Planning Your Team – Part Two

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

In part two of our blog series by Simon Brentford, we cover some common complaints and tips. It’s not always obvious what to do when you have a lack of resources or a conflict in the team. We’ve also got a top list of 10 Do’s and Don’ts to get you started.

The Spirit is Willing, the Bank Account is Weak

In the previous blog post, we talked the lowest common denominator as being the best way of determining who has the least resources. It’s really important to examine your personal finances and time correctly before committing to anything. It doesn’t look great when a teammate cancels a weekend because they have run out of money.

Having a separate bank account for your skydiving funds is a great way to isolate your team spend. But making that money go further is also worth some thought. For example:

  • Being willing to camp at the dz to save on money.
  • Timing when you train can really make a difference during your competition. For example, if your team has a budget for 100 jumps – you have a 50 jump camp planned in February at Skydive Algarve, then you have 50 jumps planned for the following 6 months over some weekends, the learning will not have been as intense and there is a risk of peaking too early. It’s better to compress your training with some winter tunnel, a few weekends of training springtime, then your main camp around May or June.
  • If you are using packers, pack the last skydive of each training day.
  • Offer tunnel coaching at your local tunnel in return for better team rates.
  • Run a public sports fundraiser. NFTO did it in 2018 to great effect.

Stick to the Plan

It’s so very easy to over-stretch your funds when setting out the team plan. For example, you agree a team plan of £3000 for the year, but then decide to schedule in an extra UKSL meet and 3 days of additional training. That’s easily going to cost another £500, but it may well be the case that someone on the team is already giving 100% of their available funds to do it. This can easily cause friction and resentment, so avoid it if you can.

Likewise, on the other side of the coin, imagine a few training weekends where the weather has been bad (actually don’t imagine it, we’ve all experienced it!). It’s easy to allocate that training money elsewhere in your life. When the rest of your teammates then decide they want to schedule in an extra team training weekend to use up that budget and you don’t have it anymore, it’s also going to cause enmity.

Here’s our top 10 list of do’s and don’ts when creating a Team plan

  1. If your training starts in the springtime, really make the effort to save your pennies up in the autumn. Condensing your team training into just a few months is going to hit your wallet.
  2. It’s better to do less jumps, but employ the use of a coach, rather than just winging it (pardon the pun!).
  3. Make sure you’re booties have Shoe-Goo on them. Losing a bootie midway through a day can be costly.
  4. If you can afford packers, do so. It makes your learning so much more efficient.
  5. Ask the manifest of your dropzone for a routine. E.g. if it’s a 5 load cycle, ask to be on loads 1 and 4, which gives you adequate time to debrief and dirt-dive.
  6. Commit to the weekend. Imagine a weekend at your local dropzone – it’s common to see teams heading off mid-afternoon on the Sunday. No one wants to be home late on a Sunday night, but with the British weather being so inclement, it’s worth going the extra mile to make sure your jump plan is realised.
  7. Likewise, if you’ve got great weather, don’t wear yourself out trying to do more jumps that the team has the capacity to do. The last few jumps will most likely be a waste of money with little progression.
  8. Take the time to really learn the randoms and blocks you are doing in your class. Thinking of them as letters and numbers are much quicker to recall and say in freefall than their full name. Delegate someone to generate a weekly mock-competition and spend 10 minutes each evening visualising how it might work. There’s a great tool which can automatically do this for you located on SDC Rhythm XP’s website.
  9. Create a spreadsheet with notes on what you have to do both on exit and in freefall for all the randoms and blocks. If you’re a more advanced team, you may need another column explaining the hill-move too.
  10. Lastly, if the plan you’ve created looks daunting, unmanageable or generally scary, the odd’s are that it is. Make sure everyone is sold to it and that it’s checked over by an experienced coach to see if it’s realistic.

When you are having your team meeting where all the important parts of this blog article are discussed, you need to be honest about what you want and you need to listen. Doing this is really going to help you develop a sense of teamwork and some super-close friendships.

Lastly, a quick reminder of our Meet and Greet event to be hosted on the 9th & 10th November 2019 at Hib.

Featured image credit: Martin Martinez

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