Why Get Coaching??

So we are at the moment trying to co-organize With Geoff Mundy and the "Source" Crew, a Skydive Training Extravaganza in Fano, Italy this summer. As I tried to put together the promotional materials for the training camp, I started to think about my training, and how I'd found it, and how looking back, I might have improved it. 

I started to analyse my skydiving career from day one...From the very first static line jump, done on an Army Camp in 1999, I was hooked. I knew this was something that I desperately wanted to do...then after AFF in Sebastian Florida later that year, I was double hooked, and desperate for more....back in England however, it was October....Cold, wet, miserable. I still hung out at the DZ every weekend, making friends, getting on it, and having a PHAT time....BUT, I didn't exactly do a bunch of jumping. In 2 years I only managed 200 jumps, and Like nearly everyone starting out, I found it hard to find people to jump with, and couldn't bring myself to spend the equivalent of 3 jump tickets on a coaching jump (of which I knew I would need a lot)......BUT then...I would watch the videos..the freefly Circus, Willing to Fly etc etc, and look at the videos of the 4-way teams (XL, Arizona Airspeed) and be green with envy, and full of hope that one day, I would be at that sort of level. 

And I realized there and then, that the foundation you give yourself in the first few hundred jumps you do, the people you surround yourself with, and the type of jump environment you are exposed to is super important to your future skydiving career. I realized that in my desperation to get ahead, was juxtaposed against my need to just be in the air...my sense of robbing myself of jumps, was enough to deter me from getting the proper coaching. 

It wasn't until a few years later, when I  moved to Florida for a year, and spent a year jumping alongside the very best in the world, and jumping consistently every day, that I came to understand the learning curve that is involved in skydiving. The need to immerse yourself completely in the learning process. To consistently build on one good jump to the next, with video reference and a coach who can help break down bad habits before they set in. That if you want to be on those amazing looking big ways, head down records etc then you really do need to have your basics down. One solid step in front of another. The level of confidence it gives you when you do have solid skills is immeasurable, when compared to how confidence sapping it can be when you make basic mistakes on a jump, and Fuck it up, not just for yourself, but for the others on the jump. The mental pressure that comes with that lack of trust in your skills, the sefl doubting, the apologising to friends who just "wasted" a jump, then laughed it off with a smile and a "it was fun anyway"...

But it really doesn't have to be like that. There are learning camps that you can go to, where coaches are all too willing to show you the correct skills, jump with you, film you, coax your skill level up step by step, and the advantage and Value of forming a solid skill base, in a short space of time, just cannot be underestimated. You will save yourself TIME and MONEY and FRUSTRATION and a host of Negative emotions, by taking the time at the very beginning to commit to the sport. That means making a financial comitment. To say..."Fuck YES...I want to be a skydiver, and If I'm going to be a skydiver, I want to do GOOD jumps!!", then begging, borrowing or selling whatever you can, to get you the $10-20,000 that you will need to get that skill base established, and entrenched, and then go and do it, in a short period of time (say over 3-6 months). YES it's expensive, BUT when weighed up against the to and from  the DZ, the nights on the piss, the endless jumps spent making the same mistakes over and over and just "not getting it'...the good years where you are are young free and single passing by while you slowly get a bit better (all the while secretly wishing that you could be invited onto those cool jumps)...YOU Might actually be surprised at how realtively cheap it is...AND how much more you get out of your years in the sport as a result of it!!...