Why So Serious?

If you asked the top 20 elite athletes in a conventional sport which factors lead to their success, how do you think they would answer?

Take the same question to the 20 most elite parkour athletes and how do you think they might answer?

Other than skill practice and repetition, I’m willing to bet that many of the parkour athletes would not mention things like planning, organisation, structure, or strength and conditioning at all.

As it stands (in my observation) the vast majority of the elite parkour athletes are at their current level and position largely due to two factors:

Firstly, they have found the best methods for advancing their particular skill-set, and have followed those methods exclusively. This includes athletes who are completely unconscious of what it is they are actually doing right, as well as those who have put a great deal of thought into their training. Either way it just works for them.

Secondly, the former is assisted by some inherited genetic and/or psychological advantage. These allow for advancement in performance and ability even in the absence of any sort of training plan. Some exceptional athletes even continue to improve despite taking a counter-productive approach, in spite of their adherence to a plan or method which would make other non-advantaged athletes worse.

Parkour athletes who bypass a more responsible¬†training approach often justify their lack of conscientiousness by stating to themselves that”my approach has got me this far”, ignoring that there may be several elements they have overlooked which could enhance their performance further. Or they do so through some sort of Peter Pan style platitude about living their life as a child. I’m not trying to discount fun here though, I’m advocating for a balance between the explorative and chaotic basis for training which characterises the popular approach to parkour, and a more structured and measured approach often found in conventional sports which will provide dramatic improvement to performance.

I care about providing resources and services which will enhance and improve the way athletes prepare and perform within the sport. We should not lose the reason we started in doing this sport, having fun and doing cool stuff. But if we want what we do to be respected by others, we have to actually respect it ourselves, and this means to be serious about it.

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