The world of parkour is a great, wide one. Many of us have been in the position where we’re the only people that train in an area, or we’ve lived in an area where the groups that do train are wildly disorganized. In these environments, something that’s important is having a solid government; whether that’s a group, a club, a gym, or a single leader to help organize and rally the troops. In this article, we’ll cover what we believe to be the most important qualities that a parkour community leader must have in order to be successful.
Outspoken and Well Spoken
As with any leader, it’s very important to be able to communicate clearly and effectively to a wide audience. This includes being accepting of all people regardless of age, color, orientation, gender, skill level, and anything in between. A good leader can communicate across all platforms with all kinds of people and in doing so, maintains the group by being personable and engaging.
Sell Parkour and Themselves
A good parkour community leader can sell parkour and get their audience hyped about training, be it with the community, in classes, or by themselves. They also need to be able to effectively advertise and organize events, because otherwise the community gets stale and uninterested in meeting. Leaders also try to expand their community, be it through event planning, travelling, or performing. Parkour opens tons of doors, and leading our communities through those doors will absolutely create lifelong athletes and give everybody the opportunity to grow.
Demonstrate Movement Knowledge and Wisdom
Ryan Ford, co-founder of Apex Movement and Parkour EDU, brings up an interesting point regarding movement knowledge versus movement wisdom; “...Movement Knowledge vs. Movement Wisdom, an analogy I use to describe a common training problem I see. All that physical preparation (movement knowledge) is of little use unless it can be skillfully applied to a sport-specific or real world scenario (movement wisdom).” Be it by coaching or example, a community leader should know the ins and outs of parkour. Being an athlete is important, but not as important as knowing how to identify problems in a person’s physical or mental approach to parkour movements. An effective leader can sort through the imperfections in movements and help their communities continue to progress through their training.
Show Respect For Authority
Be it your students’ parents or a police officer, a good leader promotes healthy relationships with authoritative figures. This includes talking to parents after class and giving feedback for them to know what their child needs to work on, respectfully approaching security and police and promoting a healthy image of parkour. If leaders present themselves negatively to figures of authority, it’s a backpedal for the worldwide community. We don’t want parkour to follow in the shoes of “Skate and destroy”, so we need to keep parkour pure in the eyes of the public.
Organized and Reliable
People need structure to feel comfortable. So having regularly scheduled meetups, and replying to emails/voicemails quickly is important for a community's growth. People have to know that their leader is going to follow through on their word, and be on time about it. This seems obvious when stated, but this is one of the most lacking areas for many communities.
These are not all of the qualities a good community leader needs, but these are some of the ones that we believe are essential. While all of these qualities can be found in one person, it is quite rare, and so often a better approach is a group, or team of leaders that can be the necessary change.