BREATHE! A big breath in with a conscious effort to relax during the exhalation phase. Repeat that slowly and with each breath focus on relaxing the muscles in a single area, moving to a new area of focus with each breath.
VISUALIZATION! Do progressive relaxation (as described above), then close your eyes and see the jump occuring perfectly...including seeing youself happy and relaxed.
I'm just about to start on my AFF course having done 4 working tandems, i've also just completed 10 minutes in a wind tunnel which went pretty badly with regards to body position.
I'm constantly read and being told by my instrutor that 'relaxing' is the key but i wondered whether anyone had any advice on what to do to relax. Asking someone to just relax is hard :-).
I'm guessing it likes a lot of things and eventually it just clicks, at which time you naturally relax and get better and better!
So does anyone have any words of wisdom on tips for relaxing?
I'll second what Glideangle said: Breathe!
I just finished AFF at my local DZ and I had difficulty relaxing up through level 4. I had a moment just after exit during a repeat of level 4 where everything clicked for me. I remembered to take a breath, looked up and saw my instructor telling me to smile, and I got a big thumbs up. After that all of my subsequent jumps have been smooth as can be.
Don't be afraid to take a second or two for yourself after exit to just relax and breathe. It makes all the difference in the world. I think new students(including myself) feel a lot of pressure to do all of the tasks they have set before them in what we perceive at first to be a short window. The reality is that we have plenty of time. Just remember to enjoy the experience and smile. You'll do great!
My first 10 minutes in the tunnel were disastrous too--I had maybe 30 seconds of being stable, spent most of it on the mat, and even held onto the mat at one point to try to get stable which then flipped me over rather hilariously. However, my AFF jumps went just fine, and I think it's because I got most of my ridiculous instability out of my system. Those 10 minutes were worthwhile even if it didn't seem like it to you at the time. Like everybody else said, just visualize yourself doing your jumps successfully and calmly and it will make a huge difference.
In the door: BREATHE, check in, check out, check prop, BREATHE, up, down, out
Circle of awareness: BREATHE, horizon, alti, reserve instructor, main instructor, arch, BREATHE
On pull: BREATHE, arch, reach, pull, arch, BREATHE
My instructors thought it was super funny, especially in the door when I had not one of my usual AFFIs for the first time . They saw how it helped me, so they made it a part of all my dive flows for AFFI and even the coach jumps. I still take that breathe in the plane and on jumps when i feel like i'm getting unstable, helps center me every time!
I like to point out two things. First, you're a long way from the ground. You have plenty of time on an AFF jump to do what you need to do. Second, think about the pilot of a multi-million dollar jet fighter. What does he do when several million dollars worth of electronics, hydraulics, and mechanics go south? He ejects and rides back to earth under a parachute. Technology be damned, parachutes are pretty reliable. That should give you a little comfort.
OK Breathing....not really what you are asking for.
Guys...what Adam is asking for is something specific...."What does it mean when we say, "relax"? What am I supposed to do to be relaxed."
Well, Adam, here's what I tell my students.
-Relax means to let your hands go limp.
If you are tense, your hands are stiff like you are trying to grasp the air. You will feel yourself bouncing around as the air billows out from under that hand cupping. Relax means to let your hands go limp and let the air flow s m o o t h l y by them.
-Relax also means to let your arms be blown back by the wind.
If you are tense, you are probably pushing your hands down in front of your chest. Relax means let those chest muscles ease up so that the wind blows you hands back by your ears.
So, overall, RELAX means let the hands go limp and let the wind blow your arms back to where your hands are about even with your ears.
Now having said that, yes, breathing is good IF you can do it calmly. Calmly inhale and calmly exhale. Relaxation breathing is more effective on the ride to altitude than in freefall.
Making a conscious effort to smile is also helpful with respect to being able to "relax".
The basic skills are the same, the important thing is relaxing, which is something you may have to focus on more, seeing as your tasks will be a bit more complex, plus you only get a short time to get them right.
That pressure is a bit more intense than anything you will come across in the tunnel. Mostly, on the skydive, you'll have to save your own life if things don't go as planned.
The planet coming at you at 120 mph is a little different from geeking the tunnel floor.
nice work in the tunnel man! but dont forget your relaxation techniques they will come in handy even as you become an experienced jumper. ive had to use breathing and body relaxation even this past weekend learning head down exits. my friend kept giving me the AFF shake to relax. once i did everything went well so keep relaxing but not so much that you dont pull