From left Cecilia Åkesdotter (Sports Psychology), Lina Nilsson (Sports Physiology), Håkan Carlsson (Leadership), Martin Holth Johannessen (Sports Medicine) samt Thierry Gueorgiou (Orienteering Technique). Photo: Victor Lundmark Coaches of the National Team Skogssport's Trainer 2018 Training tips 2018 Issue 1: Leadership: ”Creating the World’s best National Team”. Issue 2: Sports Psychology – thinking correctly and feeling good. Issue 3: Sports Physiology – focus on interval training. Issue 4: Orienteering Technique – how do you analyse your technique? Issue 5: Sports Psychology – how does the National Team work with Sports Psychology? Issue 6: Orienteering Technique – tips for orienteering specific preparation. Issue 7: Medicine – strategies for optimal recovery. Issue 8: Sports Physiology – Alternative forms of training. Issue 9: Medicine – Strength and flexibility for Orienteers. Sweden has been at the top of the World Orienteering Championships medal table for the last 2 years. Now we are giving Skogssport readers a unique look at the workings behind the world’s orienteering National Team, with the entire National Team’s organisation being “Skogssport’s Trainer 2018”. – I am proud of the expertise we have built in and around the National Team. It feels exciting to be offering an honest look into our work, says Håkan Carlsson, Head of the National Team. The Training Tips column is a very important part of Skogssport. In 2017, Kalle Dalin was Skogssport’s Trainer, and from 1st January, Kalle is the new Swedish Junior National Team Captain. In 2018, the Leaders of the successful Swedish National Team will be the Skogssport Trainers. Among the writers will be Team Captain Håkan Carlsson and the world’s best male orienteer of all time Thierry Gueorgiou, Cecilia Åkesdotter (Sports Psychology), Lina Nilsson and Filip Larsen (Sports Physiology), as well as Martin Holth Johannesen (Sports Medicine). – We have built a very strong support group around the National Team. It contains leading experts in the areas runners work on to further develop as an elite orienteer. It feels exciting to be able to offer this to Skogssport readers, says National Team Boss Håkan Carlsson. What will we write about? – we will create a connection in what we do both when athletes are on National Team Activity and in their home environment, and we also believe that it is important that knowledge which can be found in the National Team Management is utilised by clubs so that together we can create the best National Team of all time. Skogssport’s readership contains orienteers of all levels of ability. Will this year’s Training Tips be exclusively aimed at Elites? – No, absolutely not. If we take for example ‘Leadership’ which I write about in the coming pages, it is the same basic thoughts irrespective of whether you use them within your club or, as in our case, with the National Team. The same is true when Thierry writes about Orienteering technique. It is easy to apply to all levels irrespective of how far you have come in your technical Orienteering development. I both believe and hope that orienteers of all levels will benefit greatly from our tips, both individually and in clubs around the country, says Carlsson. During 2018, compared with other years, there will be several clear differences. Along with each Training Tips will be an in-depth report in each respective area. This means, for example, that Skogssport goes along to a technical training session with the National Team to see how they work with the orienteering technique. This is therefore something that will appear during the year in Skogssport. Another difference compared to earlier is that both the training tips and the in-depth training tips report in Skogssport in our digital magazine (launched in connection with this issue of Skogssport) will be available in both Swedish and English. MÅRTEN LÅNG Håkan Carlsson about leadership During 2018, the Leaders of the very successful Swedish Orienteering National Team are the authors of the Skogssport Trainer column. First off is the Team Captain Head, Håkan Carlsson. Håkan has been nominated in the ’Leader of the Year’ category at the Swedish Sports Gala for the last two years. Here he writes about his views of leadership. ”Creating the World’s Best National Team”, some thoughts on successful leadership My wife said to me that she could not understand why things go so well for me. How did I always achieve my goals? I was never the smartest nor the most hard-working of those she knew. But I think it could be one of the reasons that has made my leadership successful. Not so clever and lazy! Here are some of the downsides that I think maybe the key to successful leadership. Relinquish your sense of prestige and dare to let go I have worked as a Leader for a long time and have learnt a lot about physiology, psychology, leadership and orienteering technique. The more I learn about a certain topic, the more I realise there is more to learn and that there are others who know the subject better; so I am not the smartest. In my work as National Team Captain therefore I have tried to involve the best people within their respective areas of expertise as a sounding board and a part of the Leadership team. I think it is important to dare to delegate, let go of your sense of prestige and work in teams. Create inclusion so everyone in the Leadership Team has important tasks to complete and take responsibility for. Another aspect of losing your sense of prestige is to get your athletes buying into and liking the set-up, as well as influencing it. The National Team and its Leaders as a group are smarter altogether, than if I were to sit down and come up with the ideas myself. Imagine what experience and strengths exists within the group as a whole! Losing your sense of prestige and relinquishing some control is challenging and requires some courage as a Leader. Daring to trust others, accept help and delegate things also means you have time to see things from a different perspective and prioritise overriding tasks to make your set-up work even better and not get bogged down in the detail. Prioritisation is important and for my part it has worked so that I try to think about everything I do based on the overall goals of the National Team, to create the World’s Best, in the short and long term. If a task is not in line with these goals, then I do not prioritise it. Quite often I weigh up tasks against each other; ‘which will give the best result towards achieving our aims?’ to decide which to start on, and which to deal with later, or even quite simply, not do at all. Strengthen an individual’s inner motivation I believe that as a Leader it is important to try to strengthen an individual’s inner motivation. Under my Leadership I try to take decisions and create an environment that make the athletes feel that they are able to join in with and decide that they feel competent and developing themselves, and that they belong to the group. This leads to an increase in inner motivation according to motivational research. Below are a few examples from different areas. The athletes should feel that they can participate and influence their own development and be part of the decisions. We develop customised programmes for each individual and are flexible, rather than enforcing the same things for everyone. The athletes create their own development environment with the resource staff around them, with exactly what they need to develop. Inviting the athletes to continually think about and come up with ideas for how to develop the Team’s modus operandi is also important. To make the athletes feel more competent and that they are developing depends greatly on the National Team set-up being of high quality and thoughtful content. This is so the athletes feel they are continually improving and are well prepared for Championships and more. By helping the athletes to set up intermediate goals and have a general focus on development instead of results, strengthens the feelings of competency amongst the athletes. To make everyone feel they belong to the group relies on time being invested in this. In the National Team we create belonging through organised social activities or by creating space and time for spontaneous activities together. Cohesion increases when runners have space to talk to each other and get to know each other a bit deeper, or just have fun and a laugh together. It may well involve activities which do not involve the sport itself, so there are other things to talk about rather than focussing only on sports performance. With increased inner motivation I believe you feel better and can perform better over the long term. Create a performance-enhancing climate National Team runners and Leaders are very different people. This is a strength and as long as we all keep within a common framework, it will enrich us and we will learn from each other. In the National Team we believe that everyone is doing their best. It is a good attitude to have, not to interfere with each other’s behaviour, but instead try to be curious about each other and understand if there are reasons for doing what one does. I think we Sports Leaders are, in general, very good at giving instructions and explaining the purpose of things we want done, but maybe we don’t work quite so hard to ensure that there will be positive consequences when doing good or right things. Working with positive feedback is more sustainable and effective over time than punishing or blaming undesired outcomes. So don’t forget feedback! We humans are all different and need and feel good due to different consequences and feedback. So a big job as a Leader I think should be to get to know your adepts so you know what each one needs to develop and feel good. Strengthening of and giving feedback to, desired behaviour is something we have worked with in the National Team. An example of this is that we give out praise at evening gatherings to athletes and Leaders who have done something that is in line with our common values: someone who has done something to make a teammate better, someone who has dared to challenge themselves, someone who has added extra joy to the group and more. I also believe that as a Leader we can easily work with feedback when the athletes are able and support each other even in small ways: some who help another with a short analysis in the car after training, someone who cares a little bit extra for a teammate and so on. We try to remember to praise this and to get the athletes to praise each other in order to create a performance-enhancing climate together. Have a sustainable Leadership As National Team Captain in Orienteering, and as Leaders in most environments, you can work, in principle, as much as you like. It is also easy to end up working too much as you want the best for your Athletes and you are passionate about what you do. It is important however to be careful and prioritise yourself as a Leader and it is important to have a life outside your Leadership responsibilities. For a sustainable Leadership for example I have a simple strategy at Championships before I get out of bed. I always start with how I feel, then I go through how I think things are with the other Leaders in the Team Management, i.e. if there is a Leader I particularly need to support during the day. Then I do similar with the athletes and go through them all to see if there is someone I should prioritise high-up in my planning for the day. After that I go through the day in detail before I finish with a short mindfulness exercise and then I get up. For me, this is a good way to prioritise and structure my day. Another important thing is to prioritise my own recuperation, taking time to be aware of what is energy-sapping and be prepared to deal with this in the best way. Equally important is to know what gives you energy and plan in such things. My goal is to take a moment every day and do something which fills me with energy. It is of course OK and maybe unavoidable that one must work long hours and hard sometimes, but it is important not to miss out your recuperation time. A good side effect of taking care of yourself as a leader and your recuperation is that the athletes will notice it. In many cases, they will also feel better as a result with the group being more relaxed and happier, which I believe affects performance in a positive way. It is worth the investment to take care of yourself as a Leader. The best part is to work ’smart’ and prioritise, and not necessarily be the hardest worker. A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim is fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves. (Lao Tzu, 5th century BC) I believe that if you manage to relinquish a little control and be more humble, are genuinely curious and interested in those you meet and how they think, dare to take decisions and make changes where needed and take care of yourself, then you can be successful as a Leader, even if you are a little unclever and lazy. Håkan Carlsson Corridor training in Alicante. Film by Göran Winblad.