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Mentoring New Freedivers - Why It's Important to Bring New People Into The Sport

Mentoring New Freedivers - Why It's Important to Bring New People Into The Sport

Mentoring New Freedivers - Why It's Important to Bring New People Into The Sport

Freediving and spearfishing are rapidly growing in popularity all over the world. The simplicity of holding your breath and harvesting your own food is an easily appreciated activity in a world laden with technology and stress. With all that being said, there are some steep learning curves to freediving and spearfishing, which means mentoring new freedivers is an integral part of growing and improving the sport. Finding a good mentor or instructor can make the difference between a beginner who loves and commits to the sport for life and one who quits out of frustration.


Why We Need To Invest in Growing The Sport

With the sport growing the way it is, we need to make sure it grows the way we want it to. It is easy for experienced divers to brush off new divers as a nuisance, and in some respects they can be. But they are the future of the sport, and if we neglect new divers, they won't learn the etiquette, respect for the environment, and attention to safety that we hope to see in every diver. The next time you meet someone starting out, think about showing them the ropes.


How To Approach Mentors

If you are new to freediving or spearfishing, there are definitely a couple ways to meet new people that can help you learn what you are doing. The best practice for people getting into the sport is to accept that you have a lot to learn. That means you shouldn’t act like you know everything about the sport because you took on two or three day freediving course last weekend. The first path into the sport and the community is to take a freediving course. Not all instructors are equally as knowledgeable or nice, so ask questions and get a feel for your instructor before signing up. The most important thing to look for in a good instructor is their ability to convey information in an accessible way. You should also seek out a safety conscious instructor. Beyond that, just try and find an instructor with a style and attitude that fits your learning style and creates an environment where you can have fun learning. 


Clubs and Organizations

An instructor can also be a wealth of knowledge about resources and groups in your area for free divers. Clubs and training groups are one of the greatest methods of finding a good group of divers and potential mentors. There are aspects of diving that will never be covered in a course. Be willing to learn from other divers, but always remember the safety aspects of your free dive course in everything you do.


Dive Shops and Charters

Dive shops and the dive trips they host are another great way to to meet new divers. Charter boats themselves also offer a great opportunity to meet other divers and potential mentors, especially on split trips. Many shops and charters offer the opportunity to take courses or guide you on a trip. Additionally, dive shops tend to attract other divers. You can often find people willing to assist you in these locations.


The Mentor and Mentee Relationship

Mentor and Mentee relationships tend to develop organically. It would be a little awkward if a new diver just walked up to someone with more experience and just said “Hey, would you like to be my mentor?”. Typically these things start with a few questions about how to do something better, or tips on improvement. Be open to critique and suggestions, and ask for help! Instagram of Facebook DMs can be a good place to start.


How To Mentor

Once you develop some experience, it is easy to get in your own rhythm with your group of divers. Remember you didn’t get to that point by yourself. When a newer diver approaches you, don’t be a jerk. It sounds simple, but just go onto any forum on the internet and you will see the toxic environment that tends to develop around people asking questions just because they are new. I’m not saying you need to take every new person that asks out on your boat, but remember that we do want the sport to grow. With that said, the best way to get it to grow the way we want is to help guide it in that direction. Mentoring new freedivers can end up being one of the more rewarding experiences within the sport.

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