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laughn_gas

Confident day Vs. Fear

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Hello everyone! I'm having some trouble with some issues and need some of your suggestions.
I just failed my level 6 jump and am feeling very dissappointed in my self. I'm going to try to be as accurate as possible so bare with my babble and bad spelling.
I live up North so the days of skydiving are coming to a close for the season soon. I planned to go last Sunday and was all excited about it. I woke up in the morning only to have fear about the task I was going to have to do for my next level ( diving exit ). I forced my self to get in my truck and start driving to the DZ. On my way the sky was clouding up and thought I was going to be off the hook. Perfect excuse right? Nope. I forced myself to keep driving. As the miles ticked closer to my destination my mind was racing with thoughts of failure. Failure of my next level. The fear of locking up and not being able to save my own life. Feeling embarassed.... Just thoughts like that racing throught my head.
I finally got to the DZ only to sit in the parking lot for 15 min. before I forced myself to go in. I go in to find another student, that I have made friends with, to be there. There was some sort of comfort to that. I was going to talk about some of the feelings I was having only to learn he had a cutaway a week earlier. THANKS FOR MAKING ME FEEL BETTER DUDE!
Well,that was it! I'm not jumping today. An hour passed as I was just thinking I was going to BS with everyone. The jump master came in and asked if I was ready to go. And before I could come up with a lame ass excuse, he called manifest and put me on the next load. My stomach dropped and the ol' mind started racing. As my mind was racing,so was I to get my gear and do a gear check, Find my jumpsuit, get all my crap out of my bag and put it on. As I was tripping all over myself to get suited up he asked why I had not done all this when I first got here. The only reply I could come up with was,"Uhhhhh? I don't know." We went over my skydive to find out that I was going to be doing the same dive I had been doing. Very basic, right? Nope! I got myself so worked up all day that I boched it. As we were going over my landing pattern I was confused and saw everything backwards. Mind clearity was not there, Which I think is the most important thing. I do not want to hurt myself or anyone else. Anyhow, I finally got my landing pattern down and up we went. This was the first time I was jumping with this particular jumpmaster and somehow that added to my nervousness. I don't know why, but it did. I jump and got disoriented as I was on my back, but held my composure and arched. My PTO's are awful ( i keep spinning 360 ). And when I did pull, It too was pathetic,but the happiest part of my day when I saw that canopy above my head, even though I had to do alot of kicking to get out of all that line twist. When we got done going over my skydive, he said "lets try it again." Nope dude I'm going home and away I went. I felt I went home more out of self dissapointment than fear.
Here are my questions:
1) Are these feelings normal? I know that I'm brand new at this, but will it get to be more of a routine thing?
2) Should I only go on those confident days,and stay home on those days that mind clearity is an issue? Or face it head on.
3) Should I have gone up on the next load instead of bailing out and going home?
4) What about the tunnel? Would it help with my PTO's and backslideing? Will it boost confidence in freefall?
5) Since my season is basically over, do you think it will be like starting from scratch in the spring?

Just want to say thanks for the replies in advance. It's great to have a forum here to get others opinions.
Again sorry for the spelling!
See ya in a minute. Peace out!

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Here are my questions:
1) Are these feelings normal? I know that I'm brand new at this, but will it get to be more of a routine thing?
2) Should I only go on those confident days,and stay home on those days that mind clearity is an issue? Or face it head on.
3) Should I have gone up on the next load instead of bailing out and going home?
4) What about the tunnel? Would it help with my PTO's and backslideing? Will it boost confidence in freefall?
5) Since my season is basically over, do you think it will be like starting from scratch in the spring?



Yes, these feelings are normal! One thing I was told a number of times is that a lot of it is in the mind (especially if you are an 'achiever" and don't like to fail...) I do think getting ready with plenty of time so you don't have to rush helps; going over your dive plan, all the way from climbout to landing, a number of times helps; practising EPs helps so you know that you know what to do.

Tunnel will help, and may give you extra confidence.

Should you have jumped again? Hard question to answer. There were times I felt the same as you and didn't; and there were times I pushed myself through. I have to say, on those ones, I always felt glad I had jumped afterwards. But - imo - if you only jump on "confident" days I suspect you will find those "confident" days become fewer and fewer. I found the best thing to build confidence was to jump - to reach the point where you look forward to the door opening rather than feel your heart lurch into your mouth when it does ;)
Skydiving: wasting fossil fuels just for fun.

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Well Buddy Im sorry to hear that things have been so difficult for you so far, but I feel I can actually give you some advice since me and you are still students and I can relate to the stress you are feeling while going to the DZ.

Believe me it is definetly normal to feel anxious about skydiving, espescially when you are new at it. Everything you are learning in AFF is meant to help you but it also can be very intimidating, since it is all about life and death actions and safety procedures which are meant to keep you safe.

Yes, definetly it gets easier to go jumping at your DZ. In the begining around solo jumps 1-3 I felt downright nauseas about going skydiving and I hated the ride up to altitude since I was so nervous. Now after racking up some more solo jumps and becoming much more comfortable I dream all week about skydiving and cant wait to get geared and have fun in the sky. I know your feeling a lot of pressure now because you want to pass your next levels of AFF but if you simply relax and focus on your tasks at hand and listen to your instructors then you will be fine.

Definetly do not let your feelings keep you grounded on jumping days. Whenever you let your anxieties get the better of you then it will make it harder to focus and concentrate on your next jump. I can assure you that the more you jump the less anxious you will be, I guarantee it.

If it were me I would have gone up on the next load since I always felt better during AFF after landing from a safe jump, which made me want to go again, regardless of if I accomplished all my tasks required. While you may not have felt comfortable with going up again which is fine, (NEVER LET ANYONE TALK YOU INTO A JUMP YOU DONT WANT TO GO ON) you probably should not have gone home. Spending time with your instructors and learning more about safety and procedures even if not jumping will make everything easier as time goes on.

I cant give any advice really about your technique but I have read that Tunnels can provide a safe FEAR free way of honing your skills, so if you can there is no reason to not give that a try to correct your spinning.

I think its usually considered the best option in skydiving to not wait to complete your training. If you know your DZ will be closed before you will finish then you really have no choice but to stop however if you can complete your training before the winter then you should that way you dont have to wait and face all these fears again in a few months.

If you want to gain some confidence about the future then just read about the AFF experiences from some of the most experienced skydivers on these forums. Ive read many times that skydivers with D licenses and 4000+ jumps now have had problems about anxiety and failure of levels multiple times during training. Those skydivers kept on progressing and facing their fears and now they are world class flyers, there is no reason why you cant do the same.

Blue Skies
2 BITS....4 BITS....6 BITS....A DOLLAR!....ALL FOR THE GATORS....STAND UP AND HOLLER!!!!

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I go in to find another student, that I have made friends with, to be there. There was some sort of comfort to that. I was going to talk about some of the feelings I was having only to learn he had a cutaway a week earlier. THANKS FOR MAKING ME FEEL BETTER DUDE!

Here are my questions:
1) Are these feelings normal? I know that I'm brand new at this, but will it get to be more of a routine thing?
2) Should I only go on those confident days,and stay home on those days that mind clearity is an issue? Or face it head on.
3) Should I have gone up on the next load instead of bailing out and going home?
4) What about the tunnel? Would it help with my PTO's and backslideing? Will it boost confidence in freefall?
5) Since my season is basically over, do you think it will be like starting from scratch in the spring?



Ha!Ha! Dan - you are quite welcome! I didnt realize I was adding to your problems - but regardless, let me assure you that when I had to do my EPs for my cutaway, I had no fear only anger that my stupid canopy wasn't performing as expected. And when I landed the reserve, I didnt realize the fear of the situation until people in the hangar started asking me about my cutaway. Some people even suggested I get back on the next load after a cutaway to get over the fear / anxiety and I did - I am glad I did.

For your other questions,

1. Absolutely normal to have fear. That is why I did not purchase the AFP as a set, instead I kept purchasing each level as I cleared the earlier one thinking this was the last level I was going to do and then I am done. Somehow, I could never get over the thrill and fun and here I am - still skydiving. After 10 jumps, I began looking forward to the door opening and getting out. I still hate the ride up and can't wait to be the first one out of the door.

2. Every time I am at the DZ, I look for excuses not to jump. But then when our instructors walk in, I begin to get pumped up and excited and the excuses dont matter.

3 & 4. I am not going to say much since I am a student too and what works for me may not work for you. However the tunnel will help to get you a stable hover during pull time. It did for me.

5. The season isn't over yet. If you are ready to jump in the cold, many instructors would be too. I am not leaving this place until I finish the remaining 3 jumps in my program. Though I may look like a ninja in the sky with only my eyes exposed.

On the rear diving exit, you know how much I hate it. I told you that. But luckily, Dave kept making me do them because when you do formation jumps, rear diving exit is the most important tool. Now even though I am not good at it, I am going to keep performing rear diving exits until I get it right and get comfortable with it.

You know my number, call me to talk if you want. I am going to be at the DZ this weekend, hope to see you there.

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1) Are these feelings normal?

Yes. My last few static line jumps (I made 7 of them) were like that. Gut-wrenching fear that consumed me. It affected my performance. One advantage of S/L is that the window of opportunity to fuck up is much smaller:D, so physical practice really helps
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2) Should I only go on those confident days

I can't answer that one. But if you really want to skydive, you'll probably just go through them until you find a key. Once you find a key, then you'll know when to respect fear. Until then, make a checklist of what's important for you to be able to jump (enough sleep? no hangover? etc), and use it as your guideline. Let your head rule, not your gut.
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3) Should I have gone up on the next load instead of bailing out and going home?

That's in the past. Really. Put it behind you.
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4) What about the tunnel? Would it help with my PTO's and backslideing? Will it boost confidence in freefall?

Almost certainly yes to all of those. It won't do anything about landings, but it'll give you more skills in the air, and more of a sense of control.
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5) Since my season is basically over, do you think it will be like starting from scratch in the spring?

You can try for a wind tunnel trip in there. If you're near a year-round DZ, you can do short jumps (maybe even static lines) to work on canopy skills while it's winter time. That'll make it more familiar, and give you a smaller skill set to work on while it's cold out.

Good luck. Your first question is the most important -- those feelings are completely normal. My fear was so great that I still remember it clearly 31 or more years later. My first freefall cured me. And if you keep jumping, you'll find the magic button too.

Wendy W.
There is nothing more dangerous than breaking a basic safety rule and getting away with it. It removes fear of the consequences and builds false confidence. (tbrown)

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Everything you described up until the actual jump was about what I feel ALL the time. Particularly on the first jump of the day. Until I get in the door of the plane, then I seem to forget everything and I love it. It's kind of a strange feeling. I'll look for excuses not to jump or try and convince myself not to. Sometimes on the plan I even think to myself that I want to land with the plane. As soon as I jump though everythng leaves and I enjoy the rest of the day.

I think for me persoanlly it has a lot to do with my fear of failing. Once I have a successful jump, my confidence is back and I can enjoy it.

Of course, thinking back on it, if I have a bad jump, sometimes I'm like I'm done, no more jumping for me. But once I have a good jump, I love skydiving again and don't want to stop. I was always like why the heck to I feel like this?!

I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks like that though! I hope as I continue to jump more these feelings go away more and more.

*daizey*

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This is my area of specialty, having written a book called Transcending Fear, so I will do anything I can to help you. If you PM me directly, we can talk more specifically about some coping techniques, and perhaps chat on the phone a bit.

Your question:
1) Are these feelings normal? I know that I'm brand new at this, but will it get to be more of a routine thing?

Answer:
First let me say that everyone has a different experience during student status, and many experienced skydivers have similar stories about their first 20 jumps or so. I can think of one good skydiver that used to vimit in between loads while he was a student.

Your Question:
2) Should I only go on those confident days,and stay home on those days that mind clearity is an issue? Or face it head on.

Answer:
You need to face it head on, but in a very different way. By woring yourself into a frenzy, you made it difficult to clear your mind enough to perform correctly. There is a way to bring yourself down to a calm state before making the jump. This requires a long explanation, but I would be happy to talk you through it on the phone. No charge :)

Your Question:
3) Should I have gone up on the next load instead of bailing out and going home?

Answer:
Yes, but not in the same mental state. If you are feeling negative arousal and have not yet developed your methods for coping with deep stress, you will be in dager due to your attitude. Take a walk, sit down and find your pace. When you feel good again, get back in that bird.

Your Question:
4) What about the tunnel? Would it help with my PTO's and backslideing? Will it boost confidence in freefall?

Answer:
Absolutely yes. The tunnel helps to build yor confidence with your ability to fly in freefall, and your percieved ability is ultimately what determines your arousal level during the experience. If, however, your concern stems more from the canopy flight, you should also seek deeper instruction regarding this portion of the jump. Ultimately, it is the landing that results in injuries. This is why it is essential for all skydivers to be good canopy pilots. That process requires a profound understanding of the situation in order to feel safe. I can suggest some good books, as well as a few people who teach great canopy courses.

Your Question
5) Since my season is basically over, do you think it will be like starting from scratch in the spring?

Answer:
Not necessarily. Many jumpers find that although the adrenalin prior to exit is higher when they are not current, they feel fine once they are out of the door. Further, you have all winter to read up and ask questions, which will increase your feeling of safety due to your deeper understanding of the topic.

Knowledge counters fear!

Please PM me and we will talk further.

Sincerely,
Brian Germain


Instructional Videos:www.AdventureWisdom.com
Keynote Speaking:www.TranscendingFEAR.com
Canopies and Courses:www.BIGAIRSPORTZ.com

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Heck yes, it's normal. I have the same problem. One thing that helps me is to just hang out for a while and watch a couple of loads come down. That's helps me calm down.

Don't worry about what other people think. Anyone who has been in the sport for any period of time has seen all kinds of strange reactions to fear. Think of experienced jumpers as being like doctors. No need to be embarassed around them when they see you not at your emotional best.

This sport is all about FEAR, especially at first. Some days you will react to it well and other days you will not. Just like everyone else that is new.

The main thing is to not give up. It will get easier later.

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Very nice offer.

To laughn:gas...

One thing to add from my hindsight: very good idea to ask for opinion here and not keep struggling about it all by your self (or talk only to whuffo friends who suggest you: stop skydiving). Because that is what I did (after reserve ride on AFF 4) and I would have been happy about an offer like that.

The tunnel helps. After I tried backflip and even sitfly in a SkyVenture type tunnel (hard walls) and suffered alot of pain :) I felt so reliefed that there are no walls when skydiving again that I mostly forgot about my fear. B| ok the confidence helped too.

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