If skydiving is new to you, there’s a very good chance you’re looking for skydiving advice. Contrary to popular belief, neither internet videos nor fellow first-timers are a great place to get the info you’re craving. The actual answer might surprise you!
Is YouTube a good resource for skydiving tips?
That, of course, depends on what it is that you’re looking for.
YouTube has long been an awesome way for our sport to showcase the many incredible things we get up to. Before YouTube, skydiving would only wiggle into the public eye when a feature film came out that included a skydive or two. It’s also a place where several top-level, respected instructors and coaches choose to share news and information geared towards quality continuing education for currently licensed skydivers. (AXIS Flight School’s channel is great, for example, as is Brian Germain’s.)
However, YouTube is by no means a complete (or anything more than supplementary, actually) training method. As with most other pursuits on the planet, you must be willing to crawl before you pop out for a run, with a beginner’s mind and an openness to working procedurally through the foundational skills. There’s no quicker way to sink to the bottom of any skydiving class than to interject any sentence that starts with “but I saw on YouTube that[…].”
If you learn one thing from watching skydiving videos on YouTube, learn this: Each jump you watch online was a highly individual experience, and any jump you’re impressed by is the end product of lots of time and hundreds (often, thousands) of jumps previous, a large proportion of which would not have impressed the YouTube-viewing public.
It’s a major part of an instructor’s job to constantly evaluate each person and tailor training techniques to meet the needs of each widely varying student. Watching a million YouTube videos before you start skydiving won’t help you meet your goals. (In fact, it’s far more likely to trip you up.) Allow the instructors to do their job in showing you your optimum path forward.
Are friends who just made their first tandem skydive a good resource?
For some things, yes! For others? Naw.
Friends and family who have made their first tandem skydive are a great resource for impressions. How did they like the dropzone they visited? How did they like the instructor? Did they feel comfortable? For the nitty-gritty details, however, fresh first-timers can’t help you much.
Once someone makes their first skydive, it’s easy for them to pose themselves as an expert–but take it all with a grain of salt and consider the source. Would you ask someone who had just driven a car for the first time how to handle the pressures of traffic, or the difference between driving a manual or an automatic, or what kind of car you should get? The same rule goes for skydiving. For this reason, instructors and professional skydivers are the resource of choice–not to mention the fact that they’re professional teachers.
What IS the best resource for skydiving advice?
Honestly, the best resource for skydiving information is the original source of skydiving information: the source that existed long before YouTube, and long before your best friend went for her first jump last week. Skydiving education has been passed down from person to person, in hangers and in classrooms and around campfires, since the dawn of the sport. However, the best resource is your skydiving instructor or mentor– that’s still the most effective path to achieving consummate skydiving skill.
Wanna join us around our campfire? We’re looking forward to teaching you the ropes! Step away from the laptop and come to Skydive California to make our sky your classroom.