Improving suddenly – Mia tells how she was able to take her big step this season

Before good results on a national level but not Finnish shirt on. This spring Mia Niittynen from Koovee has shown that she has improved her performances a lot and got selected to world cup in Norway. What stands behind this sudden big step?

“Some people have asked me this spring, what I have done differently to “suddenly” get to this level. Well, I don’t have a single clear answer, since there aren’t so many things I have done differently. I have trained for orienteering a while and, as a future Master of Sport Sciences (fingers crossed), I become closer to the age of an ideal endurance athlete and a fact also is that I’ve trained for several years already, maybe now it just shows better than previously. However, I know that I can become so much better still. Maybe since I have some years of training behind, I’ve also learned to know my strengths and weaknesses better, and I can still develop both.

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Last autumn my attitude towards orienteering changed. I have liked orienteering before and liked training for it, but last autumn I started to enjoy it. I moved to Gothenburg for an exchange and had a chance to train there in awesome terrains and good company. My study exchange wasn’t so much of a traditional exchange, most of the time I spent in school or trainings (although school was a blast too, we had a great study group and school hours consisted mainly of different sports and playing, since I was studying physical education studies there). I guess everyone has those “don’t feel like it” days every now and then, but in Gothenburg I really didn’t have any of those, I had too much terrains to go to and trainings to do to give lack of motivation any space. I had great time, but there is one thing that bothers me: I still would have so much to do in Gothenburg!
Gothenburg and especially the orienteering-people I met there had a great influence on my motivation to become better. Living in Gothenburg, although very much similar to living in Finland, was a good experience otherwise, too and I think I grew as a person, which could make me a better athlete, too.

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Even greater influence for motivation though came from development. In the beginning of summer last year I started to develop my orienteering skills and I realized some things that I needed to realize to become better. As I started to understand more, I started to enjoy orienteering more and grave for a better and better performance. It shows in small things, but I guess those small things combined become gradually a bigger thing. That is one reason the motivation towards developing myself is still going strong and hopefully I keep developing towards the top. Even though there are victories that I dream of, one of my biggest dreams is to someday to come to finish and say “I did a perfect performance”.”

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Mia Niittynen, Koovee

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