I don’t know if you have experience as a skydiving coach or load organizer. However, we all want to take the lead once in a while and go on a cruise with friends. I know that I like to lead jumps, so that is why I participated in the ToraTora Coaching Workshop.

Skydiving has so many disciplines that we can focus on. It can be a belly jump, a freefly jump, a moving skydive, wingsuit formation, and so on. All of us will lead a jump at some point, and that is no easy task. Do not think leading groups is easy because it “goes right” a few times. Once you decide to take a group out of an airplane, the responsibility you get on your hands is enormous.

Learning a new skill

There are many reasons we decide to learn a new skill – hobby or work. Spending time learning a new skill, and hanging out with experienced skydivers with a similar mindset has far more benefits than just studying the skill itself.

Investing time, effort and money in self-development will not only help you stay ahead of the curve but maintain your relevance and ensure your future career success.

An interesting phrase they mention at the beginning of the course is “if you think you already know all of this, you should stay with us.”

First head down freefly skydiving jump of the Skydiving Coach Workshop. Here we are jumping with ToraTora Jasper van der Meer.
Photo by Augusto Bartelle – Freefly Coach Workshop with Jasper van der Meer in Castellon, Spain.

Let’s keep learning

Advances in technology, modern-day analysis, and the development of skydiving mean that continuous learning is vital for continued career success. I know it’s hard to balance work, skydiving and learning. Yet, to keep up with the ever-evolving skydiving environment, we need to invest some time in continuing education.

There is a fascinating interview I always mention while talking about learning, when DJ Marvin from LB Altimeters interviewed load organizer Jesse “Tex” Leos. He speaks about what he did to learn as a new skydiver and how to keep learning even though he is one of the most requested load organizers in the USA.

What is the ToraTora Freefly Coach Workshop?

In a week of high-intensity practical and theoretical teaching by some of our sport’s most experienced coaches and load organizers, we aim to deliver extremely high value for participants. The goal is to boost our students’ progression by directly tapping into the source of decades of experience.

“The Freefly Coach Workshop aims to educate the current and next generation of skydive coaches and load organizers.”

ToraTora

How Freefly Coach Workshop is structured?

The entire freefly coach workshop structure is based on three levels. Each level takes five days of theory and practical skydives. The course is divided into lectures during the morning and jumps throughout the afternoon.

It’s important to mention that it is a very energy demanding week. We began classes around 8 am during breakfast and kept it going until dinner was over. We were learning and being tested for around 12 hours per day.

You can find more detailed information about the knowledge presented in the course on the ToraTora Coach Workshop website.

Level 1

The main goal of level 1 is to display all areas of coaching and load organizing with intermediate skills level students and groups. The course focus on primary head up, head down, tracking and angle jumps.

Level 2

ToraTora Coach Workshop level 2 focuses on coaching beginner groups, one-on-one coaching, advanced coaching and dealing with incompatible groups. In addition, the participants will consider students who have a higher skill level than the coach and how to challenge students.

Level 3

The last level of the ToraTora Coach Workshop studies how leading highly skilled flyers and organize record formations. It also focuses on professional topics such as organizing and managing events, becoming a desired skydive Load Organizer and a ToraTora Workshop Leader, and working with sponsors.

Skydiving with Will Penny as our instructor over Skytime Skydiving center in Spain.
Photo by Augusto Bartelle – ToraTora Coach Workshop Day One with Will Penny.

Who is teaching us?

One of the main goals for ToraTora is to provide their students with the best possible. That’s why the practical and theoretical teaching is done by some of the most experienced coaches and load organizers in our sport.

Jasper van der Meer

Jasper started skydiving in 1999 and tunnel flying and speed riding in 2004. He co-founded ToraTora in 2005 as a freefly team, competing in the sky and wind tunnel. Jasper has been teaching, organizing and managing skydiving events since 2007. The biggest events under his umbrella are Adventure Boogie, Paradise Boogie, ToraTora on Ice, and so on.

Jasper launched the Freefly Coach Workshop with Will Penny, Domi Kiger and René Terstegen in 2019.

Will Penny

Will Penny has only 18.900 jumps. He parter up with Jasper, Domi, and René to develop the Coach Workshop. Will has 20 years of experience as a professional and competitive skydiver, which makes clear why he is one of the people running the Skydiving Coach Workshop over the past 3 years.

Will experience in skydiving is a true treasure that needs to be shared with the new skydiving coach’s generation. The workshop bridges the gap for coaches who want to understand their roles and responsibilities.

Petter Stensvold

Petter Stensvold is a full time freefly and windtunnel coach. After training and competing with Zion Freefly for a long time he is now spending his time bringing the knowledge forward, coaching, and load organizing around the world. He is also doing a lot of specialty jumps like mountain flying, Innhopps*, and exhibition jumps.

Petter was a great asset during the Coaching Workshop. It was Petter’s first time working as an instructor in this workshop and all participants have only good things to share about him.

  • An Innhopp is a skydive at an undisclosed location, knowing only the minimum information required to land safely.

Keep coming back

My life constantly shifts between the feeling that I have it all figured out and that I know nothing at all. I realized within my skydiving community that every time I think I know something, I learn that others know it more profoundly and have different ways to explain it.

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”

-Mahatma Gandhi

So, I believe that we should always keep learning. I think the ToraTora workshop level 2 will be exceptional and I’m looking forward to it. I think that the time we take to discuss basic and advanced questions about skydiving is priceless, and for sure I’ll do my best to be present at the next level.

Last jump of the skydiving coaching workshop.
Photo by Augusto Bartelle – Last Day is Big Ways in Castellon, Spain.

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