Bodyflight for Beginners Blog Series: 3 Tips to Accelerate Your Skydiving Skills
1. LET GO
Skydiving is an unnatural high—to become a good skydiver, you must understand that you have to alter your natural instincts in order to fly.
As land-based creatures, we push against gravity and use our strength for balance. But to control yourself in freefall you must break this paradigm and place your body in aerodynamic positions that work with, not against, the airflow.
In skydiving, it's best to do what comes naturally–after the proper training, of course–and literally "go with the flow."
Pushing down into the airflow or trying to be strong and muscle your way around will only hold you back. To fly, we must use mind over matter; in other words, apply your mental toughness to override the natural instincts we learn on the ground.
In this series we'll expound on these essential pointers:
The explanations in our 3-part blog series, "Bodyflight for Beginners,Tips to Accelerate Your Skydiving Skills," may help you connect the dots, and they'll certainly contribute to better understanding (and better performance) while you advance as a skydiver––so start here and stay tuned for more...
1) “LET GO”
Over effort be gone...
Jumping out of an airplane—what a huge psychological barrier: the adrenaline, the apprehension, the rush! To feel such strong emotions and control one's self in this environment is a true challenge. Beginning skydivers tend towards a couple of key mistakes:
a)They think that veteran skydivers force themselves through the rush, requiring strength to maintain the awkward body position taught in training (...in order to maintain control until it's time to pull.)
b) They may want so badly to complete training for skydiving that they're overworking the tasks to be performed (whether it's in quickness of execution or forced movements).
This kind of thinking couldnot be further from the recommended process for skydiving––Yes, we must be mentally tough in order to control ourselves through the rush, but not physically.
The best way to articulate this principle is through sharing an excerpt from Mind Body Mastery: Creating Success in Sport and Life by Dan Millman...
The Principle of Non-Resistance
There are four ways to approach the forces of life:
- Surrender to them fatalistically. Rocks, because they are inanimate, have little choice but to surrender passively to natural laws.
- Ignore them and experience accidents, or create unnecessary struggle by swimming against the natural currents of life.
- Resist them and create turmoil. If we resist what is – the natural flow of life – we waste energy and fight ourselves.
- Use them, and blend with nature. Like birds that ride the wind, fish that swim the current, or bamboo that bends to absorb the weight of fallen snow, you can make use of natural forces. This is the real meaning of nonresistance. We can express the law of nonresistance in many ways:
Don't push the river.
Let it be.
Go with the flow.
When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.
Turn obstacles into opportunities and stumbling blocks into stepping-stones.
...True nonresistance both requires and helps develop sensitivity and wisdom.
The Power of Letting Go in Skydiving
Conducting training for beginners in the wind tunnel (see our TAFF, or Tunnel Accelerated Freefall program—SDU’s equivalent to AFF) has shown us that the sooner you can “let go,” once attaining a flying pose, the quicker you will fly with ease and confidence.
To do so, we must surrender to the freefall environment, gravity and the relative wind in order to feel the airflow and use it for flight. The sooner you “let go” the sooner you will actually feel the airflow pressure across your entire body, allowing you to be sensitive to it––and to start mastering the control of it.
"The 110 mph (approximate) airflow will never place you into a body position but it will allow you to maintain a body position with minimal strength or effort. The fact is, as skydivers we are pushing ounces, not pounds, of air pressure. We are not bench pressing weight up there, but simply manipulating airflow." –Rob Laidlaw, Founder of Skydive University
Stay tuned for Parts II and III of our Bodyflight for Beginners blog series!