Thoughts on Elite O in Israel – Part 2   1 comment

Our second problem is coaching. There are not enough coaches, and certainly not at an elite level. The number of orienteers who have represented Israel in international competition, and have then started coaching seriously, even part-time, or got an instructor's certificate, is… 1 ? We have lots of certified instructors, but most of them don't actually teach orienteering, at any level. Where is the problem , and how do we solve it?
I think that one big issue here is the gap in the coaching scene, between school teams and the national level. Orienteering in Israel is basically taught and trained at two levels: schools (mainly beginners and park-o), and national teams. There is nothing in the middle – no organised club coaching, regional teams, or the like, because we don't have an strong club structure like in many European countries.
Elite level coaches need to get experience in elite competitions (even at masters ages), international events, coaching at various levels, coaching running, team management, course planning, and more. There is currently no platform for gaining experience in coaching, so almost no-one is capable or willing to make the jump from teaching a bunch of kids at school, to coaching a national team or any group of elite orienteers. And if they do, they need time to gain experience and applicate it.
What are the solutions? Firstly, we can take the best coaches at the beginners level, who are willing to invest in themselves, and get their coaching career moving: help them get experience and knowledge over time, according to a plan, so that in 3-5 years they'll be good elite coaches. A good example of this is Oded Verbin, our current national team coach, though it wasn't planned.
Another idea, for the long run, is to create an intermediate level coaching scene, so various orienteering instructors and coaches can get experience with more advanced training. I would start by trying to create a club or area based training system, with various coaches sharing the workload. This could happen regularly once a week (in each area), in the evening, with orienteering training in summer and running training in winter. The ISOA (our federation) could appoint someone to do the scheduling and manage logistics, each participant would pay a small sum per session to the ISOA, and the ISOA would pay the coaches. This way, coaches can gain experience training adult orienteers, get feedback from each other, and be involved in regular coaching. And the level of orienteering in general would improve.
Combine these and more ideas, and a few years onwards we'll have a number of coaches who can work with elite orienteers.

Posted 28/08/2009 by dchissick in Uncategorized

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One response to “Thoughts on Elite O in Israel – Part 2

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  1. I'm an Israeli orienteer following your blog for some time, it is great so I finally decided to register with myopera….I just wanted to say that your idea will also create a way for medium level orienteers to improve their skills. Nowadays I can't get any technical coaching so I'm learning everything on my own. I think this might increase the number of candidates for the elite team.Hope you can convince the ISOA guys.dany

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