On training the next generation of athletes

Andy: Now, ego aside, I’m not trying to be egotistical and this is sort of the whole mediocre coach, mediocre athlete part of it that I don’t think that I am a particularly good athlete at parkour. There are a lot of kids out there that are much, much better than I am, but I think I’m okay physically. But I was thinking about this metric of out of all of my students, can I actually think of anybody that has gone on and I’ve actually made them better than I am. I’m not talking about them. I’m talking about my ability as a coach, and therefore am I failing? Am I failing because therefore there’s going to be this dilution. Because if they then go on to be coaches and they do the same thing to their students and so on and so forth, are we going to be gradually losing what it means, what parkour is about?

Andy: I think I’ve lost stuff from just one generation. Learning from Dan, Forrest and Stefan, what they did when they translated it to me, there was already stuff lost. That’s one generation away, and I feel that it was kind of this idea of how can I teach my students to the maximum of my abilities so they’re not losing anything.

Craig: I think then the obvious question is when you did that internal taking attendance and looking at all of those people, have you found people that you think had the potential to surpass you? And then does that cause you to change your coaching like, what if I change this piece then I think this person can surpass me like that. So now you’ve got this perspective, how does that change your tool set?

Andy: I think that actually it’s all the stupid shit that I did. So essentially, I’ve learned from my mistakes. So over the time that I’ve been doing parkour, there was a lot of stuff that I would never do again, and there’s a lot of stuff that was just really, really stupid stuff, and therefore, I don’t give that to my students. However, by not giving it to my students because it’s stupid stuff, does that mean they are now losing what made me.

Craig: The lesson. Right.

Andy: Yeah. Exactly. It’s kind of like, well, how do I balance this? How do I now do my classes and not hurt my students? But on the flip side, they are starting to get more of the essence of what parkour is about because they are having to go through the hardships of doing stupid stuff. This is a tough question-

Craig: Do you have the answer?

Andy: No. That’s the thing, I don’t. Regularly, we would do, I remember, warmups were 1,000 squats. Warmups were like, okay, you could bust out 500 pistols. I wouldn’t get my students to do that. We’ll be there for hours on end, right?

Craig: That is the whole afternoon, right?

Andy: Yeah. But I have to ask myself, well, if they’re not doing that and they don’t have the mindset of, well, that fucking sucks.