How To Beat the Burnout

Monday, April 16, 2018

So now you’re a skydiver: you’ve made the time and financial commitment, you’ve worked hard to pass each level. You got up early, waited out weather, watched hundreds of YouTube videos, battled the ups (like knocking out a stand up landing) and downs (like trying to get that puffy, never-wants-to-cooperate-material called a parachute into an itsy bitsy lil thing they call the d-bag), and finally, you proudly wore the A-stamp on your glistening forehead.

This is a defining moment for many people – a cross roads if you will. At this stage, some people feel they need a break. Skydiving is a lot like working out. Once you take the first step in the gym (or dropzone), and start learning the culture, it becomes easier and easier to be a part of. However, even in exercise, a break is encouraged so your body can rest. Skydiving is much the same, however it doesn’t benefit you physically, but also mentally.

You’ve invested a lot into your skydiving career. Here are the top 5 tips to help you beat the burnout to give yourself a long lasting skydiving career and make the most out of this awesome sport!

Take A Break – It’s Healthy!

Using the gym/exercise analogy: once you’ve found that determination to go, why would you want to let that momentum down by taking a break? Said best by Crystal Reeves, a NASM certified master trainer and co-owner of MadSweat, “When you perform excessive amounts of exercise without proper rest and recover you may experience some harmful side effects including… fatigue, altered hormonal states, poor sleeping patterns, mood swings.”

Let’s face it – skydiving is a high-adrenaline, high risk sport. When we’re first learning, our bodies are going through a major “fight-or-flight” processes and after putting the body through those stressors, it’s common to experience the above effects like other athletes might. Stay within the currency requirements, and allow yourself some space to take a break, and no need to feel guilty about it – it’s a healthy thing!

Nick White, a senior coach with Carmichael Training Systems, says, “Taking away that thing you love can really reinforce how much you love it, helping to bring back that motivation. Otherwise, training [in our world, skydiving] gets to feel like a job.”

Continuing to Grow – Cross Train!

It is commonly known in the athletic world that cross training should be part of an athletes regular regimen. The benefits are often physical such as building strength, speed, agility, flexibility, cardiovascular capacity, reaction time, etc. Cross training helps improve your main sport. This is true for skydiving as well and couldn’t be better said than in “The Science Behind Cross Training,”:

“Interestingly, the benefits of cross training aren’t just physical. Cross training, by exploiting the use of different stimuli, can also overcome psychological or mental/emotional fatigue associated with training in just one sport. Traditionally, the off-season is the perfect opportunity to engage in some cross training. During this time, athletes can reduce the physical and psychological pressures of their sport while maintaining their level of fitness. It also provides an opportunity for teams to train differently in a social, less competitive setting and improve team bonding.”

Here’s a list of activities that are great for skydivers to cross train in:

  • Yoga & Pilates
  • Tunnel (learn a different discipline)
  • Tough Mudder, Warrior Dash or the like
  • Scuba Diving
  • Trapeze
  • Paragliding
  • Skiing / Snowboarding

Take Your Time

It’s easy to get caught up in the skydiving world. It’s so freeing, full of interesting people, happens outdoors in the sunshine, keeps you away from your screens, and can take you to some amazing places around the world.

It’s easy to be seduced by all the amazing flyers, wingsuit pilots, canopy pilots, instructors…. And want to be there yourself so you don’t feel like the new guy all the time. However, every great skydiver has been in the sport a LONG time and has paid their dues in learning the skills they are proficient in. Take your time and enjoy the ride!

Continue to Expand

Got goals?  Goals will help you continue to improve your skill set in a certain discipline in a much more structured and efficient way. Plus – it will help you from getting bored of the sport! Yes – believe it or not, people get bored because they don’t have a clear direction on what’s next. Here’s a list of goals to consider:

  • Earn Your B, C & D-License
  • Fly A Wingsuit
  • Fly More in the Tunnel (learn a new discipline)
  • Go to Nationals
  • Earn Your Pro Rating
  • Become a Coach, AFF or Tandem Instructor
  • Get on a State or World Record
  • Become a Load Organizer

Making goals equals making a commitment and equals long term success. Start small then build yourself up, keeping in mind all the other tips. According to Sport Psychology Today’s author, Mike Edger:

“It’s important to remember that goals should not become expectations that weigh you down. In other words, it’s one thing to have a goal and work toward it and evaluate it often. In this case, you keep in mind that goals can and should change. It’s another thing—and not as healthy—to place high expectations on you, such as “I HAVE to make 10 shots [in our world – skydives] today.”

Find A Mentor / Coach

There are several benefits for having a mentor or getting coaching!

  • You will learn a skill set more effectively and efficiently. When trying to learn a new skill or discipline on your own, you’ll end up doing more jumps just trying to figure it out than actually learning it. A coach will streamline the learning process, challenge you and help you progress quicker.
  • You will gain a new friend in the sport who will help you beyond just sky training!
  • A Mentor and Coach benefit by giving back as it is also another way to continue to learn and be challenged in the sport
  • Mentors and Coaches help keep jumpers in the sport longer

Skydiving has an incredible community and culture – one like no other. It takes a lot to commit to this sport and we’re here to help you along your journey to mitigate the burnout, and have a lifelong career in this amazing sport, just like our founder, Danny Smith.

 

References

“The Active Times.” February 10th, 2015. Katie Rosenbrock. https://www.theactivetimes.com/why-rest-days-are-just-important-working-out

“The Science Behind Cross Training.” September 28th, 2016. Ryan Carey. https://www.puori.com/blog/2016/09/28/the-science-behind-cross-training

“Goal Setting for Athletes.” March 9th, 2011. Mike Edger.

http://www.sportpsychologytoday.com/youth-sports-psychology/goal-setting-for-athletes/

 

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