Setting free the birds – about being a skydiving teacher

Last Saturday we started a little skydiving action before the actual season starts. Since there were only little people at the DZ, we had the chance to mix up experienced jumpers with newbies and celebrated one of my ex-student’s 60th jump.

Living a passion like I do is one thing. Since I started skydiving I had more intense moments than during all my life before. Breathtaking sunsets, cold winter jumps, dark night jumping, perfectly briefed bigway flights, improvised perfect two ways and many other experiences I never dreamt of. I met awesome people I don’t wanna miss anymore. It changed my life. It changed me.

But teaching others to be able to also fulfill their dream of flying is another thing. I am a basic skydiving teach for several years now and not only that I prepared many students for their first skydives and licence jumps, I also learned a lot about me, how to approach and handle people and how you can develop their abilities. Sometimes you have a group with people ranging from a 18 year old student to a 40 year old company owner. It is astonishing how people change during those 1.5 days and also how different they are compared to your first impression. Group dynamics, learning curves, pushing people – all abilities that you can use in the other parts of your life too.

Of course, there are easy students and difficult ones. There are more interested ones who stay in the sport, and there are those where you soon know, that they won’t be there for too long. Sometimes you really have to collect all your patience and calm yourself down because, yes, there are some annoying ones too. And right now, I am also happy not to have the AFF rating, because I think that challenge would be a little bit too big for me.

But all this exhausting struggle and the long and hot days teaching theory and cutaway procedures and AFF level 1 jumps – it’s worth it, when you do a check jump with them or even the licence jump and can see how they developed and are proud of their abilities. When you wait for them on the ground and congratulate them to being a “real” skydiver now. There are many people that would say that I am a strict teacher. Yes, I might be a bit bossy, but hey – you definitely should show some respect to this rather challenging and fast sport and trust me… as long as I can see that the guys are interested, respectful, willing to learn and listen, you definitely can have fun times with me. Because that’s how it should be – safe, but fun. And the feedback I got from those who stayed in the sport is telling me that it can’t be too wrong to handle it that way.

I also love jumping with them later from time to time. Besides the official mentoring program we offer at our skydiving club, I also enjoy jumps with motivated and passionate newbies. You know, those who follow advices and learn from mistakes. Those who simply remember me of myself when I was fresh from the course, eager to learn and get better.

The two from last Saturday are like this. A friend of mine who came all the way from Vienna and is not that experienced too and another rather experienced jumper joined us for a nice speedstar. The fiveway worked out really fine and it was a fun and safe jump. Smiles on our faces, sun around and fluffy clouds below us, and 5 happy landings. What a nice start into the real season!

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