Natural Skydivers

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I have written a number of books on peak performance and success, and six weeks ago had a new book come out, based around the mindset of champion golfers. (Whoa don't flame me yet, I will get to the point pronto!)

I wanted to explore why those consistent winners were able to perform at their best when the pressure was at its greatest. You can easily make the analogy for competition skydiving.

The conclusion is that the top performers under pressure
focus on outcome not process. Which is consistent with the top freeflyers when I ask them how they transition, they generally tell you they do it without thinking.

Secondly they have immense self confidence, they are not arrogant, but have great faith in their ability to execute the shot (in golf) or move in skydiving.
But it was the third aspect I found the most revealing it appears that they get into the present moment (the zone) where time stands still and there is no emotion, they are not thinking they are just doing. The reason I ask this, is I am curious about the following and would like some feedback as I am thinking of writing an article for skydivers, based on these principles. So my questions is

Do you find the best skydivers of all disciplines get beyond thinking, or are they very self aware?

Second question have you met any natural skydivers who got worse with too much instruction?

I have found when I tried to freefly I had a head full of do's and dont's and was trying too hard, which I now believe is the wrong state of mind.

I am not plugging the golf book (no title given) just want to give some background as to why I am curious.

"Bought a new fancy top of the range vacuum last week. Man it sucks!!!"

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I don't like the word "natural".

Although there is a certain level of talent, most of the accomplishment is a result of a lot of hard work and practice.

Coaching gets you the fundamentals, and even the best at any activity get continuous coaching to improve and refine their technique and correct any bad habits that have crept in.

But without a lot of hard work and practice they don't get good and stay good.

To use your own golf analogy - How much does Tiger Woods practice? (Hint - how well did he do recently with all the other crap cutting into his practice time?)

And the self confidence they have isn't arrogance if you can do it. I have a great deal of skill at a certain activity that I can't mention outside of SC.
I can repeatedly place a small lead lump where I want it. With either hand, using one or two hands, without a rest, at ranges out to 100 yards.

I have been doing it long enough that I don't have to conciously think about the fundamentals. I don't have the "head full of do's and don'ts" to interfere with my concentration.
The self awareness is still there. I know where my hands and fingers are on the "thing" and I know exactly where my feet and arms are. I've spent a good deal of time working on proper technique. But I don't have to think about it much anymore. The muscle memory has reached the point that I am free to focus on the "what" rather than the "how".

People have asked "How did you get that good?"

My answer has always been "Practice man, practice".
Or "Simple, come down here twice a week and burn up a box or two. Do that every week for 4 or 5 years and you'll be pretty good too".

My skydiving technique isn't the greatest for that exact reason. I don't have enough practice to be able to focus on the what instead of the how. I have to focus on how to do what I want to do and I screw up a lot.
"There are NO situations which do not call for a French Maid outfit." Lucky McSwervy

"~ya don't GET old by being weak & stupid!" - Airtwardo

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It sounds like you're referring to Elliot's Training and Trusting Mindset principles.

The Training Mindset is used when we are first learning something. We put deliberate thought into what we are doing. We have a very active mind and we put conscious effort into thinking about what we are doing.

The Trusting Mindset is characterized by a very clear mind, when we are sensing the environment and just reacting to it. It feels like a flow state when things are just "happening."

Top elite performers are able to turn on 90% Trusting Mindset and 10% Training Mindset in periods of high pressure. But by practicing the Trusting Mindset, they are able to get there more often. People often resort back to the Training Mindset in situations of high pressure because they are so used to using it.

Think of it this way: When we first started driving, we were in the Training Mindset. "How much pressure do I apply to the gas pedal? When do I start braking?" As we get better at diving, we then drive without thinking (Trusting Mindset). But whenever we see a cop in our rearview mirrors, we resort back to the Training Mindset. "Am I speeding? Did I do anything wrong?"

The key is BALANCE between the two- they are each appropriate during certain times. The trick is knowing when to use what.

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I hadn't heard of Elliot before, but yes.

To expand on your car analogy - at first we think "I have to lift my foot off the gas, move it to the left and press on the brake".
As we gain experience, we simply think "STOP!!!" and the correct movements come naturally.

One of my training tools is to locate my "spot", then close my eyes, and perform the actions necessary to act on that spot (without actually acting on it). Then open my eyes and see how close I would have been. If I can trust myself enough to be "on" with my eyes closed, then I'm doing pretty well.
"There are NO situations which do not call for a French Maid outfit." Lucky McSwervy

"~ya don't GET old by being weak & stupid!" - Airtwardo

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