The National Team Challenge   Leave a comment

I've been coaching various national teams (here in Israel) for almost 20 years. A couple of months ago I was asked to take charge of the senior team again, and despite the fact that I have limited spare time I agreed to take the job, initially until WOC 2013.
Coaching the team here is a part-time job (currently paying about 5% of my main salary), so I have to do my best in training sessions on weekends, and keeping up with the team at national events and through their training reports. I set myself two important goals:
1. Improve. Look at everything I did in the past as a coach, and try to do it better. The emphasis here is on quality, not quantity (for which I don't have the time). For example, I held a training camp this weekend, and tried to make every session as interesting as possible, using new tricks to keep the team alert and make them think fast and concentrate.
2. Create a team culture. As in "Corporate Culture" (תרבות ארגונית). This has been missing in the past, mainly because we never had continuity in the team when progressing from season to season. I think I communicated what I mean by this to the athletes over the weekend, but writing it in a blog is more difficult. The main idea is to set certain standards, for both the individuals and the team, and maintain them over a long period.

We have a generation gap in the national team at the moment – of eight athletes in the weekend's training, there were none between the ages of 20 and 30! Most will never be good enough to represent us in international competitions, but if they conform to a certain standard and behave like elite orienteers, they'll stay on the team. In 2-3 years we'll have an influx of promising young men from the junior team, and I hope that when they arrive we'll have a sound team culture in place for them.

A relocation exercise in pairs: One orienteer leads with the map, the other follows him without a map. The leader stops at any point within the large circle, gives the map to the follower, and he has to find the control.

Posted 13/02/2012 by dchissick in Uncategorized

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