Coaching Tip #1: Orientating your map
Your map should always be held so that it faces the same way as the ground it represents. This requires the map to be rotated in your hand as you change direction so that it remains orientated to the terrain – in reality you are ‘moving your body around the map’.
For example, if you are running along a lake shore with the lake on your right and forest to your left, when you look down at your map it should show the same thing – lake to the right, forest to the left. This will often mean that the title of the map, the legend and other symbols are sideways or upside down.
By convention orienteering maps are drawn with North at the top of the map, but when you’re navigating you simply match the map to the ground.
You’ll make clearer decisions (and fewer errors!) if your map is always orientated.
In street or sprint orienteering through urban areas the orienteer makes many turns down side streets and alleys. At every turn you should rotate the map to match the new direction of travel.
Caution! A common mistake is punching at a control, then moving off without orientating the map correctly.
Coaching Tip: Practice this skill at your next event: whether you are walking or jogging always orientate the map. You’ll soon find this an unbreakable habit and your navigation will rapidly improve.