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.
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.