Monday, October 11, 2010

Parkour - Breaking in new jumps

(Not a "new jump", just one I like. Taken at "Planet Fitness", Wits)

You know how it is, you've watched a video or saw a picture of someone trying out "this amazing jump" that you just HAVE to try yourself. You get there, do the jump, and either A) feel amazing and walk away, or B) wonder what all the fuss was about and say "It wasn't THAT difficult".

But what you probably haven't considered, is what it took for that first person to break in the new jump. Now I'm not talking about "inventing" a new movement or "trick", and I'm also not taking ANYTHING away from nailing a jump that someone else might have already done. No, not at all! Those all carry their own feelings of elation and accomplishment. I'm also not referring to the "easy" jumps that you know very well you can do or which don't involve any risks if you fail.

What I mean is when you find a new jump that nobody else has yet done, or that you are aware of. One that perhaps puts a lump in your throat, a slight hesitation in your step, and sets your heart racing.... then, for some reason, you go for it!

I've been fortunate to have opened up a few jumps over the years and I can say how much more of a rush I get with those than by simply copying someone else's. Regardless of how tough they might have been. For me it's the build up, execution, and if all goes well, the celebration when landing the new jump which I absolutely love.

What makes me go for it? Well, there are a few physical things I like to do in the lead up just before the "YES!" moment on any jump, and many of these happen quite quickly and naturally the more jumps you do.
  • Guess/Check the distance, if possible
  • Check the landing surface, if possible (is it stable, slippery, how will you land)
  • Check the run-up (stable surface, any cross winds, slippery stones/gravel/water)
  • Check shoes (the soles for grip, laces tucked away, the right shoes for this jump)
  • Check injuries, if any (fatigued muscles, recovering sprains/breaks)
  • Acknowledge main risks, and work on minimising them in a worst case scenario
Then it's time to focus and cut out the distractions. Sounds, people, doubts, cameras ... and any others your senses might pick up.

Now that your mind is a bit quieter, ask yourself why you want to do this jump. Especially if there are risks involved. (I'll discuss this in detail in another blog topic one day)

All these lead up towards building my confidence. Which is where the next phase kicks in, and in many ways, the most important one when going for that new jump.

Next, I need to believe I can do it and remove the final excuses. This can come from a number of various methods and usually involves some form of visualisation. Something which I've recently been working on a bit more with a friend who's in Sports Psychology. Simply getting friends to count, "3,2,1, go!" is not my idea of good preparation for a jump which involves potentially very hazardous risks.

Now, you're at a point where you trust your gear, worked through the obstacles, believe in yourself, and ready to go .... but you've not gone yet. There's one final point.

For me, it's the "YES!" moment. The point-of-no-return, the one which tips the scales and where there are no more mental or physical obstacles leading up to it. The one word you'll hear me say under my breath as I take that first step mere moments after answering a few questions... 

Can I do this? Will I land it? Will it be my best effort?


1 comment:

DeVille said...

First off, Epic blog DC! secondly, it's great to see someone discuss the mental and physical preparation that goes into doing a new jump. Great insights and solid advice. I also believe in visualizing and letting your mind move through the obstacle before you engage your body to do the same. It leaves me feeling overall more prepared for that YES moment.