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Gators1240

Evaluating Personal Ability

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I am very new to the sport and dont consider myself an expert or having "mad skillz" or anything like that but I am curious how people evaluate their own personal skill level relative to experience. I know there is a metric ass ton that I still need to learn but the more jumps I do it seems to me like I may be progressing faster than other people I have seen.

For example this past weekend I did a group tracking dive and as far as jump numbers go I was by far the most inexperienced. My track was pretty fast and I had to slow down considerably so that I didnt leave the group behind.

We did some formation loads as well which most funneled out the door and myself and a few others stayed away and waited for the base to try and reform which never happened.

I had a blast on every jump and will continue to do so regardless of the skill level of people im jumping with but it does seem to me that im getting better with different things and I was wondering if it would be too taboo with my low jump numbers to suggest advice to more experienced jumpers about things I have done to improve certain abilities.

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For example this past weekend I did a group tracking dive and as far as jump numbers go I was by far the most inexperienced. My track was pretty fast and I had to slow down considerably so that I didnt leave the group behind.



A group tracking dive isn't about your fastest track, it's about your control and range tracking ...
"That looks dangerous." Leopold Stotch

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Personally, being that you admit you have a lot to learn(which obviously i do as well) I think you should just learn what you can and not worry about how fast you are progressing. Learn everything you can about this sport and just have fun with it.

My first concern is about whether or not my last skydive was a safe one and i evaluate how i can improve on that. Then i worry about how i performed in said skydive in comparison to my personal ability.

As far as tracking goes though, some people can track fast. A fast tracker isn't necessarily a good tracker. As a poster said above, a tracking dive isnt about speed but maintaining control during the track.

Also, IMO, being concerned with whether or not you're better than someone at something only leads to a skygod mentality. Also, there's pretty much always someone better than you.:P
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, all used up, and loudly proclaiming: Wow, what a ride!

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..but it does seem to me that im getting better with different things and I was wondering if it would be too taboo with my low jump numbers to suggest advice to more experienced jumpers about things I have done to improve certain abilities.



If they are within a range near you in jumps/experience, feel free. If they are significantly more experienced time/jump wise, go ahead, but be prepared to be laughed at/brushed off.

Also, consider that you really aren't as good as you think you are. Next weekend may easily prove that.

Not trying to be an ass, just some food for thought.

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Volunteer to be in the base next time, see if you are the skill they need to pull it off!;)

As for giving pointers? simply ask if they would like an opinion from someone that saw it from outside...But be prepared to get shot down....

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I went on my first tracking dive maybe 60 jumps ago. The group knew there were inexperienced jumpers on the dive and inherently slowed it down without saying anything. I felt like I did pretty good for my first tracking dive! The next jump they told everybody it would be a bit faster then the last. Thinking I would have no problem keeping up, I was completely left in the dust and looked like an idiot. Bottom line-you don't even know what you don't know.

Get in the tunnel with a good coach that challenges you and you will realize how much you have to learn. At 48 jumps I would say you should keep your advice to yourself, and only worry about yourself as you have maybe 45 mins of working time in the air. We are both newbies and at this stage we should be only asking for advice, not giving it out.
And for the record: the appropriate ranking of cool modes of transportation is jet pack, hover board, transporter, Batmobile, and THEN giant ant.
D.S. #8.8

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My track was pretty fast and I had to slow down considerably so that I didnt leave the group behind.



Tracking dives are not typically flown at full speed. If they were, the flyers would no ability to close in on the base, or fly realtive to it. The idea is to fly the dive at a moderate speed so jumpers can catch up to the base, and then have power in reserve so they can manuver around the base.

When was the last time you flew on an RW jump where every one arched their hardest and fell as fast as they could? Never, you fall at a comfotable mid-range speed. Same idea.

You have more to learn than you know. You want a metric? Try this one - if you're healthy enough after a jump to pack up and make another, you're doing good. That's the one I use everyday, and it's served me well.

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I was wondering if it would be too taboo with my low jump numbers to suggest advice to more experienced jumpers about things I have done to improve certain abilities.



If they have far more jumps than your 48, then giving advice to them is a bad idea. Odds are there are plenty of things you don't know yet, and you'll get branded as a "100 jump wonder", and people will say bad things about you.

Just stay humble. Jump. Improve. And in a few years, you'll realize how darned little you knew back then, and how you had no business giving experienced jumpers advice.

Then your day will eventually come, and after you've proven yourself to be a safe and reliable performer in the air, then people will start to ask you questions, and you can start to offer your opinions, without fear of sounding stupid.

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For example this past weekend I did a group tracking dive and as far as jump numbers go I was by far the most inexperienced. My track was pretty fast and I had to slow down considerably so that I didnt leave the group behind.



A group tracking dive isn't about your fastest track, it's about your control and range tracking ...


It could also be about looking your competitor in the eyes as you're tracking side by side, going past 2500 ft to see who's gonna chicken out and come in as first loser. After deployment you'll get a stack together with your <100 sq.ft. HP canopies just in time to do a two way hook turn and turf surf the shit out of everyone else on the load.

I would pay to see that :)

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While tracking is a skill that is a must-have, it just depends on the circumstances and the type of dive you're doing that determines the effort and precision you need to put into the tracking.

Back in the day I was one of the fastest trackers out there. I could zoom like a bat out of hell on break-off. Ask anybody that remembers jumping with me back in the 90's. Nowadays, tracking is seen as a skill that needs to be coordinated with other jumpers on the dive, especially where under-tracking or over-tracking could cause problems.

If I'm not mistaken, on certain big ways (with no other groups on the load) where you have a slot on the outside edge, if the plan doesn't require group tracking at first, then yeah, track the fuck out of there as fast as you can, but flat-track. Don't dive down. Ultimately, always consult with the dive leader/organizer on what he/she wants you to do.
"Mediocre people don't like high achievers, and high achievers don't like mediocre people." - SIX TIME National Champion coach Nick Saban

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What you think happened may not be what really occurred. Instead of giving advice to a more experienced person, one possibility is to approach them with a question about whatever it is, stating what you believe you saw, and asking if (insert your advice here) might have been a way to go about it. Hopefully they'll discuss with you what they saw taking place, and go over the viability of your take with you as well. At almost 300 jumps, I still somtimes watch video of a jump I'm on which shows me that my perception of something that took place isn't always what actually happened ... LOL!

As for the title of your post ... aside from attempting an honest self eval, what I like to do in order to get a realistic idea of my own performance is to ask a few people whose opinions I value and I jump with frequently to tell me what they think I need to work on. Of course, I get different answers from the different folks, but it sure helps me have a better feel for how I'm really doing and what I most need to improve at the given point in time. You just have to be clear that you aren't fishing for compliments and would like them to give you their honest opinion, and most seem more than willing to help. Sometimes it will be stuff you already know you need to address, and sometimes it will be something that you hadn't noticed or just had not occurred to you.
As long as you are happy with yourself ... who cares what the rest of the world thinks?

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"....I was wondering if it would be too taboo with my low jump numbers to suggest advice to more experienced jumpers about things I have done to improve certain abilities."
****************************************

Exactly what have you done to "improve certain abilities" and how much more experienced are these other jumpers you want to help?

Are you certain your skills are better or is it just your perception? Has anyone with a lot of experience (1000 or more jumps) commented on your abilities?

When my son was at your jump numbers he had some pretty good skills. Far better than most with 50 jumps. But I told him to keep his advice to himself unless others asked him for it.

After a while his rapid skill improvement was evident and more and more young jumpers started asking for advice, even people with two or three times his jump numbers.

He was glad he waited.

Unsolicited advice is often perceived as cockiness.
Be the canopy pilot you want that other guy to be.

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".

Unsolicited advice is often perceived as cockiness.



+1 on that. I was jumpin one day, and when i landed (a nice stand up, as they all are) , another jumper (sub 200) came over and tried to tell me what i was doing wrong on my landing. Really a buzzkill after a nice jump.

to the OP. giving advice to someone and having it pay off for them can be a rewarding feeeling.but you shouldnt be giving it to other skydivers with more jumps then you. You got to remember most skydivers have delicate egos. the best way to do this is go after your coach rating and help students.

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First off I never intended this to really be about whether I should or should not give advice, that kind of just came out in the end a little bit. I am not looking to blatenly go up to people and tell them they are doing things wrong/need to change anything it was just kind of a side thought (I tend to drift off and stray a little when im posting things). And the advice I was really referring to wouldnt have been my own but passing on advice that was given to me by more experienced jumpers and helped me improve.

I make no claims whatsover to say that I am great in anything regarding skydiving or that I know more about anything than someone else does. I know I am inexperienced and have a ton to learn.

Regarding the tracking jump yes I realize that the purpose is not speed and because I was faster on that specific jump doesnt mean anything. I simply noticed what I believed to be a big improvement on my tracking(althought I could be wrong). The weekend before I did a bunch of tracking dives with a group of really good trackers and got left in the dust. This past weekend my track seemed faster (could just be relative to the group) and much flatter (before this one I was dropping out, and now I kept level).

Since I started skydiving I have been told by many people that I was picking it up very fast (yes including people with over 1000 jumps). This thread may lead you to believe I am developing a skygod complex but its actually quite the opposite. I am a bit of a perfectionist and criticize my own ability much more than anyone else does which tends to make me think I am a lot worse off than I usually am (after my first 6 AFF levels I thought I had failed each one of them but passed and on one of them I didnt really get a debrief and was just told "that was perfect, get ready for the next one").

What I am really just looking for is someway to tell what I am lacking in and what I am doing well in so I know which areas I really need to concentrate on.

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What I am really just looking for is someway to tell what I am lacking in and what I am doing well in so I know which areas I really need to concentrate on.



If you're jumping with an organizer, ask for feedback. Ask a lot of questions when you're planning the skydive. "So if I'm in the rear float slot, what am I trying to do on exit?" Once you get a little more experience you can phrase them as confirmation questions "So on rear float I want to leave a hair early and drop straight down? Is that right for this exit?"

Talk to organizers and people you're jumping with about things you want to work on. If you're often in the base and want to practice diving, say that, but also ask questions about what you need to know as a diver, and ask for feedback. If every time you do a donut the piece ends up spinning, one or more people in the donut is doing it wrong ... ask about how to prevent that. There's a bunch of examples I could come up with, but really it's just a matter of looking at what worked and didn't and trying to understand why what didn't work didn't work and doing it better the next time. As those things become easy, figure out what the next, harder move is and try that.
"There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences." -P.J. O'Rourke

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First off I never intended this to really be about whether I should or should not give advice, that kind of just came out in the end a little bit. I am not looking to blatenly go up to people and tell them they are doing things wrong/need to change anything it was just kind of a side thought (I tend to drift off and stray a little when im posting things). And the advice I was really referring to wouldnt have been my own but passing on advice that was given to me by more experienced jumpers and helped me improve.

I make no claims whatsover to say that I am great in anything regarding skydiving or that I know more about anything than someone else does. I know I am inexperienced and have a ton to learn.

Regarding the tracking jump yes I realize that the purpose is not speed and because I was faster on that specific jump doesnt mean anything. I simply noticed what I believed to be a big improvement on my tracking(althought I could be wrong). The weekend before I did a bunch of tracking dives with a group of really good trackers and got left in the dust. This past weekend my track seemed faster (could just be relative to the group) and much flatter (before this one I was dropping out, and now I kept level).

Since I started skydiving I have been told by many people that I was picking it up very fast (yes including people with over 1000 jumps). This thread may lead you to believe I am developing a skygod complex but its actually quite the opposite. I am a bit of a perfectionist and criticize my own ability much more than anyone else does which tends to make me think I am a lot worse off than I usually am (after my first 6 AFF levels I thought I had failed each one of them but passed and on one of them I didnt really get a debrief and was just told "that was perfect, get ready for the next one").

What I am really just looking for is someway to tell what I am lacking in and what I am doing well in so I know which areas I really need to concentrate on.



(I stopped readingat "i'm picking it up fast"

NOT to demenish what you are saying. actually quiet the opposite....

Good for you, some learn faster , I filmed Chris Erwins level one , we ALL told him, you are a natural...he has proved it , not to take away from all his hard work to get where he is, he LIved, Breathed, Ate skydiving , to be where he is...it just made his first 200 jumps easier than most people..

Don't let that go to your head, just ask for pointers from those that say you are ahead of the game, on how to get better...focus on your own goals....

(I am the king of typos, and did not proof read)

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I simply noticed what I believed to be a big improvement on my tracking



Good for you.

Don't take this the wrong way, but if you're not seeing big improvements, you're doing something wrong. The nice thing about knowing close to nothing and having everything to learn is that it's not hard to top your last performance, or notice something new on every jump.

That's the nature of the learning curve, very steep in the beginning, and then tapering off to more of a gentle slope down the road a bit. Think about it, if you have 50 jumps right now, that's twice the jumps you had when you got your A license. Even though it was only 25 jumps ago, you've doubled your jumps since then, and should expect to see a vast improvement in your skills.

To put that into perspective, I have had several occasions where I have done 50+ jumps in a week. While I may have had a ton of fun, I'm sure that I learned less in those 50 jumps than you learned in the last 25.

What you are feeling is the brith of a tiny little 100-jump wonder in your brain. That's where it begins, with the steep learning curve, and mountain of new information and experiences you have in front of you, and sooner or later you start to get 'ahead' of yourself. Get too far out there, and you get hurt or turn into a dickhead. Keep it in check, and it serves as an internal motivator, pushing you to try harder and do better, while your good sense remembers that you're the F'n new guy.

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I simply noticed what I believed to be a big improvement on my tracking



Good for you.

Don't take this the wrong way, but if you're not seeing big improvements, you're doing something wrong. The nice thing about knowing close to nothing and having everything to learn is that it's not hard to top your last performance, or notice something new on every jump.

That's the nature of the learning curve, very steep in the beginning, and then tapering off to more of a gentle slope down the road a bit. Think about it, if you have 50 jumps right now, that's twice the jumps you had when you got your A license. Even though it was only 25 jumps ago, you've doubled your jumps since then, and should expect to see a vast improvement in your skills.

To put that into perspective, I have had several occasions where I have done 50+ jumps in a week. While I may have had a ton of fun, I'm sure that I learned less in those 50 jumps than you learned in the last 25.

What you are feeling is the brith of a tiny little 100-jump wonder in your brain. That's where it begins, with the steep learning curve, and mountain of new information and experiences you have in front of you, and sooner or later you start to get 'ahead' of yourself. Get too far out there, and you get hurt or turn into a dickhead. Keep it in check, and it serves as an internal motivator, pushing you to try harder and do better, while your good sense remembers that you're the F'n new guy.



Thank you.

That actually makes a ton of sense and really puts things in a perspective that I never really thought of.

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A lot of different topics and skills being discussed.

The measurement for all of them is this - know that you
can safely execute the skill in all conditions before
pushing forward.

Formations ? Learn the breakoff pattern, how to get up
when going low, how to do safe approaches and docks.
Do these skills in 3 and 4-ways before doing them on 8 and then 12-ways.

Canopy piloting ? Land your current canopy in a 4mph downwind before downsizing. (You'll do that one day on an off-landing)

Whatever it is, do it well small before going big.

People need to realize that there is no rush.
Especially if it is a rush to claim a skill that cannot be done correctly and safely.

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Since I started skydiving I have been told by many people that I was picking it up very fast (yes including people with over 1000 jumps).



Maybe you are, maybe they are just encouraging you.

The best way to determine your skill in relation to others is competition... Anything else is subjective.

And at 50 jumps there is still so much going on that you are not picking up on.. So best to keep your advice to yourself.
"No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms." -- Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Jefferson Papers, 334

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