Learn tunnel flying online? Yes, it is possible! Okay so I realize this probably seems kind of unlikely, to be able to train your body flight skills while watching videos online. Yet, it is true, you can! In fact, there is a whole online platform aimed at doing just this. And there is also research done on this topic, in regards to other sports. So why would it not be true for body flight skills as well? Lets take a look at what I am talking about.
But why would we want to train tunnel flying online? Well, sometimes in our flying journeys we do not have access or availability to be flying in the tunnel as often as we like. Yet, this does not mean we need to completely put tunnel flying on hold while we wait. By keeping your mind actively thinking and learning about tunnel flying, you are still training in a way. Okay, maybe it is not as fun as actually flying in the tunnel. However, it does give us an opportunity to keep flying skills on the top of our minds.
Learn by watching
Watching top athletes perform in their sport and breaking down the footage, has long been a way for aspiring athletes to enhance their own personal skills. The same is true for sports teams as well as individual athletes. By watching top athletes in action, the viewer is able to recognize the skills and techniques that the athlete has developed. And in turn, try to implement these techniques into their own performance. When watching professionals, a person will be able to familiarize themselves with specific actions and skills required to perform at a higher level. And even if the viewer is not able to perform at this level in the moment, that is ok. Now, they have recognized the skills and behaviours that they may need to develop in order to reach a next level. Learning by watching also gives a person an upper hand in predicting consequences of an action before performing the action themselves. So basically, you can learn what to do and what NOT to do.
By imagining what it is you want to do. But I mean really imagining it. Mentally picturing and visualizing what happens with each movement and placement of your body part. You can imagine, or predict in a way, the consequences of the actions. Of course maybe it is not perfect performance the first attempt. However, by visualizing the actions and understanding what movements will get you to the desired result, is a big part of the learning process. It is enabling you to break down exactly what it is you need to do to perform.
Ok, I watched the best, now I can do it right?
Now this does not mean that you will watch the best tunnel flyer in the world on video, and then jump in the wind tunnel and perform just like them. No, and please don’t try this without someone to spot you. First you should have a basic flying skill level. You should be attempting movements that are within short reach of your current skill level. Yes, you can learn more advanced flying by watching, however it does not mean it is the moment in your journey to perform advanced movements you seen. Instead, you should look at flying techniques more within reach of your current capabilities. This is more safe then skipping straight to advanced movements you believe you understood from watching.
With pre-existing knowledge and basic skills in the wind tunnel, when analysing flying footage, you will be able to understand which movements are happening, at what moments they need to happen, etc. So you can be more body aware in your mind, you can visualize what your body needs to do, and understand the results of certain movements. And by having this preparation and understanding it is going to allow you to use your time more effectively and with purpose.
Mirror neurons are a type of sensory-motor cell that is located in the brain. It is activated when an individual is performing an action or observing another individual performing the same action. Learning by imitation is a result of your mirror neurons. For example, look at new born babies. If you stick your tongue out at them, they will do the same in return. Mirror neurons allow an athlete to visualize and imagine performing particular movements of another athlete. Which allows one to mentally and physically prepare to implement those skills in the next opportunity.
Tunnel flying online
So now back to learning tunnel flying online. How can you train tunnel flying online? Watch the tunnel flying skills videos! These are videos prepared by the International Bodyflight Association. You can find the website by clicking here. This is a database full of basic to advanced flying positions in the wind tunnel. It is an absolutely, underrated tool for learning more about body flying. The videos are prepared with explanation, breaking down movements, as well as adjusting the video speed to get a more slow motion image of the movements.
These body flight skills videos are an amazing free resource. Personally, I have not had a lot of my flying friends talk about these videos. And thereby are not recommending the to other flyers. This is unfortunate because they are quite detailed, and very helpful learning tools for flyers. It is a perfect example of how we can observe and study other’s body flight skills. After reviewing the videos and listening to the audio as well, we are able to visualize ourselves completing these movements. And when you are inside the tunnel flying, you are able to remember what you “learned” by watching and analysing the flying footage. Giving yourself a structured tunnel session with a set goal in mind to work on.
Be smart and safe
Although research tells us that we can learn by watching, we also need to use common sense when training flying skills. Remember the part of the topic which states it is important to have some base level in the sport you are attempting to develop skills in. And also remember to keep your ego in check. For tunnel flying it is important to talk to your coach, or your instructor before going into the wind and trying something that might be completely out of your level. Of course if it is movements you feel safe attempting, you should still chat with them too. They might be able to offer you some advice that could help.
Keep coming back
Learning by watching tunnel flying online is very possible. Watching and observing movements and understanding what movements can do in the wind, is accessible to everyone simply by watching footage. Footage can be from top athlete flyers, or instructional videos. Either way, it is possible to still immerse yourself within tunnel flying, even by not being in the tunnel. By training tunnel flying online, you are opening your mind to see more possibilities for flying you might not have seen before.
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