Sometimes I get the feeling that I can get little over obsessed with seeking big challenges. Whenever I’m wandering around I scan the environment constantly for stuff to play and jump around on. The problem comes when searching too hard for impressive obstacles and areas; when that happens I get tunnel vision for big jumps, walls, or elaborate obstacle combos and miss all kinds of opportunities. If you’re looking only for the big stuff then it’s easy to walk right by the smaller, less obvious, obstacles. Why does that matter? You can only safely practice the huge things for a brief time. As an example, I found the famous IMAX gap in London last week and looking at that drop just three jumps is plenty for a day of practice there.
On the other hand more manageable obstacles can keep you glued to the spot, unable to stop yourself from experimenting with them for hours. Plus, sometimes smaller obstacles also have more difficult challenges; especially ones that require more precision and control. Often times these small obstacles are everywhere. Perfect example? Parking stops, or whatever they are called. I ran across a great set of them around Lausanne, Switzerland and spent easily close to an hour trying different things on them, then I came back a second time and made a proper video out of some of it. Have a look:
I’m certain that there is way more stuff you can come up with that I didn’t show in the video. I certainly have a couple of new ideas already for the next time I find more parking stops. The best thing about them is they are so small and low to the ground that you can try virtually anything without worrying about getting hurt; so go crazy and experiment with what you can do. Also, something to keep in mind: different opportunities will present themselves when the parking stops have different widths, spacing, and even other obstacles nearby (for precision jumps particularly). Bonus: if you’re bored while waiting for someone there are usually some of these around to keep yourself entertained. Sure beats staring at your phone. ;)
Think you’ve exhausted the options? Get a friend or two involved and play some games with them. When I was training in Ohio with some of the NCParkour guys we must have spent at least an hour using a cooperative variation of the “floor is lava” game with a set of them near our hotel.
Now, enough of my rambling. Next time you find some parking stops take a minute (or thirty) and play.
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