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Difficulty Scale for Sprints

Show Profile  Michael Posted: 24 February 2016, 11:56 AM  
A discussion about SS orienteering has spawned a new issue, that we haven't defined a difficulty scale for urban sprints. I'm following a suggestion that this is a separate topic, thanks Nick S.

Thanks too to Fraser who found some definitions from Britain. Before I paste them in I'd like to pose the question, how many levels do we need? Is there the same range of skills required as there is in rural orienteering? And I'd suggest that we not use colours for names. That suggests the levels match up, but they won't. I'll use Roman numerals for the moment. So Fraser has found:

Controls for a sprint are technically easy. Legs...

Level I: Little to no route choice. Simple legs with minimal navigation needed. Limited changes of direction.

Level II: Easy route choices with little technical detail. E.g. Two similar routes that are easy to identify.

Level III: Legs with several possible route choices, or longer routes which are complex to execute and concentration required. Some route choices not immediately obvious and/or some technical challenge.

Level IV: Aim to make every leg pose a route choice challenge. Include complex route choices with detailed navigation. Many decision points and frequent changes of direction. A high level of concentration required.

Show Profile  Michael Posted: 25 February 2016, 12:49 AM  
Always good to think in practical terms about these things. WOC and OHV are running afterwork sprints. There are two courses. I would say the longer one at Onslow College and Upper Hutt College have been level III. Onslow because thee is one big impassable building in the middle, which you just have to go around. (A small cluster round some prefabs was the only bit approaching IV.) Upper Hutt because while lots of direction changes, nothing was that hard and the site is dead flat. Some elevation difference would be a great help to make a level IV.

I suspect the short courses have been level II. It's sometimes just not possible (or necessary) to provide the full range. Can you make a red course on spur-gully farmland?

Show Profile  fraser Posted: 19 June 2016, 1:19 PM  
We had a controllers clinic in Dunedin this weekend and this lack of sprint guidelines was briefly touched upon.

I deliberately used the same Red, Orange, Yellow, White colours as it was my intention that the difficulty levels described do match what an orienteer would be capable of on the corresponding longer format.

I would note that it is easier for a competitor to run a harder colour in sprint, they just might not be as competitive, whereas in the longer format running a harder colour could potentially result in search and rescue being needed.

Anyway it is just a suggestion and starting point. I hope ONZ can come up with some guidelines to help ensure the quality of sprint events.

Just as an aside this is what M/W 12 looked like before the current colour scheme for the longer format existed. And there was no M/W 10, this was the easiest course available.

Show Profile  Michael Posted: 19 June 2016, 5:32 PM  
It's a wonder you're still with us Fraser:-))

Show Profile  MikeB Posted: 25 June 2016, 9:27 AM  
They were bred tough in those days, not a taped route in sight and don't you love the control descriptions. They're would be screaming blue murder today with the setter and controller run out of town.

We're too soft with course setting now and it's time to harden up a bit.

Show Profile  The Map Guy Posted: 26 June 2016, 6:15 AM  
Thanks for showing us the course Fraser. It is a perfect example as to why the Colour Coding guidelines were needed to be introduced into NZ Orienteering (this happened when I was NZOF Technical Convenor).

That course contains elements of yellow, orange and possibly red, when it should have been white.

Now whether a white course should be for M/W10 or M/W12 is another question. This has been debated for years.

When Colour Coding was introduced back in the late 1990s Sprint Orienteering didn't exist. I think the NZOF Tech Committee should look at setting relevant guidelines for Sprint Events.




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