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Hey, new jumper! Let’s make sure you stay chugging along this incredible journey you’ve started. We know that starting to skydive solo is an enormous challenge, and getting your A license is just the first round. To continue on your way, you’re going to have to get past a steep uphill section when it would be far easier to turn around and roll back down to what some people affectionately call “normal life.”
#1: Be a little easier on yourself
It would be easy to tell yourself that you met the challenge of earning your skydiving license and you’ve won the game. We’ll agree that you did jump an incredible hurdle — but why stop there?
You might have answers for that question. Heck — all of us have our moments in our early jumping careers. All of us have come plowing into the dirt in front of people we really wanted to impress. All of us have embarrassed ourselves (or, at least, convinced ourselves we’ve embarrassed ourselves, even though nobody else even noticed) on jumps we really wanted to nail. All of us have woken up inexplicably terrified some mornings, up to the neck in anxiety we thought we’d shaken off on that very first tandem. All of us have felt really, really not-cool. And all of that is completely okay.
Here’s the thing: With every jump, you’re diligently moving closer to the moment when you’ll feel perfectly at home in the sky. Really, you are! To get there with grace, make sure you’re easy on yourself — and that you fully celebrate every little victory in your early skydiving career.
#2. Make yourself a home at the dropzone
If you don’t keep showing up to the dropzone, weekend after weekend, steadily, walking past your insecurity and your nervousness, you might become a statistic. Statistically, most people only make a couple dozen skydives before hanging up their A-licenses. Try not to be one of those ex-jumpers.
Fear and frustration always wear costumes. They hide behind “logical, responsible choices.” There are errands to be done and financial obligations to be met and important social happenings to be attended, after all, all of which stand in the way of a weekend at the dropzone. Here’s the thing: You know, deep down, what’s a real reason and what’s an empty excuse. You know, deep down, what’s a brave choice and what’s a weak one. Commit to making the strong choice. You owe it to yourself.
#3. Work on your canopy skills
Focusing all your early skill-building on sexy freefall skills is a trap! Try not to fall in.
Right now, as a brand-new licensed skydiver, your focus is going to be monopolized by the basic ABCs of any given skydive. So right now, you need to focus what cognitive processing power you have left directly on the most important part of your jump: The landing.
Right now is the time to get canopy coaching. On every jump, you should focus rigorously on your accuracy. Learn every little detail of your canopy. Slay your gear fear. This is exactly the right time to do it — in these early moments of your skydiving career, when you’re still in the process of programming the subconscious responses that might later save your ankles.
#5. Be part of the community.
Skydive Ramblers is your home, and we want you here!
Stop worrying that everybody thinks you’re a fraud; stop worrying that you aren’t cool enough to hang around; stop worrying that they don’t really like you. They do. That skyfamily vibe is real. Stick with us from those first jumps to those first national medals, friend. We’re looking forward to cheering you the whole way there.