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What makes a good parkour spot?

Parkour training has always taken place in various surroundings, mostly in structures that are characteristic to urban spaces but also in parks, even in the woods. The best places are easily accessible, firm and have interesting structures that promote creative movement..

Parkour training has always taken place in various surroundings, mostly in structures that are characteristic to urban spaces but also in parks, even in the woods. The best places are easily accessible, firm and have interesting structures that promote creative movement.

Traceurs call their training places spots. Good spots are well known and recognised among the practitioners and they are often named according to the location, qualities, structures, buildings or companies nearby the spot. In parkour training it's typical to wander around and explore the surroundings in hopes of finding a good spot. It's also typical that traceurs gather in a familiar spot for certain structures or to train a certain skill. With creative thinking even an old spot can offer new possibilities session after session.  A good old spot is also a good way to measure your performance level. Old challenges can be tested every time you come back to the spot.

A perfect training spot has many special features like easy access, which means two things. First of all you can train there without disturbance. Secondly the spot is not too far away from the places people use in their everyday life or you can easily get there by public transport. On the other hand a traffic through the spot makes training harder no matter how good the spot is structurally. The structures of the spot must be strong and durable. If a railing collapses when you land on it, you could get injured and/or fined for breaking someone’s property. It's good to have a lot of various structures in small area. Wandering while training is fun occasionally, but usually it's better if you're not forced to move too far just to find a certain shape or structure .

Urban spots are sometimes monotonous with only one or two types of structures repeating itself. Thus you have to choose beforehand, what kind of sport specific training you want to do and then find a matching spot. You also might have to choose the training partners according to the spot, if the spot doesn't offer enough scale of difficulty for different skill levels. In parkour it's essential to combine movements to create many kind of runs and lines. In order to do that it’s good to have obstacles rather close to each other instead of having to run a long way just to combine a movement to another.

A good spot also offers some unique and unexpected structures. A good spot surprises you even after a long time often thanks to versatility and small details, that wake your interest again and again or that you just haven't noticed before. Unexpected structures challenge you to creative thinking and problem solving.

dash parkour outdoor sport equipment

Why build parkour areas?

Well designed parkour specific environment can put together all the good qualities of a perfect parkour spot and add some extra factors as well. One of these factors is safety. Good parkour area is designed according to the safety standard. Material choices and equipment placing can highly promote the overall safety compared to street spots, while maintaining challenges that are essential to the sport.

Built parkour parks are placed away from distractions such as traffic or playgrounds filled with surprising elements that could lead to injuries while people train in the park. It's also socially more acceptable to train in a parkour park versus street spots: you can jump, trick and fool around without disturbing others and possibly feeling stupid.

In it's best a parkour area gives beginners an easy access to the sport and lures people intuitively create parkour-like movement. Inclined surfaces and differences in heights and distances make the basic training easier while diversity and variation keep up the interest and make experienced traceurs test their limits. Well designed areas are also not only suitable but really good for teaching the sport thanks to high safety and different degrees of difficulty inside just one park.

A big part of parkour phenomenon has always been the visual culture of photos and videos. The visuality of a parkour park can support this visual culture at it’s best. Good, exciting, original enough, street like looks can and will inspire practitioners visually.

A good parkour area like this can help different age and skill levels learn, meet and learn from each other and even create a community that foster the same idea of creative, lifelong moving.

 

Jaakko Junttila
Jaakko Junttila
The head designer of Parkour Academy is responsible for the design and equipment of the 7 gyms of Parkour Academy in Finland.

www.parkourakatemia.fi