Parkour has huge benefits for any practitioner and every individual will have different experiences on how Parkour has benefited them. But, there are some very important benefits that we see in our students all the time and we would like to share them with you…
Every student that enters our academy has a different confidence level. Some are hugely over-confident and others are thrown outside their comfort zone. However, Parkour very quickly levels confidence out and we see kids on both ends of the spectrum forming a quiet confidence that can only come from understanding one’s abilities.
The less confident kids are often able to achieve much more than they expect, encouraging them to explore their boundaries and grow in confidence with every lesson.
The over-confident kids tend to quickly be faced with difficulty that they weren’t expecting, especially with movements that can be a little scary to do the first time.
Confidence is the key to progressing and the kids in our Parkour classes don’t take long to find their confidence and use it to do things they didn’t think were possible not so long before.
Just like confidence, we see kids who are both hyper risk-aware and some that are almost oblivious to any and all risk! Being at either end of this spectrum isn’t good for the aspiring Parkour practitioner as they will either shy away from trying something new, preventing them from making progress, or throw themselves at something far above their ability, leading in the best case to demotivation, or in the worst case to injury.
Parkour by its nature is about confronting risk, understanding it and then assessing it based on both your abilities and your confidence to attempt the movement. Our students are supported extensively with this early in their training by their coaches, but it’s not long before coaches are able to trust students to make their own informed choices in their movement.
Once this understanding is established, the students in our classes soon learn the benefits of taking calculated risks: an understanding which can prove valuable to them both within and outside of a Parkour class.
Under the surface of the big jumps and acrobatics, Parkour has a strong set of values that have been instilled in the practice by its founders; values which, as we have observed again and again, seem to be absorbed by almost every practitioner. Here are a few examples:
Humility – While practitioners should be encouraged to find confidence in their abilities, a level of humility is vital. Ego can drive a practitioner to push too far past their limits to show off, but this can be dangerous if they are not ready for the movement they are attempting. As a result, Parkour practitioners often have to question their ego to ensure that their motivations to attempt a new movement come from a place of confidence and not over-confidence.
Camaraderie – When trying to perform a new movement, it can leave a practitioner emotionally exposed. If you’re scared, you can’t hide it; if you’re frustrated, you can’t hide it; if you’re super excited to complete a move, you can’t hide it either! Because of this, kids that train together usually bond closely and can be very supportive of one another.
Respect – Partly due to the vulnerability practitioners experience in Parkour, and partly because in Parkour we turn our environment into our playground, practitioners show a strong respect for others and also for the environments that they train in. Although many of our students do not train outside, it’s never too early to learn the importance of preserving and looking after the places we train, not damaging or littering them.
There are many more important values within Parkour but these are the three we see develop most quickly within our students. Look out for more on this in a future blog!
Knowledge of their Abilities:
As Parkour uses the body in such a wide variety of ways, from pushing, pulling, jumping, flipping and spinning, practitioners learn a huge amount about their bodies and what they are capable of. We hear stories from our students all the time of how this has carried over to other sporting activities and pursuits.
On top of this, Parkour tends to expand one’s idea of what they are capable of. Jumping from a wall to a rail, or running up one of our warped walls can seem impossible to begin with, but over time it becomes possible, and then achieved. This carries over beyond their physical abilities too: If all of these movements are possible, why not other goals in life too? Seeing this process happen within our students is one of the most rewarding parts of the job.
Functional Strength and Fitness:
This is perhaps one of the most obvious benefits on this list, but Parkour offers more in this area than most other sports, so it needs a mention! Where in other sports, a lot of time is spent cultivating very specialised skills, like kicking a ball or swinging a racket, Parkour has a hugely diverse range of movements that require the body to build strength and mobility in order to improve and practice safely.
Our bodies are hugely complex, and therefore more complex, full-body movements are required to build a strong and mobile body that is ready for any task you throw at it, not just specialised, isolated movements. Parkour practitioners need to climb up walls unassisted, jump large distances, swing from bars and walls and land from great heights with precision and control. With a balanced approach, Parkour will build a strong foundation that will benefit your child for their entire life.
As we touched on at the beginning of this post, there are loads more reasons for your kids to practise Parkour, but these are some of the most fundamental benefits. If your child is a student with us and you have seen benefits outside of this list, we would love to hear about it!. Send us an email to [email protected] with your story.