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School Orienteering - Taking it to the next level

Show Profile  addison Posted: 6 October 2012, 1:37 PM  
Interesting ideas floating around on other posts.

Without a doubt, a lot of the talent we are now seeing coming through all the way to elite ranks are because of the large efforts that have, and continue, in the school area. The reinstigation of the Southern Cross Challenge, School Sprint Series, Junior Camp, JWOC etc are all important features to this growth.

School orienteering is where we have seen the most growth, and where we can target the most future growth. So what can and should we be doing to help this?

If I personally look at the sport in 5 years, what I'd like to see is:
- A NZ Schools Champs in 3hr Rogaines. Every second year in Rotorua, and other years around the country.
- School sprint series throughout the country
- Two junior camps per year (1x NI, 1x SI)

Other ideas?

Show Profile  nh Posted: 6 October 2012, 11:23 PM  
Not holding NZSS when JWOC is on. Its not really a national champs if all the best people are at another competition.

Show Profile  Jane H Posted: 7 October 2012, 12:52 AM  
Rogaines - hadn't thought of that, but like idea.
Sprint series - sounds good too

Junior camps, NI + SI - as long as they weren't at the same time so we could make a choice .... some think the NZOF camp happens at a ridiculous time. Most clubs are shut for summer. The kids come out of camp all pumped up to practise their new skills and they've got no where to go. This year with Oceania it will be happily different for some. Our HB junior camp gets 45 in late January and has the first club event for the year in the middle of it.

I agree with Nick. Has the NISS + NZSS events grown enough to argue with NZSSSC we are able to have during school term? Rogaines could take the old dates then maybe.

Show Profile  Jane H Posted: 7 October 2012, 12:55 AM  
Now for what I think needs happen for this age-group:

- kiwisports co-ordinators in every province that does a micro-o at every school, starting with every intermediate schools.

I say this because the proven success at Havelock North and Taradale

Show Profile  Jane H Posted: 7 October 2012, 1:18 AM  
More Yr 10 teenagers taken to the Aussie Champs ?????
On one hand they don't have to go as the best are here but Ed and Callum had been to the Aussie Champs twice and now known as the best in Australisia. A larger group should go every so often, hand-pick the year to suit lower costs.
Going to Oz means they miss some school so the NZOF needs to endorse their travel to such an event so that the School Principals don't get too upset. (Callum was sitting NCEA at year 10 ... he had to excused from internals and mock exams which these days can be durung the last week of term). And if you gave more lead-time in the planning, say select them immediately after NISS/SISS then cost can be lowered.

One thing, more promotion of the success of all our guys needs to be made at places like camp and NZSS (at the moment people like Nick and Tim go unpromoted as successful NZ Reps etc at these events).

Show Profile  addison Posted: 7 October 2012, 3:08 AM  
Nick - interesting point, but if we had enough depth, one would assume the likelihood of having people at school and also in JWOC wouldn't really happen. But in addition to that, timing is based around the 300+ people. Most orienteers are not just orienteers, so if you had it as part of tournament week or something then you would likely have reduced numbers

Show Profile  Jane H Posted: 7 October 2012, 4:39 AM  
Will wear that theory for a few more years Simon, it should correct itself I agree. The new parents forget to keep those holiday weekends free but they learn fast.

Along with the topic title - take it to a new level. I would like to see another level be available for the Juniors and Intermediates at the school champs. We parents find it annoying to have to fork out $200 for our kid, who runs Red at age 12, to have to run an easy yellow at these events. The sport has evolved more now to have this re-evaluated for NISS. And to have a sprinter who has been doing O for just a few weeks beat a kid who can run a good red course adds injury to the wound for sure. Happens now and the O parents are really moaning about it. How many Orange/Intermediates were there in NZSS this year? 65? And how many could run a decent red, heaps. And then these same guys are asked to run yellows for the relays - the sport is passed this now.

Show Profile  valerie Posted: 7 October 2012, 10:23 AM  
O parents moaning??.....NO!!!! I dont agree Jane and after 21` years of seeing a successful formula why re-invent the doesn't make sense.

Show Profile  valerie Posted: 7 October 2012, 10:25 AM  
Praps not quite 21 years...but still....

Show Profile  mcroxford Posted: 7 October 2012, 12:41 PM  
@valerie...At least 21 years. My first NZSSC was 22 years ago after missing Y9 & 10 events due to chest infections. So Schools Champs in current formula has been going for at least 24 years with a long and relay. Hamilton 90, Dunedin 91 & Waiuku 92. Same issues though, expept that regardless of how easy the navigation component an orienteer always won.

I like the debate though. The weekend before or after the Nationals like Australia would be ideal to my thinking.

Nelson is currently focusing on a Schools Sprint Series in Term 1. Our thoughts are to switch to School Rogaines in Term 2. This fits in with the Hillary Challenge and Get2Go events as well, as our top kids this year chose not to go to Nationals due to the cost of then qualifying the following fortnight in Christchurch.

Navigation based sports need to support each other and see orienteering and Adventure Sport sitting aside one another.

Show Profile  Michael Posted: 7 October 2012, 2:00 PM  
When I suggested a 2nd or 3rd team in the Southern Cross, I was also wondering what the Aussies think about NZ winning all the time. A competition in which one team always wins eventually loses its thrill. A competition among more or less equals should spur everyone to greater efforts. So (on this part of the discussion) talking to Oz should be considered.

Show Profile  nh Posted: 7 October 2012, 3:02 PM  
I agree with Jane. Why do we drop the difficulty level in relays? If you don't want them to take so long make it shorter. And if its too difficult (which it shouldn't be seeing as they just ran an individual race at that difficulty the day before) run the B grade

Show Profile  Jane H Posted: 8 October 2012, 12:09 AM  
Michael, at the Aust. Champs they have been nice enough to give NZ kids medals for any wins this year. Unfortunately we won so many the organisers ran out of medals so are sending them on later. This will have blown their budget so they may be reconsidering the idea for next time ... I wouldn't blame them for doing a rethink.

Actually, NZOF may like to be proactive on this and start a discussion on appropriate rewards for the NZers when they do well at the Aust. events.

Show Profile  Jane H Posted: 8 October 2012, 12:44 AM  
M. Oxford, just to verify ... was it the kids didn't go to Easter Nationals in Woodhill so they could save to participate in SISS, or didn't go to NZSSC in Taranaki so they could go to something else?

Show Profile  DMjunior Posted: 8 October 2012, 1:45 AM  
The debate in this thread seems to be based around a group of high performing schools kids. I think this is good as schools competition is where it all starts out for competitive orienteers.
I went to the Australian Schools every year that I was at school and absolutely loved it. So did everyone who went. When we were there we represented NZ as well as we could. We tried to win everything and normally succeeded. When we were over there though, it did feel as though we were the invited team. It was a privilege to be there and we were on our best behaviour to ensure an invite again. The reason that the Australian schools reward the first Australian as well as the first NZ runner (they have been doing this for years) is because School Sport Australia has much stricter rules than the NZSSSC has over orienteering. They have lots of rules that teams and competition organizers have to meet. From what I have heard over the years we are very lucky to be invited. I think we need to be careful about pushing for a second NZ team, especially seeing none of the other states have this and its their own competition.
On top of this, I was discussing this matter today with another person who has been in many schools teams and we feel the prestige that comes with a limited number selected for the NZSS team pushes the others on the fringe to compete for the places. We both agreed that the real goal for NZSS wasnt to win, but to make the NZSS team.
I see no reason why other top runners who aren't selected can't organize within themselves to make the trip. I think that NZOF is already endorsing a schools team and if they were to endorse another group it should really be the d squad (although I don't think endorsement is necessary).

Moving on to the other topics.
I believe rogaining does have a place in NZ Orienteering as a means to bring more people into Foot-O. Rogaining is a great way to introduce people to the Nav Sport. I personally think that this is what Rogaining should be used for on a regional level but it is probably not necessary for a national level. We need to be conscious that adding more events is adding more cost to parents, more time for managers and quite possibly making it harder to compete with cheaper mainstream sports which we are already battling with.

Also regarding the difficulty of courses at NZSS and NISS. Like I said earlier the debate on this thread seems to based around a group of kids at the high performance side of schools orienteering. We must remember that the only way that you get into this position is either be part of an orienteering family or work your way through the schools system. At the moment these are the two paths for performing at a junior level. As a part of a large schools team with NBHS and NGHS I can say with confidence that the majority of runners who were running their grade at schools champs were at that level. Not many school kids can start in February and be up to red or orange or even yellow level by April. We need to make sure that we have the numbers at this stage rather than cater to the minority. If we have greater depth, eventually that will bread a higher standard. We need to not be so hasty to push people up through the levels. I feel this is more of a put off then getting beaten by a runner. Also speaking from personal experience I took a long time to move through the levels and I believe this is much better as you pick up the basic skills and have confidence in your own ability.
Whenever I went away to NZSS or NISS it also never seemed to be about the individual. At NBHS and NGHS it was all focused around the team. I would run in which ever grade was going to give the best outcome for the team. I think that this ethos is why NBHS and NGHS have been so successful. Yes individual efforts is rewarded but that team feeling is why kids love it and keep coming back.
It was the same at JWOC this year. After to talking with James who has coached many JWOC's, he felt that the team environment was outstanding this year. Best ever in fact. Everyone supported and enjoyed each others successes. It was no surprise we produced the best results for a NZ team.
So in conclusion for this point, it is important that we cater for those new people who are the majority at schools champs. If you don't want to get shown up by a runner, do some running training (you will need this if you want to be successful in the future) or run up a grade.

Overall though, schools competition is where it starts for orienteers in NZ (Matt Ogden started at school). We need to make sure the competition caters for the majority, the new ones. I think that if we want a way to encourage the high performance side of schools orienteering we need to push the interprovincial competition at queens birthday weekend. This is a competition with a lot of potential.

So what I think is-
Schools Sprint Series - Great idea (awesome success in Auckland)
School Rogaines - Great for entry level runners (regionally) No need for national competition.
NZSS and NISS/SISS - Good how it is
NZSS - Good how it is
D Squad - Greater linking with fringe school kids.

Show Profile  Jane H Posted: 8 October 2012, 6:48 AM  
We need to talk about growth in school numbers and improving skills to bring kids to a new level separately.

Growth ... in Hawkes Bay we had 14 of the 22 High schools participate in the HB School Champs. Two of schools that didn't come were Waipukurau and Wairoa .. they haven't shown any interest yet but both go to Get2Go. The other 6 are schools with predominately Moari students - (a statistic to take note of for sure). So I believe we won't see more High schools participating easily. Our growth will be with intermediate schools then.

Degrowth - I had been taking a Yr 9 boy to club events since January. He was doing ok but kids like to win. He went to both NISS and NZSSC. He got only 20th (out of 40)in the Junior/yellow individual in NZSS ... and he hasn't been back. Too many red and orange runners (who have been to NZOF camp already) in the grade.

Skills - just looking at who went to Aussie Champs last week. Of the boys 5 out of 8 started O way before Yr6.
Of the girls 3 out of 8 were from O families. That's a 50:50 split for skills being acquired at school vs club. Interesting.

Champs - yes, Duncan you ran for the school wherever the coach wanted you to run, but were you paying your own way?I also have a son who willingly runs for the school wherever. He doesn't contribute funds for these events (yet). Last year we paid $650 for Callum to attend the NZSSC in Dunedin, for what could have been a short yellow plus a white run. Thank goodness someone saw sense and sent him up two grades. Ask any senior if they like been beaten by a 14-year-old. Isn't this being repeated too often now.

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