Dirtdive Woes

Visit Us

You are walking like a pro when your team has a brainlock, bust, or bad block. Argh! Stop the presses? Or move on?

Christy coaching a 4-way team at Skydive Perris
Photo courtesy of Christy Frikken


Do not stop the walkthrough! You are practicing exactly what you intend to do in the sky. I have bad news – there might be an error in the air too. If you stop the presses, talk, and start over every time there is a problem, you are accidentally planning on a showstopper in the sky.

You must keep moving!

Real-Time Practice

Brain lock? Wrong point? Busted key? Stay calm and fix it, just like you would in the sky. You can’t talk in the air, but you can communicate with your eyes and facial expressions. Do that to get back on the same page.

Solving these kinds of errors as a group without drama is a difference-maker at your competition. The team that can seamlessly recover will prevail.

Solving errors as a group without drama is a difference-maker at competition”

Practice Till Perfect

After you have fixed the error, move through the dive again until everyone feels confident. The walkthrough is your simulation; you want to end after several pages of great prep.

What if it Keeps Happening?

Is the prep becoming like whack-a-mole? Do you have missteps no matter how long you keep going? No problem. If it is persistent and not improving, pause for a mini-break. Give everyone a second to visualize and regroup. Try again.

You can’t do that in the sky, but if the dive isn’t working in prep we have the advantage of allowing a re-visualize so the final walk can be gorgeous.

When to Speak Up?

If a mistake happens on the ground, shouldn’t we correct it, so we don’t do it in the sky?

Yes! Sort of. We want to catch and fix our own mistakes as much as possible on land in air. If an error happens multiple times through without correction, it needs to be addressed. The rule of 2 is an excellent way to balance these needs…

If your teammates chime in the second you make a mistake, it breaks concentration
Photo courtesy of Christy Frikken

The Rule of 2

Great 4-way and 8-way teammates strike a balance between providing feedback and letting their teammates correct their own mistakes. If you want this healthy dynamic, I suggest your team implement the ‘rule of 2’.

When you need fixing

When you are prepping a skydive, you make mistakes, especially on the first run-through. Whether you are angling or rolling through the jump, your first shot at an angle could be off. Maybe you muck up a quirk you have been trying to fix later in the flow through. Maybe your creeper got stuck on a piece of gum. Either way you mess up that point and you know it right away. You fix it, but there is a sense of urgency to get through the page so you can make it right.

If your teammates chime in the second you make your mistake, it breaks your concentration. Eventually you get the sense they don’t trust you to know what you are doing. Irritating comes to mind. All 4-way jumpers like the chance to fix their own mess-ups.

All 4-way jumpers like the chance to fix their own mess-ups”

When Your Teammate Needs Fixing

Your teammate makes a mistake. You instantly see it and worry they are going to screw it up in the air too. You want the team to be better, so you must helpfully fix it. If your teammate had broccoli in her teeth, you’d say something too, right? That is what friends do! The team wants and needs feedback, and creeping correctly is part of that goal.

Balancing the Two

So how do you communicate problems to your teammates without driving each other crazy with nit-picking? I have developed an easy rule of thumb. If a mistake happens once, let it slide. The chances are they see it, and you should give them a page to make it right. Or if it happens on and off again, the second one might be a habit that needs reinforcing. It is worth stopping the presses and making your walkthrough as close to perfect as you can.

It seems super obvious once you say it, but you’d be surprised at how often I find 4-way teams who just pounce on every error. They are trying to be helpful and insightful, but it ends up driving even the mentally tough into defensive territory.

Once I get my teams to implement this policy, it gives them an outlet to help each other while letting each other correct themselves. Try it with your team, it works great!

Learn to fix glitches on the ground so you’re ready for anything in the air
Image, by Craig O’Brien, shows Perris Fury


In conclusion, problem-solve silently through your mistakes to practice your in-air recoveries, take a visualization pause if it isn’t improving, and use the ‘rule of 2’ to fix repetitive issues. Do this and you will learn to fix your bobbles smoothly and quickly!

Article, by Christy Frikken, re-published from FuryCoaching.com

More great articles at Resources, Fury Coaching.com

Visit Us

Meet: Christy Frikken

Christy Frikken teaches and competes in 4-way skydiving almost every day. She has been on many teams, including but not limited to SDC Rhythm XP, Perris Fury, Perris Wicked, Perris Force, and Perris Moxie. When she is not going fast herself, she is coaching others to go faster in the tunnel and sky. Check out furycoaching.com for more helpful articles.

Christy is proudly sponsored by Sun Path, PD, Skydive Perris, Kiss, Vigil, Larsen & Brusgaard

Contact Me

    Scroll to Top