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An Orienteering Season

Show Profile  SJ Posted: 24 September 2007, 7:10 AM  
The idea that I reckon would work great as a season, came up with by AOA Club members.

OK here goes...

Start of the year (Jan-March) - less competitive/more holiday atmosphere multiday events eg. a Summer Carnival. Think of the Aussie 5-Days, they don't really seem to worry about their results during this carnival - they come along for an enjoyable run during the day, camp out together, have a few beers and a good time at night. I reckon we could have a Summer event in the new year each year along these lines. Then there is Waitangi to continue this is February. By holding such events in the summer, we should even be able to attract some foreign competitors. Europeans have often been heard to say the would be interested in coming over to NZ/Aus if there were events in the Summer. By having an Aus 5-Days followed shortly after by a NZ Carnival, we might be some of them here.Also run local/regional summer series events during this time a la the one in Auckland.

Autumn (March-May) - promo events. This is when the clubs around the country can do their promotional stuff, member drive etc. It also times in perfectly with the start of the school year, meaning there is heaps of opportunity to get new kids trying orienteering, and to get the ones from the previous year back into it. Part of the problem with the current 'season' I think is that with Nationals right at the start, newcomers who might have done a couple of summer series events think "oh I'm not serious enough for National Champs." This way, we get a chance to get them hooked with some low-key events at the start of the year where there will be plenty of chance for coaching and help. Includes a variety of formats to show off all the different types of orienteering - sprint and middle as well as the classic or long. Maybe even include a fun relay and a couple of score events.

Winter (May-July) - Regional series. This is the time for OYs or whatever series a region runs. It is a step up from the promotional events at the start of the season and by having this period for an actual series, competitions like OYs might actually have some interest again. In the Auckland OY at least, interest has dwindled so much over the last 10 years that now we are in crisis mode trying to think up ways to get people back into it. Plus, OY series could have a make-over to carry on from the Promotional series so they include a few different types of orienteering rather than just the classic. I know personally I get pretty bored with doing 7 or 9 longs in the local season with nothing else on offer. Also have a strong emphasis on Schools, with a schools champs series integrated. Maybe end this period with the local Relay Champs for each region. QB also included in this time with a multiday event somewhere in the country. Include NISS Champs at QB, which exposes school students to a major event for the first time. This exposure will actually be to a club-level event rather than just a schools gathering, and they will see the top elites in action and be instantly inspired etc.

"High Performace Season" (August - Oct) - SuperSeries, Regional Champs etc. Following on from the series run at a local level, regional champs and SuperSeries takes place over a short period of time to form a sort of National-level season. Have multiday events every 2-3 weekends around the country so this part of the season is compact, rather than the current format which can drag on for months or sometime half a year or more if it goes across the summer break. Introduce a SuperSeries on a 10-year grade basis in senior ranks to keep all ages in the sport interested. Once again, make schools an added focus, maybe selecting a schools team for each region or SuperSeries franchise, carrying on from the idea Malcolm Ingham tried to introduce this year.

And of course, culminating in a National Champs. This would be a 7-10 day long carnival over a week and Labour Weekend. Would include NZSS Champs. This would mean that we would get all the usual Nationals competitors, as well as most of the new club members during the year, as well as a good 250 school students, maybe (hopefully) more in the future? Would be a showcase of New Zealand orienteering, at an elite competition level, for senior and junior grades, top class mapping and event setting, including NZ Long, Middle, Sprint, Relay, Schools champs.

Sure, this is digging up the old issue of the timing of the Nationals, which means a lot of people won’t be interested in even listening. However, I must say that at first I never agreed with people saying Nationals should be at Labour weekend. I thought how great it would be if we had a summer season – after all, orienteering is a summer sport in Europe, where it first became a competitive sport, so why not here too? But the reality is that with farming, forest fire risk, water shortages etc. over summer, it is just not viable. So that means we either stick with the current timing of Nationals at Easter and have a 3 month break right in the middle of the season, or move to Labour Weekend and have a real season.

Key points:

*Schools involved to a much greater level & season follows calender year
*A progressive season of events leading up to Nationals as the final event
*A Nationals carnival as a showcase of orienteering in this country, and one that includes the NZSS schools champs.


*Getting clubs to agree on a format for the whole country
*Agreement on one time of year for the Nationals
*Working around School Sport rules

So there it is. Thought I would put it out there. Feedback welcomed, or suggestions for improvement. Does this appeal to people? Would it make elites more focused and keep them in the sport? Would it keep the seniors interested in orienteering? Would it hook school students and other newcomers into the sport?

Show Profile  Greg Posted: 24 September 2007, 7:20 AM  
surprise surprise an idea by an Auckland club that doesn't take any other part of the country into consideration

Show Profile  pcbrent Posted: 24 September 2007, 7:27 AM  

Show Profile  SJ Posted: 24 September 2007, 7:29 AM  
How is that Greg? You got a suggestion or just wanna shoot other people's ideas down?

Show Profile  nick Posted: 24 September 2007, 7:46 AM  
I think it would be a vast improvement on the status quo. Alot of positive potential, particularly for attracting and retaining new orienteers.

Constructive criticism: this season structure wouldn't offer an optimal build up for WOC.

Show Profile  SimonB Posted: 24 September 2007, 7:58 AM  
orienteers build up for woc is more a europe thing i think maybe... papo does the same sort of summer series thing as auckland... and wellington does as well i think omax? and dunedin do some park sprints i think so... most clubs do summer twilights...

come on greg stop being a dick and start being a dickhead

Show Profile  Jenni Posted: 24 September 2007, 8:33 AM  
Well I might almost be agreeing with Greg?! Of course there should be constructive criticism but it's just that many people have pointed out the problems of having a season August-October for many parts of the country before. And those in Auckland just don't seem to listen. Having just helped try to the PAPO event calendar ready for next year I know one of the big the problems - we can't use 80% of our maps Aug-Nov because of lambing constraints.

The superseries this year is more compact. It's going Feb-June with no break over summer. Personally I would have preferred it had Labour weekend and South Island Champs in it but I know others didn't. Hopefully it will be a good lead up for WOC.

Orienteering isn't really a summer sport in Europe. In Scandinavia there are two separate foci, a Spring season(mostly focused on relays) and Autumn season (mostly focused on area and national champs). Summer is for holiday events like Oringen (which are taken seriously but have a more fun,family kind of atmosphere).

I think there's lots of good ideas in this kind of plan but if Aucklanders want the rest of the country to come along they'll have to listen to the issues from the rest of the country.

By the way PAPO OYs are booming as is PAPO membership but I'm not sure we're doing anything that much different. I do know that what attracts lots of our participants along is getting out into nice places. So unlike the "serious" orienteers they often think the hilly farmland where they get great views are much better than the technical forest sanddunes where they get frustrated!

Show Profile  Dave Barr Posted: 24 September 2007, 9:04 AM  
I'm disgusted that you would propose events that encourage "a beer and a good time at night" given the drinking problem inherent in Orienteering.

Show Profile  Jamie Posted: 24 September 2007, 9:10 AM  
hahahahahahahaha I can't believe I'm getting sucked into this vortex...

I like our current arrangement! Which with a few tinkerings would be wicked...

The off season is post QB (early Jun to end Aug). This is when people go overseas to O and the weather is shitty at home.

The next stage sept- nov, has OY's(in the forests down south) the occasional regional weekend to keep us interested and aussies big week for school reps and travellers

dec-feb is summer orienteering time...street series, waitangi, etc, camps what I would like to see more of in this time is camps both at club and national level, and more week night summer series (one in every town!)and possibly an annual sprint-o weekend, like 6 races in a weekend in a random town...could be a good springboard to establishing orienteering in new areas. Could also be start of season for schools teams...

mar - QB is then the high performance window,superseries with a few OY standard events thrown in...highlights are nationals and (next tweak) the annual QB event, incorporating nzss. March - Jun is heaps long enough for a schools season.

Sweet as! and the best thing about it, it is getting closer and closer to being realised!

Show Profile  thomasr Posted: 24 September 2007, 9:14 AM  
major problem with labour weekend nationals, most students at uni wont be able to make it, my exams conviniently start the week after labour weekend, and im sorry but orienteering would have to give. I acknowledge that this is selfish view to take, as it is purely for uni students.
but you say you want it to be competitive, if your young wanna be elites arent there who are going to pull the shock results and keep old people like neil honest.
I would always oppose a labour weekend nationals.

Show Profile  Paul I Posted: 24 September 2007, 9:59 AM  
I think the oy's in auckland should carry on longer filling a big void in late sept/october/november. Most winter sports are finished so their is an opportunity to get people running at this time... Then followed by a holiday break or the summer park series in Dec-Jan for those who either want to or who can manage mid week events.(not all can)
This year lots of people missed a few oy's for whatever reason (Personally because of injury or family commitments). With only 6 available it doesn't leave much to get your points up. Having a few more OY's and the ability to drop one or two worst performances would give fairer results instead of just who goes to the most events. A grand final chasing start or something similar would be very cool.

Show Profile  SJ Posted: 24 September 2007, 10:35 AM  
OK, a few answers as far as I can see...

I don't really think designing a season solely around building up for races in Europe is a good way to do it as this realistically probably only affects 10-15 competitors in the country.

Obviously lambing is an issue in spring, particularly in areas like Canterbury and HB. But I've also heard South Islanders say they can't do winter events like QB because of the problem with snow. And farmers are equally unhappy to let people on their land in Summer due to the fire-risk and drought. So when exactly do these clubs want to hold events? As far as I can see these are issues that need to be worked around, doing as best we can. How about using forest maps during spring?

Also Jenni, it is not that we don't get enough competitors along to OYs in Auckland - in fact we had one this year with 250 people I think. It is more that the OY series as a competition in most places is not as serious as it used to be.

Thomas I get the whole exam thing, but at the end of the day it's only a few years of your life that this would affect you for. Besides, Nationals is not really the time when young up and comers are going to pull out any shock results anyway, it's the time when they're going to run in their own grade. This format would at least give students a good chance to get to most of the SuperSeries events.

On that point, at University the exams in the middle of the year are just as important as those at the end of the year, so a QB timing wouldn't work either. The fact of the matter is, times are always going to suit some people less, but at least being a student is only for a short period of your life.

Show Profile  SJ Posted: 24 September 2007, 10:36 AM  
P.S. Events involving beer might (for better or worse) even see Dave show his face around a couple of events.

Show Profile  addison Posted: 24 September 2007, 11:32 AM  
Well said in your previous posting Jager. I like the way you think.

Orienteering has just managed to get a season together. I think 85% of people are more than satisfied with Nationals at Easter. Sure it isn't ideal in every way, but it does appeal to the masses.

However I think Simon has raised quite a few points that perhaps would be better discussed at the Strategic Planning thing in Wellington, which brilliantly has the AGM tagged in with it.

No doubt I will add more than my 10c worth when I get a chance to actually read all that waffle up top.

Show Profile  rob.g Posted: 24 September 2007, 11:35 AM  
The programme for next year in Auckland involves 9 OY'S from March till October with a 6 week break in winter, with 2 big events at the end, a 3 day at Labour Weekend and a North Island Champs 2 weeks later. The Auckland SS Champs will be on the same time as an OY.
I like your proposal, Simon, and as far as Labour weekend nationals go AL had a morning exam before flying down to win the 1988 Nationals at Scotts Ferry as a junior. He was in the middle of exams, so it can be done.

Show Profile  HeadHoncho Posted: 24 September 2007, 1:02 PM  
Hey hey yeah nahh nahhh nahhh yeah nah

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