That sure is a tough one. Where do we draw the line in competitions?
The line is always part of a balancing act. If we are not pushing ourselves are we progressing?
This runs amok in all sports I suppose, well maybe not darts. Train too much and you get injured, don’t train hard enough and you fall behind other team mates or the competition. It’s a very difficult one in freediving. The pressure, pardon the pun again seems to build and build as we chase that ever elusive number. Our freediving mentors tell us to relax, train thoughtfully and slowly and the numbers will come and they do. But easier said than done.
Sometimes it’s trying when you see someone effortlessly do in a day what took you months or even years to achieve. That’s talent but it will only go so far without proper training. Like any discipline after a while we hit a plateau and need to change some part of our regime to start noticing improvements again. The experience of others has shown us that our bodies adapt to the stress and pressure but sometimes we do push them too far. The samba, blackout or squeeze for the freediver, the crippled knee for the footballer or runner.
Mentioning football brings me to a pet hate that I suppose is mostly apparent in team sports and while I am sure it is also the case in some individual sports I can’t ever recall seeing it in the freediving world. That is armchair critics. I really do want to jump down the radio and smack the head of the commentators or now they have fans that are allowed ring in and vent their spleen on why such a player or manager is crap and what they should have done. I have tried but I can’t seem to get my arm down the speaker and into the radio station to smack them around a bit. It’s unusual for me to be listening in the first place I suppose. I have never seen anything remotely like it in freediving but maybe I have been living a sheltered life. In competitions I have gone to, all I have mostly seen is encouragement, often with competitors coaching each other to possibly beat each others positioning. Many derive a great pleasure in helping even if it means they lose their own “record”. Yes it’s a comp so sometimes things are protested if required and the professionals have their sponsors to think about so it’s often at the smaller competitions that you see the greatest spirit. The one thing I have never heard is from a spectator saying they should have done this or trained that way etc.
In the end the competition is always within ourselves anyway and what we could do yesterday may not be possible to do today. We really need to listen to our bodies and see if it’s fear or common sense holding us back. It’s a long road traveled alone and like our seasons and our dives, sometimes you have to plunge into the cold darkness in order to return to the light.
Keep swimming towards the light brahs.
Happy Christmas to you all. Feargus.