Sep 18, 2007, 10:09 AM
Post #1 of 10
A New Plan for a Noob
This mostly has to do with training, both physical and mental, so I assume this post belongs here. If not, we can move it.
After spending the last year getting to know this sport (and accumulating only 7 jumps in the process) I've recently had another revalation. This is only about me, but if you are a student (or not) you may relate to my experiences. This may sound a bit negative at first, so please bear with me.
The reason I started jumping is to ultimately fly the wingsuit. In the KC area, there are only a few places to jump, and we all know the crazy-ass "as the DZ turns" history of this area. We have no turbine aircraft, no 2-instructor AFF courses, no jumps from 13.5 unless there's a boogie, and with few exceptions, no one is open during the week. This may sound like I'm whining, but I'm not - just the facts.
What this boils down to, for some of us, is an extremely slow progression in the sport, especially if you ever have to work weekends, or your car stops running on friday night, or if the winds reach above 14mph, which you can assume will happen every time you drive to the DZ. Again, not whining - just the facts.
So a noob like me has more than enough time to think way too much. So between the time I began and now, I've accumulated some gear that is useless to me as a student (a beautiful RW suit with booties), bought a faulty used Galaxy in the classifieds, goggles that are uncomfortable, and 2 helmets, one of which I'll never jump with. I have just enough knowledge to hold an intelligent conversation, just enough experience under canopy to make me dangerous, and maybe 21 seconds of freefall time. I came to these forums and spouted off, making myself look like an total ass on more than a few occasions. And I trained for a tandem that I didn't go on because it was too cold - sorry about that, Jen.
After my first 2 SL jumps, I said to myself, "I'm going to become an expert canopy pilot, an expert belly flier, and then an expert wingsuit pilot. I'll just bang out these first 200 jumps, and I'll be in a wingsuit by next winter." No problem.....right?
Just "bang out" 200 jumps - I have trouble making myself board a C-182, and I'm gonna just knock 'em right out. Yeah.
I tell you this, and confess to you, my jumping peeps, that I am a dumb ass. But now I am a dumb ass who is awake, and aware of the dumb ass behavior that so clearly defines us dumb asses.
So here are my new goals:
- Make sure I get enough sleep, eat right, and excercise every day. - Make sure my car is running in top form, and that I have gas money. - Practice for only the next jump while I'm not at the DZ, and practice EPs and PLFs on a consistent basis. - Limit myself to 30 minutes daily on this site, and the classifieds are off limits. - Make sure I have enough money to make at least 3 jumps every weekend until I'm of student status. - Enjoy the other parts of my life that have nothing to do with skydiving.
If you see someone like me at your DZ, take them aside, and tell them to calm the fuck down, and that this is supposed to be fun. I forgot to do that.
I love my home DZ, and I've grown to love and admire a lot of people associated with this sport. I'm not looking for another place to jump. And ultimately, I believe the time I spend as a student here will make me a better skydiver.
Gato, I like this post. Yes...its good to take a breath and slow down a bit.
If a student is in an area like yours, one option that may work for would be to travel for AFF training. I can fly round trip from NH to Tampa non-stop on Southwest airlines for about $130 in the winter, for example. Stay in a tent or rent a trailer at Zhills, and with a week of good weather and a turbine aircraft a student could move along very fast with good training and the student will remain current through each of the jumps, instead of having to wait a week or more between levels.
It's good to see someone have this revelation early on... I encourage you to print your post out and put it somewhere where you'll see it and can be reminded of it whenever you get a little ahead of yourself in the future.
I don't know you or your background, but I want to share a little of my experience. I was around this sport at 1 year old, so when I finally did my first jump at 18, I thought I knew a lot (which, compared to a typical student I did... but compared to an experienced jumper, I didn't know crap). I had to be knocked down a couple of pegs before I could really progress. I got on a decent 4-way team at 450ish jumps, and I thought I knew a lot (again, compared to a typical 500-jump wonder, I did, but compared to an experienced 4-way guy, I didn't know crap). I had to be knocked back down again before my skills increased. This year, I decided to get my Coach and AFF ratings, and the process repeated... I thought it would be easier than it was.
The sport for me has been a repeating process of getting a little ahead of myself, being publicly humbled, picking myself up and decidating myself to improvment, and coming out a much stronger flier (and person).
One teammate, a very experienced 4-way guy, once told me around the fire that there were days he just wanted to hit me, and that I can get cocky. He then said "but that's ok... I NEED you to be a little cocky" because that's what makes people fly agressively and think they can do anything. The trick is focusing that aggression and confidence in such a way that skills improve instead of just becoming a "skygod" or a know-it-all who doesn't get any better.
Keep it up, and prepare to look like a dumbass periodically. It's good for you, and it'll help you improve. And eventually you'll be able to look back and laugh at your mistakes.
For shits I just went back and looked at my first 6 months in the sport; I made 10 whole jumps over that period. In the 18 months after that I have made 197. It has been a slow and steady rise month over month. I will hit my two year mark on the 15th of this month. It does get better and better.