When you first taste the freedom of skydiving, the sensation is intoxicating. Heady with glee, many dive deep into the sport with reckless abandon and, within a few short seasons, experience complete skydiving burnout.
Although, this doesn’t have to be the case. There are a healthy number of skydivers who have unearthed the key to skydiving longevity. So, what’s their secret?
Lean in close, here’s a sneak peek at 6 tips for longevity in skydiving
1. Safety First
First and foremost, skydiving is an extreme sport. Mitigating the risks involved helps to ensure you can avoid injuries and sustain longevity in skydiving.
Avoid becoming complacent with your safety measures and procedures:
- Regularly practice your emergency procedures and review procedures for aircraft, equipment, and landing emergencies. If you are unsure of what protocol to follow, you can ask an instructor at the skydiving center or refer to the USPA Skydiver Information Manual, Section 5.
- Make gear checks a part of your regular pre-jump ritual: checking once at the start of the jumping day is not enough. Check your gear before boarding the aircraft before every jump.
- Do not downsize too quickly. You can never land too softly. Consult with the USPA Safety and Training Officer at your dropzone or an instructor before downsizing or changing platforms. Changing canopy sizes and platforms too rapidly will usually result in injury.
2. Set Goals (Short Term & Long Term)
Having clear, defined goals will help provide motivation and direction. For short-term goals, you could focus on attaining your A license, then B, C, and finally, D license. Set a short-term goal to jump from a specialty aircraft, like a tailgate or helicopter. Maybe, you even set your sights on jumping from a hot air balloon!
Your long-term goals could be as grand as developing your skills to take part in a world record skydive or maybe you set a goal to become a skydiving instructor one day.
Oh, and by the way: your skydiving goals do not have to be strictly jumping-based. Perhaps you’d like to know more about the amazing gear that makes the sport possible. A long term goal could be to earn your riggers ticket to become an FAA Senior Parachute Rigger.
3. Get Coaching
Sometimes, in a long skydiving career, you can begin to feel like your skills are plateauing which, in turn, can lead to skydiving burnout. Another way to ensure skydiving longevity is to get coaching.
The sport of skydiving is a unique one. It’s not uncommon for the best of the best, as in world champions, to offer coaching for skydivers of all levels. It would be like if Tiger Woods started offering coaching to “average Joe” golfers. While it’s unheard of in other sports, it’s practically commonplace in skydiving.
Receiving coaching helps you to grow your skydiving skills and can facilitate building life-long connections within the industry.
Body flight coaching isn’t the only coaching you can receive. It is highly recommended that you also regularly attend canopy courses to keep your parachuting skills sharp.
If you’re not in a place where you can afford dedicated one-on-one coaching, most skydiving centers have experienced members of the community called load organizers who can help you refine your skills during weekend fun jumps.
4. Be Proactive
Like any sport, over time skydiving can begin to wear on the body. However, if you are proactive, there is much you can do to achieve skydiving longevity and protect your precious flesh and bones!
Skydiving requires a bit of strength and flexibility. Practicing yoga or regularly choosing exercises that strengthen the core, back, neck and shoulders will help you in the long run. Additionally, choose footwear that is cushioned and offers ankle and arch support. Last, but certainly not least, wear ear protection. Prolonged exposure to the sounds of the aircraft engines and even the whoosh of freefall is detrimental to your hearing and can cause hearing loss. The solution? Wear earplugs.
5. Cross Train
Another key to skydiving longevity is having hobbies outside of skydiving. If all you do is eat, sleep and skydive, rinse and repeat, you’re bound to experience skydiving burnout. Try another airborne sport like paragliding or speed flying. Take up rock climbing, surfing, or another proprioceptive hobby.
Diversifying your hobbies and giving yourself another outlet is a little like hitting the “refresh” button. Don’t worry, skydiving can still be your primary love!
6. Enjoy the Ride
Skydiving is all about the journey, not the destination. Sure, you may have aspirations of being a premier skydiving superstar one day, but try not to miss out on all the fun you could have along the way. Remember to slow down and enjoy the wonderfully long, soul-nourishing ride.
If you haven’t started your skydiving journey yet, there’s no better time than the present! Book your first tandem skydive or learn to skydive by enrolling in our AFF First Jump Course today! We’ll see you in the bright, blue California sky!