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What if someone wanted to learn orienteering, but couldn't find a coach? Or what if someone wanted to coach orienteering, but couldn't find a clinic happening soon enough, or near enough to help them before their athletes started to train? The solution to these dilemmas is here: Orienteering USA's new blended version of the Level 1 Coach Certification. By combining the best of technology, adult education, and orienteering know-how, you can get started now on your path to coaching certification. Those who successfully complete the course receive a coaching certification from the national governing body in the United States, as recognized by the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee and the International Orienteering Federation. Members of other orienteering federations may register for the course if space is available; contact the coaching staff for further information.

Picture by Clinton Morse. Used with permission.

If you're committed to making someone else better, you're a coach. The Level 1 Coaching course involves basic knowledge of coaching and physical conditioning and the ability to communicate the principles of orienteering to newcomers.


What you'll need:

  • A copy of Discovering Orienteering: Skills, Techniques, and Activities by Charles Ferguson and Robert Turbyfill.
    Digital capabilities that allow you to:
    • Access the internet
    • Watch mp4 videos
    • Read pdfs
    • Capture your reflections in text, audio, and/or video
    • Post your reflections online in your Coach's Notebook for coaching class community feedback
    • Make a video of your coaching session Complete assessments on Google forms Participate in online Google Meet session
  • Completed SafeSport Full Course certification (~90 mins) or equivalent if a member of another orienteering federation
    • Email to register for SafeSport. Cost is $15; free to OUSA members
    • Post certificate to your coach's notebook


The first module consists of four topics, all self-paced. Each topic has multiple lessons with quizzes and reflective assignments. You will receive feedback from coaching mentors and your peers. You must satisfactorily complete all assignments in each topic to earn the associated badge, and you must earn all four badges before enrolling in Module 2.

Just looking to improve your knowledge of orienteering? The lessons in Module 1 are a great place to start, and they're open to the public  as Basic Orienteering and the Orienteering Development Model. You won't receive instructor feedback on your work, but you may receive community feedback. We suggest you keep records of your work, so if you later decide to enroll in the full coaching course, we can work with you to ensure you receive credit for what you've already completed.

The second module is cohort-based and covers four topics in a synchronous, discussion- based class. The blended version meets virtually for 3 hours each week; the weekend clinic version meets for 16 hours over two days and covers both Module 2 and Module 3. Module 2 assessments include quizzes, projects, and reflection. You must satisfactorily complete all all topics to advance to Module 3.

The third module is your opportunity to practice what you have learned and receive feedback. If you're enrolled in the blended course, you'll need to find some volunteers to practice on and someone to record your session. You'll submit your video and your reflection online, and your mentor will provide you feedback. For those in the weekend clinic, your fellow students will be your athletes and you will receive feedback in person; your final reflection will still be submitted online.

Once all three modules are satisfactorily completed, you'll receive your Level 1 Coaching Course Certificate. 

You must submit an application to be certified as a Level 1 Coach.


The cost of the blended Level 1 Coaching Course is $100 for members, and $150 for non-members. Fees support course materials, instruction, technology, maintenance, and administration. In addition, you should order your own copy of Discovering Orienteering.

If you're not a member of OUSA, consider joining. For the cost of an individual membership ($35), you'll get a $50 discount on this course and OUSA will pay for your $15 SafeSport certification.
Orienteering USA offers scholarships for prospective coaches if the cost of the course and materials is prohibitive.

Contact the Coaching Instructor Team at for more information.

Purchase the course text on Amazon or Google Play. Note that you can order either a paperback copy or a digital version.

Ready to get started?

Students: Register here

Certified Coaches: Go to the course 

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