An Intro to Technical Difficulty 1
Written by Carol Walker, Technical Committee
Orienteering courses for kids under 10 should have technical difficulty 1. What does that mean? The most important idea is that technical difficulty 1 can never be too easy! We want these kids to be out in the woods finding controls and having fun, not getting frustrated. The course should be like a guided tour around the orienteering map. Every competitor should find all of the controls.
The course should follow distinct linear features like roads and paths. You could also use walls and fences if they are easy to see, perhaps in open areas. For this difficulty level, we don’t want any route choices so there should be a control at every decision point. Watch out for situations like a brief split in the trail; there should be a control at each end of the split. The controls should be placed just after the decision point, leading the competitor in the right direction. If there is any chance of confusion, use streamers between the controls. We want these kids to get lots of positive feedback so controls should be close together; you might even have controls between decision points.
Finding the right location for easiest course can be one of the hardest tasks for the course planner! Course 1 might determine your start and finish locations. It’s worth it, though, to make sure our kids get a fun and successful introduction to orienteering. Remember, you can’t make Course 1 too easy!