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Flow

Heading out of the control in the right direction

Heading out of the control in the right direction
Credit: Scot 6 Days 17 video

Last edited: Thu 8 Feb 2018

The key to achieving flow is to look ahead at every opportunity. You should have already checked the map to know what's coming up. As somebody once said, try to keep your brain ahead of your feet. Related training exercises

One way to treat an orienteering course is to view it as a sequence of short courses between each control. Each control is a mini-finish: hooray I've found it!

Now I'll stop and look at what's next. This is ok, but it results in a stop-go kind of motion.

Also, standing next to the control gives its position away to other competitors. The best orienteers seek something different - they aim to achieve flow, in which the controls are incidental way-points on the route to the actual finish.

As somebody once said, try to keep your brain ahead of your feet

The key to achieving flow is to look ahead at every opportunity. You should have already checked the map to know what's coming up. As somebody once said, try to keep your brain ahead of your feet. Know what the next move is.

So in every bit of "dead running", i.e. an easy route along path, or a slow trudge up hill, use the time to study the map, look ahead and memorise the next bit of the course. And look beyond the next control. Yes, you need find the next control first, but it is a good idea to look beyond to the rest of the course.

Its orienteering at its best and when it happens it feels great!

Which is the best way out of the next control? Will there be a change of direction? When will the next opportunity to study the map come? So rather than read the map while standing next to the control, do your map studying at other times and keep the momentum.

Flow is when everything goes well. Consistent progress is achieved. Features are where you expect them to be. Its orienteering at its best and when it happens it feels great!

- Richard Sansbury

Training Tip # 30, from QuOnicle 165, April 2016

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