The jump couldn’t have gone better! I was first out of the door at 13,000 feet, remembering Stefania’s advice about body positioning as I stepped out and instantly adopted the tracking pose, banking sharply left to enter a smooth, stable and comfortable track. I quickly spotted Stefania, who was flying just to the right and slightly below me, with her camera trained on me and issuing instructions on direction and body position tweaks. The theory that we discussed before the jump, and the visualisation that I spent time doing in the plane during the climb to altitude, really helped as I found myself adopting the tracking position, which is counter to what we learn when flying belly, with the difference between my jumps the month before and this time plain to see and feel. I loved it! Nothing comes close to the true feeling of flight as we soared across the Dubai skies, turning at will and feeling as close to being Superman as I can ever hope to.
I am a big fan of good coaching. I have seen the results first hand in both my sporting and professional lives, with the majority taking place in the athletic and outdoor pursuits areas of my life.
This week sees me take on the A-race of my current 2015 triathlon season: Challenge Dubai, a half-iron distance race that follows on from the event I attended in December in Bahrain. I had a great race in Bahrain, posting a significant improvement on my time from the race before. I know that some of the improvement came about as a result of simple environmental factors but most of the improvement I am certain was the direct result of having heeded the advice and guidance of my triathlon coach.
Another fine example of the power of skilled coaching in bringing out positive change was experienced when I recently indulged in another of my favourite activities: skydiving. I had gone out to the drop zone early one morning with the basic plan to do a couple of jumps before cracking on with the rest of my day and in a bid to chip away at the 100-jump target that I am tantalisingly close to reaching. Following purchase of my lift tickets and thinking of what I wanted to achieve from the jumps I thought that simply falling solo, as would have been the case if I am honest, just for the sake of doing the jumps, seemed like a wasted opportunity for growth and development. I could pay a little extra and enlist the expert direction of a coach in order to actually work on improving my skydiving skills.
Thankfully I was in luck and experienced freefly coach, Stefania, was available to teach me, with the emphasis on tracking, a discipline that I had touched upon with friends the month before, but that I had been somewhat frustrated by as I didn’t seem to be able to fly as well or in close proximity to the others as I’d have liked. Something could clearly be improved.
Almost immediately the benefits of the coaching became apparent as the ideal body position for effective tracking was explained to me and a plan made for the first jump, which I was both excited and a little apprehensive about, not really expecting to pull anything particularly special out of the bag on the first go.
That single jump was the only one that was possible that day, as the winds whipped up and grounded the skydive centre, so I was so glad that I had invested in a coached jump and absolutely cannot wait to get back in order to pick up where Stefania and I left off, working further on tracking and getting even more out of my sport. With a good coach you see faster results. You feel progress being made much more rapidly and you actually gain significantly more enjoyment out of whatever it is that you are doing. We’re all achievers and enjoy the feeling of development and progress. Coaching, I believe, adds to this enjoyment in exponential terms and is worth the time, effort and money. I could have jumped ten times in a row on my own, or simply in a social capacity with other fun jumpers and I would not have made anywhere near the progress I did in one single coached jump.
I guess the takeaway from this little tale is to urge you to consider seeking the right person to help you, even if it means making a real investment in both time and money, if there are areas in your life where you wish to progress and see real, tangible improvements and results. Once you go the coached route I assure you that you’ll not look back.