One of the most exciting aspects of Scuba Diving is the opportunity for never-ending growth and development. Whether a diver that just now got his Open Water certification, or an instructor with 1000+ dives, there are so many different facets to Scuba Diving and so much room for improvement, that there isn’t really a limit to what you can achieve.
A scuba diver can choose his own level of proficiency. Maybe he or she wants to get to a certain level (not only regarding certifications, but mostly level of abilities), stop working towards improving his/her skills and just enjoy their dives. Or maybe, the diver will think of each new dive as an opportunity for developing and fine-tuning underwater skills.
The decision is ultimately yours.
It all starts with the kind of training the diver receives. For sure, in order to complete a certain diving course, the trainee will have to perform each required skill correctly and it falls upon the instructor to evaluate. Let’s assume that the trainee diver has accomplished a certain task (removing and replacing the mask, for instance). Does that mean that he has now mastered that skill? No, it does not.
It’s like with your driving license. When I passed my driving exams, yes, it meant that I knew how to parallel-park, the instructor showed me and by copying his movements, I did it correctly. A few years into the future now, and countless instances of parallel parking later, I can assure you that the level of proficiency and ease with which I can now perform this task, can’t even be compared with that first time. It’s exactly like that with the mask (or any other diving skill)… repetition makes us better, shows us our mistakes and weaknesses, and makes it look effortless by engaging out muscle-memory.
Don’t get me wrong, you don’t have to take your dive buddy and head into the water with the sole intention of performing training exercises at 15 ft. but why not use the minutes of the safety stop to spruce up on those skills?
Another way of developing our skills is by observing divers more skilled than us and implementing any traits that we think is a match to our personality and way of diving. The way simple… “How can I do that too?” and more often than not, a few minutes later (sometimes, maybe a course later) you will have learned something new.
I wanna leave you with 2 pieces of advice, gained from my own experiences:
Evolution will come… but only if you ask for it! When redoing a task/skill pay attention to each step of the way, so you can close in on your ‘problematic’ area and make the necessary changes to ultimately improve the task as a whole.
Evolution will come… through observation! Our buddy, as an outside observer, is more adept at pointing out our mistakes, so listen to them, talk with them and learn through them.
Here’s to our evolution!