Orienteering is an extremely friendly sport and this helps newcomers learn navigation skills outside of formal coaching sessions. Even if you are not a member we will give you enough help to get you started and ensure you enjoy your first event.
Once you have been to a few introductory events, coaching can really help you enjoy the sport by teaching you the skills you need. We offer coaching throughout the year.
Qualified coach Allison Page organises junior coaching at every DFOK Kent Orienteering League event (5 events a year). DFOK juniors are also invited to participate in Saxons coaching days where appropriate.
The more experienced juniors (orange standard and aboive) can participate in the club coaching days (see below).
Juniors aged 10 and below often enjoy the technically easy courses that follow main paths (eg "yellow" or "white" courses, or control flags beginning with 60s in the North West Kent series). At some point juniors will want to progress onto the technically challenging courses. The DFOK coaching aims to gradually give them skills to find the harder controls, and the confidence to relocate unassisted when necessary. The coaching is also designed to be fun with specially designed group exercises. Orienteering courses are graded by technical difficulty, giving juniors an excellent opportunity to succeed at gradually more difficult courses without overstretching them.
Please note, that at orienteering events, parents/guardians often "shadow" younger juniors for safety/confidence reasons. This is always acceptable and encouraged in orienteering. Only at championship events will juniors be declared non-competitive when shadowed.
COACHING FOR ADULTS AND OLDER JUNIORS
We find that adults and older juniors soon want to progress onto the more adventurous, technically demanding courses. Our coaching will teach you specific techniques to find even the most difficult control flags in the most challenging forest areas, and to relocate rapidly when unsure of your location.
DFOK hold several club coaching days where qualified coaches offer a variety of exercises where members can practise and be coached various navigation techniques outside the pressure of competition. We normally use more technical orienteering areas such as Shorne Country Park and Addington Hills, but the coaching is designed to suit a range of ability from improviing juniors and adult beginners to experienced orienteers.
Older juniors may also be picked for the South East Junior Squad, which meets several times a year, as well as national squads.
We aim to enlist the support of an elite orienteer at least once per year for a training day aimed at experienced orienteers. Last year, Nick Barrable (current World Masters Champion in the 35-39 age class) coached ourselves and Saxons members for a full day in the challenging woodlands near Westerham. The British Orienteering Federation also run several coaching days which club members have attended, and a national orienteering centre in Scotland.