Parkour

Welcome to Parkour at GAME!

We, the authors of the parkour section of the GAME Academy, is the Street Movement Crew from Copenhagen. But this is all about YOU.

And who are you, exactly?

If you can answer yes to the following statements, the following drills are for you:

• You are a Playmaker, coach and/or parkour practitioner with basic parkour skills or better.

• You have experience with keeping students safe and creating an inclusive coaching environment. Choosing challenges well. Checking environment and students’ strength. Good at spotting for safety when needed.

• You understand that the drills described can only work if you take yourself, the physical environment and your students into consideration and plan accordingly.

Your Parkour Values

Remember what got you into parkour, in the first place.

What got most of us into parkour was the freedom, adventure and empowering nature of training with friends and choosing our own path along the way. But many coaches tend to forget that and instead they take the same strict approach with a checklist of movements such as many other sports and thereby lose the above-mentioned values. Another scenario from the other end of the scale are coaches that are so afraid of losing the freedom that they choose to work with no structure, no pedagogical framework and therefore it becomes “too lose” and unstructured to work for any students. Identify what makes you and the people you train with love parkour and translate that into quality coaching with learning goals for your students. Find your own way but remember why parkour is special to you and make your coaching style reflect this – pass on the positive.

Movements explained

The drills here on the platform are not explaining how to perform specific parkour techniques. If you’d like to read about that please have a look at Street Movement’s “Movement Inspiration” https://www.streetmovement.dk/movement-inspiration. Here you can find explanations and slow-motion video of parkour movements that we refer to in the drills, such as precisions, swings, underbars and so on.

How to use the drills

Our starting point assumes that you understand what the parkour-specific movements mentioned in a drill is. From there you can then use the drill to understand and coach the theme, challenge, game or whatever the drill-design is. Each drill has the following components:

• “Introduction” to put the drill into context with parkour history and/or the application of the drill.
• “Description – this is the HOW, step by step explaining the content.
• “Coaching key-points” – are important when you start planning to actually try this with students or friends. It gives you an opportunity to figure out what your role is while introducing, while giving feedback and maybe modifying the drill as you go along and finally how to reflect on the experience with you group.
• “Outcomes” – is a section that can help you understand what sports-skills the students can learn and also in the bigger picture how they can grow as individuals and as a group via Lifeskills.

Remember – a good instructor is always thinking. The drills here, like all lessons, can be further developed or changed slightly to match the level and development of the participants.

Make a Plan

It is highly recommended that you take notes while reading a drill of interest, then make a plan that you think will work. After you have made the plan it can be a good idea to read through the drill once again to see if you have covered the advice and it can work in your setting.

Safety

Who is responsible for safety? (yes.. it’s YOU)

We can all agree that we want to use parkour as a tool to grow and make our students understand risk. Often we then introduce some risk to make this happen BUT it is always your responsibility as coach to make the class safe (enough). This is difficult, and we can’t possibly try to include all the factors and tools there are to consider. Let’s just make it clear that coaching students is very different from training with friends and you must constantly be aware of what could go wrong and be ready to change the plan if you are not sure it’s safe. If in doubt, better to take it slow and then later introduce more risk when it seems possible. This sometimes means that the students will see you back out of a plan and it may seem like you are not the cool coach that knows it all – That’s totally OK! Let them understand you are also learning about coaching as your classes progress. They will respect and trust you more in the long run as a role model.

10 typical coaching mistakes (or the “10 point checklist” for each class.)

First – these are only mistakes when you do them the twice without learning from the first incident. With this mindset the list grow and with a positive take on it – a strong tool to improve your coaching skills.

1. You didn’t optimize your class-design through, so now students are waiting in line 5 times longer than being active. It’s not fair, and you risk that they start to fool around and miss learning points. Plan ahead and also be ready to change the content so students actually move and learn a lot in your class.
2. The students don’t get a fair share of your attention during class. Sometimes you realize that you have not given any feedback to one or more of the students… maybe you gave all your attention and energy to “the clown”, the obstructing student or maybe the ones you liked more. Try to avoid this next class.
3. You got kicked away from a training location and wasted 20 minutes to find a new suitable area. If you know the authority, ask permission first and also always have a back-up plan.
4. You try to communicate everything at once and it confuses the students – give only few and concrete points of feedback at a time. When it works – give the next tips to progress.
5. You place yourself in a corner to spot (safety) for a jump where you can’t see the rest of the class. Maybe you can change the plan or have students spot each other (if safe) so you are free to manage the whole class and give feedback to more people without stopping a line.
6. An injury happened. You were not prepared to handle it in the best way. Maybe you haven’t had a first aid course, didn’t bring a first aid kit. Also – you should have an emergency plan in your group.
7. You teach mainly content that you, yourself, prefer. You should teach a broad variety of all the parkour movements, themes and values.
8. You set a goal that is too high or low. Instead of “do 20 push-ups” you can scale and ask the students to do the hardest version they can do with good quality for 30 seconds – then all students actually do the same effort and feel you have given them appropriate attention.
9. You don’t teach falling safely (called “bailing” in parkour lingo) – this is a huge benefit for all practitioners. So study this field and include it in your plans.
10. You were late for class. you are in all regards a role model, and this is unacceptable. Plan ahead and aim to be at the location minimum 30 minutes early.
11. What are your own contributions to a good checklist? Continue to grow it always.

We hope these drills are useful at your practices, and we wish you all the success in the world as a Playmaker, as a coach, as someone who is helping others love not only parkour and sport, but also themselves and those around them.

Drills

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GAME Academy is a free, online, educational platform for Playmakers, other volunteers and all those who want to use street sports to empower young people. It was co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union as a part of the Youth-Led Street Sport For All project.

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