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Did You Know...

... that Skydiving and Life Coach Melanie "Melsinore" Curtis is serious about teams?

Skydiving and Life Coaching: Melanie "Melsinore" Curtis at
posted Feb 19th, 2013 - Skydiving and Life Coach Melanie "Melsinore" Curtis, who offers her professional services at Highcomms, also contributes regularly to the Blue Skies Mag. The NSL News posted one of her earlier related columns on 14 December 2011. The latest edition of the Blue Skies Mag includes another interesting article that touches "team business" in general.

Melanie Curtis won Advanced Class gold medals with Elsinore Adrenaline at the USPA Nationals 2004 and has been competing in the Open Class at the national championships ever since. She was back in the Advanced Class as a player coach for Monkey Business in 2011 and finished in 14th place of all 19 teams and in 8th place of USPA eligible teams.

Last year, she competed with pickup team AZ Plosion in the AAA/Open Class and finished with a 17.9 average. She was recently coaching the 4way family team Luau Confusion, and that's where her new story begins.

Melsinore with AZ Plosion at the USPA Nationals 2012
Luau Confusion also competed at the SkyVenture New Hampshire Indoor Fest this year.

Melanie Curtis commented her experience with the team in the article, as well:

"Team Luau Confusion to be exact! Comprised of the Olsen Family, Fred (inside center), Crystal (point), Nate (video), Chris Clark (outside center), and Rich Hubert (tail). Based in Jumptown, MA, this crew definitely cares about what counts, and knows to enjoy their skydiving path, no matter where it takes them. That, and team unity never looked so luau! Nice booties. Love your style."

Then she continued with her thoughts about teams in skydiving.


By Melanie Curtis,

Skydiving and Life Coach

Melsinore with Luau Confusion
I just got done coaching a 4-way team (Luau Confusion) for the first four days of the New Year. We had a plan, we had goals, and we jumped with purpose. Throughout the week, three of the five hit milestone jumps: 200, 300, and 400. A perfect crew of younger jumpers looking to expand their knowledge and experience in a consistent team environment. At the end of the four days, each team member was reeling at how much they learned, and how much more was possible.

Just scratching the surface of what it takes to run and participate in a skydiving team project at any level, one of the members posed a great question rooted in genuine concern: "How serious is too serious?"

We've all seen those 4-way teams on the plane, all in black, white gloves, eyes closed, their hands moving around in some mystery motion on the ride to altitude. As young jumpers, we can easily look at those skydivers, at skydiving teams, and think, "I could never do that." Or, "I just want to have fun," implying that team training is in fact not fun, based on its serious exterior. Or maybe you've never had one conscious thought about being on a skydiving team because you assumed for whatever reason it just wasn't possible for you.

Luau Confusion at SkyVenture New Hampshire
The truth is teams come in all shapes and sizes... from the best of the best to wide-eyed beginners. No team is created equal, and all team goals stem from the collection of its members. Maybe you want to do 50 jumps with the same people and learn the random formations. Maybe you want to get coaching and compete at nationals no matter how you place. Maybe you want to go huge on your new dream by joining an established project and doing whatever it takes to go all the way.

Regardless of who you are, if you are true to yourself and communicate your goals and desires to your teammates, you will be able to determine a team plan that works for everyone. Sometimes people's goals don't align and that's OK too. It is very common for 4-way people to shuffle around the competition community as their goals evolve, and new fits are formed.

The truth and serious are not mutually exclusive when it comes to success in our sport. In fact, I firmly believe teams who have more fun are more successful in their skydiving too. I have experienced it personally many times on my own teams... Adrenaline, Eleven, Jedi, FLV, Monkey Business, Dysfunction, Speedy Kids, Plosion, and countless times with my students as well. It's good sh*t.

Team work: SDC Rhythm XP's new lineup
Great, so how do you do it? If you are on a team (or are building a team), the first step is to communicate your goals. To talk with your teammates and establish team goals based on everyone's individual ideal. Almost always compromises are made for the sake of the bigger project, so remain open to that bigger picture. These team goals then become the backbone of your training. From that point on, these goals are a given. From that point on, you can always trust the team goals are the main thing you are all working toward no matter how much hilarity ensues.

The other truth's fun to be good. I tell my students this all the time, not to sound like a cocky a**hole (there's plenty I'm still working on too!), but to inspire them to keep going, to keep building their skills, to keep learning more. Teams are a petri dish for great skills...jumping with the same people, measureable goals, consistent training, etc. Sure, it's not "fun" to go through that period of sucking at anything new, whether it's 4-way, head down, big-ways, swooping, or whatever else...but doing that work, getting "serious" for some of your time in the sky, is the gateway to way more fun than you could ever have not going through it. And teams simply magnify that progress, and therefore magnify our future fun. Boom.

Talk to your teammates. Decide your goals. Have fun. Do the work. Earn more fun. Simple as that... I'm serious! Hehe Tizzle 2.0, out.

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