Here are five basic skills that you need to practice to help you get better at orienteering.
1. Fold your map – Always make sure that you fold your map so that you can easily see the part of the map where you are.
2. Orient your map – Always make sure that your map is the correct way round or oriented. This means that the features which are in front of you on the ground are in front of you on the map. You can also orient your map using a compass by making sure that the north lines on the map point the same way as the north or red end of the compass needle. Each time you change direction you should change your grip on the map so that the map is still oriented to north.
3. Thumb your Map – To help you know where you are on the map it helps if you mark your position on the map with your thumb. As you move along the ground you should move your thumb to your new position on the map. It is common to move your thumb to the new position at a ‘check point’ such as a path junction or some other obvious feature where you will stop or slow down and check where you are.
4. Check your control card – Once you have found a control you always need to check that the code on your control description sheet matches the code on the control. You should also check that the control is situated on the correct feature on your map. You will then know for sure that you have reached the correct control.
5. Have fun and enjoy yourself – This is the most important skill to remember. Orienteering should always be fun and enjoyable!