Name: Street Motion Freerunning Academy
Location: Unit 1, 26 Marsh Green Road West, Marsh Barton, Exeter, EX2 8PN
Date Attended: 17th October 2018
Street Motion Freerunning Academy started up in 2011 and has been offering parkour/freerunning classes in the south-west since then. Having recently moved their set up to a new building, the classes now have much more space than they did previously. On social media they have suggested that they are going to be designing and building a new set up; sourcing some inspiration from the local community, so the future of the academy seems to be full of excitement.
Street Motion runs classes on most days of the week covering a range of ages with classes that run for an hour to an hour and a half.
As I waited for the adult class to begin, I witnessed the end of one of the youth classes and felt impressed by the energy and excitement in the room. On the day I attended, the turn out for the adult class was considerably lower than the youth class, so the energy levels did drop relatively quickly once the little ones had vacated the space.
Our coach for the evening was a young gentleman who I believe is a regular coach for Street Motion. He seemed a little subdued but confident enough in his delivery. Street Motions owner was also on hand to help out but he didn’t play a hand in the way the session was being run at any point. We gathered around our coach and an intense warm-up began. The coach took us through various movements and exercises to get us prepared for the class. The warm-up was a sufficient length and was fairly well led, incorporating a good amount of cardio, stretches, a bit of conditioning and some mobility exercises. The coach didn’t offer any feedback on the students form during these exercises though, which would have been helpful for some of the students.
Once the warm-up was completed our coach showed us our four stations for the session and explained the layout of each station. We were then split into two smaller groups, one group of more confident practitioners and one group of less experienced/less confident practitioners.
The station we started on focused on 180 movements, a personal weak point of mine. Our coach gave us an initial target, then two further goals to complete if we managed the first one. I didn’t really make much progress during this station and would potentially have benefitted from a different progression to try. The coach attempted to offer tips but he seemed to lack detail. The second station involved working on palm spins, which was good for me personally because I hadn’t really trained them before. The coach showed us helpful progressions to get started with and although I didn’t manage to commit to a full palm spin I gained a much better grasp on how the movement worked. Our third station took us over to some equipment that provided us with rails and tall boxes. We were given the task of simply finding our way across the setup and trying different things each time. There was no real structure here and we weren’t really given anything specifically to aim for or work on. The fourth station gave us some vaulting horses to try different combinations of vaults over. Again, there was no real structure here and no targets, goals or progressions were offered.
At the end of the session, we had a bit of time to work on whatever we wanted to, which was basically what we had been doing for two of the stations anyway.
The first two stations felt much more structured than the second two and I felt like I gained the most during those two stations with the coaching input seeming to be much greater and more helpful for those two exercises. The coach was still on hand for assistance and instruction during the other two stations, but the overall atmosphere of the session seemed to lack focus. Although there was more coaching input in the first two stations the level of knowledge felt lacking. The coach didn’t seem to have any cues to offer students struggling with movements and he didn’t appear to have any additional progressions prepared for those who found an exercise too easy. The more advanced group came across as being fairly rowdy and the coach didn’t appear to have a great deal of control over them which did, unfortunately, impact somewhat on the feel of the session and my ability to focus on the task in front of me. Although I was trying to focus on what I needed to be doing, I couldn’t help noticing that the other group generally didn’t seem to be doing a great deal. There perhaps weren’t enough exercise progressions for them to work on and allow them to make good use of their time. The other two lads in my group also seemed to regularly drift off and appear uninterested.
The coaching was adequate. The warm-up was thorough, explanations of exercises were clear and demonstrations were competent, although it felt like some knowledge and experience was lacking in the way the behaviour of the students were being managed and the exercises were being led. Once the exercise had been explained and demonstrated the coach appeared to look a bit lost as to what else he needed to be doing. Improvements could definitely be made to create a better learning environment.
The Set Up
At present, the equipment available at the classes is decent, featuring vaulting horses, rails and boxes that can be arranged and attached together in different combinations. At the time of writing this review, Street Motion has been active on social media showing the work they’re doing in their new building to improve the coaching space. Their potential future plans include building a space that can incorporate a foam pit as well as more standard Parkour obstacles. Definitely a space to keep an eye on and a decent enough option if you want indoor classes in the Exeter area, but the coaching experience level seems quite low. To keep up to date with the improvements and check out the work Street Motion are putting in, take a look at their social media.
The pricing is expensive for a pay as you go customer. For the amount I paid for the class (£14 for 1.5 hours) I felt like I definitely didn’t get enough out of it to justify the cost. Having a membership with Street Motion makes it considerably cheaper and would absolutely be the option to go for if you wanted regular indoor classes. If you’re like me and have a variable working schedule, then attending these classes is very pricey.
A sufficient level of coaching, although lacking in direction and feedback and somewhat marred by the lack of focus from the other students. A good space that should be seeing some great improvements over the coming months.
©World of Parkour 2018