Freediving can be learned by everyone! This might go against the common picture of freediving in the media - but the thing is this: What we see in the media is the pinnacle of freediving, the top-performances, the outstanding stunts. But what we do is actually something quite different, and we call it “recreational freediving”.
Recreational freediving should be learned just like scuba diving or any other sport: In a certified course, step by step, skill by skill. The only prerequisite is in fact only to be able to swim confidentially – there is no need to be a scuba diver before trying your first breath-hold dives! The more comfortable you are in water in general, the better!
Looking back at the first part of this series of article – “Why Freediving?” – you might have guessed by now what is the most important skill for freediving: being able to consciously relax the body and the mind. To achieve this, your course instructor will teach you a relaxation technique, most commonly the “body scan”. But actually every relaxation technique that does not involve breath-manipulation will work for freediving.
A freedive course has surprisingly little to with breathing technique! After you have mastered the art of relaxation, the following skills are simply there to help you move as efficiently through water as possible. So, there we have it, a freedive course is a combination of relaxation and motor technique. No superhuman gens needed, no fancy technology involved.
From beginner course to instructor training, the goal in freediving is always the same: Safety on every level! All training is geared towards making you a safe freediver who knows about safe practice, how to take care of a buddy and how to perform a rescue in an emergency situation. The “numbers” are not the goal – the breath-hold minutes, the depth meters, the distance meters. The numbers are simply a symptom of having mastered all skills on every course level!
There are many agencies in the market offering freedive courses and they all have their pros and cons. While most agencies are commercial businesses that have been started in the recent years, there is one agency that certainly stands out: AIDA started already in 1992 as a non-profit organization and has since pioneered freediving education, competition rules and safety procedures worldwide.
In the next article we will focus on the difference between beginner freediving and the advanced/master level courses: What it takes to extend your freediving abilities! Until then, always remember: Breathing is overrated!
Read Part 1 on this Freediving series!
Images © Luca Vaime