Forums: Skydiving: Safety and Training:
Consensus on relaxing students/TDM passengers?

 


cameramonkey  (D 24467)

May 3, 2001, 5:06 PM
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Consensus on relaxing students/TDM passengers? Can't Post

At the Winter Expo at Skydive Chicago this past march, I listened in on a seminar where they were discussing things such as public perceptions of our sport, student training, etc.

One of the things they mentioned was not having fun "scaring" the tandem passengers with comments like "(smiling big while looking at the rig) I think it will work." or an exchange like random jumper:" Hey Bob, did you remember to take your medicine?" TM Bob:"I forgot it yesterday, but I took two today".
In my experience all the passengers laugh (or at least smile)and seem to relax more.

As a JM, I know that it seems to relax my students a bit more when I joke around with them.

What is your opinion on this practice? should we joke around to get them to relax, or should we be ultra starched shirt professionals and always keep a straight face (and pray they dont puke out of sheer anxiety)?



lazerq3  (C -34113)

May 3, 2001, 6:16 PM
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Personally for me being a recient AFP grad I liked the fact the my J/M was able to joke around with me and keep me relaxed on the ground and on the way to alt. And then when that door opened his was still relaxed but also all business. Being able to have a sence of humor but also accomplishing the task at hand shows professionalism in my book. And hey jump 1 thru 7 w/ no repeats..... he must be doing something rightSmile

jason



PalmettoTiger

May 3, 2001, 7:13 PM
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I think "scaring" the passengers will be viewed as vindictive and harmful by those who are already criticizing skydiving. Those who are in favor of skydiving and those who keep an open mind about it won't mind. So I think it's a question of influence - is it more important to be mindful of our critics or of our supporters?
I personally enjoyed the jokes (both giving and receiving), and I have yet to see anyone decide not to jump because of the jokes.

In reply to:
I liked the fact the my J/M was able to joke around with me and keep me relaxed on the ground and on the way to alt. And then when that door opened his was still relaxed but also all business.
Couldn't have said it better myself.

Blues, squares,
PTiger


skyhawk

May 3, 2001, 7:30 PM
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just try to judge the person u can usaully tell if the person has a sense of humor if they do a joke will settle them down cause a they r thinking of something other than dieing plus they see that you r confident enough in your skills to be joking around

"Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone."
Pablo Picasso.


cyberskydive  (C 28534)

May 3, 2001, 8:05 PM
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My favorite one as of late by the TM's at my dz are, "I just got this job yesterday from the temp agency, said on the job training in a friendly atmosphere. I just could not pass it up! We have been working on this all day and I THINK I have it down pretty good now."

With jokes like those the passenger KNOWS that you're joking.

Sometimes the calming words are a little more serious but seem to be quite effective, stuff like:

" My 10 year 0old son is on the ground watching me skydive today, do you think I want us to get hurt?"

I've seen that one work in the plane a few times now-guess it depends on the personality of the passenger.

Whatever method everyone chooses to use at my dropzone usually works for the most white-faced passengers, if you're smiling you cant be having a bad time right?



D.Chisolm C-28534
webmaster@sunraydesigns.com
http://www.sunraydesigns.com


Zennie

May 3, 2001, 8:14 PM
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One of these days I'm gonna take an airsickness bag, fill it with oatmeal and hide it in my jumpsuit. I'll fidget around for a while and then about halfway up go "Oh, Gawd I think... I'm... gonna... be...... SIIIIICCCKKKK!" as I whip out bag and make horrible barfing sounds. Then I'll say, "Hey man, can ya hold this a sec?" and hand it to the student. Laugh


------------
Blue Skies!

Zennie


cyberskydive  (C 28534)

May 3, 2001, 8:45 PM
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Your a sick man Zen :)

D.Chisolm C-28534
webmaster@sunraydesigns.com
http://www.sunraydesigns.com


Shark  (D 24499)

May 3, 2001, 9:23 PM
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In reply to:
One of these days I'm gonna take an airsickness bag, fill it with oatmeal and hide it in my jumpsuit. I'll fidget around for a while and then about halfway up go "Oh, Gawd I think... I'm... gonna... be...... SIIIIICCCKKKK!" as I whip out bag and make horrible barfing sounds. Then I'll say, "Hey man, can ya hold this a sec?" and hand it to the student.
You will make it more believable when you EAT the stuff!



riggerrob  (D 14840)

May 3, 2001, 10:33 PM
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That reminds me of a jumpmaster who used to work at a major Southern California DZ. After a night in the bar, he reported for work just a touch hung-over. Halfway to altitude he turned to his student and said "Hand me your helmet," and filled it.
"Heavin Steven" no longer works there.



riggerrob  (D 14840)

May 3, 2001, 10:39 PM
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Whether or not to joke with students is a question of how well you can read their personalities.
For example cracking "dumb blonde" jokes in front of a radical feminist could result in a broken jaw!
On the other hand trading a few "dumb nigger" jokes with the local clansmen will loosen them up better than a swig of Jack Daniels!
Start out prim and professional. If the student cracks a joke, then take that as an invitation to swap laughs. Begin with a mild joke about something that nobody likes, say the BC New Democratic Party. If they laugh at that, then you can let loose!



Tee  (C License)

May 4, 2001, 7:29 AM
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Re: Consensus on relaxing students/TDM passengers? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Personally for me being a recient AFP grad I liked the fact the my J/M was able to joke around with me and keep me relaxed on the ground and on the way to alt. And then when that door opened his was still relaxed but also all business. Being able to have a sence of humor but also accomplishing the task at hand shows professionalism in my book.
Well said!

I didn't mind the teasing at all when I first started. My instructors were crazy but they also had a serious side too when it can to teaching, so I had total faith in them. It's the fun and teasing that makes the students feel like they are part of the "family" and keeps them coming back to your dz. Smile

Tee



Premier SkymonkeyONE  (D 12501)

May 4, 2001, 7:40 AM
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Re: Consensus on relaxing students/TDM passengers? [In reply to] Can't Post

As an SL and Tandem I, I see nervousness all the time. With tandem, I always stay upbeat and very positive about the experience. I encourage the fellow jumpers on the load to chat with the passenger and I make sure the passenger watches the others exit before us. Hooting and hollering at them breaks the ice. I have never had a tandem passenger "not go". I have had them balk in the door, but was able to convince them it was better to jump than land. I have found that the worse ones are the 30-somethings that are very hesitant on the ground, even before you kit them up. If someone appears they are going to give me a hard time, I try to have them give me a definitive answer before I get the rig on.
Static-line students are another matter. About half the students I deal with (which is a lot), get pretty freaked out when the door opens the first time. I always make sure they are perfectly comfortable with the procedure before I put them on the plane, then I stay very upbeat and positive on the way up; pointing out things from the window and telling stories. It is MUCH more critical that a SL student actually go once he gets out the door. My commands are as follows, so that they really don't have a chance to balk out on the step: "sit in the door", "crawl ALL the way out and HANG", "go". Previously, we had a "crawl out", then "hang" step, but had many more people freezing out there. Some even wanting to get back in!
The bottom line is that if you rush your students/passengers, then you are going to have a much higher likelyhood of problems. This happens way more often at "tandem factories" than at smaller operations.

Chuck



froggie  (A License)

May 4, 2001, 11:41 AM
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Re: Consensus on relaxing students/TDM passengers? [In reply to] Can't Post

cameramonkey,
i believe that i know the perfect answer. or at least as perfect as were going to get. Do a little of both. If you prove that you are professional and are competent in what youre doing (safety checks. walk them thru them, Explaining things kind of detailed even if they dont know what youre talking about they figger you must know since youre using these foreign words) and also be a bit goofy. Make it fun. I have one instructor that makes me smile all the time. Not like shes funny makes me smile but like "youre smiling or else Im not giving you the go ahead to do your manuvers) and she makes sure she says "SMILE! ENJOY THIS! TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR SKYDIVE!" when dirtdiving the jump. She always is telling me that were going to have a great time. And you know what, it really helps a lot.
hope this helps ya.
kellly



Greg  (A -37958)

May 4, 2001, 4:21 PM
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This is an interesting topic, I would have really appriciated a little humor from my JM during my training. In all honesty, I probably gave the impression that I was a bit uptight ( I mind my mannars, yes sir, no sir, I have a flat top haircut, I look like a "jarhead", and for god sake, Im about to jump out of an airplane, yeah Im scared) I found my JM to be "all business" from good morning, to thanks, see ya next time. There are times more recently, where I have seen him at the dz and shared a joke or two, which is always kinda cool for me, heck I think my JM is a freakin god. I have no other complaints, his methods were sound, I did not have to repeat any jumps, I came away feeling like I understood both the risks as well as the bennifits of skydiving, but, I think the experience would have been a little easier with a more relaxed atmosphere.

Greg A-37958



mountainman  (A License)

May 4, 2001, 6:09 PM
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Re: Consensus on relaxing students/TDM passengers? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
I did not have to repeat any jumps
That is one good thing about having a serious JM. You know that he is totally focused on what he is doing. I am a firm believer in humor being able to help almost anything, but having the professionalism is very important too.

Can't wait until all the whuffos make thier first tandem tomorrow!! There are 13 of them!!Smile

NEW AND IMPROVED!!!

http://home.woh.rr.com/brandonandlaura/


Patkat  (C 31139)

May 5, 2001, 11:46 AM
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Re: Consensus on relaxing students/TDM passengers? [In reply to] Can't Post

One really important factor that some people have alluded to is that people can easily talk themselves into being a lot more scared than they really are. I was on a load the other week with a tandem, who was doing her second jump (her first was a couple years ago). After one jumper got out at 4,000 feet, she started telling the tandem master, and me, and most importantly, herself, that she was scared out of her mind. Before long, she was clearly getting worked into a near panic. Both I and the tandem master tried talking about the safety checks, reminding her to breathe, reminding her how cool it was to make a jump, and telling her jokes - anything to keep her mind off being scared and to keep her mouth from telling her guts to be scared.
The important thing with students, especially the nervous ones, is to communicate with them, and give them something positive to focus on - like the dive flow, or a corny joke, or whatever they will pay attention to.
-Patkat



skreamer

May 6, 2001, 2:48 AM
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Re: Consensus on relaxing students/TDM passengers? [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi guys

I don't have that much experience in this field (because I am a low-timer, not because I don't like a good laugh). But what I have done with the tandem passengers the last couple of weeks is, first I take the lead from the Tandem master, if he makes a small joke then I join in - if not then I only smile at them and give them a thumbs up or a quick hand-shake before I exit. One lady did look very nervous, so I made up a quick beer rule. I told her that there was a long-standing rule on the DZ that if she didn't smile the whole way up and down, and we saw her not smiling on the video, that she had to buy everybody who was on that load a beer. It worked!Wink

Another one I used was, (being the only non-English person on the load) I told a tandem passenger that smiling in freefall would REALLY give your teeth a good clean and save on dentists bills. Then I started making comments about English peoples, ummmmmm, not so good dental hygiene habits (seen Austin Powers?)... Hee hee, that was good for about '3 000 worth of abuse from the rest of the load!Laugh

/s



froggie  (A License)

May 6, 2001, 6:39 PM
Post #18 of 18 (1445 views)
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Re: Consensus on relaxing students/TDM passengers? [In reply to] Can't Post

ah.. enlightenment.
today i got to be the "relaxer" for a first time tandem student. She was a woman, about 30 years old, and admitenly scared. She kept saying that she was terrified of heights. After i got done the 'business' part of our transaction, i took her aside. I explained to her how i hate heights, standing on the edge of a one story building would make me want to cry. Then i explained to her how safe i feel with a rig on. I told her my stories of dealing with the whole 'heights' issue. ANd you know what? me, with my measly 7 jumps calmed her down. A first time tandem looks up to anybody with even one jump. and if that person that they look up to admits to being scared of something, a mutual scared, then they feel better. She told me that, i think her exact words were "that makes me feel better. youre scared of heights but you love to jump. Its different, its got to be different, you proved that" and you know what? she had an AMAZING skydive. Her exit was good. I just told her to watch the jumpers actually jumping out of the plane so when it was her turn in the door she wasnt seeing (the person in front of her) exiting for the first time. She watched them and said that it made it easier.
So should we be professional or joke around? I think we have to throw 'honesty' and 'equality' into that mix. If we (as jumpers who love it!) put ourselves on the same level as the first time jumper then their going to feel better.
kelly




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