American Parkour Forum

Parkour and Freerunning => Community and Club Leaders => Topic started by: Alec Furtado on September 29, 2011, 09:00:09 PM

Title: Establishing dominance?
Post by: Alec Furtado on September 29, 2011, 09:00:09 PM
The idea of whether establishing dominance is important or not seems more important for conducting smaller sessions with people you are just meeting, but nonetheless...

Did 2 sessions this week with people I haven't met until the session. In both instances, there were individuals who would just only do their own thing for the most part. It could just be the excitement, or they could have a screw loose.

I feel like I would have had better results if I established more dominance over their training before we started... "Don't do anything without asking me first. You don't follow my instruction, your training is done."

One kid today kinda took off and climbed on a part of the university he clearly shouldn't have and I'd have smacked him if I saw him doing it. Nonetheless, it got us kicked out of a really good training area (temporarily, hopefully).

A kid the other day up and tries a backflip off of a ledge once I turn my back while we were taking a rest, doesn't barely tucks and busts his knees on a sprinkler box cover. Obviously he felt pretty stupid after the fact but still, it's something that never should have happened. At least a heads up of "Hey, I'm going to try a backflip. It's been a while but I feel confident." would have been appreciated. I could have at least spotted if he was really adamant about it. He was doing sideflips/doublelegs just fine.

Anyway, as I've stated, my interpretation of what happened is that I wasn't in control of the situation, at least in their minds. The other guys did well but these two instances have irked me.

Title: Re: Establishing dominance?
Post by: Vagabond on September 29, 2011, 09:09:49 PM
IF they are there for you instruction, then there needs to be a mutal respect.  They must follow your routines, your drills, your techniques, so they can hopefully glean a fraction of your skill.

IF this was just a jam session, your only establishing dominance to be the alpha male.
Title: Re: Establishing dominance?
Post by: Alec Furtado on September 29, 2011, 10:20:15 PM
I'm sure we'd all agree on that.

This was definitely a training session.

Obviously measures can be taken when someone steps out of line. It'd be better though if that could be avoided all together. Does anybody make a conscious effort to "establish dominance" in some way, especially when dealing with a new group of people?
Title: Re: Establishing dominance?
Post by: Chad Zwadlo (Zwadloc) on September 29, 2011, 11:46:21 PM
I would try to not think of it as much as "establishing dominance," but rather as "earning their respect."  This is difficult with new people, but I've found that most people over the age of about 12 will react best to a powerful authority figure who is not commanding.  Instead of saying things like, "You MUST do what I say!" or "Get over here NOW!"  It's best to use the exact same volume and tone of voice but say something like, "ALRIGHT! Time to get started, let's GO!  WOOT!!"  Being loud and obnoxious but obviously having fun while doing it will put you in charge but also keep thing more lighthearted. 

Also try to not focus on the negatives of, "don't do things without me saying" and that sort of thing.  Instead just tell them what they are supposed to do right off the bat.  Having people form a shoulder to shoulder line right at the beginning of a training session and leading a basic warm-up/stretch will immediately put you in the position of telling them what they are doing. 

However, some kids (teenagers especially) will always try to test the boundaries by doing things like the back flip during the break.  When this happens it's important to be strict right away.  If they start to feel like they can get away with stuff like that, it will get out of hand.  Just make sure you emphasize that there are safety/legal reasons for the rules.  Possibly even go over a few common safety and legal issues when you have them standing in the line stretching out.  This will also let them know that you know what you are talking about and have done this before, thus earning more respect points at the beginning for you.
Title: Re: Establishing dominance?
Post by: Julian Vazquez on April 18, 2012, 06:49:42 AM
I've always managed to establish a leadership role through display of skill. People will listen to what you have to say if they look up to you and respect you, but at the same time, you have to give that respect back. I dont really even do it on purpose sometimes; at a jam or any other event, I'll simply move in my own way, and people will come and ask me for help, and I move around, they tend to gravitate towards me. A dominant role should be something that comes naturally.
Title: Re: Establishing dominance?
Post by: Nick Fernandez on April 18, 2012, 05:19:11 PM
I think Chad was spot on with his advice. Personally, being 14 and having experiences with coaches at a gym, I can relate pretty well.

Taking command of other people is kind of a buzzkill, especially when you're almost directly contradicting that concept everyone loves about parkour, which is having the freedom to do what you want and how you want. I understand that since they're younger than you they may not understand a lot of the consequences resulting from doing stupid things, but I just hate it when someone says "I'm in charge, this is how you do X or we won't help you." I think the best teacher or mentor is one who knows how to keep things under control and still teach people, but allow themselves to learn from others too. You probably know what I mean. Don't keep your relationship completely formal with them

And everything else Chad said too. The only time you'll ever need to actually take charge is when someone gets out of hand. That's when you're in a situation where if you don't intervene, someone could get seriously hurt or in trouble.

And of course, right when I finish typing this I realize it's from 2011. DERP