0
thetreehugger

I feel a bit lost...

Recommended Posts

So... a little background. I'm a fairly new skydiver. I worked hard to get my Solo license (one that comes before the A license here in Canada... you can skydive by yourself/without a JM but still need to work on some things to get the A)

Anyway. Ever since getting my Solo I've felt a bit lost. I don't really know what to work on or how to go about it. Sure, I've checked out the requirements for my A and I know I need to do some coach jumps. But other than that I've felt like a lot the people who helped me get my solo aren't available or really that interested in helping me get my A.

It is quite a bit more difficult to arrange a coach jump rather than a JM like I had when I was still on student status. (probably because a JM just has to watch me go out the door and then can do their own dive with their buddies after, whereas a coach has to jump with me and "waste" a skydive on teaching)

The past 5-10 jumps I've pretty much just did my own thing. Trying to work on some canopy stuff but have no feedback or know if I'm doing what I'm supposed to. I had a couple jumps with a semi-mentor that is really the only person I feel helps me at my DZ. He isn't a coach 2 though (which is what I require for my A) and isn't available too often as he usually is packing or doing radio for students.

I really want to get my A but feel like since I've gotten off of student status I've just been left to my own devices. Like I can jump myself so I'm just supposed to figure it out...? It's been pretty disheartening. I don't know what I'm supposed to work on (other than following the CSPA guidelines for the requirements, but without much help or feedback it is hard to know if I'm doing it right and don't have anyone to sign off the work if they don't/can't jump with me)

Just feeling a bit lost... wonder if any others have felt like this.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
thetreehugger

So... a little background. I'm a fairly new skydiver. I worked hard to get my Solo license (one that comes before the A license here in Canada... you can skydive by yourself/without a JM but still need to work on some things to get the A)

Anyway. Ever since getting my Solo I've felt a bit lost. I don't really know what to work on or how to go about it. Sure, I've checked out the requirements for my A and I know I need to do some coach jumps. But other than that I've felt like a lot the people who helped me get my solo aren't available or really that interested in helping me get my A.

It is quite a bit more difficult to arrange a coach jump rather than a JM like I had when I was still on student status. (probably because a JM just has to watch me go out the door and then can do their own dive with their buddies after, whereas a coach has to jump with me and "waste" a skydive on teaching)

The past 5-10 jumps I've pretty much just did my own thing. Trying to work on some canopy stuff but have no feedback or know if I'm doing what I'm supposed to. I had a couple jumps with a semi-mentor that is really the only person I feel helps me at my DZ. He isn't a coach 2 though (which is what I require for my A) and isn't available too often as he usually is packing or doing radio for students.

I really want to get my A but feel like since I've gotten off of student status I've just been left to my own devices. Like I can jump myself so I'm just supposed to figure it out...? It's been pretty disheartening. I don't know what I'm supposed to work on (other than following the CSPA guidelines for the requirements, but without much help or feedback it is hard to know if I'm doing it right and don't have anyone to sign off the work if they don't/can't jump with me)

Just feeling a bit lost... wonder if any others have felt like this.

I read Pat Works stuff online and started to teach myself to sitfly at 20 jumps. Decent by about 70 jumps.
I hold it true, whate'er befall;
I feel it, when I sorrow most;
'Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm in the same situation as you right now. I'm AFF graduated and have now 22 jumps in total. Did the theoretic exam for the A licence, but I still need to do the coached jumps to get the A license and thus to be allowed to jump with others.

I can't say I feel the same. I enjoy the solo jumps, gives me time to work on my stability and try some things. I do understand is that it's hard to see what you're doing is actually right. I, for example, try to practice some tracking because I know it's gonna be important in the coached jumps. But it's hard to see if I'm doing it the right way. You're all alone up there so no feedback.

If we want to do such a BOSS (coached) jump, we write our name on the board in the manifest and then a BOSS certified jumper can take that jump with you. We pay a little more than a like for a normal jump, but it it includes the jump for the coach too. So it's mostly not hard to find a BOSS coach. Who doesn't likes a free jump? ;)
Normally it should take 5 BOSS jumps to get there, but if it takes more I'm not gonna be stressed about it. I just enjoy every jump I can do. Hopefully I can start with the BOSS jumps next weekend.

Just do the same, enjoy your solo's and find a coach for your needed jumps. But you'll probably have to ask them if you want to move forward.

I did my first jump in 3 months this weekend and I've wrote my name on the board for a lvl 4 refresh jump. But the few coaches around where just buzy having fun so after some time I just went up to one of them and asked if someone wanted to do the jump with me. No problem at all, 30min later I was up there. Just go and ask around, someone will love to jump with you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It's a sort of hazing thing, in effect. :P
If you can survive this phase without getting fed up and leaving the sport, you get to be one of us skydivers.

Yeah it is tough to get coaches. Sometimes you need to plan ahead, make a deal to work with one person all day or part of a day. (Someone local to me already cornered me to help them with a similar problem in a couple months.) Or come out on a less busy weekday if that applies the DZ. Or talk to the DZO about how they organize Coach 2's to get people to A level. Sometimes it helps to get out early in the season before the DZ becomes overrun with tandems. DZ's should try to have a plan (even if imperfect) to keep people from wallowing around at that Solo level just doing solos without learning much.

It is tough because you need the Coach 2 for the required RW jumps, but those who are Coach 2's often have gone on to become PFFI's or TI's and thus are busy taking all those students all day.

No simple answers. It's a pretty common problem though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Wow. What a PITA. I am glad we do it differently here. Although I guess I probably paid a lot more for my A license. I had various AFFI's or coaches assigned to me for every jump unitl I got checked off for my A. After that, I just needed the extra jumps to get to my 25 needed and still had a coach assigned to double check my gear and throw me out of the plane before jumping with their student.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Some smaller Canadian DZ's do not have those kinds of resources :)

At our DZ, there are a few of us that make sure that Solos have things to work on to get their A, and we try our very best to make ourselves available to do Coach jumps. You can go to manifest and tell them you need a Coach 2, and manifest will make an announcement for Coach 2's.

I know myself in the last few years most of my jumps have been 2 ways or coach jumps :D

We also are going to be doing a thing this year where a couple of us dedicate a day or two a week to specifically work with Solos and A/B licence peeps for them to get their requirements and licenses. So if people come out on those days, there will be at least two of us dedicated to only doing Coach jumps or two ways or endorsements or whatever people need.

Also we are working on something to do 3 and 4 ways involving novices.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
thetreehugger

So... a little background. I'm a fairly new skydiver. I worked hard to get my Solo license (one that comes before the A license here in Canada... you can skydive by yourself/without a JM but still need to work on some things to get the A)

Anyway. Ever since getting my Solo I've felt a bit lost. I don't really know what to work on or how to go about it. Sure, I've checked out the requirements for my A and I know I need to do some coach jumps. But other than that I've felt like a lot the people who helped me get my solo aren't available or really that interested in helping me get my A.

It is quite a bit more difficult to arrange a coach jump rather than a JM like I had when I was still on student status. (probably because a JM just has to watch me go out the door and then can do their own dive with their buddies after, whereas a coach has to jump with me and "waste" a skydive on teaching)

The past 5-10 jumps I've pretty much just did my own thing. Trying to work on some canopy stuff but have no feedback or know if I'm doing what I'm supposed to. I had a couple jumps with a semi-mentor that is really the only person I feel helps me at my DZ. He isn't a coach 2 though (which is what I require for my A) and isn't available too often as he usually is packing or doing radio for students.

I really want to get my A but feel like since I've gotten off of student status I've just been left to my own devices. Like I can jump myself so I'm just supposed to figure it out...? It's been pretty disheartening. I don't know what I'm supposed to work on (other than following the CSPA guidelines for the requirements, but without much help or feedback it is hard to know if I'm doing it right and don't have anyone to sign off the work if they don't/can't jump with me)

Just feeling a bit lost... wonder if any others have felt like this.

I think what you're feeling is pretty common. You go from having an instructor to being completely alone after you finish AFF. Ultimately, you're a bit limited in what you can do on your own without your license.

AFF is pretty limited in scope and is really mostly intended to ensure you can fly safely (e.g. pull on time, remain stable, land at the DZ, ect.) on your own. It is not intended to really teach you organized skydiving, it's entirely safety and stability orientated. The A license expands a bit on AFF in that it adds in some more basic canopy work and it teaches you levels, docking and tracking which are three basic skills you absolutely need to know in order to fly in a group.

Once you're post AFF but still pre-A license, the freefall topics you're supposed to be working are intended to help improve your ability to jump in groups. You're mostly working on tracking, docking and levels. Those three skills are required for any form of organized skydiving involving two or more people. The idea is that once you have your A license, you should have the bare basic skills required to jump in small groups.

So work on those skills. Get set up with a coach sooner rather than later and get practicing. Once you have your A license, you can practice more with other licensed skydivers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Bummer to hear that is happening. At my home DZ we continue to work with and mentor students. We also have a program called excel camp where we work with newly licensed jumpers to help add the necessary skills they need for RW jumping and it is free coaching. So some of the things you can work on are 90 degree turns by picking a reference for heading,turn 90,stop,then turn back, and 360 degree turns, and yes I know it is tough without a reference for feed back but just focus on the proper technique and not building bad habits that have to be un-learned later. You can also try slow fall and arching (fast fall) and always work on staying altitude aware.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

If you can survive this phase without getting fed up and leaving the sport, you get to be one of us skydivers.



Perhaps our neighbors to the north could take a page from the Skyfest Boogie playbook.

Quote

Jerry believed that we lose our jumpers between 25 to 100 jumps due to the fact that they had no one to jump with and would simply give up. And with today’s coaching fees, it’s even more prevalent than the old days when the pioneers loved passing their knowledge on for free.



I am proud to have been one of the Load Organizers for the SCR awards (I knew Bill Newell fairly well, so I dragged him out of retirement to attend). I strongly believe that Skyfest's philosophy of "Pay it Skyward" is responsible for many of today's skydivers remaining in the sport. It doesn't have to get as big as Skyfest got. Maybe just a three day weekend localized to regional events around the country. Just a thought.

EDIT: Very bad grammatical brain fart.
Nobody has time to listen; because they're desperately chasing the need of being heard.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It is tough in an era when there's more money in skydiving, and that money is often in tandem or other first jump students. The DZO may chase that money, and the experienced staff who have Coach 2 ratings may be chasing that money. A tandem or video jump can be faster AND better paying than taking up someone needing coaching. Various factors come into play regarding the degree that this becomes a problem.

Good for those DZ's who are able to manage this situation and avoid having advanced students get stuck in those doldrums...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thanks for the replies.

I think I will just need to be a bit more of an advocate for myself. Its just so frustrating when I really feel like my progress is stalled. Yes, I still love the jumps I do by myself, but like I said, it is hard to know if I'm doing things correctly (tracking, levels, etc) when I don't have a good point of reference.

I am considering also, perhaps, going to a DZ that is a few hours away that may be easier to get coach jumps in. That would have to wait until closer to summer though.

Hopefully going for some jumps this weekend. Even if I just get one coach jump this weekend i'll be happy. I just want some feedback/tips/help.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I had a similar experience as you--even though I wasn't too badly off, considering our DZ is medium-sized and a couple of the women at our DZ put on a once-a-month event where they would organize for sub-200 jumps jumpers (but only in the summer)

Last weekend I went for 5 days to Skydive Arizona in Eloy: They had their "rookie roundup" and I actually got to do 4-ways with one of the guys from Arizona Airspeed which was unbelievably instructive--but even on regular days they have at least a belly-coach and a freefly-coach doing load organizing. Basically they jump with you for free and design appropriate dive flows. I learned more in those 5 days than probably the entire rest of my jumping career. (Especially on weekdays they are actually really grateful that you jump with them, because they get their lift ticket sponsored by the DZ)

So: consider planning a trip like that. It'll cost you serious bucks for the travel and you'll do plenty jumps per day, so there is also the price for that, but the coaching/load organizing is free and I'm sure there are a couple more large drop zones in North America where you can get this as well.

I'm still in a daze from all the great jumps.

Blue skies!

PS: For some reason, when it comes to official or unofficial load-organizing and getting groups together--there seems to be a disproportionately larger number of women taking that on, versus men. So: make friends with the SISters at your dropzone?B|

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account. It's free!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
0