Many licensed skydivers don’t realize how easy it is to compete in the sport! Having a goal and a committed team helps increase skills and builds an incredible bond. Competing also opens the door for other opportunities in the sport like becoming an instructor or gaining the skills to be on a world record!
Here at Paraclete XP Indoor Skydiving, we welcome lots of teams who come to our facilities to learn and train. Here are our tips on how to get on a skydiving team:
The first step to getting on a skydiving team is to have the confidence to know you can do it!
As a licensed skydiver, you have the opportunity to learn any discipline, from flat flying (or formation skydiving – FS) to freeflying, and it’s possible to compete in all of them!
Once you have the basic skills down, it’s easy to start flying with other people and thinking about training for competition, too. And it’s not a case of waiting around to be asked – you can make your own team, just grab some friends and off you go!
Skydiving is a sport made up of many disciplines. There’s something for everyone, whether you choose to make pretty shapes in the sky with your friends, to move like a gymnast on your own or to fly faster than anyone else!
Some common competition disciplines include:
Formation skydiving is done on your belly, and is usually the skill you learn straight after qualifying.
You’ll fly in the same orientation as you did while you were learning, but now it’s all about learning to fly with other people and to control your fall rate and movements to match that. Together, you’ll learn to build different shapes – or formations – which are each denoted by a letter, and some (which include more complex moves) by numbers.
In a competition, you’ll be told which combination of letters and numbers you need to perform, and have a set amount of time in which to complete these as many times as possible. The team with the most formations wins – simple!
Competitive FS is usually done in groups of 4 with a camera flyer or 8 with a camera flyer.
Freeflying is typically learned after FS. This is where you move away from the belly to earth orientation and learn to fly on all different axes, including standing up, in a seated position and even upside down!
Once proficient in FF, you can start flying with others. Freefly competitions are typically 2 ‘performers’ and one camera flyer and together, you perform compulsory maneuvers as well as open routines where you can express your creativity.
Another part of freeflying is ‘freestyle’, which looks like gymnastics or ballet in the air.
The parachute ride is sometimes forgotten about when we talk about skydiving. But we also compete in disciplines that use our parachutes.
For example, swooping is a discipline that is built on parachute piloting to push higher speeds and longer distances in our landings. CRW, standing for Canopy Relative Work, is similar to FS in that it’s all about building formations, but those formations are using our parachutes instead of bodies.
The key to success in a team doesn’t lie in your flying skills, but in your ability to agree to your goals and stick to your plan.
When you’re coming together with other people to achieve a common goal – whether it’s to medal at Nationals or simply to improve your performance as a team – you need to be clear on what those goals are and how you intend to achieve them. Any time that your goals differ or conflict from those of your teammates, you’re likely to get into tricky situations or see the whole thing fall apart.
You, therefore, need to be very clear and in agreement from the start. Set targets and also a budget that everyone can work with, and be sure to revisit those throughout the season to ensure you’re still on the same page.
Then you’re set – it’s time to compete! You just need to find a competition!
There are plenty to choose from. Indoor skydiving and outdoor skydiving competitions happen throughout the year and across the country and even the world.
We recommend checking out some local competitions first, to get used to the competition environment. Check out our events page for competitions here at Paraclete XP or if you’re not close to the Fayetteville area, check out the USPA’s events calendar for skydiving events all over the country.
And above all, have fun!