Night Two: Competitive 4-way Sequential by Craig Buxton cont.
This seminar opened with the story by Jack Jefferies on the first issue of "Eye Contact" the video skydiving magazine.
When you perform a movement in freefall, you have to initiate the movement, coast during the movement, and stop the movement. For example, how do you move 3 feet up? Initiate by cupping air by dropping the knees and elbows, Coast in the box position, and Stop by assuming the fast fall position (harder arch).
200 multiplied by 60 seconds each is not very much practice time so you should practice specific skills on the ground. Now we can practice this cupping action on the ground because if you don't do it symmetrically you will slide and not just move 3 feet up. Lay on the floor in your box position and press your elbows and knees into the floor raising your chest off the floor. You are practicing the muscle memory for the symmetrical cupping of the air.
Use a mirror to check your box position. Assume the box and look into the mirror and verify if you have assumed it correctly. Practice positioning your arms with the elbows straight out from the shoulders with the hands at your ears (not your hands even with your shoulders. Continue this practice until you can assume the box correctly.
To go forward, extend your legs and spill more air off your torso. Failure to spill more air off your torso resists your forward motion and slows your fallrate (the extended legs have added to the total surface area presented to the wind flow).
To perform a side slip, bank your shoulders and shift the calves toward one side. Shoulders banked to the right with the calves shifted toward the left results in a side slip to the right. The wind deflection off bank of your shoulders and the wind deflection off your calves must be in equal amounts. If not, you will turn while attempting your side slip.
To perform a turn in place, use the upper and lower body evenly. Bank the shoulders to the right and shift the calves toward the right for a right turn. Failure to use the upper and lower body evenly results in a turn that is not in place. More use of the chest causes a turn about the lower body and more use of the calves causes a turn about the upper body. Such an unbalanced turn introduces other complex movement that continues with its momentum until you stop it.
An exaggerated head switch can cause unusual banking in the shoulders and effect your flying possibly causing unwanted linear motion.
If the fallrate of the formation is too slow, the jumpers performing movements will go low during the movements. Most body positions for causing linear movement involve decreasing the surface area exposed to the wind and hence they fall faster.
The lower arm (elbow to hands) has little effect on your flying. The torso is a much bigger part of your body and does most of the flying.
You can learn these skills in a drill format. This allows one to combine these skills more easily later. You can analyze skills and trouble shoot them instead of saying "Oh, I just didn't have lunch. I'll do better after lunch."
Beginners back up to perform some RW moves because they feel that they can see more easily and eliminate the fear of working closely and perhaps bumping into one another.
Often in a donut, skydivers extend the free arm in order to get push in towards the center to reduce tension in the formation. If this technique is really needed then the divers have some bad habits contributing to unwanted separation. Use a good box position. It falls straight down.
When transitioning or turning pieces, the balance of forces must be controlled in a similar manner as with turns in place, side slips, etc. Learning to do this requires team members to make practice jumps together.
While watching advanced relative workers, you may notice that the lower legs and lower arms move quite a bit. However, they are holding the box position faithfully. For them the box position includes the entire body except for the forearms and lower legs. While "opening the door," a technique described in Skydive 101 video, move only the lower arm. The advanced RWer will also explore to some degree how far they can deviate from the box position and still stay in control. Advanced relative workers use "cheat formations." A caterpillar that is curved is one example. Each RWer has less distance to move their C.G. to get to the next formation when using cheat formations.
Practice drills on the ground. For example, practice the movements for turning in place for 10 minutes. Take a 5 minute break and do it for 10 more minutes.
Creeping allows for accurate viewing of the RW movements and formations. Practice accurate geometry of movement and formation shapes.
Break the skydive into its parts. If you can't remember the sequence then how can you expect to do them? On the ground learn good habits--make the skill automatic before getting in freefall.
Try this exercise... Lay on a creeper with your eyes shut. Your friend moves it 3 feet to the right and asks you what happened. You are likely to say you moved about 3 feet to the right. Then, he rotates you 90 degrees to the left and asks you what happened. You are likely to say you turned about 90 degrees to the left. Most anyone has this level of awareness. However, most people don't pay attention to these kinesthetic sensations of linear and rotary movement while in freefall.
In another common example... You are an instructor and your RW student docked on a 4-way with you. You find yourself pulling 40 lbs to maintain your box position because the student is backsliding in the slot. In the debrief, get with the student and demonstrate the difference between a tension and a no tension grip. Have the student pull against you as you explain this is how it was in freefall and have the student relax the tension as you explain this is how it is in the ideal formation.
What about brainlocking problems? If you brainlock, don't back up. Continue to fly your slot and take a guess at a new heading. You have 33 percent chance at being right. If they others look at you funny, try another heading. It's simple. Regardless of the name of the next formation, you can be only hands to hands, hands to feet, or hands to a hand and a foot.
Use weight and jumpsuit alterations to get all members of the team to fall at the same rate in the same body position.