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Other posts fmo the ‘Top 10’-series: Top 10: How To Hold Your Breath Longer.
1. Always use a buddy!
Especially important if you try to hold your breath in the water! Better yet; follow a freediving course that will teach you and a friend how to look out for each other during dynamic freediving attempts. Dynamic freediving is particularly differnt to static breath holds as it’s harder to spot when your body goes into preserve mode. Do not try to improve too much when you reach a distance, go gradually and be at peace with the somewhat slower progression.
Of course it is important to pay attention to your breath up before you start, but also pay attention to visualize the way you’re supposed to depart. Visualize and repeat, whilst breathing up for your performance. This is a way of creating the mind-muscle-connection to control the outcome of your departure more. Visualizing aids in staying alert and aware on how to do a good start.
There are different ways to depart and they all have their pro’s and con’s, so just choose one you can perform in an efficient way and stick with it. As you’ve been visualizing the departure, you will not have so much trouble getting the chosen departure procedure right. Be keen on the execution and it’ll improve and be more auto-piloted as you progress in your training.
4. Consistent amplitude/stroke rhythm
This could have easily been called the relaxation part, which is achieved through a stroke rhythm you feel comfortable with. This differs very much from freediver to freediver. Be sure to find out what your best rhythm and speed is. This will give you a consistent amplitude while you’re performing your dynamic freedive.
Another very important subject is aligning, which is also dependent of your body composure, plus the type of freediver you are. Go out to the pool with a set of (borrowed) weights and have a buddy spot you’re kick-off from the wall. Try and glide as far as you can and see if you either ascend or descend. Once you’ve got that first stage covered it’s time to fine tune for the rest of the alignment, by actually doing your dynamic performance and see if your legs keep descending or ascending, this might indicate the location of the weight chosen in the first step is a bit off. It’s not easy finding the right alignment, but once you do it will be a good help. Use a camera to record your alignment and see for yourself what you should alter to get it right. Check out more extensive information about step 5 and 6 in this post.
In the previous step you’ve seen how hard it is to find the proper alignment. When you get this wrong it will effect the balance and stability of your performance. Try and make an equal stroke with your legs, have a buddy spot underwater when you’re swimming away from him. This way he can spot if you make a scissor like movement with your legs, which in turn can lead to an unbalanced movement. Again use a camera to record your balance and see for yourself what you should alter to get it right. Check out more extensive information about step 5 and 6 in this post.
Your air efficiency will increase as your technique improves. You should optimize the technique versus the comfortable. As being strained too much to get your technique right will not improve the efficiency. Learn to pay attention to your technique overtime and the strain will decrease and technique and efficiency will improve. Using the proper technique and looking into it on underwater camera footage will help you gain the additional efficiency that you need to tweak your distance even further.
Turning can be done in different ways, choosing the one you can perform perfectly will help you gain distance. Also visualize that you’re about to turn and repeat the steps, before you hit the wall. Make the turn and get back into your consistent kicking technique in a controlled manner. Technique for the turn proves very important, if you leave little room for failure the efficiency will be optimal. So stick with the turn you think is best (and is also allowed by the rules) and maximize your performance by mastering it.
Planning the way you resurface by training it every training, helps you when you’re in a competition. The movement will be automatically like you have it on auto-pilot and the room for error has just gone down again. This leaves you with the concentration you need for your recuperation. The technique for resurfacing can differ to your own liking and might differ from pool to pool as the sides of pool tend to vary a lot. If there is a side where you can rest your arm on, then plan to get your elbow over the edge as you resurface and remember to not touch the wall as you’re about to resurface.
Knowing how to recuperate will teach you how to control longer dive times. Making a habit out of the recovery and repeating it with every freedive you do, will hard-code it into your system. If you’re having a performance with some extra factors to pay attention to, you’ll notice that the recuperation will start to go on auto-pilot, which in place let’s you focus more on the extra factors. In this case there are different methods to a good and steady recovery, find a technique that suits your needs and stick with it.
Check out this small video from a performance in the Coupe des Dauphins for a good example how you can use the side of the pool to rest your arms and do a steady recovery:
Things for myself to improve in this video are the balance, alignment and turning technique. As an extra note to myself, do not look for your end goal!