So you’ve taken on the challenge of skydiving. You had an amazing first experience with a great instructor, there’s a really great vibe on the dropzone and couldn’t think of anything you’d like to do more. Your ground school made perfect sense and you finished the day feeling ready to tackle the incredibly rewarding experience to come.
Then the day comes, it’s time to skydive! But maybe that first jump with a parachute on your back proved to be tougher than you had bargained for, or perhaps the first few jumps went smoothly but now you’ve hit a rut. You’re starting to wonder if you’re going to be able to get your head around all the things you’re expected to handle…
Regardless, you now find yourself stuck on a level and you’re wondering if you may have bitten off more than you can chew. Well, we’re here to tell you that the short answer is no, you absolutely haven’t. The truth is just like anything, skydiving sometimes comes easier to some than it does for others, but it does come! There are lots of factors at play here and everyone learns differently. So here are a few tips to help ease you past the rough patch and on to a wonderful life in our sport.
- Relax! Yeah, we know. You’ve heard it before and you’ll most certainly hear it again, but there’s a reason skydivers actually have a hand signal for it! Skydiving can be a mental game, and learning to just take a deep breath and chill is a huge chunk of the battle. This one comes from practice, and trust us, it gets easier with time.
- Listen to your instructor. Even when they’re telling you something that seems counterintuitive (like climbing out that door and hanging off the strut) they are doing it for a reason. They once stood (or hung) exactly where you are, and it’s through years of hard work that they’ve reached a position to know. Trust that they are paying incredible attention to pretty much everything you do and are aiming you toward the path of success.
- Don’t overthink it. Some of us have the wonderful ability to crawl into our heads in between jumps and beat ourselves up with the “what-ifs”, but once you’ve got your dive flow down and you’ve gone through all your checks and emergency procedures just sit back and enjoy the view.
- Stay fit! We can’t emphasize this one enough. Staying healthy, strong, and clear-headed is incredibly important in skydiving. Strengthening muscles you’ve never used like this, avoiding big nights out before a day of jumping, and staying properly fueled while on the DZ are all things that will lend to smooth training.
- Hang out, get to know your new community, and simply pay attention to it all. New skydivers can learn an incredible amount just by spending time in your new environment, and although your instructors are the only ones to listen to in regard to your student jumps, your other fellow skydivers can be a real source of support, humor, and insight. Whoever said there’s no such thing as free has never spent time with a bunch of skydivers rallying around their own!
- Have a good attitude! This one is important. Learning becomes difficult when you’re frustrated and letting your emotions drive your decisions. Skydiving can be a humbling experience and it’s good to understand that not every part of the journey will be sunshine and blue skies. When the going gets tough, tackle those challenges with the right attitude and see your skills soar!
The simple fact of the matter is, some of the most incredible skydivers started out as troubled students with real issues to overcome, and for having done so they were able to become so much more than they would have been otherwise. One of the most wonderful upsides to pushing through difficulty in training is all the benefits it can have for the rest of your life. You’ll be amazed just how much the volume gets turned down on the rest of the world after a great day of skydiving, so get out there and jump!