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How to combine tunnel and sky?

Dear Roy

How is it best to balance tunnel and skydiving in our training plan? We have a budget of €6,000 per person and we’re planning next year. It will be the second year of the team and we are in AA class with a 12-point average. This year we alternated tunnel and skydiving, doing one or the other every month, with a mega blast of tunnel just before Nationals. We live in Norway, the weather is not always favorable so tunnel guarantees we will have some time together.

Thank you

Roy winning the World Challenge 2013

Hi Pål,

I think it is very important how to divide the amount of tunnel time and jumps during the season, and in which period you plan this. It is difficult for me to tell you exactly how many jumps, and how many hours of tunnel you should do. To make a good and realistic estimation, I need to know all the team members (videoman included), the team goals and what priorities your team has. All these factors will decide what the best balance is (most efficient) between tunnel and jumping and when/where to do it.

First I would start to determine where you want to peak, in other words, what will be your most important competition of the year. Then, depending of the local weather, you will know when you can start jumping and approximately how many jumps you can do prior to this meet. If you have the opportunity to travel abroad for a training camp, it’s something that should be taken into consideration as well.

Living in Norway, it makes much more sense to train in the tunnel during wintertime, than to even consider jumping there. In these early stages of the season you can build a solid foundation in the tunnel in function of your jumping program. You wrote that you do a mega blast of tunnel right before your Nationals, but I would do the opposite. I would tunnel much more in the beginning of the season and start jumping more and more towards your Nationals. In the end, you are training for a skydiving meet and not for an indoor competition. The better your preparation is for the Nationals, and the more realistic you train, the better you will score.

Flying in the tunnel is a great opportunity to improve your (team) skills. By knowing the weak points of the team and all the individual needs, you can make a strategic plan that should be as efficient as possible with your time and money. But being a good tunnel flyer doesn’t make you automatically a good skydiver. Flying (usually) with no rigs and no distractions, having the walls around you as a reference point and not practicing exits, makes training out of planes really necessary.

As most of us have a full-time job, we need to plan our training in advance to make it work. If you have any chance of making the new team calendar ‘flexible’ in case of bad weather, that would give you that extra safety. Anyway, just keep it in mind especially if you don’t have so many days planned of jumping.

Wishing you good luck for next season!

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Lesley has been in love with skydiving for 35 years. She is a multiple world and national record holder and a coach on 20 successful record events worldwide. She has over 100 competition medals spanning more than 25 years and has been on the British 8-way National team at World events. She started Skydive Mag to spread knowledge, information and passion about our amazing sport.
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