Course Planning for Moderate and Hard Courses The orienteering course comprises the start, the legs, control sites and the finish. Often the temptation is to look at the more complex or detailed areas of the map and think that they contain good control sites, and then just join these areas with the legs, or to look for the tricky control sites when doing the field check.
However the legs are the most important part of the course and the quality of the course is largely determined by the quality of the legs. Hence plan the legs before considering the control site at the end of it, just circle a general area in which you want each leg to end. The following points are relevant to planning good legs
Emphasis is to have several legs with route choice, eg by presenting some obstacles on the leg such as climb, rocky areas, greener areas, complex areas, or simply by length which opens up larger areas of the map to the competitor thus creating more potential route choices
However as with looking for that tricky control site, don’t fall into a similar trap by setting a leg which crosses the steepest, thickest and most complex parts of the map in order to place obstacles on your course.
For examples of “Good Legs” refer to a series of articles which have appeared in the last few issues of the “Australian Orienteer” (1999). Also look back at some of your recent orienteering courses for examples of legs which may have presented you with route choice problems and think about which ones gave you with the most “enjoyable” challenge. Some may have presented a challenge but was it enjoyable (eg just steep and green).