):

1. Run a training course with lots of short legs (control picking). Do the course as slowly so that you don't make mistakes.

2. Do some "map memory" legs -- i.e. at the start of a leg, look at it and memorize the route to the control, put the map in your pocket, and orienteer to the control. I think this sort of practice is good for errors in/near the circle because I think a lot of those errors happen when an orienteer does not have a good "picture" of the area around the control. I tend to miss controls if I am thinking only about the control feature (e.g., a 1 meter boulder). I orienteer much better if I have a better "picture" of the control (e.g., a 1 meter boulder on a somewhat steep hillside, about 3 lines below a row of cliffs, and with a big open area about 100 meters beyond the control).

3. Try running a course with the control circles filled in with ink (so you can't actually see anything within the circle). The idea is to force yourself to look at the features around the control rather than just looking for the control feature. I did this type of course at a training camp years ago in Sweden. I did not think it was much fun.

4. Run a course where you come to a complete stop at each "attack point" and then walk the last bit in to the control. The idea with this sort of training is to get yourself used to changing tempo. I find that I make mistakes on controls when I run too fast on the last part of the leg. For me this sort of error happens most when I haven't been doing much orienteering. Once I've got a few races and practices under my belt, I don't usually make this sort of mistake.

-- Spike (meglin@juno.com), November 15, 2000.

There is a passible chance the answer will be found in the gumbo. You may take the Cajun out of the swamps, but you'll never take the gumbo from the Cajun.

-- swampfox (wmikell@earthlink.net), November 17, 2000.

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