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kallend

Article on safety in extreme sports

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Try reading the book "Deep Survival" by Laurence Gonzales. Mr. Gonzlaes takes a fresh look at how people build mental models of their surroundings and then follow those mental maps to their goal.

People only panic when their surroundings cease to look like the mental model/map.

For decades, I have devoted most of my first jump course to helping students build a mental model/map of the perfect skydive. My goal is have students step out the door expecting the perfect skydive, then they do their best to perform that mental model/map of the perfect skydive.

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Try reading the book "Deep Survival" by Laurence Gonzales. Mr. Gonzlaes takes a fresh look at how people build mental models of their surroundings and then follow those mental maps to their goal.

People only panic when their surroundings cease to look like the mental model/map.

For decades, I have devoted most of my first jump course to helping students build a mental model/map of the perfect skydive. My goal is have students step out the door expecting the perfect skydive, then they do their best to perform that mental model/map of the perfect skydive.



You lost me here. "People only panic when their surroundings cease to look like the mental model/map."

So you build the student mental model of the perfect skydive. Then when it is not like they expect, expecting it to be as planned, they are then poised to panic because they are outside the model? I know that is not what you mean, but it sounds a bit like it.

Plan for the worst and hope for the best would make a wider model to stay in. Won't it?
Instructor quote, “What's weird is that you're older than my dad!”

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Try reading the book "Deep Survival" by Laurence Gonzales. Mr. Gonzales takes a fresh look at how people build mental models of their surroundings and then follow those mental maps to their goal.

People only panic when their surroundings cease to look like the mental model/map.

For decades, I have devoted most of my first jump course to helping students build a mental model/map of the perfect skydive. My goal is have students step out the door expecting the perfect skydive, then they do their best to perform that mental model/map of the perfect skydive.



You lost me here. "People only panic when their surroundings cease to look like the mental model/map."

So you build the student mental model of the perfect skydive. Then when it is not like they expect, expecting it to be as planned, they are then poised to panic because they are outside the model? I know that is not what you mean, but it sounds a bit like it.

Plan for the worst and hope for the best would make a wider model to stay in. Won't it?



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

If the student panics, that means one of three things:
1- I did not help them to build an accurate mental model of the skydive
2 - they did not listen
3 - they were so overwhelmed - before they got out of bed - that they could not function in a stressful situation.

A large part of an instructor's job is to control arousal levels. If the student is too "aroused" during ground exercises, then the instructor needs to tell the student that they are not jumping today.

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The report that the article references "Injuries in Swedish skydiving" by Dr Anton Westman

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2465315/



A very interesting report. A few tidbits from their data:

- Students: 6 times more likely to be injured on a jump than a licensed skydiver
(major risk in first 2 jumps: 40% of student injuries here)

- AFF training had ~1/2 the injury incident rate of static line training

- Women nearly 2x more likely to be injured than men.

- In general, DZs with greater number of jumps per year had a lower injury rate than smaller/less busy DZs.

- Injury rate higher (~2x) during first month after reopening after winter shutdown.

- Significantly higher risk of landing injury when landing under a reserve. (perhaps as much as 10x or more)

- Significantly higher risk of injury when landing off the drop zone.

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Plan for the worst and hope for the best would make a wider model to stay in. Won't it?

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No Dan that's the worst thing ya can do.

I understand your thinking, but step away from the 'survival' aspect and think optimum performance.

~ build mental models of their surroundings and then follow those mental maps ~ is a really long winded way of saying 'visualize'.

When an athlete uses visualization to enhance performance what they are doing is taking out the 'fear of the unknown' factor.

We all tend to perform a task better the more we do it, one of the main reasons is because repetition gives confidence. You aren't overloading your senses with having to interpret & process 'new' information if in your mind you've already dealt with all of it.

We perform athletically better when we're relaxed.

If you have a plan for success already mapped out, that's more or less the road your subconscious will take...it goes back to 'we do in the air what we train on the ground'.

Visualization is a skill. Like any 'skill' one needs to practice it often for it to work well...the more you do it, the faster you can do it & the 'detail' you do it with will increase as will the success of using it.

Don't just 'think' about what you are going to do a jump, actually SEE yourself doing it. See the dive through your eyes, every part of it from boarding the aircraft to flaring the canopy. Then 'see' yourself from the vantage point of an outside video.

Visualize not only the input from your eyes but incorporate all your scenes, When the door opens hear it, feel the jumpsuit flapping in a dive, see & feel yourself taking grips on someone else then letting go and setting up for the next point.

Fly the pattern in your mind, already 'know' when you will turn downwind - base & final, see the target and hit it...

~ Doing demos 'can' be about the most technically stressful type of jump...there's a reason they always say 'a demo isn't just another skydive'.

Pretty much everything involved is a 'first time' every time...different aircraft, different LZ, obstacles, the squirly winds that go along with obstacles...on & on.

It's pretty easy to get overloaded and that's how people can get hurt doing them. I personally think one of the reasons I've never been hurt in 35 years of jumping demos is because I visualize EVERYTHING in intimate detail.

Going into a bowl stadium at night, in my mind I see the city, the parking lot I'll be flying over at 2000', I 'see' the difference in lighting as a i get closer, hear the crowd, feel the wind 'bump' at the lip...taste the beer after I've landed! ;)

Everything is 'mapped out' in my mind so I already have a clear 'route', the only thing I'm really dealing with during the actual jump is how 'technically' I stay on that road.

If you 'plan for the worse' that's what path you will follow... certainly 'be prepared' for the negative, but that's different from planning for it. ;)











~ If you choke a Smurf, what color does it turn? ~

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I understand your thinking, but step away from the 'survival' aspect and think optimum performance.

~ build mental models of their surroundings and then follow those mental maps ~ is a really long winded way of saying 'visualize'.



I don't discount what was said about the need to build the mental model for success. But I just don't see the process stopping there.

Sorry, I am still stuck on the survival thing because of the talk of panic in the post.

I have not seen (in my few months) anyone near panic because they could not make a dock on a student jump. But suppose that while the person is visualizing the perfect jump on the ride up and someone yells, Get out, get out, it's 1100 feet, pull your reserve, pull your reserve and then the person looks up and sees a mess overhead at 800 feet......Maybe some visualization of what to do next might have been good.

How many people in the last 15 months cut away low and died. Why did they do that? Did "their surroundings cease to look like the mental model" that they had prepared for? (rhetorical )

Edited:
If the idea is how to deal with people that are near panic with the thought of jumping at all, then I was off on a tangent and didn’t not intend to derail the thread.
Instructor quote, “What's weird is that you're older than my dad!”

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But suppose that while the person is visualizing the perfect jump on the ride up and someone yells, Get out, get out, it's 1100 feet, pull your reserve, pull your reserve and then the person looks up and sees a mess overhead at 800 feet......Maybe some visualization of what to do next might have been good.

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THAT visualization should have taken place long before the plane ride up...like back in basic training...tools of that sort should be in the toolbox for ready use.

But if that kind of thing is ALL you're 'planning' for...or visualizing, then progression past basic survival is extremely hampered.











~ If you choke a Smurf, what color does it turn? ~

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Gonzalez' book is legit. He goes into the psychology of risk takers and how they succeed or fail in their pursuit of an emotionally pleasing activity.

In one instance what he suggests is that participants who have done things many times in high risk environments have a mental image of what "should" happen. Call it complacency or whatever you like-he just lays it out in a long winded manner.

There are many examples in the book that definitely apply to the sky, some don't. in any case it's a worthwhile read.

-Harry
"Sometimes you eat the bar,
and well-sometimes the bar eats you..."

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I think that part of the mental map (for me anyway) is that the map includes emergencies or the possibility that things won't always look the same every time. It is a map with lots of different roads leading to the same place.

In the case of students this would mean giving them a mental picture of what the emergency procedures look like and the tools to calmly deal with it. It also gives them the tools to identify the possible scenarios without freaking themselves out so bad that they don't manage the situation. We've all seen the student who came down from a jump and told everybody about their brush with death when they had closed end cells.

I agree that just picturing a happy outcome isn't enough but I don't think that is what he is saying. I think he is saying that part of the preparation for someone, especially a student, would include getting them to think through a situation to the point that they can see all the aspects of it it in their mind.






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I understand your thinking, but step away from the 'survival' aspect and think optimum performance.

~ build mental models of their surroundings and then follow those mental maps ~ is a really long winded way of saying 'visualize'.



I don't discount what was said about the need to build the mental model for success. But I just don't see the process stopping there.

Sorry, I am still stuck on the survival thing because of the talk of panic in the post.

I have not seen (in my few months) anyone near panic because they could not make a dock on a student jump. But suppose that while the person is visualizing the perfect jump on the ride up and someone yells, Get out, get out, it's 1100 feet, pull your reserve, pull your reserve and then the person looks up and sees a mess overhead at 800 feet......Maybe some visualization of what to do next might have been good.

How many people in the last 15 months cut away low and died. Why did they do that? Did "their surroundings cease to look like the mental model" that they had prepared for? (rhetorical )

Edited:
If the idea is how to deal with people that are near panic with the thought of jumping at all, then I was off on a tangent and didn’t not intend to derail the thread.

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