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International, independent, e-magazine on skydiving, BASE & tunnel

Rhythm Guide to Debriefing Blocks

Effective debriefing is critical for the continued growth of both teams and individuals. It allows us to learn from our limited flying time and develop an action plan for improving on future flights.

SDC Rhythm — by Alex Bittner
SDC Rhythm — by Alex Bittner

When flying on a team, pretty soon you’ll find yourself turning blocks, which are a set of two formations with a prescribed way to get from formation A to formation B. Blocks often involve subgroups within the team (2ways, 3ways, and solos) breaking apart, spinning and coming back together.

Road Map

With so many moving parts, debriefing blocks can be very challenging. Especially in the sky where there are fewer references, it can be difficult to make concrete conclusions about how to make improvements, leading to lengthy discussions with limited actionable results. The following guidelines lay out an efficient roadmap for debriefing blocks from start to finish, and we recommend sticking to the order listed. It may be a waste of time to address step two if you don’t have step one right yet.

Build of Block 22 — by Adam Elkin
Build of Block 22 — by Adam Elkin

Step 1: The Build

Was everyone in position and on level in the build according to your block technique? It may be helpful to draw an axis on your screen and compare the center of the block build compared to the center of the previous formation. During your Rhythm workshop, you’ll learn how to do this.

Step 2: The Key

Was everyone ready to go when the key happened? If more than one person has the key, were the keys simultaneous? Did everyone let go and start moving at the same time?

Inter for Block 21 — by Adam Elkin
Inter for Block 21 — by Adam Elkin

Step 3: Inter Pictures

Inter pictures depict how subgroups should look some fraction of the way through the block. They break up the whole move into parts that everyone can target together, and provide a basis for visual feedback when things are off. Did you make the inter pictures you were targeting? It may be helpful to evaluate the inter picture relative to the starting build. Consider the following:

  1. Direction – Did each flyer go the direction dictated by your technique? Were you too much to the left or right?
  2. Distance – Did each flyer go the distance dictated by your technique? Did you go too far or too short?
  3. Speed – Did the speed of each piece’s movement match the others appropriately? Did one piece move a lot faster than the other?
  4. Rotation – Did spinning pieces rotate to the correct extent? Did a rotating piece over-rotate or under-rotate?

Step 4: Levels

Did you maintain appropriate levels throughout the block? Evaluate the levels between pieces as well as the levels between piece partners within the pieces.

Close of Block 4 — by Adam Elkin
Close of Block 4 — by Adam Elkin

Step 5: The close

Did everyone go to the close according to your block technique? Again, evaluate direction, distance, speed, and rotation. It may be helpful to evaluate the close relative to the starting and inter axis.

More Rhythm Articles

Rhythm Instructional Videos HERE

All SDC Rhythm Articles HERE

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