“Self Help” Tour to Gothenburg – Aug 2012
My original thoughts for this tour was to base it in Oslo, with Matt Speake’s help – Matt lives there.. Unfortunately we were unable to come up with any suitable accommodation – i.e. cheap enough. Various options for hostel type accommodation were available, but t I wanted to keep costs to an absolute minimum, and Matt was not aware of any club huts capable of taking the sort of numbers I was talking about – up to 20.
Generic information about Gothenburg
Introduction and background
The ‘Gothenburg’ tour is unique in that its purpose is to teach those about to leave the ranks of junior orienteers, ie M/W20’s, how to plan and undertake their own training within a Scandinavian environment.
Such a tour was conceived specifically as a ‘self-help’ tour led by a Senior Coach experienced in training in Scandinavian terrain and familiar with a specific location or orienteering club.
This style of tour was initially suggested and led by Mark Saunders in 2012.
Because of his knowledge and experience of orienteering in the Gothenburg area the camp that year was based in that city.
The location of future camps will therefore be decided by the Coach who is leading the tour, their experience and contacts.
Accommodation is dependent upon the location but is likely to be in an Orienteering Club hut.
It is therefore likely that sleeping will be on a floor but that showers and toilets will be close by.
All food will be bought and prepared by the attendees and therefore athletes will be expected to assist with chores during the camp.
It is anticipated that every effort will be made to make use of public transport throughout the course of the camp.
The camp is aimed at M/W20’s, and if room permits some M/W18’s.
It is likely that the camp will take place in August and recognising that the athletes may wish to return home at various times, for example for ‘A’ level results, attendance at the camp will be flexible allowing athletes to join and leave the camp at various times other than the planned start and finish.
As I had contacts in Gothenburg, knew some of the forests, and because it has a good public transport network I decided to organise something there instead – albeit at much shorter notice than I had originally hoped. My heavy involvement in planning two days of Croeso also delayed things somewhat.
In May I confirmed – by writing to some of the youngsters directly known to me - that there was a demand amongst the target age range – 2nd year 18s/1st year 20s.
I had no formal selection policy, but in the first place used the results of published British Orienteering Selection races for that age group to recognise youngsters who appeared keen to try for selection and had had reasonable results. I followed that up by seeking advice from all the junior squad managers on possible names I might have missed - e.g. those who had not attended selection races for reasons such as injury.
Note the camp overlapped with British Orienteering’s Elite Development training camp / Competition tour in Austria. This took some of the top athletes in this age range.
We ended up with 12 athletes plus myself which I deemed enough to be enough to have a worthwhile camp. With a bit more notice, I suspect we might have got closer to the 20 or so I had originally envisaged . The fact that the date of the tour coincided with A Level results for some athletes also deterred some potential attendees and one athlete just came for the first 5 days.
Most people travelled out on Friday 10th Aug and returned on Monday 20th Aug.
Basic programme was
5 days training - Sat to Weds. ( those on early Friday flights also trained on Fri p.m.). I planned some things to start, and later in week athletes planned the exercises. Control hanging / Collecting/ Map drawing was shared amongst us all
Thursday rest day
Friday to Sunday – Gothenburg “O Meeting “ – Sprint, Middle, Classic. Note I created a club entry on the Swedish Eventor system for “JROS / UK”. This could be used again in the future if required.
I hired a small car, but most of the travel was by local bus/tram. Sometimes augmented by me providing a short shuttle service at the other end.
Accommodation was on the floor at Tolered Utby’s club hut in one of the Northern suburbs of Gothenburg, close to a bus terminus and shopping centre. As with the training, cooking, shopping etc was very much on “self help” basis, with everybody mucking in.
Everybody bought their own flights. But over and above that, we managed to keep costs down to about £200 each - – including accommodation, food , race entries, training maps, transport (including share of hire car) .
Feedback I had from the athletes, was that they had found it worthwhile and enjoyable tour. The felt the mixture of training and competition was about right. They were also very happy participating in organising their own training and domestic activities and using public transport to go training..
For myself, apart from trying to organise things earlier, the one thing I would do differently is have another “adult” along with me. Working with the youngsters is great fun, but there were occasions when some more adult company would have been welcome.
I would be happy to run such a tour again, but I am already fully committed for the summer of 2013.