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bdb2004

Frustrated with lack of skills at 100 jumps

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Just looking for some thoughts, advice, blah blah.  I started skydiving in 2008, did about 85 or so jumps in 2008 and 2009.  I jumped a handful of times in 2010 and 2011, took a long layoff, jumped twice last year, and now I've gotten "current" for real, by current I mean not really current because only 12 jumps in 3 months.  

Anyway, the majority of my jumps both back in the day and this year, seem to be watching other people have fun while I am unable to get to the formation, just hanging out as close as I can so they know where I am at break off.  When I jump two-ways, they go fairly well, I'm guessing that is because I only have to focus on getting to and flying with one person, and that person is also focused only on flying with me.  As soon as I have to fly relative to a group (that is, when I have to do a lot more work with fall rate, proximity, etc) it all goes to hell.  

I just did my 100th jump on Saturday.  I spent the entire jump about 50 feet above the formation, arching hard and trying to make myself small, but never getting any closer.  Ironically that is opposite from most of my jumps because usually I'm far below the formation because I'm a little bowling ball.  I intentionally wore my big baggy suit in an attempt to fall slower. It looks like it worked too well....but that's beside the point. 

I've done tunnel time, and it's helped, but I feel like it has helped me learn to fly relative to someone, not GET TO someone in order to fly relative to them.  I really appreciate the more experienced jumpers who have been willing to do basic two-ways with me to help me build my skills, but I'm sure that gets really boring for them.  I guess the answer is to put together a series of 10, 15, 20 jumps with a coach and just really focus on the skills.  It would get pricey of course, but it's probably less expensive than continuing to burn jumps doing what essentially are solos.

Thoughts?  

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Were you in control of your tunnel time? You can talk with your coach at the tunnel and say something like "I want to work on flying super fast on my belly," and they can work you until you break in half. Get on a foam roller and do a bunch of upward facing dog pose, and get dat back workin. It will come together for your eventually.

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Is there someone on these formations you're jumping with who can help you? Try doing fun jumps with a load organiser with a coach rating. It sounds like you just need a couple of tips. Or jump with a wider variety of people, try other things. 100 jumps is not a lot in the grand scheme of things, you are still pretty new - stay safe and you'll get there. 

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3 hours ago, bdb2004 said:

Just looking for some thoughts, advice, blah blah.  I started skydiving in 2008, did about 85 or so jumps in 2008 and 2009.  I jumped a handful of times in 2010 and 2011, took a long layoff, jumped twice last year, and now I've gotten "current" for real, by current I mean not really current because only 12 jumps in 3 months.  

Anyway, the majority of my jumps both back in the day and this year, seem to be watching other people have fun while I am unable to get to the formation, just hanging out as close as I can so they know where I am at break off.  When I jump two-ways, they go fairly well, I'm guessing that is because I only have to focus on getting to and flying with one person, and that person is also focused only on flying with me.  As soon as I have to fly relative to a group (that is, when I have to do a lot more work with fall rate, proximity, etc) it all goes to hell.  

I just did my 100th jump on Saturday.  I spent the entire jump about 50 feet above the formation, arching hard and trying to make myself small, but never getting any closer.  Ironically that is opposite from most of my jumps because usually I'm far below the formation because I'm a little bowling ball.  I intentionally wore my big baggy suit in an attempt to fall slower. It looks like it worked too well....but that's beside the point. 

I've done tunnel time, and it's helped, but I feel like it has helped me learn to fly relative to someone, not GET TO someone in order to fly relative to them.  I really appreciate the more experienced jumpers who have been willing to do basic two-ways with me to help me build my skills, but I'm sure that gets really boring for them.  I guess the answer is to put together a series of 10, 15, 20 jumps with a coach and just really focus on the skills.  It would get pricey of course, but it's probably less expensive than continuing to burn jumps doing what essentially are solos.

Thoughts?  

I was having the same problem, and still do to some extent.  But I'm getting better, only because I've been working with organizers doing as many 4, 5, and 6 way jumps as I can.  It's frustrating, but if you have a good coach, they'll be briefing you every time you get to the ground and working on one small thing at a time, which will eventually aggregate into you being a more dependable member of a formation.  If you're only jumping a dozen times over the course of several months, the skills will take much, much longer to develop.  A good coach will keep challenging you every jump to add to your toolbox of skills.

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I think you hit on it in the currency perspective.  I look at that as more having 12 jumps which is not a lot especially when it's spread out over 3 months.  100 jumps is something to be proud of.  However, if you want to see improvement you have to keep at it and do it consistently.  Switching suits may have thrown you off too.  Skydiving is something where you need the practice and you need to keep at it consistently.  I'm still learning at 750 jumps but then so are people at 25k jumps( or so they say).  So keep at it.

To put it into perspective, if you have only made 100 free throws in basketball, you probably can't just jump into a game yet and do well.  Skydiving is cool that they let you jump with others after 25 jumps and getting your basic A license.  It still takes a lot of jumping and refinement though to get good.

For what it's worth, on your hundredth jump they should have made it so you succeed. Especially, if you were as close as you say :)

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For perspective, I've done around 70 jumps in the last 3 months, and for the first time ever I was able to participate in a 4 way that hit all our points.  Round-->Open Accordion-->Middle piece 360 turn-->Open Accordion-->Opposing Diamond-->Round.  That's not a lot of points to hit; it's a pretty basic jump.  But it took that long and that much frequency for me to be able to hit those points.  And I was definitely the limiting factor on the jump.

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Don't kick yourself because you aren't flying like you think you should be at this point. Skills improve fastest if you are jumping often, and they tend to erode if you don't stay real current. If you can bump up the number of jumps you are doing, you'll get there faster. Tunnel time spent working on levels will help a lot, as will 2 ways with someone who will fly base while you work on up/down. 

You'd be surprised how many jumpers are more than happy to jump with you.  You might think the jumps are boring for them but they are actually a lot of fun.  Jumping with a newer jumper requires actively working to stay with you. It's a challenge, and they get to share in your successes as you progress.  It's also great practice for future AFF instructors. 

Stick with it. And remember to smile and have fun on every skydive.. cuz that's what it's all about, right? 

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Thank you, all.  

It's easy to get discouraged, even easier to think I'm the only person who ever got discouraged while jumping, and I appreciate the reality check that you all provided. 

My home DZ is having a boogie this weekend and will be flying a caravan, so that should be a good excuse to get more than a few jumps in.   

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(edited)

My 2 cents. It really depends on the group. If you jump with an experienced group they will to some extent tailor to your skills and you will feel you have progressed. If the group has weaker skills you will feel you are stagnating. The best thing to do is to get on coached camps. It is well worth the money. They will always make groups with different skill levels and they will always make the jump challenging but not overwhelming so you will get maximum progression from each dive. It is the best way to learn large formation skydiving.

 

It also depends a lot on your daily form. I know that I make ridiculous mistakes if I get too tired. At this point it becomes a waste of money and I become a risk factor. So monitor yourself.

Edited by Maddingo
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Everything that everyone else said...and:
1. If you can jump with a group of (at least slightly) more experienced jumpers, let them make you the base. That means you get out first (or do a 2-way linked exit) and they come to you. Then you can focus on doing a formation and staying with it and even turn some points. That will tremendously increase your confidence and teach some basic skills, like keeping the fall-rate aligned with the rest of the group, flying your slot when in the formation, not immediately building up tremendous horizontal distance as soon as you let go of your grips, etc.
At this point it's only frustrating to focus on diving to a formation. I'd say that is an advanced skill and not that important right now. Let them dive to you. If you're usually falling faster, and the group has any common sense, you should be the base anyway. (You should never have to try to fly up to the formation. They always should come down to you!)

2. If you can, use your tunnel time wisely. What helped me the most was an actual 2-way belly league, where we competed in 2-way formations in the tunnel. If no one organizes such a league in your area, simply find a friend with similar (or better) skills, go to https://www.tunnelflight.com/competitions/draw-generator , create some 2-way draws and see how many points you can do in a 2-minute segment. If you keep doing that, you'll be surprised how much you will improve (of course, if a coach can watch you and give you tips, that will be even much better!)

3. Look for any opportunity to get some serious 4-way training: Skydive Arizona has a "Rookie Roundup" twice a year for newer jumpers (under 200) where you can fly with some of the world's best; or find a beginner 4-way camp, etc.

 

Like everyone said: At 100 jumps and with your infrequent jumping schedule, you shouldn't be expecting to be much further ahead...YET!!!!

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currently you are NOT current!  Yes is the sense of being current for your license, but to echo the group, JUMP MORE! 

I also think the tunnel is wasting your jump time at this level of your progression... It's a great tool, but doesn't teach you how to skydive in the true sense of the word. IMO! 

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As others have said, you’re not current, not even close.

Look at the upside. You were above the formation, not below. As long as you have altitude, you’ll figure out how to get down. When you’are well below, a lot tougher.

Get back in the tunnel and work on fall rates.

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