First Overdue PostPosted: March 12, 2011
I have been dragging my feet at getting this blog started. After prompting (massive and aggressive nudges from those that will likely show up on here soon), I have finally gone public with this blog. So, here is the first of many posts. See Joi http://diving.ito.com/, it is actually live now.
Precision Diving has been in development for fifteen years. What began as an effort to help make technical divers better quickly evolved into what to do to make all divers better right from the first day of beginning training and beyond.
In general, what diminishes performance in all divers is the inability to have their diving be an automated skill. Driving a car, for most, is an automated skill. For better or for worse, we all are able to do other things while we drive, some of us better than others.
All we have to do to illustrate that most divers are not the same as most drivers is to distract the diver while diving by having them concentrate on something other than diving. Easy enough to do by handing almost any diver a camera. Let the games begin. The diver most often is not looking so good even if they manage to snap a few fair photos.
I am not going to try to describe the full extent of Precision Diving with this first post. Rather, I hope to begin a dialog with divers all over the world that want to improve their diving at any level and any non divers that are interested in learning more while they begin their path to becoming a diver. No matter who you are, you will be better for the effort. Likely, the very next time you dive.
First, it is best that I tell you what Precision Diving in not. The system is not trying to be a training agency, nor should it be applied outside of an existing training system. Meaning secure proper training from a reputable training agency. You certainly can share this blog with your instructor. Precision Diving is not trying to standalone or pretend that we do not stand of the shoulders of giants. Nothing happens in a vacuum and there is just too rich a history of innovators that have come before.
What Precision Diving is, is a system that works to add a structure and a language to the underlying foundational components of diving integrating them into a theory and approach that enhances any training agency’s offering. It provides a cognitive strategy and a path of thinking about diving that will make all divers better because some of the pieces have never been connected in the past. It is a foundation that any system of diver education can easily build upon while still very much allowing the instructor to remain within standards.
When we begin to learn to dive, we enter the course knowing what we can study in our course materials. From a performance standpoint, we have not learned any physical skills yet. We are unconscious incompetents. We have no clue what we do not know yet. Other than we know we know nothing. Once we begin, we become conscious incompetents. We very much know what we do not know. Hopefully, we migrate to conscious competence rather quickly. In diving, this is where most divers remain. How do we know? Well, hand them that little camera.
If you provide something that takes energy away from the thoughts of performing diving skills, those skills get worse. Those divers that are lucky to stumble on to the next level making it to unconscious competence are able to dive while also doing other things. Unfortunately, the divers that get there tend to find their way on their own or by a happy accident and it can be incomplete.
Precision Diving provides a structure to reach this level of ability in diving while also accelerating the progress through the other points along the way. It also helps to provide a mental picture of what it means to be a good diver, so you will have a picture of what you are trying to become as a diver. Almost every other activity can point to what it means fairly definitively to be good at that activity. The diving industry has never clearly defined what it means to really be good at diving. We can put one hundred instructor trainers in a room and likely get similar answers from many, but there is no industry definition we can point to for this. No snap answer or sound bites that all would clearly agree to. We need a clear end goal we can picture in our head to make it there. Otherwise, we take our skills and it is a hope that we end up somewhere close game.
So, Precision Diving proposes one. An elite diver, the end goal, is a diver that is in control of their diving with no impact in a sphere around them including on other divers and the environment while always performing within ideal performance. Basically, nothing ever happens without the conscious or unconscious control of the diver. If something is outside of ideal performance, it is either because the diver chose to break from ideal or it is an error. If we accept this definition, then errors will immediately register with us as outside our mental picture of where we want to end up as a diver. Then, we will naturally work to not repeat the same error again. But, without awareness of what is ideal, we have no clue whether we are making errors and worse we may believe what we are doing is exceptional.
Spoiler alert…. What you believe to be great diving or those you look up to as great divers may not be as great as you now believe. I apologize ahead of time for the resulting disillusionment suffered. But, it also means we can all be much better. None of us is as good as we can be.
So, our foundation is this performance mindset. We will spend a lot of time with this in later posts.
Almost all sports have a set of basic foundational skills that you practice when you train. Basketball has dribbling, passing, shooting, rebounding and the like. When you practice you spend time working on those foundational skills and usually also play the game working on using each skill together in whole. The diving industry has not really laid out a simple set of skills as the key ones for us as divers to keep in mind all the time. Those points we can keep in mind on every dive no matter what else we are doing.
Well, there is one. Buoyancy. That would be on everyone’s list. It is often talked about and is, of course, super important. However, it is not first. Nor has the industry really built a tangible picture of what that means as it connects to the other skills of diving.
When we learned to dive, if you have not yet you will see this for sure, what was the most important rule in scuba?
Never hold your breath! No need to get into why right now.
When we are told this rule we are also told that we should breathe deeply and slowly.
Did anyone ever show you, demonstrate it, and teach you what that actually means? For most, the answer will be “wow, no actually, no one ever did or has since.” Did the light bulb just go on a bit? Hum, you know, why are we not actually teaching the number one skill in scuba? Well, because everyone believes we already know how to do this. We have been doing it our whole life, how possibly could we not know how to do this properly. Well, the vast majority have no clue. Shame really.
So, yes, you guessed it, Precision Diving has breathing as the first skill and the most foundational. More on this, a lot more, in future posts. You think you know, but you likely have no idea. Just an FYI, if you get good at ideal breathing, you will immediately see a 25% to 40% increase in your gas duration assuming you are newer to the sport. All will see immediate improvements of some level.
Breathing is not just a fine-tuning technique that affects buoyancy or is used to adjust it. Breathing is very closely linked to buoyancy of course, but it weaves through almost all aspects of diving and is a route to the control we seek in Precision Diving.
The specifics of how to breathe for scuba I will cover in the future, but I can say that if you find that your diving is not going as it should on a dive, I would bet that your breathing is not ideal either. So, we need to lead with what is most intimate and controllable, HOW WE BREATHE.
The Foundational Skills (your basics) of Precision Diving
The BASE: Performance Mindset
Layered on top
- Swimming (includes all aspects of how we move and our impact from doing so.)
- Trim (including streamlining and all related aspects of contact with the water and drag.)
There is, of course, far more to it than just a list. There is a great many details around the above and more to come not listed yet.
I would like to sign off with a question for everyone. Diver or not. For the divers, what event or moment can you think of where you recognized your diving made a change for the better? For the non divers, what about any activity in your life, what moment or event made you significantly better at it?