It's spring and all you freedivers are hopefully busy planning exciting training schedules and freediving trips to 'immerse' yourself in this beautiful sport. And along with those plans will be dreams and expectations of what you intend to achieve through all that training and dedication, I'm sure. You may be planning some competitions, some courses or even some private coaching to help you get to where you want to be. Before you go rushing off to the pool or to catch your next flight out to the deep blue, let me share some thoughts with you...
I love my job. Coaching my students is so rewarding, seeing them attain new personal bests in their freediving performance, or, more importantly gaining even more valuable insights into what is going wrong and how to fix it. Sometimes, however, this latter process can be painful and hard for a student to understand.
I sometimes feel that students come to work with me because they feel I can wave a magic wand over them and fix their mouthfill or other technical problems simply by my presence. They hope that by working with me, they are taking the shortcut to success, be that national records or finally reaching a number they have dreamed of which in turn means they are finally a ‘real’ freediver.
Of course I can use my experience in both yoga and freediving to see what is going wrong and help them to change what they’re doing, but the actual work has to be done by the student. There are no shortcuts, and the harder they look for them, often the further away they take themselves from their dreams and goals.
Often the work is not what the student thinks it’s going to be. Hours and hours of diving will not necessarily produce depth-increase results. Often it is work that students can do every day, at home and on holiday, that will produce the greatest transformation. Working on awareness and learning to control the mind are the two greatest assets to improving performance and deep diving. Are you prepared to take that step? If not, them I’m afraid no magic I can perform will help.
If I could don a fairy costume and wave a magic wand over you, I most certainly would. Seeing a student struggling with performance, and piling the pressure on themselves more and more each day, is almost as painful for me to watch as it is for the student to experience. Depth is not and should not be the ultimate goal when working with a coach. The student may want to increase their depth, but be missing the point, and a coach is there to help them understand the underlying reasons – without this insight they will keep on struggling, either remaining ‘stuck’ at a certain depth, or experiencing problems such as squeezes, early turns, sambas or even black-outs, again and again, until they look deeper at the CAUSE of these symptoms.
Our bodies cannot lie, so if yours is giving you signals that all is not well with your diving, listen to it and try to understand WHY! With inner inquiry (meditation), personal honesty (yes, maybe you need to stop pushing for depth for a while and work on something less glamorous, such as self-love, nutrition, flexibility, acceptance, mental focus, relaxation) and awareness (are you even aware that the symptoms you experience are a communication from your body? Do you listen to them or simply continue, feeling bewildered as to why it keeps happening?) you will figure out what is behind your problem and be able to resolve it. Listen to your body, listen to your coach. There are no short-cuts or magic wands, just awareness, awareness, awareness and honesty! And putting what you learn into practice. Contact me if you would like some personal advice via Skype to set you up for the season ahead.
Happy diving, happy awareness!