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Did You Know...

... that John Hart focuses on mental training?

John Hart with MESL team Wait and See
posted Jun 6th, 2008 - Fastrax founder John Hart has touched the mental challenges of skydiving competition here and there in his series of 4-way tips for 4-way fans. The story on 14 April 2008 mentioned the "Emotional Control & Arousal Level".

Mastering the mental challenges of 4-way competition is arguably one of the most crucial skills to become a top competitor. John Hart now focuses on this part of a comprehensive training plan.

Team Fastrax

4-way Tips

Greetings Four-Way Junkies,

The next several articles will be dedicated to mental training. It is one of the most overlooked topics, yet the important part of formation skydiving. Please contact me with any and all questions you may have at jhart@teamfastrax.org

John Hart

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4-way Tips - Mental Training

You can maximize the efficiency of your team with a mental training program customized to your needs. Come up with a team system that is used during training to achieve maximum focus and awareness, so that every team member is at their personal best during competition dives and completely aware of other team mates and what is happening in the air. As well as being mentally prepared to anticipate what will happen next and correct imperfections in the ongoing dive.

4-way Tips - Reference Material

Mental Training For Skydiving And Life, by John DeRosalia

Fight Your Fear And Win, by Don Greene

4-way Tips - Pace Yourself

Long stretches of training require that you pace yourself. Don't try to sprint a marathon. You can't peak if you don't drop. To be able to concentrate intensely, you must take advantage of any letup in the action to recharge your battery.
Rest between the jumps

4-way Tips - During Training

Don't try to be intense all the time during training. Allocate your energy wisely. Look at the training plan for the day and do the most mentally taxing things when you are most alert, probably at the beginning of the training period. An example might be to lie down and creep all your dives for the day first thing in the morning.

Another example would be to try and peak your energy right before you exit the plane. Between jumps when you are on the ground doing nothing, relax your energy and don't try to focus on anything. As you start walking through the next dive and creeping start bringing your energy level up, so when you actually exit the plane you are peaking and are ready to smoke the dive.

Visualize all details

4-way Tips - Visualization

Once you have your energy level optimal, meaning only the right amount for the moment. Then and only then it is time to train your focus and energy into visualization. Visualize what it is you want to do, what the team needs to do. A great example of this would be to go through a centering exercise before you make a dive and completely clear your mind to be in the now.

Next go through a visualization drill where you see yourself and the team completing the dive perfectly, go into great detail and see yourself flying like a god. Nothing distracts you, not the noise of the aircraft, not the smell of Jet A, not other skydivers in the plane laughing and yelling. You are totally aware and focused. Your energy level has come up to its peak level. You are completely prepared to perform your best dive ever.

Golfing skydiver Solly Williams

4-way Tips - Pre-Event Routine

It is important to come up with a routine to clear your mind. Ritual or repetitive action has a lulling effect on the left-brain. A good pre-event routine consists of actions that immerse you in the sort of sensory input only your right brain can process.

A great example of this is the way a tennis player prepares to serve by bouncing the ball and rocking back and forth. Or the way a golfer shifts their weight and waggles the club head before a swing. You are trying to connect your brain with your body. A good example of this in four-way is going through the dive before exit and physically doing everything you can while seated in the plane like head switches, taking grips and block technique.

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