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My Mentorship Program

Posted by Silverback on 06 December 2007 at 09:30 AM

You are never too old to learn

When you get into a sport, it is because you find something exciting or challenging about it. Perhaps it is discovering new things or overcoming challenges. It is rare that you approach participation with a game-plan.

However, as you improve, you look at extending your boundaries. Whether that be competing, diving deeper or looking for particular species or sizes. This is a natural progression. I firmly believe that without pushing your limit and moving ahead, continuously altering your approach, the sport would become boring and mundane.

So how do you go about reassessing and planning your improvement? You need to do more than just dream about wanting to get better. Start planning to get better. For me this was easy. One of my partners in crime I regularly dive with, held the South African Freediving record for a while. What better person than him, to teach me, the secrets of freediving. He helped me with visualizing the dive. How to prepare for a dive. How to control your mind and your thoughts. We have spent many hours discussing the role of diving physiology on the Freediver. Picturing what happens in your body as you dive has allowed me to become comfortable with my Freediving ability.

Diving with people who are better than you also encourages you to improve. They set goals and their goals often affect the goals you set for yourself. Both the Punisher and the Penetrator outdive me frequently. There is always a friendly rivalry between us. That means that you constantly strive to put in a good performance. I suppose it is the difference between a good Spearo and a great Spearo. A good Spearo has lots of interesting stories of his exploits. A great Spearo performs while everyone is watching.

The next step for me was to utilize a recognised great Spearo to help me with my preparation. That came in the form of Angel Eyes. He looked at our ability and informed us there was nothing wrong with our freediving ability. Spearfishing is not freediving alone. You need to learn to see things like a hunter would. Angel Eyes has made a huge difference to the way we look at Spearfishing. Our approach has changed quite dramatically. The fantastic thing is that he has the makings of a serious international competitor which has been a great advantage to us.

My most recent decision was to enter into a mentorship program with Gletwyn Rubidge. He runs this program via email. Strictly speaking, this program could be applied to anything but he concentrates on our shared passion for Spearfishing. Perhaps he has taken the step with me to formalise my approach to the sport. However, so much of what he says I have already put into practice. It is reassuring to realise that you are on the correct path and have great friends to accompany you on this journey.

Finally, I must re-iterate a point I made a long while ago. Get a Spearfishing group together. Guys who share your passion. Who are willing to get in a car and drive to the coast for the weekend even if the weather blows out the diving. We have just such a group. Reasonably evenly matched divers, a reliable boat, lots of GPS marks, a friendly buggy-boy and a passion for getting out and diving.

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