If you are team training, you will want to increase your efficiency in skydiving to get back to the packing mat faster. But rushing can be very dangerous in skydiving. So how do you hustle without crossing that line?
Rushing or Hustling?
Cutting out steps reduces time but narrows your margin of error. If your margin is too small, you won’t have options when the unexpected happens. I call skipping relevant rushing.
Hustling is a planned and focused efficiency. The vital steps are executed optimally. However, hustling can also cut out actions that don’t affect performance or safety.
Learning the difference will let you be fast without comprising the rest of your season to a broken leg.
Here are dangerous ways to speed up your skydiving process.
Pull lower – If you are pulling at the right level for your experience level, don’t drop it down to save time. Over the years, pull altitudes have increased because it provides more time to deal with an emergency. Reducing the time you have to deal with a crisis is a mistake.
Spiral – Spiraling in the pattern is a terrible plan because it creates a moving blind obstacle. Bleed altitude carefully if needed. Consider making more minor, single rotations or sashay style turns high and away from the landing pattern.
Downsize – Going faster is not an intelligent reason to downsize your canopy. Make your choice based on your canopy skill, currency, and how much you enjoy that part of your skydive. Rushing to downsize can cut your season short.
Not look – When rushing, you might become overfocused on getting down and back to the mat. When you focus too much on returning quickly, you might forget to look around under canopy and miss dangerous cues.
Distractions under canopy – Thinking about what snack you will have when you land? The excitement of the skydive done, it is easy to mentally wander while under canopy. The canopy ride is the most dangerous part of the skydive; refocus on the relevant task.
Forcing a landing into a crowd – Trying to rush down might tempt you to land in a crowd of canopies close to the popular area. Hustling is arriving where you want but not at the expense of weaving in and out of others.
Skip gear checks – Skipping gear checks on a back-to-back is not an acceptable way to cut corners. You ALWAYS have time for a gear check. Every time.
Fine, don’t do stupid things. But how do I get back faster safely?
Stay focused on the moment – Whatever you are doing – freefalling, flying your parachute, or coming back from the landing area is what you should concentrate on. Don’t debrief your jump while in the landing pattern. Likewise, don’t worry about the landing pattern when jogging back to the mat. Keeping an eye on the ball will make you more efficient, safer, and faster.
Skip the fluff – A lot of what we do does not add to safety. For example, chatting in the landing area or watching other jumpers once you are clear of the landing area are good examples of behaviors you can trim.
Land accurately – Don’t wedge yourself into the pattern to land close, but land accurately when you can. Working your way into a pattern and being closer to the packing area cuts time safely.
Economy of motion – Think about how you land and your process to stow your breaks, undo your slider, and gather your canopy. Are you doing them in an efficient and smooth order? Build optimal habits for these tasks.