Looking at the plain black and white pictures from the rules doesn’t tell you how to do the block efficiently, just legally. To understand how to execute 8-way (and 4-way) blocks we deconstruct the move into smaller sub-moves. Instead of thinking about the entire block move as one unit, we super-impose half way pictures that break up the complexity of the move and serve as guideposts.
This is a short series of articles that will help you break down and understand how 8-ways are built. While focusing on the formations in the competition pool, the tools shown here are highly transferable to general formation skydiving.
8-way Basics: Finding your slot
8-way Basics: Finding your clone
8-way Basics: Finding the centers
8-way Basics: Build the center first
8-way Basics: In-facing strategy
8-way Basics: Staged setups
8-way Basics: Round formations
8-way Basics: Fall rate
8-way Basics: Shared keying
8-way Basics: Line between point and tail
8-way Basics: Block inters
Easier to Understand Moves
Splitting the move into smaller chunks makes a block more achievable and easy to understand. If a piece partner steps forward to a Bipole picture with their clone it is easier to understand what is required to make that first inter shape for everyone on the team. It allows everyone to visually express their move and know the correct distance and angle.
Make Corrections and Always Close The Blocks
These middle pictures also serve to demonstrate what the next action really needs to be. Coaches will explain moves under perfect circumstances. However often times the reality is slightly less than perfect. Perhaps the first picture is wrong and the levels too far apart. By knowing what the target picture ought to be, you can learn to correct for initial mistakes and close the block correctly.
As the team gets better the middle pictures get closer by teammates making corrections sooner and more efficiently. With practice, you can make it a habit to finish the block exactly on grips every single time!
For example let’s look at Star>Star (6).
The two pictures to focus on are a donut-like picture between the four stepping into the center. This demonstrates that those stepping in should drive straight across their piece partner. The person not stepping through should focus on helping them in that direction. If the team does that, it will look like the image below.
The second picture is an everybody-outface image. Each piece is faced outwards from the center. By seeing this picture, each group can see exactly what needs to be done as the non-mover from the first move now side slides through as they rotate to the close (the other teammate mostly chills out).
By breaking blocks down into middle pictures you can understand your move and learn to recognize where the block will finish.