Skydiving frequency. These are the two words I’d like to talk about this week. It’s crazy how many people start skydiving, stop, then return to the sport, and so on. Wait a minute! Don’t get me wrong. I’d love to see you coming back from a skydiving break. However, I prefer you never take a break at all. Increased frequency makes you a better skydiver, and makes you safer when skydiving.
Last weekend I was talking with my friend, Sara, at my Home Drop Zone (Skydance Skydiving) and she told me a common skydiver friend was coming to visit us. So, I questioned her: – “Visit us? What do you mean?” My friend and I started to talk about what can happen if we stay away from skydiving for a while.
Anxiety and Fear before Skydiving
The first thought that came to our minds when thinking about not skydiving for a while was about the anxiety and fear of jumping from an airplane returning after a break. Do you remember how you felt before your first jumps? When I’m away from the sport for a few weeks, and get back to it, I become anxious and afraid to skydive. It just happens because I’m not current anymore (5 Ways to Overcome Fear).
Please, don’t be afraid to admit that you feel fear. Being scared is normal. We are jumping from an airplane with a backpack at 15,000 feet above the Earth. We should be frightened. On the other hand, when we skydive frequently, we will be more relaxed and consequently, we will have more fun and also perform our maneuvers much better.
Safety VS. Frequency
The second thing we thought about was safety. A skydiver is much prepared to deal with any issue, malfunction or emergency if they are skydiving regularly. The muscle memory, instincts, and the brain are much more connected if the skydiver is practicing the sport frequently.
I have a friend who had an accident some time ago. I’ll call him Patrick (fake name). Patrick used to fly a Pilot 190, and bought a new Sabre2 170. He put few jumps on it right away. In the meantime, he met a great girl, and they started to have a fantastic time together. Patrick stopped skydiving as much as he used to. He returned to the Drop Zone about 2 months later and decided to go for a skydive.
Patrick felt nervous before the exit, but during free fall he was back in the game. Everything went great, he opened his canopy and checked functionality. P.E.R.F.E.C.T. At this point, he took out his helmet to record a message with his action camera and tell the new girlfriend how much he loves her. Making the story short, he lost too much altitude because he wasn’t aware of his new canopy behavior. Additionally, he wasn’t in good form because of his recent infrequency. He did a low turn because he was in a dangerous situation close to the trees.
Thankfully, this only resulted in a minor injury to his back and arm. Nowadays he is back in the sky and jumps at least twice a month. Lucky Patrick!
What do I do?
To be honest, I can’t imagine myself going more than 15 days without skydiving (unless we are in a pandemic). Putting it this way, it sounds like an addiction. Nonetheless, when I’m more than 10 days without any skydives, I go to the drop zone, I take my time to prepare correctly. I check my gear, I turn on my AAD and Altimeters. I go to the packing area or to the grass outside and stretch and warm up my body. I wait until I have that voice inside of me saying: – Ok, time to fly buddy!
Also, I have a prayer that I do before exiting the plane. I don’t do it before every jump, but when I’m nervous, I use it to relax and put my mind back in the present moment. I start it around 12.000 feet, and I say:
“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
My love for skydiving is so big, I’ll never be able to quit jumping. However, the longer I stay away from the sky, the harder it is to get back to it. Let’s be current and enjoy skydiving with all the safety and joy possible.
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