Let’s Talk About FEAR

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Dan BC explains how to make Fear into your Friend…

“You should be scared, you’re jumping out of an aeroplane”
Photo by Gary Wainwright

I’ve seen so many posts and comments from new jumpers trying to get a handle on fear. To be honest I almost find it funny that new jumpers often feel bad for feeling scared. You should be scared, you’re jumping out of an airplane!!

Your first jump is an experience like nothing you’ve ever done before. You have no idea what it’s going to be like. Your adrenalin and sensory overload are through the roof. Your first jump is the epitome of a leap of faith. If you’re not scared the first time you jump out of an airplane you’re an idiot!

But with each jump skydiving becomes more familiar and we begin to build our skills. Logically we should be less scared. But often we’re not! Why???

It doesn’t make sense. Here are two thoughts:

1) The Spock effect

Don’t let emotions overrule logic. For example, let’s say you’ve made between 5 and 10 jumps. The facts are you know how to get stable, keep track of your altitude, deploy your parachute and land safely. You haven’t had a malfunction yet but you practice your EPs in your sleep and you know you’ve got them. If you don’t think you’ve got them then practice more until you do. These are the facts. You have much less to be scared of than when you had from 0 to 3 jumps. Logic would dictate that you shouldn’t be as scared anymore. Just because you “feel scared” doesn’t necessarily mean you should be scared. Think about it. What are you scared of? Do the facts show that you should be more confident? Think. Don’t let your emotions run away with you.

If you’re not scared the first time you jump out of an airplane, you’re an idiot!

“Just because you ‘feel scared’ doesn’t necessarily mean you should be scared”
Photo: Focussed AFF student by Titch Wibrew

2) It’s a few minutes before exit

You’re breathing heavy, heart pounding, brow sweating, and fingers buzzing. You’re terrified! Or are you? The physiological sensations we interpret as fear are also signs of an intensified state of readiness. This high arousal level increases our potential for strength, speed and mental sharpness. Don’t interpret it as fear. Breathe slowly, calm yourself down and trust that you’re ready. Because you are. The logic and facts back it up!

I got my Tandem Instructor rating when they were first invented in 1984. One of the first people I took on a tandem was Chet Poland. Chet was a Barnstormer in the 1920s. He used to jump from 1000′ with one parachute. He wasn’t scared to do this tandem at all. I was.

Taking Chet Poland on a tandem – Terrified!
Photo courtesy of Dan BC


To sum it up, don’t be scared of feeling scared. Fear is your friend. Be logical, don’t let your emotions get the better of you. Breathe deeply and use these feelings of fear to become the calmest, sharpest, strongest you you’ve ever seen. You’re going to love how it feels and how you perform.

“You’re going to love how it feels and how you perform”
Image: Author Dan BC landing at Skydive Perris, by Dennis Sattler

Further reading

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Meet: Dan Brodsky-Chenfeld

Dan is Manager of Skydive Perris & Author of the highly acclaimed “Above All Else” book. He was a founding member of Airspeed and a multiple 4- and 8-way World Champion, competing for more than 20 years. Dan developed a training system through Airspeed and coaching so many teams. It works. His personal and coached teams consistently performed at their best in competition and often won – three consecutive and different Women's World Champion 4way teams for instance; Synchronicity, Storm and Airkix. He has so much passion for the sport, competing at Nationals every year, organizing at World Records, and trying new areas like Crew and freeflying. As a P3 skydiving organizer, coach and motivational speaker, he is inspirational.

Dan is sponsored by Skydive Perris, Sun Path, PD, Kiss and L&B altimeters.

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