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.
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!
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.
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.