Mindfulness for Preventing Sports Injuries
Despite common perception Parkour has a relatively low rate of injuries. One reason is that Parkour is a non-competitive sport. There is no obligation to do anything in Parkour for any reason other than it is a personal goal of your own.
I have had a couple of injuries in my 10 years of practising Parkour.
No broken bones thankfully, but I have hit my head, and dislocated a couple of fingers.
Note that injuries are different from falling. We fall constantly during practice. Hence we have learnt how to fall in such a way that they don’t injure us other than small bruises.
The Simplest Answer
I went to one of my favourite training locations — Garden City one Sunday morning to do a normal weekly training session. There were a few others there at 10am when I got there and I started warming up. After only a few cat-passes I banged my thigh and got a massive bruise. Damn! I just travelled 45mins to get here, after 10 minutes of training I had another 45mins home. I was quite annoyed at myself.
“I did 7 really fast run ups, I shouldn’t have gone so hard.”
I felt relieved that I knew the answer and I moved on with life.
The Frustratingly not-so-simple Answer
On another day I managed to do up to 20 fast-paced cat-passes without even a hesitation. I thought about how I felt this day. I felt really good. I could feel there was less hesitation in my run up and I was more relaxed.
This brought a number of questions to the front of mind about the day I got the injury:
- Was I tired from the Saturday night before?
- Had I done a lot of leg work that week?
- Was I hesitant about pedestrians walking past?
- Did I not listen to my body enough?
The truth is there are likely to be a number of factors contributing to an individual injury, and we can’t possibly work them all out in hindsight.
And if that is the case, and there are so many hidden factors that contribute to a sudden injury how on earth do we prevent this type of injury?
The answer is mindfulness. Know that there are always factors present, and there will always be factors that you are not aware of. You should try to seek out these factors, to constantly question the possibilities -
- How do I feel?
- Am I training too hard?
- Which warning signs am I currently ignoring, and are they important?
- Have I checked my landing surface properly?
- Are the people around me influencing how I train, are they training dangerously?
Yes this does sound a little paranoid, but that’s a good thing.
Asking yourself these questions regularly, and by being more mindful of your self and your environment will reduce your chance of injury.
My good friend Evie succinctly describes how her injury changed her perspective
“Since breaking my leg, I’ve stopped asking ‘how did you do that?’, and instead ‘how did that happen?’”.