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Did You Know...

... that Arizona Airspeed prefer real combat over "shadown-boxing"?

Arizona Airspeed at the USPA Nationals 2022
image by: USPA/Skydive Chicago
posted Sep 13th, 2022 - It could be expected that Arizona Airspeed would not have much opposition in defending their 4-way Open Class title at the USPA Nationals. This will probably not change much before and at the FAI Outdoor World Meet next month, as the NSL News mentioned a few times.

It was still an interesting topic for the latest NSL Live Talk with the U.S. 4-way champions. In fact, especially the situation without too much pressure for Arizona Airspeed on their home turf in Eloy was interesting enough to spend some time discussing the psychology of a competition without much opposition.

Formation Skydiving competition does not feature a direct opponent. Teams have to do their best in the 35 or 50 seconds of working time and then wait until all scores are posted on the leaderboard. Any potential pressure is coming from inside and only after facing the leaderboard with scores of other participating teams.

Airspeed's point, Joey Marshall, still used the example of "shadow-boxing" when he was explaining his own state of mind in a situation as his team is currently facing it. It is not only difficult enough to bring the energy level to a competitive feeling in training. The lack of serious opponents in a competition makes it easy to become complacent and miss the peak performance level easily. Four Arizona Airspeed members were present to discuss the outcome of the 4-way Open Class competition and the perspectives five weeks before Round 1 of the outdoor world meet. Only inside center Chris Kuhlmann was not available at the time of the NSL Live Talk.

NSL Live Talk with Arizona Airspeed on 12 September 2022
Qatar Tigers at the USPA Nationals 2022
image by: USPA/Skydive Chicago
Arizona Airspeed had left the Qatar Tigers 43 points behind after Round 10 (258 - 215), and the distance to NMP PCH HayaBusa was still 31 points (258 - 227). It was not "shadow-boxing", which usually takes place in a training environment. However, the opponents in the ring at Skydive Chicago and in Belgium were like welterweights for the Airspeed heavyweights, and this may not change much in the remaining five weeks.

As Paraclete XP8 is aiming at the Golden Knights top scores, the Airspeed members are trying to set their own goals and pursue the performance and scoring level that the NMP PCH HayaBusa lineups of the past years have set in place for all other 4-way teams in the world.

In fact, they are hoping and expecting that at least the still reigning Belgian 4-way world champions will continue with their progression and move closer, so the "shadow-boxing" may turn into a real fight with two or more heavyweights in the ring. Niklas Hemlin pointed out that it is easier for a team to catch up from far behind, compared to increasing the meet average at the highest level. There is probably not enough time for NMP PCH HayaBusa, Qatar Tigers and France to catch up quickly enough, and Arizona Airspeed will surely not just be waiting for a competitive situation in the meantime.

The French national team in 4-way Open, Aerodyne Cypres Lille, will have more than seven weeks between their 22.1 average at the national outdoor championships, while NMP PCH HayaBusa and Qatar Tigers have five weeks to cut more into the distance to Arizona Airspeed.

USPA Nationals 2022
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Total Avg
Rank 4-way Open Combined G,9,M,8 P,3,O,E 7,13,18 B,21,Q,14 20,L,2 D,1,A,19 5,11,15 10,17,N F,C,K,H,22 12,J,16 Total Avg
1 Arizona Airspeed US 28 -2 32 23 26 -1 22 26 22 21 -1 35 23 258 25.8
2 NMP-PCH Hayabusa BE 27 29 -1 18 -1 23 20 25 18 -1 21 26 -2 20 -1 227 22.7
3 Qatar Tigers QA 23 -2 21 -3 20 23 19 23 18 20 29 19 -1 215 21.5

Arizona Airspeed - NMP PCH HayaBusa - Qatar Tigers with the USPA Nationals 2022 draw
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