First I would like to correct the popular perception that “Freedivers” only train and are only interested in the elite freediver. Quite the contrary we welcome beginners and very much enjoy training them. We recognise that the beginner stage is a critical stage in a freedivers development and that too often an individual can get lost in a big course and in meeting what appears to be to him or her an insurmountable problem, gets totally discouraged and disillusioned and faults that are left uncorrected become ineradicable bad habits.

The original Freedivers Novice course was 5 days unlike the AIDA 2 star course of 2 and a half days which we felt addressed more questions of convenience and commercial considerations than the formative requirements of the diver.

We felt that the differences between SCUBA education and freedive education were not generally appreciated.In SCUBA it’s  pretty sure bet that the beginner is coming to his first course with nearly zero exposure to scuba ,the freediver on the contrary has usually tried out at least aspects of the sport and many come to their first course with months or even years of experience beneath their belts.

Aharon ,who had taught scuba for more than 25 years was well aware of the difference.And Freedivers first course was based on certain presumptions and principles.

1. In Scuba everyone could follow the same rigid syllabus as they all began at the same stage as no responsible business would fill tanks or accept a beginner in a group dive without some evidence of certification.

2.  A freedive course on the other hand had to cope with a wide variety of prior experience , and the course had to contain all the relevant information

that  a diver might need from his present level up to the next physiological barrier..An example might be the 10-15mt diver’s next physiological barrier , one of  equalisation which might be first at about 28m, and if that pressure barrier recedes, then at about 40mt , where different techniques were needed to pass this point .

In addition to this there was the information needed by all levels – the vital safety information Our feeling was that it was inappropriate to parcel out little bits of this at each subsequent level..We believed and continue to believe that it is critical to give all this information up front .This is particularly important to Spearo’s who rarely return for further techniqu practice or tuition.

3.  We apply a different instructional approach. Each student has to be individually evaluated to understand his specific requirements  and

in effect, a personal course constructed for him. A typical example  might be the spearo , who usually has student deafness to everything other than Breathold  and perhaps Safety.A lot of fishermen who regularly fish in the 7m-12 mt band rely on a huge amount of weights to take them to the bottom and keep them there.However does it occur to them to remove weights as they progress deeper?  It would be dangerous to use the same amount of weights when diving in the 15-20mt band. So, having learnt to hold his breath longer the ‘spearo’ needs to be convinced  that if he wants to go deeper, perhaps it would be a good idea to improve his style instead, ( i.e. correct duck dive and finning technique), which apart from just elegance has everything to do with economy and efficiency as you can waste substantial gains in breathold on poor movement in the water.

4.  Freedivers drew conclusions from this. Our courses are small and the instructor to student ratio is high.You can lecture all you like on correct equalisation to a group of 16 students but you cannot correct their problems on anything but on a 1 to 1 basis . If in your group of 16 you are unlucky enough to have 50% with equalisation problems the 1 on 1 approach becomes impossible even if you divide the group .It requires intense observation by the instructor to ascertain what isn’t working and very good communication with the student.

Many students in the context of  a large group, with otherwise excellent potential become discouraged and think there is something wrong with them even that here is a physiological problem and maybe even discouraged enough to give up freediving.

This problem is often aggravated by Doctors even ENT specialists, ill informed about freediving and freedive physiology. I have heard of cases where they have recommended an operation for a slightly deviated septum when the problem was that that person was using Valsalva. Confusingly this technique does work with compressed air in scuba but does not work head down below 10mts in freediving.We have specialised with dealing with this problem for years and have evolved strategies to overcome it , we even offer two and a half day clinics to correct and improve equalisation.The answer of course is to master the Frenzel and there are very few instructors who are capable of dealing with this.

5. Freedivers policy has always been to take the student without pushing him, to wherever he/she is comfortable without imposing artificial limits on their performance or discipline.Our very limited numbers on courses allows you to choose and specialise in the discipline of your choice. Many people in our area find it difficult affording or obtaining Freedive equipment so very often are limited to the disciplines that require the minimum of equipment such as CNF, DYF, FIM STA and VWT. This presents no problem to us.  With our Policy of ASSES _PLAN _ ACT we assess what is missing and what is currently a limiting factor and together construct a strategy to overcome the hurdles.

6. A lot of the bigger educational institutions have trouble fitting into their scheme of things the 35-40m diver applying for his first course. AIDA education does not have a course beyond 40m which where many up and coming freedivers want to launch into Advanced or specialised training and have no support network with which to do that.

7. Our Philosophy has always been based on a number of simple homilies:

a/ the fastest and surest progress is achieved by regular methodical incremental progress with realisable objectives.

b/ In order to achieve progress an element of stress is needed but stress does not produce results only adaption to stress

does.Too much stress and you create a wall that is impassable, or worse Entropy ( collapse ,retreat ).Too little stress

and there is no progress finding the golden mean is the objective.

c/ Work on your weaknesses and do not be ashamed of showing them. One or two correctable weaknesses can completely

limit a diver of great potential .

Freedivers in their courses cover all the AIDA material that is relevant and thus can offer AIDA certification but give much more than the information taught by AIDA and more detailed training,

We also offer clinics and courses of 2 1/2 – 3 days in –

1. monofin technique for dynamic or constant weight

2. Adapting breast stroke for CNF

3. Equalisation techniques for the beginner or the Elite athlete

4. Head down variable tables for training depth

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