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skydude2000

How to rekindle/bolster interest in 4-way/ FS

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Posted (edited)

Hi everyone!

I'm sure similar topics have been posted before, I guess maybe call this more if a vent/rant, looking for suggestions.

My 20th anniversary was this past June, got just over 700 jumps in that time. I've focused almost entirely on belly/4-way FS. I'd say the last 5 years or so, it has been increasingly difficult to find people to jump with. Most of my friends that I usually jump with, have recently taken to learning FF and spending tons of money on tunnel to get good at it. I don't feel like I've mastered belly or 4-way yet, and I have a physical disability that I had surgery on my right foot to correct. I've spent about an hour in the tunnel SPECIFICALLY trying to learn backflying, and the best I've been able to do is stay stable enough to not kill anyone in there. I have almost 90 minutes left of prepaid time in the tunnel to use up, once they reopen. I have my doubts that would be enough to make me safe at back or sitflying, even with top notch coaching. 

To make matters worse, my home DZ was evicted last year, still looking for a new home. So the handful of places I've visited since, seem to focus on getting people freeflying asap, which means most of the people interested in doing jumps with me are people who just got their license or have <100 jumps.  Nothing wrong with that sometimes, and I do enjoy it, but it would be nice to occasionally jump with people who have a similar experience level. There HAVE been some organized bigger-way belly jumps at the new DZ that I've been jumping at, BUT because I'm so uncurrent, I've been reluctant to join these big groups for fear of blowing it for everyone. I organized a 4-way scrambles at my old home DZ almost 10 years ago now; it went well, but had a lower turnout than I was hoping for, and the ONE thing I didn't plan for, was incentives/prizes for camera-flyers. It also KIND OF felt like the only reason people were competing, was for the prizes; "Oh yeah, I'll take a break from sitflying or camera for tandems to win a gift certificate for a new canopy or container!!". They weren't REALLY interested in learning, doing or competing in 4-way. 

Apologies for the long-winded rant. Anyway, does anyone have any suggestions for how I can convince more experienced jumpers to stay interested in FS or 4-way, get over my reluctance to get on/screw up big way jumps, or convince newer jumpers to stick with and get good at belly/FS before they decide they want to flail around on their head, geeking a camera? 

 

Thanks all, and blue skies!!

Edited by skydude2000

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What you’re expressing is sort of like asking how to get more people interested in Style & Accuracy or 10-Way Speed Star or CRW. The culture and interest of drop zones change as new disciplines are introduced. The reason for this is people are always looking for new and fresh things to do as well as people look up to the top of the skill food chain and take cues from them. Whatever they are doing is often what people strive to do.

People get interested in skydiving for myriad reasons. Often it is for friendship and connection with like minded people. If the people they are drawn to are focused on a specific discipline, they will want to do that discipline to be a part of that group. 

What discipline a drop zone focuses on is an issue of drop zone culture. At most drop zones, the cool kids aren’t doing 4-Way. There are some that do have a large contingent of people focused on 4-Way, but, for the most part, the cool kids are “free-flying.”

So, how do you get more experienced jumpers interested in 4-Way? Well, that depends on how much energy you want to spend pushing a large rock up a hill. What you could ask is, “what am I trying to accomplish by participating in this hobby?”

If you enjoy 4-Way and want to improve in RW, convincing experienced skydivers to get on your 4-way train is probably the most difficult way to accomplish your goal. The good news is there is a way for you to accomplish your goal and that’s to work with new skydivers as they progress to whatever is their ultimate goal. Belly Skydiving skills are a pre-requisite for all other disciplines.

I suggest you embrace working with new skydivers and coach them through this Basic Belly Flying Progression. If they spend 30-minutes in the tunnel and go through the Kinesthesia Dive Program in the air with you, they will be very competent skydivers by the time they hit 100 jumps. This will give you the ability to improve your skills, make new friends and give you a new found purpose at the DZ.

The other option, if it’s available, is to choose a DZ where the culture embraces 4-Way and FS. Lastly, instead of having a home DZ, you can find other like minded belly flyers and travel and do mini-camps with them.

I hope this helps. Good luck!

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13 hours ago, BMAC615 said:

I suggest you embrace working with new skydivers

Absolutely. If you don't have the skydivers you want, make them. I started a 4-way team with 2 teammates who had under 100 jumps.

 

13 hours ago, BMAC615 said:

The other option, if it’s available, is to choose a DZ where the culture embraces 4-Way and FS. Lastly, instead of having a home DZ, you can find other like minded belly flyers and travel and do mini-camps with them.

Yup, sometimes you have to travel to do the discipline you want. I just got into CRW recently, and it looks like pretty much 100% of my CRW jumps will require travel.

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10 hours ago, nwt said:

Absolutely. If you don't have the skydivers you want, make them. I started a 4-way team with 2 teammates who had under 100 jumps.

 

Yup, sometimes you have to travel to do the discipline you want. I just got into CRW recently, and it looks like pretty much 100% of my CRW jumps will require travel.

The skydiving world could use more people doing what you are doing. Great work!

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14 hours ago, BMAC615 said:

The skydiving world could use more people doing what you are doing. Great work!

Thanks! I had less than 100 jumps when I joined my first team last year, so I guess I'm paying it forward

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(edited)

How to revive four way? Well, consider why 4 way even started. Mostly because it works well on small DZs with Cessna 182s. So, go back to a 182 DZ. But most of those are now tandem mills.

Edited by gowlerk
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The dropzone I started jumping at had a policy of sponsoring the coach slot for any junior/intermediate 4-way team that would regularly train.  This meant a lot of coaches, particuarly in non selection years, would do a lower level team. Takes some investment from the DZ but means you get a lot more jumpers reguarly training.

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