Tunnel flying is already a large part of our sport, and certainly a whole another sport in its own right as well. Many skydivers actively use the windy tube as a part of their training regimen and with the coaching available, it can be a great tool to focus on a certain aspect or skill. Such as upright flying – the latest craze in the record-setting business on the firefly side. Chris Argyle is a tunnel instructor and a coach at iFly Utah and offers up a few tips on how to improve your upright flying.
Caveat from Chris: Everything I’m about to tell you here (or would in a coaching session) can be argued. People will always say “well I can fly perfect this other way – why should I change?” The fact is that there is often more than one way to skin a cat, and there are many different body shapes and sizes out there. When it comes to flying you can shred a million different ways and I hope that one day you can learn all of them. These are just a few tips I can suggest to help make you a better overall upright flyer overall – but a lot of fine tuning is possible. I have seen these work well for my students – but your mileage may vary. Get yourself a good coach, get video and feedback and learn learn learn so you can fly fly fly!
It almost goes without saying, regardless of the method you chose, always put safety first. In any upright flying (or head down), if things don’t go according to plan, make sure to ALWAYS bail to your back – NEVER to your belly. This is important to keep you safe and to keep everyone else in the tunnel safe.
Quick Tips to Improve Your Upright Flying.
1. Keep hands in front of shoulders.
A lot of people come in to the tunnel with 100s of upright jumps and when they hop in, they look like the karate kid getting ready to deliver a crane kick. If you fly with your hands behind your torso you are most likely leaning forward a lot and docks become much harder to take . Think about pinching your shoulder blades together, lean back, elbows back and your hands in front of your body. Aim to always be able to see your hands in your peripheral vision. If you have to turn your head to see your hands, odds are they have come too far back.
2. Point elbows down when taking docks.
Ive been on numerous jumps where the person comes in for a dock reaches their hand out and immediately gets blown away. Think about keeping your elbows down to spill air and your arm centered between your legs. That way you won’t catch a burble from your legs. In addition, lean back a little to help you get just the right amount of forward drive, which will make docking a lot smoother.
3. Lean back expose that back to the wind and fly with your legs more. One of the biggest things i see is people leaning forward the whole time then they complain that their arms are getting so tired. Leaning back and bringing yours shoulder blades closer together will help to take some of the work off those arms. When you lean forward, you tend to “hang” all your weight on your arms, so of course they get wrecked. Be smart and leave the hard work to the big muscles of the legs.
As I mentioned before, there are a million different ways to fly. For each individual we can go into almost endless detail in refining the body position as you progress. These seem to be most of the common mistakes I see, and when corrected, the biggest improvements happen. Hopefully you can take something from this and apply to your flying, making you a safer and better upright flyer.
Now go out and SHRED THE GNAR – hope to see you in the tunnel or the air!
For more upright coaching (or any other kind of bad-ass flying instruction), Chris is available for $740.00 an hour, including coaching. Email Chris directly for more information or text or call 801.391.2221. [vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][icon_box title=”Get Current” icon=”arrows-compress” icon_position=”left” icon_style=”normal” icon_color=”#0077bf” icon_bg_color=”#ffffff” link_name=”Get Current Series” link_url=”http://blueskiesmag.com/tag/get-current/”]Articles, tips and tricks from experts to help you emerge into the new season a well-rounded and fabulously interesting skydiver[/icon_box][/vc_column][/vc_row]