Exploring Coach Perceptions of Parkour-Style Training for Athlete Learning and Development in Team Sports

in Journal of Motor Learning and Development
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  • 1 Sport and Physical Activity Research Centre, Department of Sport and Physical Activity, Sheffield Hallam University, Collegiate Crescent, Sheffield, United Kingdom
  • | 2 Expert Performance and Skill Acquisition Research Group, Faculty of Sport, Allied Health, and Performance Science, St Mary’s University, Twickenham, United Kingdom
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Contemporary learning and development models have identified parkour-style training as a vehicle for athlete enrichment. However, perceptions of team-sport coaches and their receptiveness to such models of athlete enrichment have not been investigated and remain unclear. To explore how parkour-style training could be integrated into athlete development programs in team sports, we interviewed sport practitioners to explore their preexisting knowledge of parkour and their perceptions on its potential applications. Experienced talent development (n = 10) and strength and conditioning coaches (n = 10) were interviewed using an open-ended, semistructured approach with a two-stage thematic analysis being conducted to identify themes. Three dimensions were identified: coaches’ general perceptions of parkour, potential applications of parkour, and feasibility of integrating parkour into athlete development programs. Participant perceptions revealed that: (a) parkour activities were viewed as supplementary activities to enrich sport-specific training routines, including use of obstacle courses and/or tag elements; (b) parkour-style obstacle environments needed to be scalable to allow individual athletes and coaches to manipulate object orientation and tasks using soft play and traditional gym equipment; and (c) the implementation of continued professional development opportunities, athlete-centered approaches to learning designs in sport, and coach–parent forums were recommended to support the integration of parkour-style training.

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