Mentoring New Freedivers – Why Its Important to Bring New People Into The Sport
Freediving and spearfishing are rapidly growing in popularity all over the world. It makes sense, these sports are too much fun not to participate in. The simplicity of holding your breath and harvesting your own food is an easily appreciated activity. With all that being said, there are defiantly some learning curves to freediving and spearfishing. Mentoring new freedivers is an integral part of growing and improving the sport. Finding a good mentor or instructor makes a huge difference to the safety and level of enjoyment from diving.
Why We Need To Grow 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. In some respects they are. But they are the future of the sport, and if we neglect new divers they won’t learn the etiquette that we hope to see in every diver. Keep that in mind next time you meet someone starting out and 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 first path into the sport is to take a freediving course. Not all instructors are made equally, so ask questions and get a feel for the instructor before signing up. The most important 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 meets your comfort.
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. 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. 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. The 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.
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 see the toxic environment that tends to develop around people asking questions because they are new. Just be a decent person and help new people out form time to time. I’m not saying you need to take every new person that asks out on your boat to mess up your day. There definitely needs to be a balance. Just 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.
Be Courteous to One Another
The short version is to just be nice to one another. Whether you are starting out or have several decades of experience just try to be helpful to one another.