When I started freediving, all my « depth » sessions were similar: 2 « warm-up » dives with a hang at 10m followed by a succession of « max » dives each until I could no longer equalize.
Today I try to have a different and more mature strategy: I make a clear distinction in my approach to my sessions. Also, even before organizing the session, I decide in advance what will be its nature among the 4 models I will present to you.
This is a session for which I have no plan in mind and decide my dives « by feeling » during the session, I usually focus on my sensations and pay no attention to my technique. I also pay little attention to the maximum depth available and I don’t plan to do any particular exercises. Where I’m going to be looking is at my buddy: it has to be someone I get along with outside of the water and in the water; it’s just a matter of having a good time. If on certain types of sessions (see below) I prefer to dive with people of a similar level to mine, for these sessions, it doesn’t matter to me and it can be the opportunity to dive with my « beginner » friends. Generally, I will prefer this type of session if it’s been a long time that I haven’t dived to start again smoothly or when I have a gap of a few days between 2 courses.
Training session: technical
These are shallow dives (compared to my max) that will allow me to concentrate on the details I want to improve/work on. The interest of doing this on shallow dives is to be able to multiply the dives in the same session without it being physically or mentally tired. These are also dives that will allow me to identify the slightest discomfort and will therefore indicate the points to work on. They are usually quite long sessions that I try to plan with someone who will do something similar, otherwise one of us might get bored. I also try to plan these sessions with people who are also instructors or who at least themselves have a good technique and experience in a general way: it may be selfish but on this type of session I want all my attention to be focused on my dives and I don’t want to « see » beginner’s mistakes that will awaken my instructor side and take me out of my concentration. Finally, it is this type of diving for which I may want to ask one of my training partners to film to identify the points to be improved.
Training session: exercises
Contrary to the dives that I call « technical » and that constitute « complete » and « normal » dives, these sessions will aim to work on one and only one point: this can be the dive time, flexibility, equalization, adaptation to the depth… Before the session, I will therefore choose an aspect to work on and this aspect will be worked on by a specific exercise. Here for the choice of the buddy, it will generally depend on the nature of the exercise that I intend to do; it’s up to me to make sure that they will understand the nature and the stakes and especially that they are comfortable carrying out my safety because some exercises can induce a rather long dive time which has nothing to do with the famous « 1 meter per second ». The communication before the session is therefore essential here to make sure that everyone is on the same page (I remind you that if a diving partner is not comfortable with what I intend to do, he has the perfect right to refuse to dive with me).
Full dive: Max and repetitions
Here, finally, it’s a question of putting the pieces of the puzzle together to improve its results. I would like to come back to the notion of « max »: it is not necessarily a PB (personal best) but the deepest dive you can make with physical and mental comfort at that precise moment. It can therefore sometimes be a matter of repeating a depth already made (the day before or several years ago) or of making a personal best; the difference does not matter much, what matters is your level of confidence at the time of making the dive. Of course, you want to make this type of dive with someone you trust, but more importantly, you want a precise « plan » for your session: before going into the water you know who is diving in what order and at what depth, you know if you have to do the safety for someone else or not, you have taken into account the surface intervals and you are familiar with the water temperature, you know that you won’t be cold when you start your dive. This is to avoid unexpected events and any misunderstandings that could compromise the success of your dive.
What I propose here can of course be adapted to other freediving disciplines or even to any activity in a more general way. The interest of keeping this distinction at the level of sessions (and not just dives) is that it will facilitate the creation and application of a training plan. Otherwise, it is easy and quick to get lost and lose efficiency. Also, by going into the water with one (and only one) specific goal each time, more of your attention and concentration can be dedicated to that goal, and you will be more likely to quickly reap the benefits of your training.