A UK reality show inspires this article (NOT Love Island). The show took a total newbie in a particular field – horsemanship or music, for example – and gave them a crash course for a month with access to unlimited resources and expert coaching. I often wonder how I would coach someone in that situation.
This article is not how to get good on a budget. Way different article! I am assuming you have unlimited funds and time. Not realistic for anyone, but it is a useful thought experiment that can help direct your realistic training plans.
Get into that machine and don’t stop. Pile on as much individual and team time as you can. The personal flight skills will start to cap at some point, and you can phase it out a little, but it never goes away entirely.
You get so much flying practice in so little time. You need the sky eventually, but for raw learning power, the windy tube is the hot ticket.
Get a Team
Get on a team. Any team. Two teams if you can. If you can surround yourself with people who are better than you, fantastic! But even if you can’t, there is a lot to be gained from working with new people. Seeing technique, pushing and pulling a reluctant partner, and being stable can be improved. You can practice your b-slot, or other slots entirely. Do more team!
Coaching shortcuts learning. If you had to figure out every technique from scratch it would take you years. Find someone who has had years of professional-level training to save you all the time. You will still make loads of mistakes, but at least you’ll know they are mistakes when the coach explains it!
Coaches also keep you focused and help manage more extreme team dynamics. Pushing these responsibilities frees up more energy for you to focus on improving.
Even better than a coach is a player-coach who flies with you. If we are talking unlimited budget consider getting two or even three coaches. Teams with a single coach compete in Advanced frequently and multi-coach player teams can compete normally in Open class. One three-coach team even won the world meet in 2006!
Quit your job and get an industry job (I hope that lottery ticket lasts). If you surround yourself with skydiving and flight at all times, you are going to absorb more. Plus, you’ll have access to more opportunities around the dropzone just by being in everyone’s face.
Go to as many meets as you can immediately. Learning to perform at your best in a competition is critical and takes practice. One big event – Nationals – a year is not ideal. What you learn about yourself and your team will stay with you no matter how good you get.
Fit people can do more in a day, keep higher energy levels, and perform better in the sky. So get as fit as you can. Focus on flexibility, short bursts of explosive energy, and overall strength. You are also less likely to get injured if you are in shape.
If you bust your leg, you are going to waste a boatload of time recovering. If you are truly serious about getting jaw-droppingly good in a short time, you will stick to that 190 until the season is over. You definitely wouldn’t start swooping no matter how fun it was.
If you find yourself in a situation where you can concentrate on your skills intensely for a while, plan your attack with as many of these elements as you can. Even if you have a regular job and a reasonable budget, these priorities can still help guide you to formation skydiving rockstardom.
Concerned you are not allocating your energy and resources into the right category? Shoot me a note, I am always happy to help you make a productive plan!