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Is Orienteering boring?

Show Profile  SJ Posted: 15 November 2006, 12:28 AM  
Yes, I agree totally that the Score Series was awesome! It's what got me hooked on orienteering too - before that I was nowhere near as interested...

Bring back the Score Series!

Show Profile  SJ Posted: 15 November 2006, 12:34 AM  
Oh, and no, orienteering is definitely not boring! In fact, I reckon as you get more into the sport it becomes more and more fun, both competitively and socially. But it's true that we do need to do something to get people into the sport, and to retain them. Sports like AR seem to have been able to capitalise in the same niche as orienteering, so I don't see any reason we can do the same thing!

We just need a few fresh ideas and perhaps to think outside the box a little if we want to progress. Orienteering has a lot of experience in those organizing events and running them, which is great - it is what makes the co-ordination of events so smooth most of the time. But perhaps, at the same time, we also need a bit of a focus on some new ways of keeping our sport as one that has some good popularity...

This message was edited by SJ on 14 November 2006, 11:35 PM

Show Profile  robbie Posted: 15 November 2006, 12:55 AM  
I agree we need a change in the auckland programme.Its a pity the writers dont put their ideas to the clubs before the programme meeting rather than after. All oys in auckland this year will not be long events. Some will be middle or even short. We do have an access problem with woodhill at the moment which might lead to further change

Show Profile  James Posted: 15 November 2006, 7:52 AM  
I agree the score series is wicked fun, and it helps that the events are held on some kick ass terrain (as are most akld region events). They also provide a good stepping stone for orienteers wanting to progress through the levels (yellow, orange, red....) where they can attempt one, two or a few more challenging controls.........i look forward to 2007.

Auckland and Wellington are both experiencing large declines in participation in their respective OY series........are other regions suffering as well?? HB? PAPO?
Something i was extremely surprised in when i moved to akld was the lack of attendance from juniors.......each grade (M14, m16, m18...w14, w16, w18) would often have just 2 or 3 competitors!!! yet i know there are many more juniors in the area that just arent attending..Why???

I also noticed in the wellington series that over the entire series there were only 2 junior grades (m10 & m12) which had more than 2 competitors attend more than 2 events!!
There wasn't even a single competitor in m18 over an entire year!!!
And the Auckland series has an almost indentical scenario....

No wonder numbers are declining.........it is fun competing against one another, and trying to beat a rival.........
Perhaps some more work could be done trying to get some numbers from schools? Perhaps there should be a paid position to acheive this?

I thought the auckland OY series this year was really well set up (although i missed 2 events while overseas, then upon return have been injured so couldnt run) okay so they were all long distance (my favourite discipline) but i really liked the idea of having them every 2nd weekend then culminating with the auckland champs. It kept the excitment up having the series close together, but then still alllowed orienteering not to take over ones life with a break every 2nd weekend. I'm not sure as to why this was not really successful with numbers? as i thought it was a wicked idea..........

Hopefully a similar program will occur in 2007? (and the inception of a few middle distance races could make it more appealing to others???)


Show Profile  James Posted: 15 November 2006, 8:15 AM  
so afetr a look at the hawkes bay OY's.............looks like they are getting bigger numbers than any other area in NZ

OY1: 140+ people
OY2: 200+ people
OY3: 200+ people

(thats all the results they had on their website)

now the majority of these are juniors, but juniors bring their friends, they arent old enough to drive, so they bring their parents/family.............numbers go up! and we hook a few of the juniors into continuing the sport.........

i think this shows what an aweosme job the club has done encouraging junior competition (largely due to a few hard working individuals)
Could this be emulated in other areas????

Show Profile  addison Posted: 15 November 2006, 10:02 AM  
Using more than one question mark does not make your question any better.

Isn't it great to see how these few hard working individuals from HB have turned the club around. They haven't gone out there for personal glory in doing so, they have done it for their club and orienteering in NZ - which is just bloody awesome. The flow on effect that it has had at all events in NZ is great, Secondary School competitions are setting records for numbers and in the past there used to be a disproportionatly low number of girls compared to guys but this is now around even.

It is all very good posting observations on maptalk but in reality it is up to all of us to get out there and do something about it.

Show Profile  Martin Posted: 15 November 2006, 10:04 AM  
Perhaps some more work could be done trying to get some numbers from schools? Perhaps there should be a paid position to acheive this?

That's been thouht of and may well happen in the future.

The juniors come from the schools, the schools go to events on the schools programme. This year somehow all the schools events were edited off the College Sport calendar - only the Akl SS CHamps and Relays remained publicised. So even though all the events got sent to them, we need to make sure they get published in their little book thing - it's the easiest way to communicate with schools. Next step would be getting someone into the school.



Show Profile  Greg Posted: 15 November 2006, 10:44 AM  
There is no season, how are people ment to know when to orienteer year in year out.

Show Profile  sofieherremans Posted: 15 November 2006, 11:01 AM  
Coming from another country I thought I'd give my opinion as well.
I live in Auckland area so can only tell what I experience here.

Orienteering in NZ is definitely not boring!
The maps are usually pretty good (definitely compared to most of the boring maps from Belgium)so for me as a foreigner it's really worth going to events.

As Greg mentioned in his post, Beer & music really is something I miss here! In Belgium we usually have the competition inside a building, which probably is not really realistic here in NZ, but it usually brings more athmosphere.

The weather has been a problem at past events, and you just want to go home as soon as possible after your race and that's not very sociable.

I also noticed that you hardly ever sell drinks/food at events. It's a good way of raising some money for the club and a perfect way to get people to stay a little bit longer after a race. Usually in Belgium at a regional event you'd stay another 2 hours or so after the race to have a drink, discuss route choices, talk to your friends etc.
Making sure that people stay dry is of course a must in that case

For some reason, I also found the events pretty expensive. Probably not as expensive compared to other races like AR or MTB, but compared
to other orienteering events I've been to around the world it definitely is!
In Belgium the federation has a project now where beginners can run 10 events for only 10 euro (+- 20 dollars)! I think here 20 dollars would probably last you 2 events...



Show Profile  onemanfanclub Posted: 15 November 2006, 9:55 PM  
A few random thoughts:
I think how you view whether we're succeding in retaining members or maintaining their interest depends what events you look at. I agree with Bryan that the WOA OY series is getting pretty sad, but on the other hand competition in the bigger races seems to be pumping! I'm surprised to hear the Ak OY series percieved to also be failing. After spending time up that way in recent years I was impressed with turnouts, interest etc, and there were aspects (such as it happening within a comparatively tight period of just a few months) that I thought WOA could learn from. Has it gone downhill this year, or is that further reflection of the state of the OY series?

Overall I'd say our sport has been in pretty good shape here over the last few years, and while I don't have as many years' perspective as Bryan, Michael or Rob, I've seen it go through some skinny times. There's just a few things that concern me, two of which might have relevance here.

One is that even in the clubs that are currently strong, it always seems to be the same people involved in running the show. Admittedly things like course-setting or keeping the computers running or whatever is part of the enjoyment for some people, but bear in mind I recently bumped into a former high profile Wellington and PAPO member who was very much into mapping, setting etc who said "yeah I might get back into orienteering sometime, but to be honest it started to feel more like a job than a sport".

The other could be called "the downside of OCAD". There's very few events in genuinely new areas now. Alright so with every year of orienteering there should be less and less fresh accessible terrain, but it seems that whereas once a map might get used for a couple of high profile races then have a few years of local events then drop off the back burner for a while before eventually reappearing "not used for x-years!" we find ourselves back in the same parts of the same forests on a "new" map because the boundaries have shifted slightly...

Show Profile  onemanfanclub Posted: 15 November 2006, 9:59 PM  
...So what was Andrew McCarthy doing during the last WOA OY?

Show Profile  James Posted: 15 November 2006, 11:43 PM  
Simon,
If you want to take a personal dig at me, do it to my face, rather than hiding behind your computer screen!
Your negative attitude towards myself and a few others who use this site is pathetic and childish..................
i enjoy being different to the rest of you and will continue to use extra questions marks/ punctuation whenever i want, and i dont really give a stuff whether or not it makes a question any better, as that is not what im trying to achieve.............

Show Profile  Michael Posted: 16 November 2006, 1:44 AM  
A consequence of Bryan's question is that we should examine whether to continue the WOA and AOA OY's.

Now WOA has a thoughtful OY Coordinator who posed this question in the magazine early this year. He got no reaction whatsoever. One result of canning it might be that something else would spring up in its place. Or not. There isn't a lot of contribution to this thread from resident WOA members, I'm sorry to see.

Show Profile  Alistair Posted: 16 November 2006, 5:46 AM  
I think that anyone considering future changes to the calendar of races should try and think a little bit in terms of marketing and products.

I'd imagine there are a few different types of orienteer which could be loosely grouped into something the like the following:
1. New-commer
2. The series specialist (winter/summer/score/OY...)
3: The die-hard who's been running for years
4. The school orienteer who'll hopefully drag along the old-folks
...and some probably others.

With NZ's climate I don't think it's possible to ever solve the winter/summer season problem so maybe it would be better to focus on 'products' which these 'consumers' can relate to and hopefully jump from one product up to the next etc. ie: getting the Auckland summer serieser out to the forest. Getting the OYer to the district/nationals...

The fact that some of the current products look good and attract customers should be examined and see if some of those traits which make them good could be applied to some products which may not be going so well - like OYs?. A look at other things such as AR or other countries etc. to see what they offer may also be useful.

Over here there may not be beer at races (apart from Tiomila) but there is always things like music, a speaker, and a club orientated atmosphere with some sort of arena around the finish shute, often spectator controls etc.

Show Profile  Jenni Posted: 16 November 2006, 11:48 AM  
PAPO's OY has three red courses, an orange and a yellow with men's and women's classes on each. No age requirements/distinctions. It
seems to work well for generating a reasonable competition.
Maps are premarked which makes it feel a bit different from an
ordinary club event. Most events OY or club seem to get between
100 and 200 coming with the closer they are to town the more that come. Even though I've been on most of the maps many times before I still try to practise using various O techniques each time and I can't say I've ever been bored. If it's a long "boring" leg I just try and run faster and see if I can get the slowing down bit right and/or test my oxygen debt O. And I always have the challenge of trying to beat Carsten on some legs. I'd probably rather be at an average Swedish area almost every time but on average the weather is a lot better! (And after a weekend running in Arthur's Pass and on the West Coast it certainly feels great to be home)

Being away for two years has meant that we have got to run on two new PAPO maps in the three months since we've been back.

PAPO has had strategic plan meetings where Nick's two points are two of the main discussion points. But I don't think we've come up with any revolutionary way of fixing anything. We're looking for new areas. And we're trying to figure out ways to spread the work load - Rob J is doing some great work with evening planning sessions for people who are planning next year. They bring along their map and ideas and Rob talks about it with them. Much more hands on than some introductory planning sessions which will hopefully encourage people new to planning to have a go. Still have to have a good controller to help get the controls in the right place which is probably the hardest bit for a new planner...

I think score events are great for beginners but others in our club say that beginners don't like them and they want to come along to the same thing each time, not variations, so they know what's going on. But I think most people could proabbly cope with two types anyway and our summer street score event seems popular.


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