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Ericakeeley

AFF Stuggles

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I recently started AFF and am having a hard time. I passed Cat A, failed B twice, passed B, failed Cat C twice. UGH! I started with my husband and knew he would have an easier time than me, but i'm finding it hard not to be frustrated. The issues have not been the same from jump to jump, and I think it is a mental thing (manifesting negativity and being convinced i'm going to fail before even entering the plane). I haven't been given the "bowling talk" and my instructors said i'm safe/altitude aware, great under canopy, and that once it clicks I will be golden.
So I guess I want to hear your stories, what made it "click" for you, and how do you get out of your own head?
I contemplated quitting for a brief moment, but I really enjoy jumping and don't want to give up. I'm a type A perfectionist and it's really hard for me to struggle through something and not just give up and stick to what i'm good at.
Advice appreciated!
** Also, I spent a few minutes in the tunnel and don't think it translated too well to actually jumping - and won't be able to make it back before my next jumps.

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I repeated the release dive twice and was getting frustrated. My instructor told me that I was putting pressure on myself to perform. And that I should take the mental energy that I was expending on that and instead use it to relax and focus on the fun I was going to have and to think about what was going to well on the next jump.

I passed the next jump. During the debrief he said, "Embrace that skydiving is a process of incremental improvements. Focus on the fun and the positive and you'll have a better time."

This advice continues to sever me well in my jumping.
diamonds are a dawgs best friend

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So you've made 6 jumps. Maybe 6 minutes of freefall. And you want to be perfect? How good at tennis would you be after 6 minutes? Or bowling?;) Skydiving can't be very hard because by the time you have 3 hours of free fall you'll likely be very competent or better. How many sports can you say that you can be very good in three hours? And skydiving is gear intensive (more than a bowling ball and shoes), fear intensive, performance based and you have to save your life every minute? What other sport are you 'graded' every minute for the first 10 minutes.

Yes skydiving takes a lot of clock and calendar time and a fair amount of money. But in real time that you practice the sport?.... you learn very quickly. If your not dangerous to yourself or others you'll most likely learn just fine. Accelerated Freefall training is just that, ACCELERATED. You could drop back to a standard progression but probably not what you would want by now.

It took me forty jumps before I could stop spinning in freefall. I could spot my round parachute, land it where I wanted, pack it but couldn't stop spinning for anything. Then I did.

Are there people that are never good enough to be safe? Yes. You're no where near knowing that yet.
I'm old for my age.
Terry Urban
D-8631
FAA DPRE

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1 - You are not the only one to struggle. Lots of folks had lots of trouble.

2 - As was noted, you have 6 jumps.

3 - The mental issues are actually more difficult to overcome than the physical. Try visualizing successful jumps. Try to keep those visuals in your head on the ride to altitude. Yes, it's far, far easier to say than to do.

4 - Read the 'Skydiving Duck' cartoon. Linked here: http://tailotherat.blogspot.com/2011/08/sky-diving-duck-ii-chicken-of-sky.html. This was mentioned in a response to your duplicate post in the Women's forum.

5 - Double posting or cross posting is generally frowned upon. No big deal. A mod may move one to the other. Just a suggestion for future reference.

6 - You aren't the only one to struggle. Here is a link to a couple of very accomplished jumpers: http://www.dropzone.com/cgi-bin/forum/gforum.cgi?post=3972085;search_string=%20Wendy%20student%20struggle;#3972085 48 jumps to get off student status.
"There are NO situations which do not call for a French Maid outfit." Lucky McSwervy

"~ya don't GET old by being weak & stupid!" - Airtwardo

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Hooknswoop

Go to a wind tunnel and get 15-30 minutes of coached time. There is a reason airlines spend a lot of money on flight simulators.

Derek V



Agreed, tunnel time is a great way to become more familiar with at least part of the dive. I did some tunnel time during my own AFF course, and it made a world of difference in my stability in the air afterwards. Worth every penny, and I would not hesitate to reschedule the AFF jumps for doing this, and pick up the jumps afterwards.

The mental picture also becomes much easier once you know you are able to do all the individual pieces. Tunnel teaches you to fall stable and controlled, and you already said you're good under canopy. Exit is overrated (especially if you can get stable in freefall), so that sounds like the whole puzzle to me.

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Hooknswoop

Go to a wind tunnel and get 15-30 minutes of coached time. There is a reason airlines spend a lot of money on flight simulators.

Derek V



+1


Getting some solid instruction in the tunnel can take a lot of frustration out of your training.
Chuck Akers
D-10855
Houston, TX

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Solid is the key word there. I went before but was with a bunch of kids and no real instruction. Someone from my DZ offers lessons there but not for a couple weeks, and it's a long drive. (I really don't want long lapses in AFF jumps).
Also, an instructor suggested I don't go because the air was set too low and a proper arch had me stuck on the floor, but a flat body had me flying and they don't want me learning bad habits.
Quote

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Hmmm, when I decided to skydive I started the course out of sheer thrill, my love for adrenaline. All I expected out of AFF was safe fun, freedom and the empowering feeling of overcoming your greatest hardwired fears.

Why are you making it an angry struggle between success and failure? You have more balls than most of the people you know, enjoy it. Skydiving is more about fun and freedom than arranged tasks. It's not a job, just have fun. Laugh if you mess up, make a joke about it. The levels are not hard and are only meant to teach you to naturally observe and feel the environment you have put yourself into. The goals are guidelines that want to teach you the flow of flying your body.

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In a nutshell:
Cat A- all went well for first jump. Practice pulls, arch, took hand signals made adjustments. Pulled at altitude, good C.C.
Cat B- lost an instructor on exit. Exited backwards instead of to the side. Was caught up in that and delayed starting my COA and Practice touches. Did them and straightened legs but didn't have time for heading control. Pulled at altitude. Repeat.
Cat B again- new exit setup, went great. Did COA and practice touches. Straightened legs but brought them to my butt. Was given legs out multiple times with no response. Reached to pull but instructor already pulled. (Was super slow brain processing. Like wtf erica?!?!)
Cat b AGAIN- all good. Passed.
Cat c- instructor released and bumped me starting a slow turn that I wasnt able to stop. Repeat
Cat c again- funky exit. Pulled it out, but lost arch and legs were too far apart and flat.

I swear it's all mental because I can do every aspect, just not all in the same jump.

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I'm in a similar boat, I've just started my AFF as well. I've only done AFF1, but someone I started with was looking a little dejected after having failed AFF3 thrice.

I think to myself - I hope I fail something, or multiple somethings. You learn better this way. I'd be a bit worried if I got through everything first go. I think you need to fail before you are successful. Growing and developing incorporates a lot of struggling and stumbling. When you don't get what you want - successful AFF stages - what do you get is experience, which is actually much more important.

I'd be happy to fail, either way I'm getting building my jump numbers and experiencing skydiving. Either way I'm getting better, and either way I'm on my way to being a skydiver.

All the best!

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First things first. Stop saying "fail/failed/failing". You're not failing, you're practicing. Failing is if you simply walked away accepting defeat of some sort, but you're not doing that. You're just practicing. Just like basketball players practice shooting, just like soccer players practice free kicks or corner or whatever, just like olympians practice their routines/tricks etc... Realistically think about it, you have about 6 minutes of practice. What have you gotten really good at after 6 minutes of practice? Nothing.

You need to think of it like that, you need to relax, and remember that you're doing this for fun. FUN, that's the most important part. Does it matter if you have to repeat a jump to practice it more? No absolutely not, as long as you're having fun and learning from every jump, pulling on time, and landing safely that's what your concern should be. The more stress you put on yourself the worst you will perform. Remember that repeating some jumps doesn't represent the type of skydiver you will become in the future. Many sky ninjas and rockstars repeated jumps as well, and if you were to see them now you would think they were born to fly. One of the best belly flyers I know had to repeat a bunch, hell one jump about 8 times yet here we are years later and it's a completely different image.

Skydiving isn't easy, not only do you have new skills to learn like in every other sport/activity but also you have to do them while you're fighting your basic human instinct by jumping out of a plane, a place where we biologically don't belong.

It "clicks" when you remember fun, when you remember that you're practicing, and when you land safely and enjoy the skydive for what it was no matter the "result". Don't walk away if you actually enjoy jumping, that would be considered failure. Everything else is just fun. Enjoy it.

PS: Best relaxing tip I can give you is to smile. That did wonders to me when I started. It helps your body relax.

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jackwallace

Did you open at the proper altitude?
Did you walk away from the landing?



Ericakeeley



Yes and yes :)



Early on, one of my instructors told me his requirements for a "successful jump."

1 - Land safely.

2 - Learn something.

3 - Have fun.

Everything additional is great. But it's additional. "Gravy" if you will.

I use them as my standard to this day. I jump with a lot of newer jumpers and they are often very critical of themselves and their shortcomings.

The look on their face when I tell them my standards is usually pretty funny.

Erica Keeley

I used visualization on the one jump that I excelled in! I felt much more confident but sometimes feel rushed to get on the next load without mentally prepping, maybe I'll request more time to get 'centered' before going back up.



This is from your thread over in the Women's Forum. I'm putting it here mainly for my own sanity, so that I don't have to try to remember which one I posted what to.

You should be able to take a reasonable amount of time to prep, both physically (ground practice and putting gear on) and mentally (visualization, memorization of dive flow, 'centering') for each jump.
If they want to rush you, ask if they will refund the cost for a 'not pass' jump because you weren't ready (mostly joking here).
Given how much each AFF jump costs, you should be able to make sure you are ready to go before you get on the plane.
"There are NO situations which do not call for a French Maid outfit." Lucky McSwervy

"~ya don't GET old by being weak & stupid!" - Airtwardo

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Study the SIM and be sure you know your diveplan well. Leave no room for uncertainty. Ask your instructors questions until you know for sure what to do. People are often shy to ask, but ask. It is your money, your life.

In the air, I had issues. I had to repeat jumps and I couldn't really deal with that very well, as my physical condition was an obstacle. (couldn't arch well) I ended up switching to static line training so that I could learn more gradually and more on my own.

For me there was a certain learning of what the air felt like as I was trying to be stable. Once I understood how to feel the air, it was only 4 or 5 more jumps and I was a lot better.
Instructor quote, “What's weird is that you're older than my dad!”

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Ericakeeley

Yes and yes :)



Sounds like you got this sky divin ' thing figured out. Maybe now you can work on world peace.
U only make 2 jumps: the first one for some weird reason and the last one that you lived through. The rest are just filler.
scr 316

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Embrace that skydiving is a process of incremental improvements



YES. When I was a student (before tunnels were convenient or powerful enough to be useful to students), one of my instructors said, "Imagine trying to learn to ride a bike one minute at a time, a couple times a week. How long do you think it would take to stop falling over?"

I also want to mention that one of the most gifted instructors I've known had to repeat one of his student jumps around 30 times, and WAS given the, "listen, we're going to let you try this one more time and that's it" talk. He passed, and was a better instructor for having struggles as a student.

So, Erica, if you enjoy jumping, pushing through the frustration will be worth it!

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betzilla

.., He passed, and was a better instructor for having struggles as a student...



The worst students often make the best instructors. Not just in skydiving, but in anything.

They can empathize with the struggling students far better than those who sailed right through.

They can say "I had problems too, and here is how I got past them."
"There are NO situations which do not call for a French Maid outfit." Lucky McSwervy

"~ya don't GET old by being weak & stupid!" - Airtwardo

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Kalrigan

First things first. Stop saying "fail/failed/failing". You're not failing, you're practicing.

PS: Best relaxing tip I can give you is to smile. That did wonders to me when I started. It helps your body relax.



100%

RELAX....

Also, adding to your huge grin when you're hanging out the door, exhaling through an exit works wonders, and I still do it. Especially on a challenging jump.

A big, slow, PHFFFHHHHHHHHHSSSSHHHHH........


Enjoy the journey, there's nothing quite like it :)
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