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mental training in diving

Discussion in 'Advanced Scuba Discussions' started by rameus, May 5, 2013.

  1. rameus

    rameus Dive Travel Professional

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location:
    129
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    hey there!

    i just put some new articles on my website. one of them is about mental training by diving. feel free to comment, share, like and of course give feedback.

    thanks
    thom
     
    Karibelle likes this.
  2. TMHeimer

    TMHeimer Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Dartmouth,NS,Canada(Eastern Passage-Atlantic)
    12,291
    2,684
    113
    Well, as a divemaster who has a little experience now I can offer at least some insight. Diving involves some specific physical stuff. The ability to swim (properly) and be "comfortable" (I don't really like that word) in water, and hopefully at least SOME experience snorkelling. There are also the problems some students encounter regarding anything that has to do with mask flooding/removal skills--which are solely related to airway control. Ei.: "'I am a nose breather. I'm a mouth breather". These are real physical things to overcome. A lot of it IS mental, but that gets into the area of experience with water. "Afraid of swimming in the open ocean and suddenly are diving"--- I don't like that part at all. I have seen people who can't swim and just haven't been around or in water take the Open Water Diver Course. I shake my head. To take a scuba course without a LOT of water experience make no sense to me. "No idea how to survive in an underwater environment...and suddenly are diving" (these are the same people who are afraid of open ocean swimming I presume?)--another one I don't get. Scuba is serious business. I had a lifetime of water experiences when I took OW and there was still a ton of things to learn. There have probably been countless approaches for overcomming mental barriers in the last 5 decades. I don't think scuba should be one such approach. You can panic and die of an air embolism.
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2013
  3. BCSGratefulDiver

    BCSGratefulDiver Mental toss flycoon ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: On the Fun Side of Trump's Wall
    73,588
    57,930
    113
    Nice article. I tend to approach the mental aspects of diving as the telling of "why". OW training generally does an adequate job of explaining the "how" of diving, but often leaves the student with an inadequate understanding of why they are taught much of what they learn. When people do things by rote ... because "my instructor told me to" ... it can be adequate as long as everything goes right, but a deviation from routine due to an unforeseen circumstance can lead to a situation where new divers find themselves insufficiently equipped to adapt and cope ... and that can lead to the onset of the panic cycle. Understanding the "why" behind what you're doing helps build some context that allows you to adapt and apply what you know in ways that were not specifically covered in the class ... in effect, taking the "mechanics" of your skills and applying them to the "art" of diving. And diving is ... by its nature ... a situational environment that often demands improvisation.

    To address TMHeimer's comments ... I think it boils down to the fact that humans are, by nature, hardwired to avoid being underwater. We're air breathers ... and until fairly recently, breathing underwater was impossible and attempting to do so meant drowning. So we are instinctively programmed to keep our heads above the surface. This is what makes it possible to train a baby to swim. One of the hard parts of OW training is overcoming those instincts. The student who has spent a lot of time swimming or snorkeling prior to class has the advantage that they've already been working on that reprogramming process ... and so they'll pick up the skills faster because they don't have to overcome the mental barriers that come with immersion into an environment that we're programmed to avoid. I liken it to the old movies or cartoons where the main character is portrayed with an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other ... each whispering into the person's ear. In this case, the angel is telling you how much fun you're having, while the devil is saying "get me the hell OUT of here". It's up to you to decide which one you'll listen to.

    Both the reprogramming and an understanding of "why" are important mental aspects of diving. Reprogramming allows you to pay more attention to what's going on around you rather than internalizing your discomfort to the exclusion of external factors. Knowing the "why" helps you put context around things like dive planning, gas management, buddy awareness, and the mechanical skills involved in buoyancy control ... which helps you gain confidence in what you're doing and makes it possible to adapt to the unexpected things that we commonly have to deal with underwater.

    Panic is the outcome of being faced with a situation you don't feel equipped to handle ... it's allowing instincts to take over the rational part of your brain. Those instincts often serve us well above water ... in the environment in which they evolved. But they can get us killed quick in the underwater environment ... which is why developing a good mental approach to the dive not only helps develop tools to cope with the unexpected, but also helps avoid the onset of panic by giving us the confidence needed to deal with problems we may not have anticipated or encountered before.

    ... Bob (Grateful Diver)
     
    Randy g, rameus and TSandM like this.
  4. Frosty

    Frosty Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Auckland NZ
    1,265
    425
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    NWgratefulldiver.When it comes to diving Hey Im just some git with only 150 dives done.But in other worlds I'm lucky enough to have a lot of experience.
    The problem with your theory is something called task loading. (yea i know You know all about it).
    The way I see it work is like the shop foreman in a factory.He teaches a guy how to do a job. He teaches him one way. Its the way that works. It gets the job done.
    Once that guy no longer has to use his forebrain to think about the job THEN he can be thinking of the theory behind what he's doing.
    Then arguably he can see other ways of doing the job in different situations.
    The alternative is that he's offered all the theory behind the job,He's shown various alternatives for every task.
    I betcha that guy will do one of two things.Most likely he will freeze up and do nothing because he doesn't know which alternative to use.
    OR he will use a methodology that was the worst thing he could do.
    So Im all for KISS (keep it simple stupid) in diving. UNTILL the diver has progressed to the point they aren't using their forebrain to do the basic tasks of diving.
    From my POV -unlike the factory worker a diver just can't afford to be having to think through a bunch of alternate solutions to the most basic tasks untill they are beyond the beginner stage.
    Then teach them the theory behind what they are doing.THEN look at alternativeways of dealing withe situations.


    Hey thats my take on matters entirely my opinion.
     
  5. BCSGratefulDiver

    BCSGratefulDiver Mental toss flycoon ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: On the Fun Side of Trump's Wall
    73,588
    57,930
    113
    ... what happens when he runs into something you haven't taught him how to do?

    ... Bob (Grateful Diver)
     
  6. Frosty

    Frosty Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Auckland NZ
    1,265
    425
    83
    He should IMMEDIATELY call PADI/SSI et al on the phone and ask them why he hasn't had the propper training.

    All flipancy aside.Thats why I strongly disagree with the PADI way of saying after 3 hours of diving you are an open water diver.
    -Just to be clear mon Im not saying for a nanosecond that a diver in their early stages of diving shouldn't be continuously improveing and developing their skills.(yep so should any diver but its early stages where the big changes happen)What I'm saying is that they get information overload if you give them too much too soon.
    So building on the basics is IMO the way to go
     
  7. Bob DBF

    Bob DBF Solo Diver

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: NorCal
    6,687
    7,051
    113
    I'm not a fan of getting too comfortable while diving to begin with, when the crap hits the fan I'd rather not be napping. Second, your point of view is not an alternative to knowledge and skill.

    It looks like it is a sales pitch for a team building outfit. It depends on what exactly what they do and how they do it, and they talk around that quite a bit, whether they turn out good divers or loose cannons. Personally, I prefer a more straightforward and informative pitch.




    Bob
    ---------------------
    I may be old, but I'm not dead yet
     
    Steve_C likes this.
  8. Steve_C

    Steve_C Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Raleigh, NC USA
    4,131
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    I'm with Bob DBF. Read like a sales pitch for somewhat vague services and not an informative article which was the impression your original message gave.
     
  9. BCSGratefulDiver

    BCSGratefulDiver Mental toss flycoon ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: On the Fun Side of Trump's Wall
    73,588
    57,930
    113
    Building on the basics is what all scuba training purports to do ... it's an incremental process.

    However, classes are an artificial environment ... purposely so in order to provide a structured learning environment. They do not ... and don't pretend to ... teach you everything. They can't in any case. To prepare for real-world diving it's better to understand the "why" behind what you learn than to rely on "because my instructor said so".

    Your point about task-loading is valid, but it begs the question "at what point is it appropriate to start teaching a diving student to deal with it"? My answer would be "in OW, during confined water". It's a matter not of when, but how much is appropriate. Diving is not like factory work ... your next dive will never be exactly like your last one, and every dive has the potential to throw something unexpected at you. Even at the earliest stages you will be forced to make decisions or do things that were not covered in your class. But it's been my experience that OW students are capable of a lot more than most instructors give them credit for ... if they're given proper context and a good example to emulate ...

    ... Bob (Grateful Diver)
     
    Bob DBF likes this.
  10. Bob DBF

    Bob DBF Solo Diver

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: NorCal
    6,687
    7,051
    113
    On the side issue, from personal experience I can say that the more one knows out of initial training or open water the better. There is no requirement for any other training and I would bet that a large number of divers do not take another class, which leaves the building block approach to training lacking.



    Bob
    -----------------------------------
    So he’s got to get to work on his sense of survival
    Oh, oh it’s a dangerous world Jimmy Buffett
     

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