20 tips I wish I knew before starting freerunning!

Before I started training I wasn’t a athlete at all. I remember days spent at home doing nothing, but playing video games and eating chips. Although I tried other sports in the past ( my mother put me in literally everything ) nothing seemed to stick. I say this because maybe you come from a similar background or maybe you are already a athlete, but your still new to the sport and looking for advice early on that can say you time later. If this is you, you are in luck. Here’s a list of 20 tips I wish I could tell my younger self before I started training.

 

1. Train at your pace. It will come.

When watching your favorite videos of athletes doing the moves you aspire to achieve will cause you to become impatience with yourself. Don’t rush your progression and you’ll safe yourself from injury, frustration, and lack of motivation.

2. Don’t hold yourself back despite what others may say.

This is a big one. I remember seeing certain jumps that my peers would say was impossible and it couldn’t be done. At that time I allowed myself to believe what they said to be true even though I truly thought I could do it. Years later after conquering a lot of those jumps I should have never held myself back. Prove the naysayers wrong.

3. Encourage others progression, remove the jealously.

People progress at different speeds. Just because someone maybe getting ‘better’ than you doesn’t mean you should become envious of them. Encourage them to keep moving forward even if you have to stand back and wait until your ready. You’ll progress much faster from behind than you would ahead of the pack.

4. Use every opportunity to better yourself.

There’s many times we find ourselves at home not doing anything. Use those moments to better yourself! Even if you can’t go out and train you can still workout, drill basics inside, and find creative ways to work on your progression. Utilize those dull moments in life.

5. Spend less time watching YouTube videos and go train.

YouTube is designed to keep users circling through the same videos all day. It’s easy to sit and wish we could be as great as the people we watch on YouTube, but it’s something else to go outside and take action. Drop the laptop, shut down the computer, and go outside and train!

6. Just because it’s hard doesn’t mean it’s impossible for you.

As humans it’s natural to move in the opposite of opposition. We see something difficult. We steer away from it in hopes of a easier path to travel. However when training we must move toward challenge with openness and enthusiasm.

7. Use prerequisites to your advantage.

If  you are too afraid to do something utilize prerequisites and simpler, safer movements that’ll transition into hard techniques later. There’s nothing wrong with using this tip, it’ll safe time and frustration later.

8. Work on your flexibility and mobility.

This is something that I wouldn’t say I neglected, but more that I was unaware of it’s importance. Loosening your muscles and retaining nimbleness in our bodies is so important in training. It keeps our bodies injury free from muscle tears, alleviates soreness, and allows us to express or movements with more dynamic range of motion.

9. Calisthenics, calisthenics, calisthenics.

I love lifting weights, but don’t neglected workouts simply using your body. Calisthenics are a excellent tool that can be used to excel your upper body strength. This in turn will help you control your handstands, climb-ups, and kongs in the long run.

10. Condition your lower body frequently.

When I first started training I never conditioned my lower body. I figured parkour will do that job for me. In part this is true, however after years of training your body will need more strength outside of parkour to keep up with the performance needed to excel further in training. Simple body weight workouts is great, but if I could go back I’d get under the barbell soon and start squatting.

11. Learn when to rest when your injured.

In my quest to become a great athlete I often picked up minor injuries along the way. My first reaction was to push through the pain and eventually the body will heal up and I can train without resting. This is false and I regret every moment I ever trained in pain causing my injuries to last 2x longer than need. Take a chill pill when injured and stay off those injuries.

12. You always have a spot… Open your eyes.

I grew up in Nebraska, USA. If you don’t know it’s very flat and filled with lots of open fields and not many training spots… Or so I thought. It’s easy to say you don’t have the most ideal training spots compared to others, but if you take some serious time to look for locations to train you’ll ALWAYS find something. Don’t let your area become an excuse.

13. You don’t always need a gym. Be creative.

There are so many ways to get flips without a gymnastic gym. I remember the days of using my couch cushions, shoveling piles of snow, racking in leaves, finding old mattresses, using whatever I could to soften my landings when training flips. Again you got to be creative and find new ways to train your harder skills, remain safe, with finding and spending money at a gym.

14. Always be willing to teach others.

Freerunning/Parkour is cool so naturally kids, even adults will be interested in learning more about what you do. Not only is this a good way to spread the word, but also you can teach people how to start. Show them the basics, actually take time to make learning parkour enjoyable for them. That’s how you slowly build a community of traceurs in your area.

15. When you are too afraid to do something. Learn to let it go and walk away.

Fear will always be at the edge of that next level of progression. Sometimes we tackle those challenges and continue moving forward. Other times, it hold us back and tell us it’s not yet time. Learn to recognize these moments and calmly walk away. That jump will always be there and you shouldn’t stress out over it. Instead train something that’s maybe easier, but can transfer over to that movement and give you more confidence next time.

16. Be open to trying competitions.

If you happen to come across a freerunning competition jump at that opportunity to compete. I use to be so nervous at the thought of competing. Just take note that it’s always positive to push yourself in that environment and see how you stack up to others, but do this only to address your weaknesses and strengthen them. This is not a opportunity to gloat and praise yourself at anothers expense. Stay modest if you win and if you don’t work out the faults in your game and move forward.

17. Don’t expect other people to want to train as hard as you.

When I first started training I was alone a lot of the time. Somehow I developed a way to keep myself moving for hours at a time with hardly any rest breaks  in between. When I moved closer to a community I expected everyone to be on the same level as me and that is not often the case. This is a very rare tip, but it still applies to a few of you guys ad gals out there. You can’t possibly hold anyone up to the same standard you would hold yourself to. When other people want to call it a day don’t get frustrated… Wish them well and keep going.

18. Don’t think of novice movements as easy and pointless, think of them as fundamentals.

Beginner stuff is so important and I frequently go back to the basics. Years ago I would never do this, but as I got older a wiser I realized having a solid foundation is what propels you into bigger jumps, harder flips, etc… Always refresh yourself on the fundamentals whenever possible.

19. Think logical. Eliminate excuses.

Whenever I’d find myself facing a fear I found a trick that helps me calm my nerves. Pinpoint what it is your scarred of happening. After that, logically think out a systematic approach to avoiding that ‘worse case’ scenario. After doing this a few times I notice my nerves slowly leaving my body and I could safely do the jump without distraction and with full confidence.

20. Have fun always.

Pretty cheesy and cliche I know, but its true. Study show that when your happy and having fun you put your body in a more receptive state for learning. In short you learn quicker and retain that information longer. Remember if training isn’t fun then why did you start in the first place? Exactly.

 

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