All posts by Jorg

Shark Trainings Philosophy, part 2

Since I started with freediving in 1998, I’ve seen, read, heard maybe hundreds of ideas about how to train, how to improve, how to get good performances in competition. Especially the last 5 years I really had the chance to test and develop some of the techniques we’re now using. From all these techniques and ideas, together with our own research and testing, we’ve now developed our own Shark way of freediving.

As you may recall from part 1, the main goals of our training is that you can always do a near maximum performance without warming up, not depending on long times of warming ups or doing tables in the pool. In the last years many freedivers have turned to so many different ways of training for freediving. Reading all kind of medical and scientific reports and studies, but also looking into the eastern ways, like yoga or meditation. Some others use NLP or other western ways of mental training. They believe that their mental power will give them a better performance. Everybody is just jumping around with so many ideas!

Freediving shouldn’t be only a science! Freediving should be a sport! To excel in a sport you have to train, you have to train hard. Your body should learn what it has to do, what’s it capable of and by going to it’s limits it learns to cooperate with these limits and even put the limits some higher. You have to stimulate your body in a correct way, so that during recovery it makes it self stronger for the next time you will train.

With any sport you should rely on some mental preparation. But with freediving people seem to think that they can break their limits on mental preparation alone. Let me tell you that when you’re a competition freediver you should rely on your physique and not your mental thoughts. For the past months you trained your body for the task ahead and it’s completely ready. If your body will go in standby modus (Blackout!) after a 7 minute breath hold you can count on it that you can have the nicest thoughts about anything you want and be completely at ease in your head but you will still have a problem at 7 minutes and not 1 second later.

If you’ve trained and trained and trained for many times your body knows exactly what it can do. The mental part during a competition is only a brake! The mental part should trust the physical part. If it doesn’t trust the physical then you’re putting boundaries on yourself, which you normally can cross.

Don’t get me wrong! There is definitely time for the mental ‘training’ in freediving! During recreation and try out! But if you’re serious about training for competition you have to train your body. And no, not like hours in the pool doing laps and laps. If I look at Sanne’s schedule we’re a in the pool for one hour, maybe one and half hour max a week. But when we’re in the water, it’s really high intensity. It’s like an in and out mission! When we’re in the pool it’s just intense. Even when we go to the pool you can already feel the concentration. We don’t have to speak. It’s already known for days, weeks, sometimes even months about what we’re going to do today in the pool.

Afterwards it’s time for analysis and the talking! We take training seriously, that’s why we also do a lot of fun freediving besides the training sessions. Just some freediving in the pool or swimming outdoors in a new lake. You’ve got to keep the saw sharp, and we sharpen it by relaxation.

You can think a thousand times a day about your goals but you’ll never reach them if you don’t make the first step.

See you in the next part of this series, where I’m going to talk about the theory of a sharkbait athlete. If you got any questions, let me know and I try to answer them in the next part.

Sanne his 27th Birthday!

Congratulations to Sanne! He turns 27 today, so almost turning into an old grey man with a long beard.

Have a good day!

A good day to look back what you accomplished in the last year… and especially what you want to do for the coming year.

Freediving in the Tongelreep

Good news for all freedivers in the region Eindhoven. We made some constructive deals with swimming pool the Tongelreep which will be a first step for other swimming pools to follow in their footsteps. Since 1998 the Tongelreep has been the place for me and a lot of other freedivers for their regular trainings, competitions and even world records. In all these years I had close contact with all the staff about what exactly we were doing underwater. Every time we had to explain again why it wasn’t dangerous when you know what you’re doing. We almost had to cancel our national championship competition on the day itself, because of the unawareness of the personal and wrong ideas they had about the sport. In all these years I tried to make some deals with the pool so we could freedive and do our thing without every time explaining what was going on, or renting the complete pool to ourselves.

Recently we made a big breakthrough that we are very happy with. The Tongelreep had in mind to forbid freediving all together in their pools (of course not when you rent completely the pool, but we can’t do that always). So we had to make some clear steps to prevent that from happening. After some good talks with the staff, and explanation about freediving education, safety and many other aspects we have now a clear deal with them.

From now on in general it’s forbidden to freedive in the Tongelreep, which we are very okay with, because more and more people are practicing this sport without any education and understanding of the possible dangers of the sport if practiced un-educated. We got some hours from the Tongelreep were they allow freedivers to do their thing, so that all freediving activities during the recreational hours will be concentrated together. On Tuesdays and Fridays between 21:00 and 22:00 certified freedivers of AIDA and the NFDB can come do their freediving training in the pool. Most of the time this mean that we can use 1 lane of the excellent 50 meter pool to do dynamic. Serious static training is not really possible, but for us also not a must.

If in the future the number of freedivers will grow to a pretty big group, we got some other options ready to use the swimming pool and extend the water time extensively. So hopefully in the coming months the group will grow to such a number that we can take the next step. And hereby we welcome all certified freedivers to come freedive in the Tongelreep. Even the non certified freedivers are welcome, which we will provide with a very interesting education program for a very special price. If you got any questions about this then let us know so that we can try to answer them.

Shark Trainings Philosophy, part 1

In the last two weeks our ideas and trainings methods were confirmed by some excellent performances by Sanne. This shows that we definitely took the right road and I’m fully convinced of what the future may hold for Sanne and some possible new Shark blood.

First of all, before we disclose anything about the training techniques, it’s important to know that we had a clear definition of what a competition freediver should be like. Too many times we see freedivers who are waiting for their lucky day, hoping that everything fits correctly and really depending on so many factors before they ‘believe’ that they can do what they want to do. Another factor which clearly gives troubles to some are the immense long trainings and long warm-ups needed before they can pull of a good performance.

So the whole idea is to create an all-round freediver who can compete in all disciplines and can ALWAYS come close to his best performances with a minimum amount of preparation time.

To give an example; if you look at Sanne at a competition he’s relaxing and waiting for his official top, just chatting with some other people, enjoying the surroundings. 15-20 minutes before his time he puts on his freediving gear and slowly walks to the performance zone. He arrives 3 minutes before official top at the place to be and presents himself to the judges and sits down on the side of the pool. 2 minutes before he starts his breathing pattern and around 30 seconds before his start he drops into the water, waits a little, last breath and there he goes.

The beauty of it all is that what he does in competition he can do every week, without warming up. The competition results are already done many times in training, so we know for a fact what his body is capable of and he just does what he does every week. Put him in any pool and he’ll always be capable of going to at least 80-90% of his maximum performance with no warming up. Due to hard work he can trust his body and that gives confidence!

We disclose some more details in part 2 of our training methods.

Team Sharkbait Changes

After some serious evaluation from athlete Notis Stefanis and me, Notis decided to give up his place in Team Sharkbait. One of the reasons for this move is the difference in training style philosophy. So what’s so different between Notis and TSB? It was always a challenge to combine Sanne en Notis in one team, as mentioned earlier in a post. Sanne, being the athlete, training hard, preparing the body, etc, and Notis more being the mental feeling guy. It was fun and interesting evaluating both sides of possible training methods and everything that’s in between, but as we found out what TSB is really about the more we understood that Notis was not really happy in this position. So therefore we together made the wise move that Notis gave up his place so that I could fully concentrate working with Sanne for the time being.

TSB wishes Notis all the best with his freediving career and we have no doubt that we will still have many fun freediving sessions together. Privately everything stays the same and now everybody can put their energy where it belongs.

Summer Time !!

..or at least finally some good weather! It’s May again, so that means the start of our deep diving season. I’m very excited about this particular season. This Friday we have another team meeting to discuss our goals and training regime for the next 6 months. We had a very good winter season that lay a broad foundation to build on. So Phase 1 is complete.

In the last 6 months Notis and Sanne learned a lot about themselves and how they need to train and with what kind of mentality. I, as coach, learned a lot about these two athletes. With a very good logged 6 months which made me do a lot of analyzing of all the gathered data. So we learned, we discussed, we trained, we fine-tuned, we tested, we gave it all and now we are ready. We’ve done our first step, so now the only thing we have to do is keep walking.

So, what about Phase 2? Later on I will reveal some more about this, but I can see we’re definitely going for some records in the (near?) future. Notis and Sanne have loads of potential, each in their own disciplines and way. And they are nowhere near their limits.

It’s funny too see how 2 people can approach freediving in such a different way. When we’re together it’s just loads of fun, talking about everything and nothing, but when it’s time for training you can feel the concentration. Each athlete going for their own goals in the training session, slowly working to the season goal and working further to the end goal… Are there end goals? Well, let’s just call them like that for now. For the project we’re doing now we have some clear defined end goals. When it’s done, we start another marathon.