Dan Timms describes his journey with injury and recovery, and how it helped to shape his thoughts about sustainability. He discusses training methods, the forces involved in parkour, and his approach to coaching. Dan unpacks Parkour UK, what it is, what it does, and his involvement with it, before sharing his insight on designing parkour parks.
Sustainability, injury, and recovery
Serious injury led to his interest in sustainability, he broke his leg (femur). Forced a focus on recovery, reflection on training practices. Led to learning more about strength training to help his recovery. First broken bone ever, first hospital experience, no cast. He was immediately ready to return to parkour. Worst injury/recovery moment was 2nd shoulder surgery, NO movement for 6 weeks. Basically had to start training over from scratch.
Training methodologies, strength, and mobility
Decide on goals, look for people who are good at that and find out what they’re doing. Find or get a good strength and conditioning program. No magic bullet, consistency is the key. Importance of mobility, how to train it. Stretching vs loading muscles, strength and control makes it much more effective and longer lasting. Lactic tolerance and cardiovascular health.
Physics of drops
Participated in testing of strength training and jumps, learning about his strength vs power. Drops create a LOT of force, much of which is unaccounted for (we don’t know where it goes). Need more studies on bone density and tissue on long-time parkour practitioners.
Nuances of relationships – getting to know you students well enough to know where they’re at physically and mentally, but don’t get too close that they won’t listen when you challenge and push them. Can’t fake caring for your students. Constantly reflecting on his own coaching, running coaching courses is a great opportunity for that. Getting and giving feedback from other coaches.
Prefers interpersonal connection, actually asking questions and discussing things with knowledgable people. Book recommendation: Triphasic Training , by Cal Dietz. Video recommendation: The Monkey is Back , by Stephane Vigrioux, captures the spirit of the discipline
What does a national governing body actually do? Interface between community and government, mouthpiece for collective mission of parkour practitioners in the UK. While on the board, helped achieve recognition of parkour as a sport in the UK, update coaching assessments. Currently working on Parkour Earth, dealing with FIG. Anyone change Parkour UK by getting involved, becoming a member, speaking up, creating the change.
Designing parkour parks
Design standards, limitations in space… Speaking with the local community to see what is important to them. Creating versatile movement opportunities, better parkour vision helps with designing, seeing possibilities. Knowing your audience impacts your design. Design resources: internal catalogue of spots and challenges, Danish design, American gym features
two stories, both about applying training, being useful – story 1: chasing a phone thief, uphill sprinting to catch him – story 2: Visiting Copper Canyons in Mexico (inspired by Born to Run , by Chris McDougall), local kids playing on boulders at waterfall, brought kid back from precarious edge of the waterfall
Craig: Of course, the final question, three words to describe your practice.
Dan: Get fucking strong.