onsdag 23. november 2011
My first camp with the French team
So I've had my first camp with the French team. It was nice to get started and meet everyone for the first time. The camp was located in relevant terrain for WOC middle distance next year. The spirit in the team for doing technical training is high and I'm impressed with the level of the trainings. No wonder the French are good technical. Still there are also things to improve and things I want to focus on. So in December I will go back to France and introduce the master plan for 2012. Looking forward for that.
14 days ago, I made 3 lectures in just 2 days. The first were for coaches in orienteering, about a mastery approach, in a training environment. I hope that everyone got something out of it and that my points will make some difference for some environment in Norwegian orienteering. It's so easy only to focus on results in the way we coach, but science has showed that we as coaches should have more focus on mastery. Just being in sports gives a lot of focus on outperforming others, and especially for younger athletes, I believe it's not the best way develop. So my points were, how we make mastery focused environments in orienteering. Some of my suggestions were; focus on the individual person, good goal settings and having many different levels on trainings. I think that more focus on this will make the athlete develop in an even better way, instead of only comparing with your training friends or the top level in your class. I also believe that even senior elite level has a lot to learn from this stategy.
The next two lectures were in the Norwegian School of sport science, in the bachelor program of applied sports psychology. The first topic was changes in motivation during competition. That is the topic of my master thesis. I tried to give an overview of my thoughts about that issue. My thoughts are that we can gain some time, by becoming more aware of what changes the motivation during the race, and how you can avoid that it will have a negative effect on your performance. Fore sure I will get back on that, when I deliver my thesis.
The last lecture was about my mental work with Tue Lassen. Tue visited from Copenhagen and helped me do the lecture. We talked about how we are working together and especially on the use of Mindfullness. The last years I have really gotten into using mindfullness in the mental work for the athletes. I see that it works really well especially handling the stress situations before and under the competition. Mindfullness is linked up to the feeling of flow and that is where I first, got my thoughts from. It's about learning to stay in the moment, accepting who you are and the situation you are in. Just to stay focused on what you are doing. The principle is really simple, but hard to learn. That is also a reason to believe in it because I believe some theories are too complicated to use in real life situations. For me Mindfullness is the ultimate strategy for dealing with some really important aspects of performance. The work with Tue seems also to prove that, so I’m up for using it even more. A good book I can recommend is The Inner Game of Tennis. So if you need something to read, try that one.
Great posibilities for technical training in Oslo.
It's nice that the early winter has been warm in Oslo. That means that there is possibilities to train a lot of technical training, before the snow comes. All the technical training that I make with Wang Toppidrett (the school where I work) are open for everyone who wants to join. First of all I'm glad that my students seem to agree with my about doing this type of training now. Their spirit is good and it motivates me a lot. Still I wonder why only 2-4 athletes of the, so to speak elite athletes living in Oslo, take advantage of this possibility? We even have sprint on the program ones in a while!
Anneli and Håkan in Sweden
Last but not forgotten, it was nice to read that Anneli and Håkans work in Swedish orienteering is appreciated. I know both of them and I know that their hearts are beating for orienteering. They focus on seeing the athlete as a whole person, working with athlete in the center and not just coach for their own glory. So, it’s good to see that coaches that have some of the same values as I, get confirmation that they are doing a good job.
lørdag 29. oktober 2011
So as many of you know, Tuesday I’m starting a new job with the French national team. I’m looking forward to working with the French athletes and I think I have a lot to offer. Since I’ve stopped my job in Halden last year, though studying in Oslo I felt the hunger for coaching a top-level team again. So now I’m back in business.
The French team had a really good season this year with WOC at homeground. In some ways it will be hard live up to that, but I’m up for the task. There is always room for improvement; it’s just to look the right places.
I also look forward to cooperating with the other coaches and staff in the federation. I got a really good impression of them when we meet up. So I feel everything is set up for some good times with the French team.
torsdag 20. oktober 2011
Not many athletes, make it all the way to the top in elite sport, that’s a fact. So as many people before me, I'm wondering about what factors that effects the development of top-level athletes. In other words, talent development strategies. I will focus mostly on Norwegian orienteering, because I have a lot of knowledge about it. Still I hope that people outside Norway think that it’s interesting to read about.
Obviously we need talents to develop to top-level athletes in Norwegian orienteering if we again wan’t to become the best nation in the world. The “natural” way is to get selected to the national junior squad and perform as a junior, which will give you a spot in the senior development squad. After that you perform as a senior and get to elite squad and perform at elite level. In that matter how you perform as a youngster in many ways effects if you get the possibility to become good or do it? Is the federations environment the best for development and should it be? If you look at the last years selection to the development squad, only juniors that has been performing at the highest level will get chance to make this team in first year as a senior. Normally 2/3 of the junior squad and everyone else is left without support from the federation in the first years as a senior.
The last two years of WOC only approx. 50% of Nordic medalists (NOR-SWE-FIN), have performed top 6 at JWOC. So the question is if we should select the development squad only on top performances as junior and if the junior and development squad provides the athletes with the right tools to make it to the top. From this perspective it’s okay to ask questions. A lot of science especially from Cotè and colleges, Bloom, and Güllich tell us that we have to be careful with doing a selection like this. Maybe other factors are more important?
Still it’s possible to get in a position to become a top-level orienteer without making the Norwegian squad as a junior and the first years a senior. I’ll take a look a examples from Norwegian orienteering, that is up to date. I’ve contacted Bjørn Ekeberg and Heidi Bagstevold, to ask them about their way from junior to senior. For sure you can argue about which level you have to have before you are at the elite level, and if Heidi and Bjørn have reached that level yet. Still their story is interesting because they both made the transfer from junior to senior successfully. In that perspective also because Heidi did’nt make the Norwegian national squad before her 3rd year as a senior and Bjørn only had one year in the junior squad and still not have made the senior team(hope he will make it next year). So Heidi and Bjørn did’nt take the “natural” way, but are now in a position to really achieve great results. I tried to ask them some questions, on how they managed to make this transfer.
How do you describe your strength when you performed as a junior?
Heidi – Selfconfident, taking time to do my orienteering.
Bjørn - Technique. I believe I was at my best when I focused on the orienteering, because that is what you can effect on the day of the competition. Still with good technical races, I didn’t make the top of the list.
If you should describe the way from junior to senior, what was the most difficult to adjust to?
H- The challenge in transferring to the long distance was tough.
B-the most difficult was to adjust to getting beaten quite hard. Even in good days I was way of. I realized that I needed to become better physically and that I needed to perform well to get a decent result.
How did you manage to motivate yourself the first years as a senior? What where your goals?
H- I had progression both in mastering skills and in results. To get picked out for the world cup and euromeeting motivated me. The training environment at Ås, motivated to aim high. I had no goal of results, but only in developing technically and physically.
B- I was prepared to give it some years before I could believe in results. I had a high goal to get selected to Euromeeting the first year, something I realized by performing well at the WOC-selections. To get to Euromeeting was motivating; esp. to run against runners from other nations and to learn form the others in the team. I also saw that I developed in the long distance and that motivated me to keep working harder.
If you should do a recap of the first years as a senior, what is the recipe for success?
H- Change of environment. Living at Ås made it easy to combine sport and education. Training with boys gave me better physical training. Being selected to international events; it gave motivation, expirence and sparring.
B-The main reason is that that I’ve been patient and believe that it took more than a season to get to a good level. I’ve developed slowly but always in the right direction(apart from injury and illness). I’ve always got good confirmation about my level and used it to become better in all aspects.
You participated in JWOC (Bjørn 2 times, Heidi 1 time). How important where that experience?
H-I believe, very important. I gave me good experience and motivation to aim for more.
B- It was important to compete against the best. And I’ve learned a lot from my process with trying to achieve in JWOC, even though the results were not that good. I’m not a person that gives up easily, but I use bad performances to learn and become better.
Which persons has been important for your development og which role have they played?
H- Persons from Kongsberg OL, whom has thought me orienteering and arranged camps and trainings in many years. My coaches in the national squad. Kjell Arild, my boyfriend and training companion, who has supported me. My parents; for economical support.
B- Tyrving is important. The elite group motivates each other to become better. The runners that I could look up to(Audun Weltzien, Anders Tiltnes and Torbjørn Sagberg), who has been giving good sparring. The focus on the relays has been important. Morten Christoffersen, Arne Tiltnes and Matthias Gilgien were important persons, who made it possible to aim high with Tyrving.
So what to learn from these two cases? Maybe nothing, maybe Bjørn and Heidi had developed to this level anyhow or maybe there are some ways that we can improve the chances for making it trough the first years as a senior. No matter what, the stories of athletes like Bjørn and Heidi need to be told for information and motivation for athletes that are in the start of the same road.From a perspective in the organizational part of Norwegian orienteering, it’s important to think about these points; how the selections for international events, motivate the runners even if they don’t perform at them. That a long time work, is more important than top performances as a junior. That selection after junior age maybe should be done in another way, that focuses on the the talent of developing? or maybe no selection at all? That the environment in the development squad, should support development and have a long term perspective.
From a perspective of a young athlete who doesn't make the federation squad, it’s important to realize these points; Don’t let your physical level demotivate you, focus on performing your best on the day. Focus on slow and patient development, while maybe even getting a hell of a beating at the same time. Focus more on development than in results, but your results should motivate you to work better. The road is as wide as you make it.
For sure you can say that the Norwegian system works just as long as someone makes the level Heidi and Bjørn did? But I still believe that we can become better at picking out talents and provide them with a good environment through the federation. I do not have all the answer but some ideas. But for now I’ll rest my case, but I’ll get back later………..
fredag 14. oktober 2011
fredag 30. september 2011
As a coach I'm mostly measured by the results "my" athletes perform. That's okay with me, because I wan't the athletes to succeed in that way also. Still I know results come from hard work and not from speaking big words. So if "my" athletes need to succeed, they need to work hard. They have to understand that it's up to them to work hard, because I can't do the trainings for them, but I can challenge them and guide them on there way.
To meet theese goals, I mostly enjoy working with 1 on 1 coaching, but it's also really fun working with a gruop and with group kohesion.