segunda-feira, 19 de dezembro de 2011


He never performed really good as athlete but is now one of the most accountable coaches in this world of Orienteering. Kenneth Buch has just arrived to the leadership of French Elite Team and Orientovar has talk with him. There you are a couple of ideas that show you a little bit of this man, his work, his dreams and his future.

Orientovar - In Portugal we love Fado, something you can relate with music but it can also be translated with the word “destiny”. Do you believe in destiny? Is being an Orienteering coach your “fado”?

Kenneth Buch - Actually I know Fado and I have been in a Fado restaurant one time. It was a really special experience that everyone who visits Portugal should try. I grew up with Orienteering, because my family was dedicated to it. I'm not really spiritual or believe much in destiny, but when you talk about it I really feel that I'm alive when I work with athlete's and, in many ways, that is what I wan't to do the most in this world. I don't know why is that, but I'm really dedicated to my work and I believe I have a lot to offer. In a job interview once, someone said that I didn't have the passion for a job, but I must say for working as a coach in Orienteering I have a fire burning that I hope will never stop.

Orientovar - Does being an exceptional orienteer have some kind of genetic aspects or everything is learned, acquired?

Kenneth Buch - It's hard to say. For sure, some genetics are an advantage in early years, but in time I believe that the most important can be learned, if you just give yourself time. When I look at athletes, I look mostly for mental skills because I believe they are the most important.

What often makes the difference is the mental part

Orientovar - You are a teacher, you are a coach… What is in first place in your life? How do you manage these two parts of yourself?

Kenneth Buch - I think you misunderstood my job as teacher, because it's actually also coaching. I teach High School top athletes students in Orienteering. But for sure a part of the coaching job is teaching, and I enjoy that a lot. But mostly I see myself as a coach.

Orientovar - At the training process, how important is the mental training, in relation to the physical and technical training? The biggest challenge, what is it?

Kenneth Buch – Personally, I think mental training is the most important, if we talk of top elite sports. A lot of people can train themselves to a really good level, technically and physically, but what often makes the difference is the mental part. But for sure everything is important, because to be the best you need to be good in everything.

The challenge in the French Team is great

Orientovar - A couple of months ago, you said that your goal as a coach “is to become one of the best in the world”. Now that you are the French Elite Team’s coach, don't you see the offer of the French Federation, by itself, as the recognition of your qualities? How did you receive this invitation and how do you see this challenge?

Kenneth Buch - Yes, for sure it's a really nice recognition and I'm really glad that I got the possibility to work with the French Team. To be one of the best in the world is like a vision to me, it makes me strive to become better and better all the time. I also think that striving for becoming better all the time is a really important quality for a coach. But hopefully I'm getting closer and closer. Thierry contacted me quite early last year to know if I was interested. After WOC it got more and more actual. The challenge in the French Team is great and I hope to keep the best on top while the 2nd best take the step up and can be in a position to take over in time.

Orientovar - I believe that training is a process of mutual learning. How do you see this chance of work with the multichampion Thierry Gueorgiou? Is it something that scares you?

Kenneth Buch - It's something that I have dreamed to do, so in that way it's really exciting. To work with him, before he stops his career, is really interesting and I hope to learn a lot from his experience. Still I believe that I have something to offer to him to keep his fire burning and if I was scared I wouldn't have taken the job. I see it as a great opportunity for both of us and I hope the future will be bright.

Orienteering is at a breaking point

Orientovar - In relation to WOC 2012, in Switzerland, will it be possible to see the French Team breaking the home ground factor and do even better than they did in Le Revard last summer?

Kenneth Buch - This year we saw that the Norwegian Team failed almost totally, after a Championship at the homeground, so for sure I see that the higher you climb the longer is the fall. I hope that I can effect the team in a good way so that we will be able to perform at least as well. I don't think we will perform much better if you look at medals, but we are aiming to perform better, seen in the total team performance. Our goals are high but right now we are focused on doing the best preparation and working hard on each training and then, in July, we will see if we succeed.

Orientovar - How do you see the present moment of Orienteering? Are we going in the right direction?

Kenneth Buch – Humm..... I think Orienteering is at a breaking point. The latest suggestions from IOF came as a surprise for me. Sometimes you wonder where these ideas come from and why we are in such a rush for changes. With the development of technical equipment and the age of GPS, the changes for making a good product of the distances as they are now are as big as never before. OKay, maybe we could do some changes to improve the use of this equipment, but that is not what the latest suggestions are based on. Actually, the Sprint has been the worst production the latest years, in my opinion. So why suddenly put some new untested distances in the WOC program? It's a puzzle for me. So that is why I believe that the decision for the future is a breaking point.

Portugal is perfect for training Orienteering

Orientovar - I believe we are going to see again you in Portugal next year. Can you give us some details of your visit? Why did you choose Portugal?

Kenneth Buch - Yes, I will be there twice. Portugal is perfect for training Orienteering and I like the terrains a lot. First I will go with the French Team, we will start out the camp with doing some of the races in Portugal O' Meeting. Secondly, I will go with a big group of juniors from Norway, including the students who I work with, in the beginning of March.

Orientovar - In a process you named as “Your Own Company”, it’s possible to see you offering your work to important athletes or clubs, such as Olav Lundanes or Tue Lassen, Nydalen SK or Lillomarka OL, for example. This year, you also gave a class for coaches in Norway, showing the way you do personal coaching. Is sharing all the information something that we should do or we must keep the best part for us?

Kenneth Buch - I think people can decide on their own if they want to share or not. I think it's nice if people are open and share their experiences, if they don't it's still okay with me. I like to share the things I do and if I had more time I would do it more often. It gives me a lot to be able to help the others, that is maybe also why I'm a coach.

Finding a good way to broadcast the essentials

Orientovar - 2011 is at the end. May I ask you to make a wish for Orienteering in the next years?

Kenneth Buch – I wish that the decision for the future WOC program is based on finding a good way to broadcast the essentials of finding our own way in unknown terrain. Not by some politics and strange untested ideas of getting in the olympics by making it boring and only interesting for one minute, like the knock-out sprint concept!

[Photo by Jens Erik Mjølnerød]



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