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Four teams competed at his new skydiving center near Cincinnati, and he and his former Fastrax teammate Niklas Hemlin were a part of the competition with the new team Wait & See. After leaving the US 8-way team KnightTrax John Hart made it his mission at Start Skydiving to bring up new skydivers and introduce them to 4-way competition, then take them up to a higher performance level. Matt Hunt (Point) and Greg Rich (Tail) are in his 2008 lineup, Michelle Albers is filming the team.
The founder of the Indiana/Mideast Skydiving League, Randy Connell, was also back in action after a longer break from 4-way competition. He and his wife Leah competed together for Venus & Mars.
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. I would like to thank Dr. John for all his help and input. Please contact me with any and all questions you may have at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Most of these drills can be done as a team and individually. You can apply these drills to many other aspects of your life besides skydiving.
Your goal is to modify your feelings and emotions in a positive manner, simply by altering the characteristics of the pictures you are seeing in your mind.
Drill: Experience the effects of altering the sub-modalities of visualization. You are the director and editor of your own visualization and imagery exercise. Picture a dive sequence and alter the sound, color, contrast, angle, speed, freeze frame, etc. and notice the impact these changes have on your attitude and outlook.
Your goal is to end this mental drill with feeling like you just made a real skydive.
Drill: Picture the dive sequence and alter all elements of the dive, be creative. Change you're the angle you are imagining the formation from, the air temperature, the lighting, the feeling of the relative wind on your body parts, grips, your helmet, basically anything and everything.
Confidence building and identity modification.
Drill: Watch a video tape of a world class skydiving team and imagine yourself in being in the dive and flying your slot perfectly - like a pro.
Back And Forth
The goal is to perfect a movement or sequence.
Drill: Run the drill through your mind in forwards and backwards, at normal speed and in slow motion. Use imagery and visualization twice. Now go do the dive for real.
The goal is to improve focus, concentration and distraction control.
Drill: While creeping or walking through a dive have another team member attempt to distract team members in intervals, until and unless it becomes counter productive. Begin at a low intensity and then increase as you go. This was referred to in "Fight Your Fears", where they had kids yell, scream, clap their hands or whatever to distract each other during a round of golf. They eventually quit doing it because it failed to have any affect after a while.
Adversity Training: Skydiving is not conducted in a sound proof room. There are tremendous distractions. Not the least of which is that you might need to save your life at some point during your dive. But you also have all the noise and the pressure of competition. Basically we need to train ourselves to be immune to all these pressures and distractions. We cannot train in a bubble. We have to constantly be mixing things up to create distractions and make things harder so that we build our self-confidence and have the ability to sustain our focus for long periods of time.
The goal is to develop and maintain relaxed attention while learning to gently and efficiently refocus.
Drill: In a seated position, on the floor, in the airplane, in your car or where ever. Practice Yoga breathing and meditation. You will have mental and physical distractions. The thing is to let them pass in and out of your mind and continually refocus on your breathing.
To strengthen and internalize a particular area of learning.
Drill: Repeat these statements - Quick & Controlled - Focused & Aware - Only The Team! Reinforce the most positive and important elements of the team. Come up with whatever works for you.
Instantaneous stress reduction.
Drill: Turn the frown upside down.
The goal is to improve distraction control, arousal management and stress reduction.
Drill: Bring back a particularly strong and positive memory. At the height of these feelings make a fist or pinch two fingers together, (the anchor could be anything) and squeeze it for about ten seconds while you experience these positive feeling. With practice you should be able to do this without the imagery and create instant focus and positive energy.
The goal is to live in the now and achieve a heightened sense of focus and awareness.
Drill: Prepare for training with a short presence drill. Sit in a relaxed position on the floor or in the plane. Focus on your senses using yoga breathing. Create an attention boundary, hear your breathing, feel any pressure on your body, see only one thing and focus on it and last smell what you can, Jet A, body odor whatever. Ignore everything else. Do not think our notice anything else. Clear your mind for what is about to happen. Whether it is an actual dive or a creeping drill. Once you have done that then you should likely go into some visualization exercise.
The Can of Control: Control what you can. Blow off what you can't. Absolutely no whining. Visualize the "can" as an attention boundary.