No matter how much you like something, it can be hard to stay interested all the time. If you have done Parkour for years, you might reach a point where you feel like you are just going through the motions. You will feel like you are not improving, and just doing the same thing every day.
It is vital that you change up your routine on a regular basis to keep things fresh. Not only does this reinvigorate your mind, it also improves your skills. But unless you are attending jams on a regular basis, it can be hard to change things up in a meaningful way. This is where challenges come into play.
By creating a set of specific challenges for yourself, you will become motivated to push your skills to the limit.
There are a lot of ways you can do this. You can focus on one area of the game intensively, or you can take a broader approach. Challenges come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but the end goal is always the same. You want to improve your skills and keep your mind interested.
This article will give you three suggestions for individual challenges to improve your skills. We will also give you some tips on how to make your own. Let’s dive in.
1. Switch Sides For a Whole DayEvery person has a dominant side of their body they rely on. This is true for everything in your life, not just Parkour. In the same way you write with your dominant hand, you also use your dominant limbs in Parkour.
If you train like this for too long, you are going to become one-dimensional. Parkour is a sport that requires you to move in all directions. This means you need to be proficient with all of your limbs in every situation.
At least once a month, challenge yourself to train with your non-dominant side for the entire day. You are going to need to study yourself a bit first. Just because you write with your right-hand does not mean you use your right side in Parkour all the time. You are going to have a favorite leg for jumps, precisions, and cats, and you will have a dominant hand for vaults and climbing.
You need to understand what parts of your body you use predominantly and switch it up. Challenge yourself to do this for an entire day. Once you successfully complete the challenge, do it several times a month.
The idea of this challenge is to eventually work this into your regular routine. You want to be able to use both sides of your body equally.
2. Learn to do Rail PrecisionsWe’ve all seen the pros do them, but they look scary as hell to most amateurs. Doing precisions on a rail requires perfect technique and timing. Failing often leads to injury, which is why most rookies avoid them. However, there is a way to train these techniques in a safe environment.
Go to a parking lot, and use the lines on the pavement as makeshift rails. Position your body, and feet, so that it mimics how you would stand on the rail. Practice jumping from one end of the line to the other.
Once you have mastered that, try doing the same thing on the concrete parking blocks that surround the edge of the lot. Keep practicing this technique on rail-like objects, slowly getting higher and higher as you go.
Eventually, you will be doing precisions on rails without even noticing it.
This video from Brett Mitchell shows the techniques mentioned above, and additional training information.
3. Spend a Day on LandingsNo matter how good you get, you need to practice your landings all the time. Your body takes a lot of impact in Parkour, and you need to minimize it as much as possible. If you want to continue this sport when you are older, start doing this on a regular basis.
This challenge is about focusing on one tiny detail at a time. It is about intensity and mental focus. Don’t practice all of your landings throughout the day. Choose one type of landing and drill it over and over. Don’t stop, just keep doing it. Practice this for an hour straight, then move on to another type of landing.
You might only get through one or two kinds of landings, but your skills will be through the roof by the end. Challenge yourself like this on a regular basis.
Other athletes do this too. Kickboxers in Europe are well known to practice the most basic punches and kicks repeatedly – for hours. It might seem boring, but the benefits are immense.
Practicing the simple details is always a must, but obsessing over them is better. Obsess over your landings for a day, and watch your game grow.
Make Your OwnThe three challenges above are meant to be a starting point. You need to learn how to challenge yourself without the aid of anyone else.
Success with challenges begins and ends with your mind. You are going to need discipline and commitment to get the job done.
There are two good ways to build a challenge: pick a specific skill you want to learn, or a fundamental principle of Parkour. The idea is that you spent an entire day training in this way.
It should not be like a normal run. Your challenges should be specific and uber focused. This is about mastering techniques, not making flashy YouTube videos.
At the end of the day, those who train in this way achieve greatness. The people who do not have the patience to focus intently on specific skills do not go far. They wind up with a mediocre game that is good for a laugh and not much else. Don't be like that.
Here is one final challenge: commit to completing a personal challenge once a week. Start with the three above, and then make your own. Do this for a year and you will be amazed at the results.