Are you thinking too much in the wind tunnel? Or not Enough?

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Can you execute backward correctly only if you are concentrating on it? Or perhaps your fall rate control rocks when you are just doing a normal skydive, but you can’t slow fall for beans when you are focused on it. Which is better? Should you spend more time perfecting that turn in solos, or just whip some 360s in a rocking two-way? This article will help you decide which one you should use.


I Think Therefore I Side Slide

With the wind tunnel comes the ultimate opportunity to analyze and think about how we fly and how we execute particular moves. The extra time, lack of upcoming ground and fixed walls allow you to focus on every little aspect of how you should be getting around.

Tunnel thinking

When you are in ‘thinking mode’ you are consciously thinking about what your body is doing. Your brain space is focused very narrowly on the one or two tiny things you are working on.

To improve it is critical you spend time thinking about your technique. Breaking stuff down and applying repetition to simple portions is the only way to continue growing.


Make it Happen

On the flip side, everyone can think about a time they performed best by not thinking about much at all. Let the magic happen, get into the zone, and focus on the now are phrases you might have heard, felt, or used.


This is an unconscious performance, and it is when we do our best. If you want to rock a jump this is the headspace you need to really achieve. You can’t be worried about what your toes are doing once the bell rings.


How do you balance the need to break things down and the need to just perform?


There Can Be Only One… At a Time

Always be clear about which mode you are going to execute. You can’t mix these. You just can’t. Think about the how, or be in a trusting mindset.

Whenever you are doing any jump or training day, choose how you want to approach it before you prep. Then, prep it with that in mind. Are you focusing on how, or are you just reacting to the situation? Both are necessary, but you want to acknowledge your mindset for the jump in the prep-phase and make sure your last walk-through mentally mirrors how you want the skydive to go.


Cycle Between Modes

Make sure you cycle between the two stages within your training season. A season practicing technical details without execution leads to a meet where nobody knows how to perform their best. Conversely, a season spent without analysis or breaking it down to the basics provides little or no improvement.

The answer is to dedicate certain portions of your training or season to each approach. Be clear which you are doing on any given jump and make sure that you are dedicating time to both.


I have lots of events that target both modes. Break things down with one on one coaching. Want to experience some raw execution? Check out Tunnel League for a fast and thinking-free experience. A little bit of both? Maybe join in on a Meeker Monday session!


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» Djordje Mandaric – Seattle Swift

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