Going skydiving for the first time can be exciting and scary all at once. It’s different from anything your body has ever experienced, so it’s important to remember that any stress you associate with skydiving is completely normal. One way to wrap your head around making your tandem jump is to do some skydiving practice before the big day!
Tangible tips to help you with skydiving preparation are easy to find, but mental prep is a little more nuanced. Here are a few simple techniques that will teach you how to mentally prepare for skydiving before you ever step foot on the dropzone!
One of the best ways to calm your fears is to see how much other people have enjoyed exactly what you are about to do! Watching tandem videos online will show you what to expect during the skydiving experience, as well as what’s involved in the process of making a tandem skydive. You’ll get a visual of what the gear looks like, how tandems exit the plane, what freefall and the parachute deployment looks like, and what to do on landing. Some videos also include people talking about their experience after the skydive is over. You can’t beat hearing reviews in real time!
You too can have an EPIC VIDEO of your own skydive that will serve as a source of pride and empowerment – and posting it online just might inspire someone else to take the leap!
Practicing your breathing before you go skydiving will help you accomplish two things – staying calm and, well, breathing! It’s a natural instinct to hold your breath in the face of fear – resist the urge! A good breathing technique will ensure that your breath doesn’t get “caught in your throat” when you are hit with the 120 mph wind of freefall.
Get comfortable taking slow, deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth. If your breathing gets too shallow, it can trigger a stress response and amplify any anxiety you might already be having. Keeping a steady breathing cycle will tell your brain that everything is ok, and it will also make it easier to breathe even when things get windy.
Every person deals with stress in their own way. Some people go for a run, some meditate; whatever works for you, consider doing it before you leave for the dropzone. If you can get yourself into a relaxed headspace at the beginning of the big day, you will already have a leg up on staying calm throughout the entire jump. People who know what triggers their stress response and how to handle it tend to stay present in even the most stressful situations! You’ve got this!
Your instructor will spend plenty of time going over the correct body position with you when you arrive at the dropzone, but when it comes to skydiving, there’s no harm in being a little bit of a teacher’s pet. You have everything you need right in your house to practice what you will be doing on the jump – just your body! The most important thing you can do when you exit the plane on any skydive is maintain an arch position. That means that you should be in a “U” shape on your belly, with your hips being the lowest point.
To practice, lay belly-side-down on the floor, extend your arms out and up, bend your knees so your soles are pointing at the ceiling, and push your hips forward. Only your hips should be touching the ground – everything else should be angling upwards, like a banana! The more natural you feel in this position, the smoother the jump will go, and the more you will be able to focus on the beautiful views around you.
Indoor skydiving tunnels aren’t just fun, they offer a great way to prepare for your first leap into the big Carolina blue sky. Not only can you practice proper body position, but you can also get a sense of what it feels like to be in 120 mph wind (without ever leaving the ground … at least not more than a few feet). Even professional skydivers use the wind tunnel as a tool for practicing flying techniques.
If you’re feeling intense anxiety about making your first tandem skydive, the tunnel might be just what you need to work out some of that stress. You will have the benefit of knowing what the skydive will physically feel like on your body, and you will also have a ton of practice in the arch position before stepping foot in an airplane.
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