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Getting students to RELAX

 


WILDBILLAQR  (D 29042)

Jun 3, 2004, 2:34 PM
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Getting students to RELAX Can't Post

After reading the article in this months Parachutist I started wondering, just how do you get students to relax? And, have you ever had a student that was to freeked out to jump?


d604  (D 604)

Jun 3, 2004, 5:40 PM
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Re: [WILDBILLAQR] Getting students to RELAX [In reply to] Can't Post

To make my students relax you have to be like Gumby you have to be flexible.

If they're not really showing any signs of being nervous I just shut up and keep things to the need to know stuff while in the aircraft.

If they are showing signs of being nervous or I sense that they are nervous I make small chit chat. "So what do you do?" "What are you taking in school?"; I point out some scenic sites, like the lakes, mountains, islands, the Garbage dump, and if possible Butchart Gardens (apparently theyre world famous).

But if they are really nervous, I remind them to breath and I might mention some sites, I "call the ball" on what to say and do.

Then again, you get some that are way to freaked out to jump, it doesn't matter what you say or do they don't want to get out. I have noticed that these ones usually don't really show to many signs until the door comes open but once it is they are making their way to the back of the plane. I usually give them one more try, it works about 50-50; it's just that initial door opening that gets them, but you have to be careful that they wont black out once outside the door, there is no formula to decide how they will reach it comes with experience.

Then there was the guy that puked after jumper one went. Now that was fun. He landed with me in the aircraft; apparently he had been up all night drinking, etc. and his stomach couldn't handle it. Note, I didn't know he was in that shape until after, now I check if a student may have been paring hard the night before.

Sean


Premier GravityGirl  (D 18897)

Jun 3, 2004, 6:36 PM
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Re: [WILDBILLAQR] Getting students to RELAX [In reply to] Can't Post

It's harder to tell someone what to do than to show them what to do.

Show them a confident, calm jumpmaster and you will be teaching them how to relax in a high stress situation.

And that is all we are really teaching after all. The moves are quite simple. Doing them in a high stress situation is the tricky part.

One of my pet pieves is an instructor who barks RELAX, RELAX!! to the student.

Show them by regulating your own breathing. Smiling. Having fun. Being Patient.


Premier billvon  (D 16479)
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Jun 3, 2004, 6:49 PM
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Re: [WILDBILLAQR] Getting students to RELAX [In reply to] Can't Post

1. Don't overload them in the plane. I make it a rule to never remind a student about more than three things in the plane (i.e. arch, think about your legs, watch your altitude.) And of course you never introduce anything new in the plane. ("Hey, wanna learn to spot?")

2. Life is good in the plane. No horror stories or discussions of mals.

3. Smile a lot. If you're smiling, things must be going OK (thinks the student.) Along with that, don't wear a full face helmet. People look like scary insects when they wear full face helmets.

4. Confidence. You don't have to be like Rick Horn's 'instructor' who told his worried student "I can spot you down a f*cking chimney, so don't worry about those clouds" but there shouldn't be a lot of uncertainty or guesswork in the plane.

I think the plane ride makes or breaks the more nervous people, so that's where I think there's the most to work on in terms of getting students to relax. Of course, good training is essential so they know what to expect; the better trained they are the less they will worry.


nightjumps  (D 23385)

Jun 3, 2004, 9:21 PM
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Re: [WILDBILLAQR] Getting students to RELAX [In reply to] Can't Post

I address the psychological and physiological responses to stress/anxiety. It goes like this...

Quote:
For the past few days you've probably been thinking about this skydive and just thinking about it makes your adrenaline kick in and you've probably had second thoughts about doing this; which is normal.

First, everything that you've been thinking is going to happen based on your previous experiences in this life are wrong. You've thought about how uneasy you get close to a window in a tall building, or being on a high ladder, or the sensation of falling and associated those feelings with how you're going to feel up there today on your skydive, Those feelings are wrong.

If you're going to try to find something to associate with what is going to happen, think about the last time you dove into a pool from a three foot diving board. There will be a moment of the intention of making the dive, followed by what to expect as you leave the platform which is technically falling, but you are in control, right? Because you've made the decision to make the dive and push yourself off the board. You know what to expect when you hit the water and today, it's going to be something like that.

We're going to intentionally jump into the pool and for the first few seconds, while we will be falling, it will be a controlled launch.

After that, we're going to hit the water which we call, the subterminal air where we know we're in the water, but have not yet decelerated. As we change our body position in the water we get a sensation of presssure even though we're still going down and it turns into a "floating" sensation.

Well, the same thing is going to happen today; we're going to dive off the board we call an airplane. We're going to feel the pressure of the water or in this case - the air's resistance and we're going to have that floating slash presssure sensation that we feel in the pool as we near the end of the arc in our dive.

In addition, you will not have the sensation of height because we will be stepping out onto a picture. You've all been in a plane, haven't you? ANd you've looked out the window and thought, "This doesn't look like I'm up this high, the ground looks like a picture." Well, the same thin is going to happen today. We're going to experience "about" (inflection in voice) the same sensations of jumping into a pool, but looking at a two dimensional picture while doing it.

So, everything you've been anticipating about what is going to today happen is wrong. Forget it. Focus on your last dive into a pool cause that's about what its going to be like. You found that enjoyable and refreshing, didn't you? Well, when we land, you'll experience that same refreshing sensation.

By the way, its OK to be a little apprehensive. That's a good thing. But, don't let your previous life experiences about height and falling skew what's really going to happen. Think of the pool.

My goal in this exercise is to redirect their frame of reference regarding height and falling and fear with a controlled jump, the sensation of pressure and floating ending in a refreshed feeling.

I do this the very first thing of each class. You can see them loosen up, muscles untighten, smile and the result is they focus more on the learning.

</ramble>


ManBird  (D 28001)

Jun 4, 2004, 3:20 PM
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Re: [WILDBILLAQR] Getting students to RELAX [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't take up first jump students, but I've taken up many a first wingsuit flight student. Some people are just as nervous about this as their first jump. The "take-their-mind-off-it-approach" seems to work really well -- just engage them in conversation about anything but what they're about to do (assuming they've been trained up enough on the ground to not forget anything). The less they think about it, the less they stress in flight.

One difference with wingsuit students is that showing them the drop zone and giving them a visual of the flight plan through the window or door will often times relieve a lot of stress, as the navigation part stresses out a lot people. My 2 from the wingsuit side of things.


JohnMitchell  (D 6462)

Jun 10, 2004, 9:09 AM
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Re: [WILDBILLAQR] Getting students to RELAX [In reply to] Can't Post

Stay calm, cheerful, ask the student how they are doing, and listen to what they say. I like to remind them to do everything just like they practiced on the ground, and tell them that they did really well in the classroom, and that they'll really enjoy the jump. Pump up their confidence a little. They just want to know that they can handle it, and who better to reassure them than the instructor.


Skyrose7  (D 26573)

Jun 11, 2004, 9:38 AM
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Re: [JohnMitchell] Getting students to RELAX [In reply to] Can't Post

hehe, I have some odd, but effective techniques. I am a s-l instructor out of a cessna 182, so the student going next is sitting next to the door. I tell them on the way up that when I open the door, I want them to grab the strut. Then, once they do, I encourage them to stick their hand out and play in the air (showing by example how much fun I'm having). Then, once they do that, I point out the dropzone (which is still in front of the plane) and tell them to stick their head out to see the target...you won't get sucked out. They actually end up with their head outside the plane upside down looking at the target (still sitting down). It's wierd, but by giving them exposure to the wind before they climb out, I haven't had a long climb out in a long while. They have already been exposed to the wind (without realizing it) and it makes it less suprising when they climb out. I don't know if it makes it less stressful, but they always do a better job.
I have also used this one if they are really freaked "What makes you so special that millions of people have made successful and unharmed skydives, but YOU are going to get hurt? That usually makes em laugh and come back to reality. Plus, I'm not promising they will be ok, just asking a question...Smile
Most of all, I believe that if the instructor is relaxed and confident and shows this in body language and conversation, the student will trust you more.
I have only had one student not jump and it was a 10 sec delay jumper who threw up when we got down. good call on not jumpin.Crazy


alan  (D 17868)

Jun 11, 2004, 1:19 PM
Post #9 of 14 (2150 views)
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Re: [billvon] Getting students to RELAX [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
3. Smile a lot. If you're smiling, things must be going OK (thinks the student.) Along with that, don't wear a full face helmet. People look like scary insects when they wear full face helmets.

I find this most effective. Not only do I smile but I also remind the student to smile. Trust the arch and let the relative wind do the work. Very few people can truly smile and be tense at the same time. If you have a big, shit eatin' grin on your face, not one of those forced smiles, odds are you are relaxed. I had a student a few years back that heard me say smile so often, he had "Yes Al, I'm Smiling" painted on the top of his Pro Tec.

Items 1,2, and 4 seem to follow the smile theory and taken as a whole, work really well. I put it at the top of the list. It has only worked for me about 5000 times, so it is still just a theory in the testing stage.


riggerrob  (D 14840)

Jul 9, 2004, 9:31 AM
Post #10 of 14 (2001 views)
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Re: [alan] Getting students to RELAX [In reply to] Can't Post

Two other relaxation techniques that work well with tandem students:
"Take a slow deep breath."
"Take another slow, deep breath."
"One more slow, deep breath."
"Now wiggle your fingers and toes like you will in freefall."
Robin Heid explained to me that people can focus on breathing or fear, but not both at the same time.

Likewise, they can focus on large muscle groups, or small muscle groups, but not both at the same time. So, if you can get a student to relax small muscle groups, chances are, you can get him to relax large muscle groups.


tspillers  (D 21601)

Jul 9, 2004, 11:40 AM
Post #11 of 14 (1994 views)
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Re: [riggerrob] Getting students to RELAX [In reply to] Can't Post

I really like that (the wiggle part), I may have to try it. I have used the deep breathing for years.

Todd


boxman-chick  (Student)

Jul 30, 2004, 6:15 AM
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Re: [WILDBILLAQR] Getting students to RELAX [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi Wild Bill,

I think you're already doing a good job at the DZ with your sense of humor and by just being yourself.
It certainly calms me to hang out for a while, chit chat with you or watch you pack.
If you don't know who I am yet, I'm Sue, the chick that still does tandems and grins when you ajust her harnessWink
See you tomorrow....

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WILDBILLAQR  (D 29042)

Aug 2, 2004, 12:03 PM
Post #13 of 14 (1773 views)
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Re: [boxman-chick] Getting students to RELAX [In reply to] Can't Post

Hay Sue,
Thanks for the vote of confidence! It's students with your attitude thats makes my learning much easier!
Major Props for what you did for Laura yesterdayCool I don't remember if you were still there when Tony debriefed, but SHE PASSED!
It was great hanging out w/ you yesterday, thats part of the fun at the DZ. If you don't feel the vibe, then just hang out and learn. I'll see you for ground school on the 14th, you my want to stay for the BBQ that night (very special occasion) Opportunity to learn from the people who taught Mike Beardlsy!
See you then!
BLUE SKIES,
Wild Bill


Islandcool  (C 34731)

Aug 23, 2004, 6:19 PM
Post #14 of 14 (1670 views)
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Re: [WILDBILLAQR] Getting students to RELAX [In reply to] Can't Post

Anyone have a student that had no problems with doing tandems but was scared of doing AFF?



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