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Caipirinha

Tips on improving arching, mainly legs

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Hi all

Currently stuck on level 3. When both instructors release, I tend to turn quite violently to one direction because my legs are not the way they're supposed to be.

Whenever on the ground I perform the arching position, it's all good, in the air it's not...

Any tips on how I can improve by practicing at home? Tunnel time is not an option as it is not available in the near vicinity of where I live.

Thanks!

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Have your instructors suggested "heel clicks"?

If not, ask about them. I'm not going into more detail because I think it is something that should be discussed with your instructor, not a bunch of weirdos online.

It's how I learned to verify leg symmetry.
"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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wolfriverjoe

Have your instructors suggested "heel clicks"?



These helped me tremendously through AFF with my built-in turn.

When you go to tap your feet together, your brain automatically gets your feet on the same "level." Very cool, and helped a lot. Ask about these!
You may never get rid of the butterflies, but you can teach them to fly in formation.

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EChen22

***Have your instructors suggested "heel clicks"?



These helped me tremendously through AFF with my built-in turn.

When you go to tap your feet together, your brain automatically gets your feet on the same "level." Very cool, and helped a lot. Ask about these!

.................................................................................

Similarly, try "toe taps."
Toe taps have the additional advantage that they remind you to extend your knees past 90 degrees.

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Ok thanks, I'll try and do these.

I honestly thought I would go through the levels with ease, but I clearly underestimated it and am quite disappointed, even thought about quiting yesterday...

Is it actually a problem I suffer so tremendously at this level of remaining stable for later levels? I guess most people go through them with ease...

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Caipirinha

Ok thanks, I'll try and do these.

I honestly thought I would go through the levels with ease, but I clearly underestimated it and am quite disappointed, even thought about quiting yesterday...

Is it actually a problem I suffer so tremendously at this level of remaining stable for later levels? I guess most people go through them with ease...


Stop overthinking :) I was stuck on level 3 and 4 too :) Everyone does AFF at their own pace, stop comparing yourself to others and just have fun, you will get it. The funny part is that most of my friends that went through AFF without problems don't jump anymore, people that struggled seem to stick around for longer :)

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Caipirinha

Ok thanks, I'll try and do these.

I honestly thought I would go through the levels with ease, but I clearly underestimated it and am quite disappointed, even thought about quiting yesterday...

Is it actually a problem I suffer so tremendously at this level of remaining stable for later levels? I guess most people go through them with ease...




Umm....

No.

Some do, some don't. It all boils down to how much you want it.
As long as you are being reasonably safe, as long as your instructors aren't running and hiding when you show up, as long as you are having fun, as long as you want to continue and can do so without being a serious risk to yourself or others...
Go for it.

I looked around a bit, but couldn't find it. One of the mods on here, and a well respected, long time jumper took a very long time to get her license. Her logbook is on here somewhere, detailing her trials and tribulations...

And ultimate success.
"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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Caipirinha

Ok thanks, I'll try and do these.

I honestly thought I would go through the levels with ease, but I clearly underestimated it and am quite disappointed, even thought about quiting yesterday...

Is it actually a problem I suffer so tremendously at this level of remaining stable for later levels? I guess most people go through them with ease...



I had trouble and did quit AFF. I went to SL where I could struggle without putting such performance pressure on myself. Not pregressing in 2, $75 SL jumps per weekend, I could tolerate that for a long time.
Instructor quote, “What's weird is that you're older than my dad!”

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I used to go into a spin as well when I first started. Here are a few tips my instructor gave me that helped me tremendously:

1) Heel checks: these help you bring your legs to level and easier to take it from there.

2) Practice leveling at home: when you're home, watching TV, playing video games or reading a book, arch on the floor and keep an eye out on your legs. You don't really have to arch too hard, just lay on the floor on your stomach holding the book or controller and lift your legs as if you are skydiving. If you have a mirror that allows you to see your legs at least it would be great, if not simply look back every couple of minutes and see how your legs are positioned. Fix them as needed, You can heel checks here as well.

3) Straight stand (just came up with the name): when you're not doing anything but standing (cooking in the kitchen for example, or standing at the DZ having a smoke, stand straight with your legs and feet touching each other. Looks funny I know, but it helps programing your brain to get used to the level or center point of where your legs should be in comparison to each other.

I did those 3 after my 3rd jump, came back for the 4th I think a week later and haven't span since.
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Freefalling stable is much like learning to keep your balance on a bicycle: ultimately it becomes something that is just intuitive rather than something you have to consciously think about. Some people just need a bit more time to before the bicycle thing clicks, and the same is true for skydiving. Rest assured, however, it will eventually click for you.

The only reason you know for sure for why you are spinning is that your body is not symetrical. Chances are it is your legs, but it could be your arms, your torso, or your massively lopsided head :D. The fix is to correct the asysmetry (or at least compensate for it). It's pointless to just sit there and spin: better to try something, and if it gets worse, do the opposite. E.g., extend your left leg a bit: better or worse? If worse, try the right. Or dip your left shoulder and arm a bit: better? (But you really should talk to your instructors on what to do. They have actually seen you.)

Right now, when free falling at 120 mph in the air you are not "in your element". Once your stability is fixed, you will go through the same sort of learning process to do turns, to track, do flips, adjust fall rate, etc: you'll have to consciously think about what to do with your body to do those things. After a while, though, you'll get to the point where you just have to think "turn this way" (or "go over there", etc) and your body will know what to do and you do it. At that point, you will be in your element, and you can focus your attention on the things you do, rather than on how to do them. And that's when the real fun begins!

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Kalrigan


2) Practice leveling at home: when you're home, watching TV, playing video games or reading a book, arch on the floor and keep an eye out on your legs.



I'll make an addition to that:
All the leg lifting we do while doing arch practice on the ground has the problem that in freefall, we're usually pushing down more with the lower legs, against the air, rather than trying to lift them.

So if doing arch practice lying on the floor, it can be better to have feet up on the edge of a couch. One can still 'lift' parts of one's body into an arch, but push out and down with the lower legs.

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What is the correct angle? 60 degrees?

On this site I found in the Skydiving Handbook that it should be 45 degrees, but the images clearly shows his legs aren't at this angle but more at the 60 degrees position.

Also some say your feet should be at shoulder width, again at this site it says it should be at elbow width.

Found here:
http://www.dropzone.com/safety/Learn_to_Skydive/The_Skydiving_Handbook/The_Skydiving_Handbook_-_Chapter_3_Flying_Your_Body__796.html

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Caipirinha

What is the correct angle? 60 degrees?



I'm not an instructor, but I think the actual angle (at your stage of training, and respect to your tendency to spin) is not important at all. Most important is symmetry. One leg higher than (or out more than) the other will induce a turn. (And the greater the difference, the more rapid the turn.)

The actual angle would (if your body is symmetric) tend to move you directly forward or back somewhat. But this is not the problem that is holding you up at this stage.

In free fall, you won't be able to see what the issue is, so you will have to try varying them to correct. Someone above suggested clicking your heals together to ensure they are the same. But if that doesn't stop it, you might try small movements up or down with just one. (But you really should discuss this with your instructors.)

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*Always ask your instructors before you take advice from the internet.* :P


#1 Arch hard: 90% of your problems can be solved by arching harder.

#2 Toe taps/Heel clicks: These function as a way for you to know where your feet are in freefall without being able to see them. Stay arched, keep your knees bent, and use the toe taps to ensure you're symmetrical.

#3 Visualize what you need to do before your jump: Set yourself up for success. You're spending a good amount of money learning to skydive, get every penny out of it. Go through the jump mentally 2 or 3 times before you're on the plane. (If you know what you're doing wrong, figure out how to fix it before you go back up)

Best of luck! Keep us updated!

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I even arched so hard last time my back hurt when I was back on the ground, or this was perhaps due to some very weird position. Instructors said that they could release me at level 2 as I was in a better position than in level 3... But we'll see.

I don't really 'care' about failing (although it was a huge bummer at that time), I will get it eventually, but the main problem is money. I'm still a student and can't invest that much money into it...

Thanks for every response, I'll keep them in mind and will let you know.

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Caipirinha

I even arched so hard last time my back hurt when I was back on the ground, or this was perhaps due to some very weird position. Instructors said that they could release me at level 2 as I was in a better position than in level 3... But we'll see.

I don't really 'care' about failing (although it was a huge bummer at that time), I will get it eventually, but the main problem is money. I'm still a student and can't invest that much money into it...

Thanks for every response, I'll keep them in mind and will let you know.



I was 54 when I started and not in great shape. Fair/good shape, not great shape. I was told, “Your arch is good for 10 or 15 seconds, then you get lazy, flatten out, and start wobbling”. I tried again that same day. The results were the same. I thought to myself, “I could do that 4 more times with the same results”. The next day my lower back and my butt were sore. I was trying and I could not get a good arch and hold it. I did exercises to stretch so I could arch better, twice a day, everyday. I worked on the tone of my lower back and butt muscles. As winter was over some 11 weeks after my “lazy arch” experience, I started over on static line. I don’t know how much better I could arch, but it had to be some. My “problem” never came back. A good arch makes learning to be stable easier. A poor arch makes it harder. But you can still learn.
Instructor quote, “What's weird is that you're older than my dad!”

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Caipirinha

I even arched so hard last time my back hurt when I was back on the ground,



Sometimes the answer is a "good" arch, and not simply a "hard" arch.

A student can be trying way too hard, and be too stiff in the air, and have problems -- because they aren't symmetrical or part of their body is in the wrong place. The answer often is more subtle than just "arch harder!!!".

Certainly people can have back issues or need to work on stretching. Also, arching while lying on the ground is harder to do than in the air, so lifting everything off the ground except one's belly can be tough to do for long.

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