Welcome to Rising Traceuse A global resource for parkour athletes
Welcome to Rising Traceuse A global resource for parkour athletes

Training Parkour When You're Just Not Feeling It

Every traceuse has her bad days. You know the kind I'm talking about. Those days when even the simplest movements are twice as hard, and that precision jump you had the other day is just not going to happen. Those days when you have an epic mind-block that keeps you from trying any of your bigger challenges.

Yeah, those days suck.

I had one not too long ago. I couldn't do a straight climb-up. I couldn't come close to a lache-to-cat that I had done before. My mind wouldn't let me commit to a precision I had done 20 times before. I was even afraid to try a backflip... into a foam pit. Needless to say, my crappy performance really took a chunk out of my self-esteem for the day.

Sometimes, bad days are triggered when you start your training in a bad mood. Other times, they begin the moment you mess up that cat leap you were sure you had. Sometimes they don't seem to have any logical cause whatsoever. So, could the root of these poor parkour performance days be psychological?
Photo by Anya Chibis

As it turns out, it could. There have been countless studies linking psychological factors with performance. In fact, there is an entire field of study within psychology known as Sports Psychology that studies the effects of mental states on athletic performance and similar topics. From motivation and concentration to anxiety and fear, there are countless psychological factors that can push you forward or set you back during training. Although the exact cause of your crappy day may not always be clear, knowing that you're not simply "losing it" can go a long way in helping you conquer your own mental state. In the meantime, there are a few things you can do to remedy and prevent these types of situations.

1. Train With Friends

Training alone has its benefits, but nothing can get you out of a slump like some good company. Group training creates a positive atmosphere, and it makes forgetting about your individual insecurities a lot easier. A little push from a training buddy may be all you need to get back in the game.

2. Don't Beat Yourself Up About It

I made the mistake of getting frustrated about my crappy day, and it just made everything worse. Stay positive, and remind yourself that you're just having a bad day. Accept it, and move on.

3. Eat Well and Stay Hydrated

Needless to say, not all factors that drain your parkour performance are up in your head. According to Human Kinetics, if you are dehydrated by as little as 2 percent of your bodyweight, your athletic performance is already impaired, and 5 percent dehydration cuts down your performance by 30 percent (!) Bring water to every training session, for the love of God. Also, don't ignore the common knowledge of eating well before parkour training. Just make sure to eat one hour or more beforehand as this will ensure that your blood flows to your muscles for greater performance rather than to your stomach for digestion.

4. Keep Training

Don't go home just because you're not feeling it today. Train something, no matter how small. Work on the precision part of your precision jumps, see how long you can hold a cat hang, or drill all of your vaults on a shorter wall. Remember that even on your worst days, there is no such thing as a wasted training session.

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