Types of Courses at Permanent Orienteering Course Sites
The total number of controls on a particular POC will vary, but will usually be between 30 and 40. Each control will have a description which can be used in conjunction with the map to locate it.
Each POC will have a number of suggested courses, typically 4, with each course having approximately 12 controls. The courses will vary from a short introductory course for absolute beginners, up to a long and technically difficult course for more experienced orienteers.
On the suggested courses, the aim is to visit all the controls listed in the order they are shown, and in the shortest time.
Individuals and group leaders should pick a course suitable to the skills of the individual, and not try to run before they can walk!
It is also possible for either individuals or group leaders to make up their own courses from the all controls map and list of controls
Star & Loop Courses
An ideal way for group leaders to teach beginners, and maintain control, is to do Star courses. These involve the beginner going to a single control and then returning to the start for the group leader to check and then issue another control.
A further extension of this is the Loop course, where the beginner is issued with a map showing 2 or 3 controls for them to visit and then return to be checked.
On a 'score' course, the aim is to find as many controls as possible within a set time. Score courses are usually more fun in a group situation where there is scope for friendly competition. It is possible to allocate points values to controls - higher points for controls which are harder to find or further away from base. Those with the highest points score then wins.
When setting up a score event it may be preferable to choose a time which prevents anyone from finding all the controls, with penalties for a late return. This reduces the chance of several people getting the maximum score with no overall winner. Participants are also then forced to think more carefully about which controls to visit. Penalty points are deducted for those straying over the time limit. You set your own points values.