Whitehorse Daily Star

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NEWLY CREDENTIALED – Jon Amos, left, and Ewan Campbell, the Polarettes Gymnastic Club's parkour coaches, recently returned from receiving their level one and two coaching certifications.

Parkour coaches receive one-up in certification

The Polarettes Gymnastics Club has long prioritized its coaches receiving certifications in the sport.

By John Tonin on November 17, 2020

The Polarettes Gymnastics Club has long prioritized its coaches receiving certifications in the sport. Recently, the club’s two parkour coaches, Ewan Campbell and Jon Amos, travelled to Kelowna, B.C. to complete their level one and two parkour coaching certification.

Both Campbell and Amos have spent the past couple of years at university but are in Whitehorse for the current year. Campbell said the course was an awesome experience.

“It was time to really learn about the thing we were doing,” said Campbell. “It was super-interesting, super-cool to see.” Amos is newer to the sport of parkour.

“I just came back from being at school for two years,” said Amos. “I used to coach when I was in high school and I loved it. I just started doing parkour before I went off to university. I didn’t know a lot about it. When Ewan and I went there, it was great to learn what we are teaching the kids but more in-depth.

“Ewan has a lot more background knowledge in parkour than I do so I was super-excited to do and learn the progressions to everything so I am feeling more confident.”

The Polarettes Gymnastics Club has been offering parkour programming for five years – Campbell was involved in it the get-go before heading off to post-secondary.

Campbell said it is a sport that continues to gain popularity and having the certification will help all the groups.

“There is the core group that started five years ago,” said Campbell.

“The beginner class is always full and fills up within an hour on registration day. So interest is very high.

“The course was really useful for the intermediate class to learn the progressions. The kids that have been here for five years are really advanced. So it was cool to be able to give them actual corrections like side flips which are really parkour-centric.

“We’ve been figuring it out on our own, but the course showed us how to actually do it. Now we can watch people side flip and be like, ‘Ah, try to do X and Y to make your side flip better.’”

Amos said he left the certification course feeling more confident about his coaching ability and that it will help the flow of the training sessions.

“It’s now nice to see what they are doing wrong and be able to correct them on how to do it properly,” said Amos. “It’s a fairly decent-sized group, so if Ewan is doing something and a kid needs help, usually I’d ask Ewan for conformation; now I feel confident in my answers.”

Both Campbell and Amos said they had talented course-mates in the program, and that was helpful in their learning.

“Two of the kids who did the course with us were 16-year-old parkour athletes,” said Campbell. “It was really cool to see how good they were, being able to access a parkour gym and the level they were at.

“One of the most useful things I found was when the instructor was checking his notes or doing something, the parkour kids would be trying this challenge and you could try it alongside them and learn a different style of movement.

“We can take the kids at our gym and get them to that level with this certification.”

“It was nice to be able to connect with everybody there,” said Amos.

“It was also nice that everyone wasn’t a top tier parkour athlete. It was a nice mix of everybody so you didn’t feel like you were getting left behind. I was pretty nervous going in. It was really inclusive.”

This Friday, the Polarettes will be hosting their first-ever parkour jam.

“We are still trying to figure out the best way for things to work out so they can experience what a competition might look like in the future,” said Campbell.

“We want to set up a speed course so they can run through that as fast as they can, as efficiently as they can. Then on the floor, we are going to put up a big jumble of boxes and have them come up with a run. That will be them looking at what the environment gives them, and combining all the skills they’ve learned to come up with something creative.”

Amos and Campbell said they are excited to see the athletes’ creativity in a competition setting.

“We do mini-versions of that, and it is always really exciting,” said Amos. “You can tell before they go into it what they are thinking. It is fun seeing what they are planning to do. They are super-talented kids and doing things I couldn’t imagine doing.”

“When we are coaching, we focus their attention to a certain goal,” said Campbell. “When you say, ‘Do what you want, be creative,’ they will come up with some insane movements. You’ll see it and be like, ‘Whoa, I didn’t even think of that, that is so cool.’”

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