Author Topic: Lessons Learned from Our Comp  (Read 2774 times)

Offline Ryan Ford

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Lessons Learned from Our Comp
« on: August 16, 2011, 12:08:45 PM »
Here are some things I was really happy with and some things I wasn't. If you were also there, feel free to contribute!

What I Liked

- I thought the courses were very dynamic and fun to watch.
- The night before, we had very few female competitors, and some of them were quite new to parkour. This brought up the concern about whether or not to let some of them compete due to it potentially being dangerous. We decided that this was our chance to make a statement that if we want to support more women getting into parkour, we need to give them the same opportunities to succeed. Most of the female competitors had to be talked into it enough already and it would further set them back if we treated them differently or simply said they weren't good enough to compete. So what we did was set up alternate routes at some of the difficult parts of the courses. These routes would be safer but slower. All the courses were actually designed so that anyone could finish but at the detriment of their overall time. We also decided to set the men and women's prizes the exact same to further encourage more women to get into it. I was happy with how it worked because we actually had more female competitors in the finals than expected and they all seemed to think it was a positive experience overall.
- We had the idea to project live updated results, points, and times on a projector so everyone always had a good idea of what the standings were.
- Prizes. We raised prize money and goodies through our sponsors, qualifier/open gym fees, and a Vivo Barefoot auction. If we want competitions to become more legit and widespread, there should be incentives for the "pros" to dedicate the time into training. Whether you like the idea or not, to do this as a professional, to progress the discipline to new limits, there needs to be a way for the "pros" to support themselves.
- Points system as opposed to total time sum. We decided to go with the points system (100 points to 1st place and slightly less for each place thereafter) because we wanted all the courses to be weighted the same. The Parkour Visions courses added total time so that technically, a longer course was weighted more than a shorter one. This is essentially saying that a particular course is more important than others which is going to favor whichever athlete does best on that one course. We designed 3 courses to represent an all out 100m sprint (top time was 13 sec.), an all out 200m sprint (top time was 21.4 sec.), and an all out 400m sprint (top time was 70 sec.). Obviously we didn't hit the nail exactly on the head, but we still did well on making it so the top athletes would have to show skill across long, medium, and short courses. It was our opinion that a great traceur should be able to excel on all these courses, like a decathlete has to excel across such a wide range of events. I feel that most practitioners have a bias toward short bursts of power and that they rarely train anything longer than 5-10 sec. of movement. It is my hope that through these speed comps, we can fix that, because in a real life parkour situation, you would most likely surpass that amount of time.
- Everyone was super supportive and encouraging of each other. No bad blood in these comps despite some people's fears!

What I Didn't Like

- The only main thing that didn't go well was that the comp went for way to long. Next time, I would cut the finals competitor field down by 25% or so. I would also enlist more volunteers to help us get through runs faster and help us build the next courses faster. It is important to either have the timers with an order list or somebody else queuing up the next runner so that there isn't downtime waiting for people to get ready when they are up. It also helps to have a time runner who will relay the time to the score keeper. I would also consider designing it so 2 courses could be running at the same time.
- We had an open gym running at the same time so people could train and watch at the same time. I would also announce a pot luck/bbq for the next one so people could "tailgate" as well. This would help these events become even more fun, social, and likely to be repeated.