All diving courses can be thought as a training for your future dives, or the dives that you would like to be able to do in the future, but what’s this of training before the training?
Some people think practicing is something stupid when it comes to diving, maybe because on their minds, diving is not a demanding sport, although this is quite questionable. Would these people run a marathon, or even a 5K, without any training at all, and only with a few walks in the park on their shoes? Doesn’t that seem somehow… crazy?
If we compare a marathon with technical diving, and a 5K race with recreational diving, everyone would get some kind of preparation for a 5K, at least for a few weeks, but why people don’t do it for diving?
I was getting ready for a GUE Tech 1 diving course, and being aware of the implications of it, specially on how demanding it is, both physically and mentally, I started to freak out a couple of weeks before.
Having the experience of going through a UTD tech diver course and a UTD full cave course, I had an idea of what was going to happen, that air gun that we all had nightmares with. Besides of being mentally hard, if you are not fully prepared physically, this will add a strong bias to your mind, and we all know how our minds play when we are exhausted.
Another handicap that I personally use to have on technical diving, is the size of my body. Yes, it is true that in neutral buoyancy, a twin set on your back should be weightless, but let’s face it, you still need to drag and move through water the equivalent of 90% of your body weight. If you keep on adding stage cylinders as well, it is even harder, as the proportional size of them compared to your body is not the same on every person. Being a quite small woman, this has been always a challenge for me, but… what can I do about that! It’s what I love doing!
On getting ready for this, and to reduce as much as possible the physical demand of the course, I started my training both from the upper and lower body. On that line, I gave everything I could with my Dragon Boat training team, and also I started running every other day (Yay!!). It’s actually a lot of fun!
On top of that, you obviously need to train your skills as well, as the first two would only help you with the fitness side, but that doesn’t mean you are fully capable of doing all the drills that that type of course requires, or performing well at depth. Here is the strong mindset!! In order to get the maximum out of the course, your basic skills should be perfect, so during task loading situations, all these weaknesses don’t pile up.
These skills, if not practiced, are also lost with time, as it happens with all training on every aspect of life. It is really important to keep them up, even if you are diving regularly, that doesn’t mean that you are fully efficient if you need to close a valve on you twinset in case you have a valve failure, and successfully assess the problem when you have done it last on you last training a couple of years ago. Here is where the team plays a critical role as well. They need to be strong on your weak moments, and vice versa! It’s all a team work!
A good trick to keep this up to date, if you dive regularly, is to practice one skill or do a drill on each dive that you do, for example, during your safety stop. It will only take a couple of minutes, your safety stop will be over before you notice and you will keep all your skills up to date, both physically and in your mind.
The training for this type of diving is essential, and not all diving is glamorous. To be able to enjoy 100% this diving, you need to be properly fitted with both you skills and level of fitness.
Remember as well, this is a team work, so all pieces must come together. The success is the success of the team!
And after all the above booooring speech, I found that the best advice to the course is: TO HAVE FUN!!!!
Stay tuned for more adventures next week!