When the Coaching Gets Tough...


   Through parkour coaching we have encountered many different types of people. Some will learn much quicker than others, while some will put in more effort. A successful coach should encourage and motivate their students to want to better themselves in their parkour practice.  To be a good coach, you should be a good student. So learning how you can avoid the same issues yourself is super valuable. The first thing to mention is that every person has their own set of issues and motivations, whether conscious or unconscious, that they are dealing with. All too often a weak coach will blame a person's inability to take the time to learn the skill, instead of the coaches ability to relate to, and understand what their motivators are.


   Many things motivate people. Some want to be stronger for the sake of being stronger. Some may be passionate about the feeling they have when training parkour. Some may just want to get in shape. Identifying a person's motivator will help you understand what actions can be taken to move them towards their best parkour experience. A common motivator that some people have is they either consciously or unconsciously seek social acceptance. This can lead to them having a crippling fear of failure, which makes them more reluctant to try certain things. This could lead to the student not putting in effort in class because he/she is worried about looking foolish trying. What might help these students is reminding them that failure and looking a little silly is part of the process of learning. You aren't respected for rushing to learn a new move, or getting on the box. You are more popular for really trying your best.



   A common issue people have whether they know it or not is being paralyzed by fear. The first step in these situation is for the instructor to identify whether the fear is Justified or Irrational. A justified fear is when there is a genuine physical inadequacy, there are people who have never properly exercised, or who may have some sort of disability, which inhibits them from attempting the same physical motions as other people. In this scenario, the coach could break down the movements into bite sized chunks, that they can approach in a safe manner. You still want to challenge these students, but perhaps differently than you would everyone else. In the case of an irrational fear, where they have all of the required abilities, including adequate strength, flexibility, and proprioception, a different approach is required.  Different coaches may be suited to work with different types of people you may encounter. You may encounter a student who takes his time and is very slow and methodical in his approach to learning. While another student might be very reckless and you may need to find ways to calm him/her down or channel that reckless energy in some way.


   You will encounter many different types of people whether you are coaching or just in your everyday life. Focusing on you faults is important, but helping someone that may need it might potentially help yourself out in some way. Training to be good athlete requires you to be a good student. If you coach, it may not be the most important thing to get someone to make that jump, it may be more valuable for the student to just get through the class while paying attention. The better you can learn from your issues/motivations and the motivations of others the more effective of a student you will be. Think about the type of person you are and what motivates you.