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rocky-dives

Beginner fear and self doubt

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I was just wondering how you know if you’re cut out for this sport? Is there any way you can tell if you’re going to be decent at it?
I am planning on doing AFF in Dec, as I’m getting PRK eye surgery and will need to be fully recovered before I sign up for the course. But the lag time now is causing me to over-think my suitability for the sport and I’m literally starting to develop a serious case of self-doubt that I’ve never had before.

Though I’ve mentioned this in previous posts, I’ll give you some context. My first tandem (last year) was incredible. I had a great rapport with the TM and didn’t experience any nervousness throughout.
The second tandem (this past May) was both good and bad. I loved it just as much as my first, but I had moments of nervousness on exit.
Also due to being on hold all day (strong winds) before the jump, I was tired by the time we went up; consequently my TM and I didn’t quite gel (though he was amazing, there just wasn’t an instant rapport), and my cameraman seemed bored (nice, but he just looked fed up, perhaps from being on hold as well), so the ride up was a lot less exciting for me.
I think all those bits added to my nervousness on exit, given that during my first jump everyone was happy and pumped up and that filled me with confidence.
Anyway, 2nd jump went well, I was more body aware, I arched, I really enjoyed the freefall (as well as the silence of being under canopy), and best of all, I read the altimeter on the TM’s hand and braced myself for the opening.

That experience of reading the altimeter is the thing that now fills me with fear. During and after the jump, I was really proud of being alert enough to read the altimeter and for preparing myself for the opening.
However, my video shows a look of fear on my face in the 5 seconds prior to the opening. You can literally see me go from a huge smile when reading the altimeter to a very serious (and scared?) look while he pulls. I don’t know why I looked scared in those few seconds; I have no recollection of being afraid.

However, now I’m thinking if I was afraid on a tandem, how do I know that I won’t mess up on my AFF?
I don’t want to be that dunce that hurts someone else by screwing up.
I’ve been involved in a lot of extreme sports (aggressive skating, rock climbing, competitive weight lifting) but none of those sports require quite the same focus as skydiving. I honestly don’t know whether I’d be able to think quickly enough during a malfunction to do what’s required. It’s only a few seconds to make a life or death decision.

The thing is, I really loved both jumps. I genuinely loved them. I’m just not sure now if I should to do the occasional tandem when money permits, or if I should go full steam ahead and pursue it as a sport. Everything in my gut tells me to go for AFF because I will be so happy, but there’s a little uncertainty in the back of my mind that reminds me that I could kill myself and others if I’m not on the ball.

Is what I’m experiencing now normal? I’ve read threads here about general fear on exiting the plane, but did any of you experience self-doubt with regards to whether you’re smart enough and quick enough to handle a bad situation?

Sorry this post has turned out much longer than I meant it to. :$

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rocky-dives

did any of you experience self-doubt with regards to whether you’re smart enough and quick enough to handle a bad situation?



Yes.

Still.

Given the history of the sport, where a lot of smart, quick people have found themselves not quite smart or quick enough, I think my self-doubt is justified.

This doesn't make me (or you) a bad skydiver, but it does make us want to be very well prepared, and never get complacent. I think that is a good result.
--
"I'll tell you how all skydivers are judged, . They are judged by the laws of physics." - kkeenan

"You jump out, pull the string and either live or die. What's there to be good at?

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It's a fine line - too little fear and you are complacent, too much and you're like a deer in headlights freezing up and not thinking.

I suggest judging the sport by the size of your smile AFTER a jump, many of us are really nervous before or after a long break.

You've got nearly six months before AFF, but if you let the local instructors know why you are waiting (surgery), there's no reason you couldn't hang at the dz, learn to pack watch the students and soak it all up. The more prepared you are, the more relaxed and confident you'll be.
Experienced jumper - someone who has made mistakes more often than I have and lived.

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Post your video! :P
My first jumps were filled with fear a bit too much, because I prepared myself for this "overcoming" of said fear. But after a few jumps I understood that I didn't come here to be afraid, but to have fun, made conscious effort to stay relaxed (slow breathing, smiling, not rushing etc) and it developed into a very comfortable process. I started to enjoy the ride to altitude instead of waiting for it to finally end. Psychology and fear is not something we should turn away from, but rather face it and solve the problems, just like that. As for the understanding the dangers involved, it's a personal thing, every person accepts different levels of risk. You have to trust your training to be confident, yes. Training prepares you for the majority of difficult situations and is aimed to reduce the influence of unpredictable. And unpredictable is not limited by skydiving. Good luck :)

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BIGUN

You're normal.
Fear is good.
It keeps us in check and makes sure that we don't become complacent.
Stay afraid, my friends. ;)



+1
The day that I'm not a little scared about jumping is the day that I need to stop jumping.
"I fly because it releases my mind from the tyranny of petty things." - Antoine de Saint-Exupery

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I have a theory that we all got/will get that one jump that makes you think "Is this for me?".
Mine was at jump #6 when I did a bad jump during my solo progression... was scared for a full week (trouble sleeping and all that) I didn't go back to finish my course... till 7 days later. I sucked it up and gave it one more chance and I'm still jumping 2 seasons later.
Maybe that 2nd tandem what "that" jump for you. If it was, great! It will only go uphill from now on.

But remember that when you are gonna do your AFF, you will be in control but also won't be alone (If that make sense).

During a tandem when you realize how high you are or when you have to open, your focus changes from having fun to having to open your parachute. That might have been what your serious face was all about. You just stop focusing on the free fall and focused on the opening to come.

As stupid as it sounds, if you have to remember 1 thing that will help you skydive is this: Breath! When I got told to take 3 deep breath before exiting the plane. Stupid right? It changed everything! Made me more relax which made me more aware which help me make quicker decisions. Which will help you do the same things!

I say don't over think it. The AFF Instructor won't make you jump if you cannot handle it. Being nervous is good...

And hanging out at the DZ when you have a free afternoon and start to have a good relationship around the Drop Zone will make you feel comfortable when time comes to do the course.
Avikus - Packer and Jumper - Hate landing with the plane!

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whether you’re smart enough and quick enough to handle a bad situation?



Replace "smart" and "quick" with "trained" and "sure".

...whether you’re trained enough and sure enough to handle a bad situation?

Most of the time the correct decision before things go totally to pot, is much better than some "quick draw" solution. A properly trained jumper that will adhere to their training does not need to be quick. They need to be sure, and carry out the EPs as trained.

You might reflect on your personal history of how you do in time critical problem situations.
Instructor quote, “What's weird is that you're older than my dad!”

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Wow! I can't believe the number of people who responded and the amazing advice I've been given! Thank you all so much.

I'm feeling a lot better now and am really pumped about doing the course. I would sign up today (I've already saved up the money) if not for the fact that if I do it before surgery, I would need recurrency training. [:/]

Also, I genuinely hadn't considered that I could hang out at the DZ and do something practical like taking a packing course! That sounds brilliant and I'll head out there this weekend to see if it can be arranged.

Thanks again to everyone who replied and the great advice you've given me; I'll be sure to soak all this in.

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Jvx

Stop thinking too much. Go do your AFF then decide how you feel. It's natural, I still get nervous before a jump or a swoop ... No biggie. That's what makes it FRICKEN AWESOME!!!!



Under normal circumstances, I would never agree with this guy.....


His point is a valad one and there is some truth to this...

On the other hand there is no shame in not jumping, this "sport" is not for everyone and some people have yet to learn this. Don't be pushed into circumstances beyond your control cause if every jump is an excruciating mental experience, this mental stress is not a plus!

It is a widely held belief that many very experienced people have had very negative outcomes because no-one is immune from locking up, that said, give jumping a chance, at this point in your life, and for as long as you jump you may learn something that can serve yo well in life?

I do wish some would enlighten us as to how we can "stop thinking too much." I do see this issue as a big problem that as a community we can do better!

C


Good Luck!
But what do I know, "I only have one tandem jump."

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I'm glad you are getting PRK instead of LASIK, good choice.

I had mine done in Sept, the first three days were the most miserable experience of my life, plan on doing nothing but sitting in the darkest room you can possibly find and laying with a towel over your eyes, ideally you will have someone to wait on you hand and foot, the next week after that was aggravating (don't plan on using a computer for more than an hour or two) and it got better from there. I drove during the night of day 5 but I wouldn't recommend that, it was quite scary. Night vision was back to acceptable standards after 2.5 weeks to the point I made a base jump before I even had my 3 week follow up ;) I was back in the air 4 weeks to the day doing tandems again. I used eye drops for two or three months and haven't used them since. Best money ever spent.

Good luck with AFF, have confidence in yourself but always respect the sport.

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Jvx

Stop thinking too much. Go do your AFF then decide how you feel. It's natural, I still get nervous before a jump or a swoop ... No biggie. That's what makes it FRICKEN AWESOME!!!!



Are you an INTP?

Whether you are or not an INTP you think and analyze waaaay too much.

You'll note that I don't have a lot of jumps. That's because I spent most of my time in the sport teaching. A few thousand people. If you were my student I would take you aside and suggest that you stop the analysis and simply do what your instructors are telling you to do.

If you don't trust their knowledge and methods you should stop and take up bowling or stamp collecting.

If you do trust their knowledge and methods you should follow their advice and jump.

Think about the jump afterwards...
Guru312

I am not DB Cooper

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Bernie are you raising the quigly type of argument or suggestion?

There is a lot to be said to "just do it" as compared with being prepared to support another to the max.

The quigly is a five foot long pipe, submerged in 2 feet of water, which in certain instances we motivate others to go thru upside down, and O'H ya lots of mud!

Some can't do it, some can be pushed, some can be lead, and some we are right there to give CPR.

If he loves skydiving so much he will find a way, if he is living in his head then at least he has a taste and some stories to tell and the dream might be better than a bad outcome?

This is the place where many of us want to give encouragement, but on the other hand were not there and the wealth of information when you see a "gripped" student is missing. This is the kind of thing that gives me nightmares....

Kid learning to jump is a process, not without risk, many downplay the risk and concentrate, like a horse with blinders on only one aspect of this sport. You have to decide It's your life!

Asking for advice, as a student with a handful of jumps, wheather its for yo or not is like playing with fire.

If you are actually asking permission, then don't jump!

If your askin how to overcome fear and doubts, well the same answere should apply...

Such is the question you have asked, not so simple HU???

:)
C

I want to add something here:

That being, I'm hearing of this wonderfully brave woman up in Orange MA,... JUMPTOWN who does nothing but tandems and is having a wonderful time doing this. Something like 5 qazillion tandems!!!! She at her spy age is an inspiration for all of us.

Perhaps someone can get up to date and accurate information but personally I think this woman needs and deserves some recognition in the skydiving community.

I'm sure at some point she had doubts as well????

But what do I know, "I only have one tandem jump."

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Guru312

***Stop thinking too much. Go do your AFF then decide how you feel. It's natural, I still get nervous before a jump or a swoop ... No biggie. That's what makes it FRICKEN AWESOME!!!!



Are you an INTP?

Whether you are or not an INTP you think and analyze waaaay too much.

You'll note that I don't have a lot of jumps. That's because I spent most of my time in the sport teaching. A few thousand people. If you were my student I would take you aside and suggest that you stop the analysis and simply do what your instructors are telling you to do.

If you don't trust their knowledge and methods you should stop and take up bowling or stamp collecting.

If you do trust their knowledge and methods you should follow their advice and jump.

Think about the jump afterwards...

I have always found that when training is drilled into you . you follow that training when the shit hits the fan. never happened to me in skydiving cause I have done fuck all jumps but in my job the style of training is the same .. (ie drilled into you) so you do it without thinking. So by the time you jump AFF you will have so much drilled into you. you would handle a mal no problems. Of course there is some risk

You will be fine good luck.(a great adventure and good people await you)
I tend to be a bit different. enjoyed my time in the sport or is it an industry these days ??

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Guru312

***Stop thinking too much. Go do your AFF then decide how you feel. It's natural, I still get nervous before a jump or a swoop ... No biggie. That's what makes it FRICKEN AWESOME!!!!



Are you an INTP?



Not that you were asking me but I'm and INTJ and I'm really good at making my own life a living hell in my own mind. Most days I wish I could just shut it all off. :/

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Not that you were asking me but I'm and INTJ and I'm really good at making my own life a living hell in my own mind. Most days I wish I could just shut it all off. :/



I can imagine. I'm an INTP and the OP sounds like one also. You can understand why I asked. Both INTP/INTJ all think WAY too much. Analysis paralysis.

One poster up thread suggested to go with drilled-in training. I agree with that. This sport doesn't allow much time for analysis when something goes wrong.
Guru312

I am not DB Cooper

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EVERYONE is scared at first. Some more than others. If you continue in that sport the fear will subside. From that point on you need the fear to change to RESPECT. For some that fear changes to a CASUAL attitude. They usually biff.

Quit over-thinking, have fun, enjoy the jumps. Every jump will seem different in some form or another.

steveOrino

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fanya

I'm glad you are getting PRK instead of LASIK, good choice.

I had mine done in Sept, the first three days were the most miserable experience of my life, plan on doing nothing but sitting in the darkest room you can possibly find and laying with a towel over your eyes, ideally you will have someone to wait on you hand and foot, the next week after that was aggravating (don't plan on using a computer for more than an hour or two) and it got better from there. I drove during the night of day 5 but I wouldn't recommend that, it was quite scary. Night vision was back to acceptable standards after 2.5 weeks to the point I made a base jump before I even had my 3 week follow up ;) I was back in the air 4 weeks to the day doing tandems again. I used eye drops for two or three months and haven't used them since. Best money ever spent.

Good luck with AFF, have confidence in yourself but always respect the sport.



It was from reading related threads on here that I figured out Lasik would be the poorer option and PRK would be better suited to my general lifestyle (with or without jumping, I play a lot of sport). Thankfully, my ophthalmologist agreed with me! :)Thank you so much for this description of the healing process; it's not something you get to hear about firsthand very often, so I really appreciate it.

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Everyone is making valid points and this is precisely the type of discussion I have in my own head. It's funny to see the same echoed here.

But, in the end, I know that I enjoyed my tandems enough for me to save up the money for AFF. I know a part of me loves this sport. It's my tendency to over-think things (very guilty of this :$) that has got me doubting myself.

So, for now at least, I will see about getting a packing course done and meeting people at the DZ so that I can get more of a feel for things.
I'm also certain that I'll be doing AFF. If I find it brings me the same joy, then I hope to pursue the sport further. If it turns out I'm not cut out for it, I'll walk away with a handful of wonderful memories and hopefully some new friends.

Maybe I'll take up meditation and practice breathing exercises while I wait to start the course! ;):D

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