Tips for Skydiving You Can’t Afford

Extreme sports are called extreme for a reason: they push you to your physical and mental limits in terms of exertion and strength. They are also often more dangerous than your average game of football. But the thrill and the uniqueness of such sports is like no other. That being said, one such extreme sport that challenges an individual’s sense of fear, at the same time fulfills an elemental dream of man (to fly), is skydiving.

Skydiving isn’t just falling out of a plane with a parachute on. It’s more like “falling with style” where an exact science and technique goes into the jumping, deployment of the parachute and landing. Agreed it is not the safest of sports but the occurrence of fatalities while skydiving has been greatly exaggerated, with a fatality rate of 0.0001% or approximately 1 death in every 100,000 jumps. However, it is better to be safe than to be sorry, so below are some safety tips for skydiving, to make each jump a safe experience.

Safety Tips and Advice for Skydiving
Safety is not just the technique or method of jumping but rather is made up of a number of factors listed below.

Attire

Jumpsuits are meant to keep your body warm and protected against the frigid, cold air at high altitudes. They are also durable enough to prevent scratches and bumps on landing. However, depending on what form of skydiving and your expertise level, the material of the jumpsuit differs. So consult with your trainer or an experienced jumper as to what jumpsuit best suits your skydiving style. Do not experiment on your own.
Check your jumpsuit for holes or tears. Make sure it fits properly and there is no way for air to enter it. Always try on the suit prior to jumping well in advance, to ensure it is in good condition.
Wear a helmet when skydiving. No jump is 100% risk-free and a helmet can go a long way in minimizing injury. Make sure your helmet is open faced but protective and sturdy. Check its shock absorption factor. It should fit your head and not feel heavy or very large or too small and tight. Do not take it off at any time during the jump.
Goggles are not mandatory but are an extra safety measure to protect one’s eyes during the descent. Gloves should only be worn if you are comfortable using your equipment with them on. Wear durable shoes with firm soles and grip, such that during the descent, you can touch the ground without causing any harm to your feet. Make sure all such attire is comfortable and will not hinder you during your jump.

Equipment

The altimeter is a specialized piece of equipment that measures your height above the level of the ground and can also predict your speed of falling. You can opt for a visual one, which should be worn on the wrist or the front of the torso. Check the visibility of the display, its durability, analog or digital display and ability to measure pressure. You could go in for an audio altimeter that is worn inside your helmet and will inform you of the decrease in altitude as you fall. These altimeters have pre-set alarms that indicate when you should deploy your parachute.
An Automatic Activation Device (AAD) is a must have and any proper school, training institute and instructor will advise you of the importance of this piece of equipment. This device is a small computer that keeps an eye on your height above the ground and how fast you are descending. It calculates the optimum height when the parachute should be deployed for a safe landing and if you, the jumper, fail to do so at the right time and height, the AAD will open the chute for you. The AAD is a lifesaver and calibrating it on the ground, checking its functioning prior to a jump and buying a good model is your way of ensuring a safe jump.
Your parachute is connected to you by a harness. Make sure your harness fits you properly and is sturdy and tough, without any wear and tear. Have a supervisor or instructor check your harness prior to a jump. Keep a hook knife on you, any time that you skyjump. In case of an emergency, where the main part of the parachute (canopy) will not open, use the hook knife to cut it away.
Do not compromise on the quality of your skydiving equipment and making any changes or tweaks in them should only be done if sanctioned by an instructor or recognized expert in your skydiving team or class. Maintain such equipment in good condition.

Miscellaneous

Be informed about the skydiving process. Ask a lot of questions and do not choose the first skydiving school or institute you see. Instead, visit different schools or go for a demo class on the ground, talk to instructors and ex-students on your own. Check the licensing of the school, what safety programs and measures are implemented and check the school’s skydiving history, with respect to fatalities.
Do not be too enthusiastic or overexcited to jump. Choose the right skydiving style based on your experience. For new jumpers, it is best to opt for the tandem style of skydiving where the instructor and you have the same chute and he/she controls the diving experience. Until you have experience or until your trainer feels you are ready, do not jump on your own.
Prior to a jump, whether for the first time or the umpteenth time, eat a light meal. Check your equipment and pack your parachute under the watchful eye of your instructor.

For first time sky jumpers, along with ensuring physical safety prior and during your sky jump, your mental attitude should be strengthened and prepared for the experience. However, as your skydiving experience builds up, you can ignore safety procedures and become careless and this can turn dangerous, not only for you but for your fellow jumpers as well. Keep safety first and jump with ease, by making sure all safety checks and procedures have been carried out well in advance.

Tips That’ll Help You Excel at Badminton

A badminton rally ends once the shuttlecock falls to the ground. The rule is that it can only be struck once by each side, over the net. The shuttlecock is a feathered projectile that is designed with unique aerodynamic properties that cause it to fly differently. The feathers create a higher drag and cause the shuttlecock to decelerate much more than a ball. Competitive badminton is always played indoors, because the flight of the shuttlecock is strongly affected by wind. As an Olympic sport, badminton has five competitive disciplines―men’s and women’s singles, men’s and women’s doubles, and mixed doubles. The sport demands aerobic stamina, strength, and speed. The technical aspect of the sport requires good motor coordination.

Since badminton involves stamina and agility, you need to warmup accordingly. You could begin with a jog or skipping, and once your pulse is raised, stretch the legs, back, and shoulders to prepare for the lunges. When choosing a racket, check the grip―small grips for small hands and large grips for large hands. Develop a relaxed grip with flexible wrist movements, to perfect forehand and backhand shots. A wobbly shuttle indicates poor quality or faulty dynamics, and should be returned or chucked away as soon as possible.

After playing a shot, try as much to return to central base position, to be more likely to reach all possible opposing shots. As badminton is a fast-paced and highly unpredictable game, you should be prepared to change direction anytime. Incorporate some strategies into the game, and the best game plan to follow is to discover your opponent’s weakness. Once you identify one or many of his or her weaknesses, play to it as much as possible! This sport requires stamina and agility, and thus, brisk walking and jogging are ideal for providing knee strength that is required during a fast-paced game.

Badminton requires constant thinking and planning. Make sure that every shot has a purpose, and keep an eye on as much of the court as possible. Just like in any other game, exercise or physical activity, make sure you round-off your game with a cool-down phase. You need to ensure that you finish as you began, probably with a gentle walk around the court. You could also adopt some light stretching exercises. When attempting to take up badminton as a sport, focus on the major muscle groups. Even if you wish to concentrate on some others, let your choice depend on how the previous game was.

When stretching for a warmup before a game, ensure that you hold your stretches for around 30 seconds. This ensures a really deep stretch. Badminton is like any other sport, and whether played ‘singles’ or ‘doubles’ or ‘mixed’, the game demands teamwork. You need to understand and apply all the rules to the game, even during the workout sessions. The game requires you to have a lot of stamina, and hence, you need to monitor your diet. A fiber-rich diet, with just the right amount of good fats and carbohydrates, will work wonders on your energy levels.

Once you take to the sport of badminton, you should not shift focus from the essentials of the game, and develop a game plan all your own! Badminton, played as a leisure activity, is a great exercise, and a fantastic way of spending quality time with family and friends. There are dedicated clubs everywhere that operate to teach the sport to children and those genuinely interested in the sport.

Football coaching tips

Talking recently to a number of new soccer coaches who were taking training sessions for the first time, it was interesting to note how many of them were worried by it and wondering how to handle training Under-5s or Under-6s. The following fun football training games and drills are an ideal solution to their dilemma as they are brilliant for coaching soccer skills and keeping youngsters keen.

At this age, drills that involve lining up in queues, waiting to kick a ball are not very educational or entertaining and this is usually when the bad behaviour kicks off and boredom kicks in. These three fun games are designed to keep all your players busy and active.

Game one: Sharks and minnows

In this game, one player is the defender in the square – the shark – and the rest – the minnows – line up along the line with a ball. The kids have to dribble to the other side.

  • The shark has to win any of the balls and kick it out of the square. The minnows that make it to the other side must wait until everyone has either got across or their balls have been kicked out. The ones whose balls are kicked out become sharks.
  • Each round becomes more difficult.

Key soccer skills: Ball holding, shielding, speed, individual skills tackling.

Game two: End-of-line soccer

This game can be played like 4v4, but the idea is to pass the ball so one of the team’s players can stop the ball on the line at the end they are attacking.

  • Players must be fully in control of the ball when they stop it or it doesn’t count.
  • Players cannot kick it past the line and claim a goal.

Key soccer skills: Passing, teamwork, individual skills to lose opponents, ball control, ability to stop ball.

Game three: Knock down the cones

Play this also as a 4v4. Set up two lines of cones at either end of the pitch. Each team has to knock the other team’s cones over.

  • The team that knocks the opposition’s cones over first is the winner.
  • In this game, players must use space and turning skills to lose their markers and create opportunities to knock the cones over.

Key soccer skills: Passing, teamwork, individual skills to lose opponents, accurate shooting.

Skateboarding Tips for Beginners

Skateboarding, in simpler words, is the activity of riding a skateboard. A skateboard is basically a rectangular plywood piece (deck), which is fitted with four small-sized wheels on the underside. Nowadays, new versions are available with many other optional components. It is viewed by many as a recreational activity or a type of extreme sport. Rarely, it is used as a means of transportation. A person participating in this activity is called a skater/skateboarder.

This sport is and has been a favorite with extreme sports enthusiasts. It has fascinated several youngsters over the last few decades. According to a survey conducted, majority of the skateboarders are males under 18 years of age. The growing popularity of this sport does not mean that there is no risk involved. If you are a first timer, then you should follow certain safety measures.

Tips

» The first step is selecting the right board and proper gear. As a beginner, you should choose a thick and heavy deck with less curvature. With such a board, you are less likely to slip off, and it is easier for you to keep control. As you become better, you can switch to a thin and concave deck.

» It is always advisable to check the trucks of the board. If they are very tight, loosen them by unscrewing the kingpins. After doing so, make sure the kingpins are fitted properly. A well-fitted truck will help you to turn easily, thus minimizing the risk of falling. Speaking about protection gear, you should purchase good quality skating shoes, helmet, wrist brace, and elbow and knee pads.

» The next step is to make yourself comfortable with the skateboard. You can place it on a non-slippery surface (grass or carpet), and try to stand or jump on it. Be comfortable with the shape and size of the deck and learn some basics such as placing your feet in varied positions and balancing on front and rear wheels.

» Once you are comfortable with that, you can decide your stance or skating style. In general, there are three stances, viz., regular (skate with the left foot forward), goofy (skate with the right foot forward, and mongo foot (push with the back foot, instead of the front one). Always stand in your most convenient style and try to push forward. If possible, do not follow the mongo style, as it takes a longer time to learn.

» In the initial days, practice by pushing off on an even surface or at the most, a shallow hill. You may fall from the board while pushing off, but try to relax and imagine that pushing off is like taking a normal step. Maintain balance and push your foot as you do while walking. Another trick is to start pushing off as powerfully as you can. You can ride until the skateboard stops naturally.

» The next tip is to push yourself carefully while riding, before you run out of speed. You can learn to turn left and right by putting more of your weight into the heels. As you practice regularly, you will be able to take sharper turns. Last, but not the least, you will need to learn how to stop the skateboard. The easiest and safest way of stopping it is footbraking. Footbraking involves taking off the back foot and grinding it onto the ground. There are other stopping methods such as heel drag, bail, boneless, and powerslide.

It is advisable not to try any tricks or fast-paced skating, before getting a command over the basics. Once you are confident about the twists and turns, you can practice other tricks such as ollie, kickflip, magic flip, etc. Have patience and keep trying again and again. Remember that, failure is the first step towards success.