Scottish Junior Orienteering Squad (ScotJOS) Sprints into 2023

ScotJOS and Talent Scotland had their 1st training camp of 2023 last weekend. The camp was based in Livingston with its multitude of underpasses, alleyways and complex housing estates providing the ideal location for a Sprint orienteering camp. 

On your marks Photo credit: Judith Bell

The camp started off on Friday evening at Dechmont Law with some Night Orienteering. After which we all retreated to Harburn Village Hall just outside Livingston, which was an ideal cosy base for the weekend –  warm and with a very well equipped kitchen (and food is always important to hungry teenagers after training!).

On Saturday morning, after the ubiquitous running drills and with the temperature edging above zero and the last of the ice starting to disappear we headed to Dedridge in North Livingston. The 1st exercise was a pair’s map memory to try to encourage simplification of the map. There were then route choice exercises to practise making choices at speed.  

It wouldn’t be a ScotJOS camp without running drills….. Photo Credit: Judith Bell

ScotJOS were supported all weekend by Ian and Kirstin Maxwell who also planned the exercises for Saturday. Over lunch back at the hall they also provided analysis of the route choices as well as giving their top tips and advice about Sprint Orienteering.

The afternoon then focussed on making a good start to courses as it is essential in Sprint to get into the map quickly and not lose time at the offset. There were 6 small courses each of only a couple of controls which followed on from one other. This meant the juniors had repeated practise of starts – and the coaches running the starts had fun beeping like start clocks – the simple things which amuse us! The afternoon then finished with a course looping through the area.

Which way did you go? Photo Credit: Judith Bell

It was then back to the hall to warm up with lots of hot chocolate and card games! After dinner, we had some paper sprint orienteering exercises where they had to race to find the best route through a complex course with lots of additional barriers. One of the juniors was heard to exclaim “this is hurting my brain!”, which was apt since sprint orienteering is tough both mentally and physically.

Graeme Ackland had planned Knock Out Sprint type courses and a sprint relay for the Sunday morning. The knock out sprint courses had practise of head to head frantic racing, with the juniors setting off in groups of about 6.  A few got caught out and crossed an uncrossable fence – the classic urban situation where the fence had lots of gaps but was marked as not permissible to cross.   There was lots of confusion due to gaffling and controls close to each other but great fun and a great learning experience. The weekend finished with a sprint relay.  

A huge thank you to everyone who helped with the weekend and especially to Ian, Kirstin and Graeme for planning and sharing their sprint expertise.  

I’m sure there were juniors here a minute ago…. Photo Credit: Judith Bell