In Dan BC’s article, Performing at your best, he discusses the ‘5 C’s skydivers should master to increase the percent of time they perform at their best. The first of the 5 C’s: “calm.” In Jo Malone’s 2001 article, Mental and Physical Preparation, Pete Allum says, “I need to feel relaxed and calm before a jump and have a clear image of what is going to happen.” There is no question that being calm and relaxed is key to performing at your best, but the big question is, how do you do it? There are a variety of techniques for relaxing on and before a jump. Here are some suggestions that may help you out.
Nervousness definitely has both physical and psychological components. Here are some suggestions for addressing both.
Psychologically, anxiety often comes from the fear of messing up. With greater confidence, those fears can be minimized, and that allows you to be more relaxed. So do things that will make you feel more confident about the jump:
1Breath. Take deep, deliberate breaths and focus on those breaths. Smile too. Find someone to smile at who you know will smile back at you. The feedback will amplify your positive feelings. This can be really helpful on jump-run especially, in the door, and during the skydive too.
2Scan your body for tenseness. Feel your muscles in your neck, in your back, your legs and arms. Feel where there is tightness and actively relax the muscles. Shake them out if that helps. This too can be helpful all the way up to the jump and even during the jump.
3Work out. People who are in good physical shape – especially good cardiovascular shape - have a head-start in dealing with the stress of performance.
So, if you are looking to be a more relaxed skydiver, relax your mind through preparation, committing to telling yourself positive thoughts and acting how you want to feel. Accept that you will make mistakes, and be OK with it. Relax your body through breathing, increasing awareness of your body’s tense areas, and working out. Make a plan to do all these things, down to the details of when you will do your final pin check, and execute on that plan. Do that, and you will find yourself more relaxed. When you are more relaxed, you will be one step closer to performing at your best.
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