Let’s make no bones about this, friend: Learning to skydive is quite an investment. Bushels of time, energy and resources pour into the pursuit of greatness (or even mediocreness, if we’re being honest), and with that comes the threat of burnout. Luckily, you aren’t the first skydiver to have faced the beast of burnout, and you won’t be the last — so we’ve put together this helpful little guide to help you take a deep breath and leapfrog that hurdle.
Just like any other sport, overtraining can result in some super-serious problems for overeager athletes of any skill level. In those early seasons, pumping the body’s fight-or-flight response beyond your adrenals’ ability to keep up can throw you into a cycle of overstimulation and exhaustion that might well convince you to sell your gear in frustration. Hundreds — even thousands — of jumps in, overtraining can lead to the kind of complacency that does not end well in our sport.
If you’re starting to feel the first symptoms of overtraining creep up on you (nagging aches that won’t go away; the feeling that you’re stuck on a conveyor belt; a slight resentment of the time and money you’re spending on the dropzone), stay within your currency window but give yourself permission to slow your roll. It might just bring your mojo back.
Cross-train! Introducing — or re-emphasizing — other physical disciplines might be just the ticket back fom burnout. Traditionally, the off-season is the perfect opportunity to engage in some cross training, but diligently cross-training even within the prime skydiving season will allow you to “grow sideways,” bringing the benefits and perspectives of other sports into your skydiving practice. Try yoga for strength, agility and focus enhancement; obstacle runs for agility and toughness, scuba diving for breath control and attention to equipment detail; paragliding for courage under pressure and canopy practice; skiing and motorcycling for object awareness and avoidance at speed. (Of course, there’s always the tunnel!)
Crystal-clear goals will help if you’re starting to feel a little listless and under-stimulated. The trick is to set them with deep intention and set reasonable (but challenging) time limits. Go for that next licensing level or rating; aim to compete in a new discipline; get a team together and train for Nationals; get on a big record jump. Skydiving is full of brass rings to grab. Choose yours and go for it!
Coaching is the single most active choice you can make to level up your skydiving and push away encroaching burnout. When you secure the services of a great coach, you’ll learn significantly more effectively on each skydive, streamlining your travel between point A (Meh, okay) to point B (WHOA, yo!). Beyond that, a great coach can act as a guide and mentor along your skydiving path. At Skydive Orange, our team of professional skydiving coaches have pulled more than their share of jumpers out of ennui and back into greatness. That could be you!
Burned out? It’s time to reignite that flame, dear reader! We honor the fact that it takes a lot of chutzpah to commit to this sport, and we’re here to help you along the way.
The largest tandem skydiving center near Northern Virginia, Washington D.C. and Maryland.