Thursday, 1 November 2018

Interview #5: Adam Woods interviewed by Pia Blake

PB: I chose to interview Adam Woods. Adam has been a member of the Greater Vancouver Orienteering Club for many years and has competed overseas at both the Junior and World University Orienteering Championships.  He has also been heavily involved in coaching orienteering for the Vancouver-based OAK program.

I would also like to thank Adrian, who had the inspiration to create this blog for Orienteering Canada - in the hopes of entertaining, sharing stories and history related to Canadian orienteering, sharing personal tips and insights, and above all, connecting orienteers across Canada.  Thank you Adrian.

Adam Woods, GVOC
Photo: Jim Hawkings

Pia Blake, YOA

PB: How were you introduced to orienteering?

AW: When I was in early elementary school, my parents saw an orienteering event in the city's community activity guide and thought it sounded fun. I followed my dad around on a bike, while my sister biked followed my Mother around and got introduced to the concept of bushwhacking.

PB: What has been the most memorable event you have gone to?

AW: My first trip to the Yukon, for the 2011 Western Canadian Orienteering Championships + Canadian Orienteering Championships was the event that really got me hooked on orienteering. It's also the source of my favourite orienteering story, about a water control that helped me win a bronze medal despite me running off the map.

PB: How do you train for competitions?  What are you attending this year?

AW: Because I'm in Vancouver, I have to do a lot of armchair technical training because I know the local maps too well. This year, I'm hoping to attend the majority of races in BC, AB and Washington State as training for the 2019 World Orienteering Championships in Norway.

PB: You’ve been involved with junior training in Vancouver for several years now.  What training exercises have worked well in teaching kids in your experience?

AW: I like any exercises that allow me to shadow athletes. Making athletes find multiple routes to a control and having a mass start where they run different routes is a great option for keeping a small group together. This exercise has the added benefit of allowing you to shadow an athlete to each control and minimizes standing around.

PB: Do you have any advice for new coaches?

AW: If you're planning a session for younger kids, keeping the kids supervised needs to be a main part of your lesson plan. Having a hub control can give you a convenient spot to have one on one discussions with athletes.

PB: What challenges do you foresee with keeping kids involved as they grow out of the program, and keeping them involved, given the attrition rate in (pretty much every) sport?  What kept you involved?

AW: Providing juniors with opportunities to attend events outside their hometown is an important step in keeping the high school aged athletes excited about orienteering. The presentation by the 2011 JWOC team members at the Whitehorse nationals got me excited at the prospect of attending JWOC, and kept me in interested in training for orienteering. 

PB: You’ve also been involved with online junior training in the past through SPOTT.  Do you think this sort of training helps to bridge the vastness-of-the-country divide we have in Canada?  What other benefits did you see coming out of it?

AW: I've had the chance to meet a number of the SPOTT athletes in person, and that was always a bunch of fun. However, I don't think that SPOTT did much to connect junior athletes across the country, but I'd be happy to be proven wrong. Surprisingly, the largest benefit of the SPOTT program may be the Google Slides presentations I created for each session. I know of a number of adult orienteers who got access to the slides and found them very useful. 

PB: What are your orienteering hopes for the future?  Orienteering in Canada, and your own?

AW: I'd like to put in a few more years of hard training and earn a spot on the 2019 and 2020 WOC teams. That said, I'm also tempted to double down on coaching - I'd be very excited to see an athlete I coached compete at JWOC. On the orienteering Canada side of things, I'd be very happy to see a full team of 6 girls and 6 guys headed to JWOC. Nothing gets me as excited about orienteering as attending international orienteering competitions!

PB: Thank you for sharing some of what you have learnt coaching Adam!  Good luck with all your races this year, and into the future!

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