Skydive Mag

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4-way – Adding it all up

Words by Michael Sigl

Figuring it all out

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In our formation skydiving career we are always afraid of getting not enough enough jumps because of weather or the teams we want to beat did so much training more than we did. And because there will never be enough money to do to the amount of jumps we think we need to get to our dream average.

Take a deep breath and relax

There will never, ever be enough time to perform enough jumps to cover all possible combinations that can happen during the draw in a competition.

Just to give you a reminder of the sizes of the dive pools from A-AAA class:

composition of blocks and randoms

Mathematics

Hayabusa 12 exit
Hayabusa 12 exit — Image by Danny Jacobs

How many possible combinations of the blocks and randoms can arise for each class?

  • What do you think?
  • Guess!!

Draw combinations

Here is the result based on the mathematical rules of combinatorics… you can see for AAA there are over 2 million!!

  • A – 5,592
  • AA – 113, 040
  • AAA – 2,070,936

How long would Hayabusa need if they do 600 jumps and 45 hours of tunnel a year to go through every combination?

  • Answer: 863 years!!

Surprised?

Of course a lot of jumps help but there will be never enough to cover all combinations, moving from random/block to random/block, random/random, block/random, block/block, etc.

So the question that arises: How do they reach such a performance level and what are the key factors that determine the performance in any sports?

Sport Performance Components

Let’s look at the components that are responsible for performance in sport (source: Dan BC)

Key factors that determine the performance in any sports (source, Dan BC)
Key sports performance factors

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General Rule: The better the performance in each component, the better is the overall performance.

You can’t run before you learn to walk

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To come back to our initial problem of how to train technical skills with our limited resources (time & money) the main focus should be on basic flying skills that determine our team performance during a team training and competition. Handling height changes during 3D movements is just one example. Of course the best terrain to train and develop the basic skills is the wind tunnel. There we have a safe environment without the stress of freefall and we can practice drills in a much more efficient way and better use our resources. The result will be a higher output up in the sky and more scores on the board.

Of course free fall is important also to adjust your fall rate and learn to exit the plane. But, my main point is, most competitive skydivers put too much focus training always in formation and skip one-on-one because they think it is not necessary any more. Whereas, if you focus on developing really excellent flying skills, your team performance will greatly improve.

Become independent from a draw

At the end the result is that a team should become independent from any draw because of the capabilities to fly every transition in the best possible way, based on the references briefed during creeping on the ground. The foundation is always the good flying skills each team member will have.

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