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tiger93rsl

Relaxing

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I've been having really bad problems on my ride up.  I am just getting so nervous, despite the cheery atmosphere in the cabin.  This heat recently has made it even worse it seems.  I'm having trouble with body position during free fall and I'm pretty sure this is what is causing my nervousness.  I think I am having a hard time relaxing because I"m too busy concentrating on altitude, arching and my legs I can't work on my dive flow.  I booked 10 minutes tunnel time next week and that should help a lot.   If I'm nervous on the ride up I can't relax and it just starts the whole jump off on the wrong foot.  The funny thing is when I step up to the door and stick my head out of the plane I"m no longer nervous and start feeling relaxed.  Then as soon as I enter free fall I get so stuck concentrating on my body position I just can't relax my body.  I was hoping someone here may have some suggestions

Edited by tiger93rsl
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On 7/13/2019 at 10:09 PM, tiger93rsl said:

I've been having really bad problems on my ride up.  I am just getting so nervous, despite the cheery atmosphere in the cabin. 

It can help to know that plenty of other skydivers have been there before! Being nervous is part of it all. Part of the fun!

As for socializing and stuff, one skydiving organization (the CSPA) emphasizes both Relaxation, and Mental Rehearsal. You want both. Relaxation can involve joking with others, taking big slow breaths with eyes closed, or whatever works for you. But the rehearsal is good too, as the more mentally prepared you are, the more ingrained the elements of the jump are, the easier it will be to remember it all and act it out when you go out the door.

If you are stuck on body position issues once out the door, yeah tunnel usually helps a lot.

If you aren't doing tunnel, then sometimes you  can plan a dive with the instructors that keeps things really simple. No turns or anything, just fall and relax and adjust body position. Do you smile in freefall? Sometimes if the instructor can make you smile or shake your hands or something like that, it can help you relax in freefall. Now you don't want relaxed as in 'limp', but you don't want 'rigid as a plank' either.

 

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On 7/16/2019 at 8:54 PM, tiger93rsl said:

  I would love to sit down and talk with my instructors more but they are so busy.  I'm getting debriefed while they are packing for their next jump.

BEER after jump time IS the time for serious debriefs...  Stay in the harness, it gets easier, we promise!   I have an opinion on tunnel time, It can't replace the plane... Speaking of, what are you jumping from?  If you truly feel that your not getting everything you could from the staff, go somewhere else(with a big plane!). 

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It's soooo normal to be nervous - as a student skydiver, every jump requires you to get way outside your comfort zone!

Tunnel time might not help you with the nerves themselves, but it WILL help you with the freefall stuff the nerves are keeping you from visualizing. And it will help you with general confidence (which MIGHT help with the nerves!).

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On ‎7‎/‎16‎/‎2019 at 3:46 PM, pchapman said:

If you aren't doing tunnel, then sometimes you  can plan a dive with the instructors that keeps things really simple. No turns or anything, just fall and relax and adjust body position. Do you smile in freefall? Sometimes if the instructor can make you smile or shake your hands or something like that, it can help you relax in freefall. Now you don't want relaxed as in 'limp', but you don't want 'rigid as a plank' either.

This works so well.  I worked with an AFF student who was having a very difficult time with Cat C.  She tried three times and the jumps did not improve, she was so stressed about everything.  Husband and I (both AFF I's) took her up and did a no-pressure, relax and have fun jump.  Her priorities on that jump were to fall, smile, pull, flare and have fun.  After a (textbook) exit and some practice touches, I let go and flew around in front of her.  I then geeked the shit out of her, smiling, laughing, sticking my tongue out.  Just seeing me doing these silly things changed everything for her; skydiving was fun! She smiled and laughed back at me, finally able to relax mentally and truly enjoy the skydive. Husband even let go of her and she flew stable, no turn issues, for the rest of the skydive. She finished her AFF jumps with no more repeats. 

If the things that others have suggested above (all excellent advice btw) don't work for you, this type of "relax and enjoy" skydive very well may help. 

Don't give up!  Remember you can only fail if you don't try. :)

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Nearly 900 skydives in and I still feel that sense of relief and calm when it's time to climb out. You're not alone.

The best thing to do is close your eyes and visualize your jump. Not only does it take up time and energy otherwise spent on jitters, but it'll help you remember what you're supposed to be doing and when you're supposed to be doing it. Dirt diving is great and all but you can gain a lot by reinforcing it on the plane ride. Anyway, what else are you going to do in that 15-20 minutes?

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I agree with the best thing to do is close your eyes and visualize your jump

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12 hours ago, FlyLikeARaven said:

Nearly 900 skydives in and I still feel that sense of relief and calm when it's time to climb out. You're not alone.

The best thing to do is close your eyes and visualize your jump. Not only does it take up time and energy otherwise spent on jitters, but it'll help you remember what you're supposed to be doing and when you're supposed to be doing it. Dirt diving is great and all but you can gain a lot by reinforcing it on the plane ride. Anyway, what else are you going to do in that 15-20 minutes?

That's exactly what my instructor told me to do.  I started to do as he suggested and then everyone starts laughing and joking around and I get more caught up in socializing to try and ease my nerves instead of focusing.  I will focus more on the next jump.  I feel better knowing that I'm not alone even with the more experienced jumpers.  Thanks.

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Socializing is nice and all but I recommend saving at least the last mins of your ride up rehearsing in your head as well as focusing on your breathing, helps more than you think.

And as it was said above, jump more. The more exposed to this "stress" the better you become at handling it.

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1 hour ago, pchapman said:

It can help to know that plenty of other skydivers have been there before! Being nervous is part of it all. Part of the fun!

As for socializing and stuff, one skydiving organization (the CSPA) emphasizes both Relaxation, and Mental Rehearsal. You want both. Relaxation can involve joking with others, taking big slow breaths with eyes closed, or whatever works for you. But the rehearsal is good too, as the more mentally prepared you are, the more ingrained the elements of the jump are, the easier it will be to remember it all and act it out when you go out the door.

If you are stuck on body position issues once out the door, yeah tunnel usually helps a lot.

If you aren't doing tunnel, then sometimes you  can plan a dive with the instructors that keeps things really simple. No turns or anything, just fall and relax and adjust body position. Do you smile in freefall? Sometimes if the instructor can make you smile or shake your hands or something like that, it can help you relax in freefall. Now you don't want relaxed as in 'limp', but you don't want 'rigid as a plank' either.

 

Smile?  No, I'm so dang frustrated with myself for not being able to make my body do what I want I get frustrated.  After the pull I smile, no more frustration.   Just a calm ride back to earth thinking about everything I did wrong.    I am not a limber person what so ever, I was a horrible failure in gymnastics and I was worried that was going to be an issue in skydiving.  I keep thinking this tunnel time I have scheduled is going to be my ticket.   I will get it, I'm bound and determined   What other sport can you be so disappointed in your performance and have such a good time.  Thanks for all the replies, it really helps a lot from input from guys who have been through this.  I would love to sit down and talk with my instructors more but they are so busy.  I'm getting debriefed while they are packing for their next jump.

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Hang in there,  literally experience the same thing you do word for word... booking some tunnel time for next week ahead of my planned 3rd AFF level one jump before the 6th of August.

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On 7/23/2019 at 5:52 PM, timski said:

BEER after jump time IS the time for serious debriefs...  Stay in the harness, it gets easier, we promise!   I have an opinion on tunnel time, It can't replace the plane... Speaking of, what are you jumping from?  If you truly feel that your not getting everything you could from the staff, go somewhere else(with a big plane!). 

I'm jumping from a twin Otter, she's plenty big and fast.  The instructors are awesome, don't get me wrong they spend plenty of time with me before the jump.  I just wish that had more time to talk after the jump, but that okay I know they are busy.  

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I spent 10 minutes in the tunnel last night, that really helped a lot.  I got where I could hover move forward, backward and turn.  So I get to the DZ today all stoked out about my jump.  I get to the door, this time I was not nervous one bit.  I stuck my head out got really relaxed did my count and I was so relaxed I forgot to arch!  I fell for 3,000 feet like a pile of shit.  Loosing one instructor and keeping the other one holding on white knuckled.  

 

After overcoming spacial disorientation I realized I was belly up in a reversed arch.  I forced myself to arch hard and came around belly to earth stable.  The rest of the jump went perfect, and I could tell the tunnel time really paid off.  I was very relaxed and having one hell of a good time.  I even took a look down at the ground and got a big grin on my face, I was flying 

 

So here is how I see it.  Experience is what you get when you don't get what you want.  I have never experienced unstable free fall until today.  I know now that I can remain calm and get into a stable belly to earth position on my own.  So it was not a failed jump, I got a lot of experience out of today's jump and had one hell of a good time.  I am going to keep showing up at the DZ every Saturday until I get it right, and have one hell of a good time doing it.  

 

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I retook my level 2 yesterday and passed with flying colors.  It went perfect, at the door the only thing I thought abut was my arch.  As I slowly came around to a belly to earth attitude after exit the relaxation came naturally.  I had my legs extended too far forward during the free fall which resulted in us moving almost 3/4 of a mile south of the airport.  I still didn't get my stand up landing in, the wind was calm so I just continued with my slide in landing and that went perfect.  We don't have much wind at all at my DZ, I would like to do a stand up landing in calm winds, I just don't feel comfortable enough to try that yet. 

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Stand up landings will come. A canopy course (probably after you completed AFF) will help. Personally, I think it's wise to not try to stand up your landings at first, unless it seems like you're coming in just right. If you take a course, you'll probably change how you're landing anyway.
As for the ride up: Take what everyone is saying and combine it into a nice, consistent pre-jump routine:
I do this on EVERY jump: 2-3 (or more if it's a complex jump) mental walk-throughs of the jump with eyes closed (include the exit, and canopy-stuff, if you're planning to do specific things under canopy); Relaxing breathing exercise (once or twice): I take a deep breath in through my nose, hold it for a specific count, then release it through the mouth all the way to empty, then hold at empty just a little bit; as I'm letting the breath go I can feel my shoulders relax more (I actually do a sort of mantra in my head, instead of a count--the words "safety" and "gratitude" are part of it...that's just me ;))
Do 2 gear-check/practice touches run-throughs; At somewhere between 6k and 10k I put my gloves on, helmet on (if not on already) put the visor down & back up (to check it's clear); the rest of the time I joke around or just relax and enjoy the scenery. The consistency of the routine really helps (professional golfers do that too before every shot...)
As for how relaxed I want to be: In 4-way FS we call it "On the line"; "over the line" would be too tense; but you don't want to be so relaxed that you're not paying attention and ready to respond in every fraction of a second. Anyway, I think most of this comes automatically if you keep jumping and want to get better and pay attention.
Blue Skies!

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