Every team has a moment a few camps out from Nationals when it hits them hard – there isn’t much time left! That sense of infinite time to fix all your exits and your blocks has some how vanished leaving you alarmed. It motivates your team to kick training into high gear with a beautiful burst of focus.
Instead of waiting a month beforehand, what if you could harness that sense of urgency all season?
Start your season practicing for nationals
If you have a big meet as your season end cap, do not wait to practice “for real” until the end. It is easy to get lost in infinite experiments or drill mode at the beginning of the season. Remind yourself every camp that the season will slip away quickly!
Start with draws
Don’t wait until the 11th hour to start doing draw jumps! Drills have their place of course, but teams can fall into the trap of doing them way too often. Make sure you mix in full draws as part of your plan right away.
And do not give yourself easy stuff! You need to see hard stuff too – even if “you aren’t ready”. Practicing challenging jumps prepares you to deal with tough stuff at a meet.
Score yourself to see your progress
Score some of your jumps from day one. The scores might be depressing at first, but it is a concrete way to measure your progress! Plus you will learn to see your jumps with a judge’s eye early, which will lead to less busted points.
Do less repeats
Classic skydiving practice has a team doing every jump twice. This is fine sometimes, but I strongly feel it is overused. Avoid automatically plan on repeating every jump.
Instead aim for more variety in your skydives so you get used to an actual meet. If a jump doesn’t go well, consider repeating it another day to space your learning out. Or target the specific block or transition that needs work in another jump.
Find local meets or scrimmages
Teams that do many smaller meets compete better at the big meet. If you wait until the big show, competition pressure can provoke some surprise responses. Find local meets to develop great competition habits together. If you can’t find local meets, find a local rival, and host your own scrimmage!
My method: Red dives
To introduce scored draw dives, I sprinkle in “red dives” into almost every camp as soon as I can. These dives are only done once and meant to teach teams to enter a trusting and reacting mindset. They serve as mini competitions at the start of each day, before we settle into the daily training goals. I encourage you to give them a try!