Teaching Diving is Teaching Life

As early as the 1950s, scientific research began demonstrating that sports have significant benefits. Early research focused on physical activity in team sports, but today, research is broader and looks at mental as well as physical changes. It also looks beyond team sports to include adventure/extreme sports like mountain biking, kayaking, base jumping, and (of course) scuba. The latest findings suggest that sports that give an adrenaline rush develop skills that apply to everyday life.

Life Lessons: Confidence, Self-Reliance, Self-Control

Adventure sports tend to be more individual and have a perceived higher degree of risk than competitive team sports. This helps participants learn to rely on themselves as they stretch beyond their comfort zones, which builds confidence. But, many adventure sports (including diving) have strong teamwork aspects, which develops socialization and cooperative interaction skills much as do team sports. Anecdotal and research evidence finds that adventure-sport participants tend to be calmer, more confident, mentally stronger, more self-disciplined and better able to handle stress situations. One study found that extreme sport participants who experience fear and close calls not only exhibited more ability to manage fear, but also more humility.

Connected to the Environment

Unlike field/stadium team sports, which are usually played on constructed ball fields, stadiums and parks, adventure sports take participants into the environment because almost all of them require relatively natural settings. The benefit of this is that adventure-sport participants tend to develop a positive, protective relationship with the environment because their activities are integrated with it rather than separated from it. This social benefit, many argue, develops learners who are environmentally aware and sensitive, which is important because our collective future depends upon our relationship with the environment.

Old Dogs Do Learn New Tricks

Physical activity is known to benefit our health in our senior years, and now it seems that suitable mental challenges prevent – and in some ways can reverse – mental decline. Studies find that older adults who keep learning new skills tend to stay more active and enjoy better cognitive and memory performance. But, research finds that this learning must be challenging with demands on both thinking and memory. Most adventure sports require new skills, planning, assessing conditions and social interaction, making them good fits for the purpose of helping slow mental decline in older adults, as well as providing physical activity. The limiting factor for seniors is the ability to meet the physical requirements of a given adventure sport.

The Takeaways

Of all adventure sports, diving is probably open to the widest range of age, culture, physical abilities and other demographic characteristics. It is likely the adventure sport with the widest access for senior participants. These characteristics make diving suited to offering benefits to -divergent markets with differing, specialized interests and needs.

  1. You’re not just “teaching scuba.” You’re teaching skills that have broad personal applications. This can be a useful message when presenting learn-to-dive opportunities to different groups as well as individuals.
  2. Market these “extra” benefits. Especially with institutions like youth, senior and environmental groups, it is exactly these developmental and environmental connections that add a reason to participate in diving or allow you to offer it to their members.
  3. Target the “nonteamers.” Scuba will appeal to many people who can’t or don’t want to participate in team sports, yet offer many of the same benefits.
  4. Target the “teamers,” too. Diving will also appeal to people who do like team sports. Scuba gives such groups something more individual in nature that they can do together, with some distinct challenges and benefits.
  5. Continue education. Senior divers may feel like they “just” want to be PADI® Open Water Divers, but continuing education offers new, deeper mental challenges, socialization and physical activity – all associated with benefits for older adults.

References

  • Association for Psychological Science (2013) Learning new skills keeps an aging mind sharp. (psychologicalscience.org/news/releases/learning-new-skills-keeps-an-aging-mind-sharp.html)
  • English Outdoor Council. Values and benefits of outdoor education, training and recreation. (englishoutdoorcouncil.org/Values_and_benefits.htm)
  • Adventure sports. (learn.healthpro.com/adventure-sports/)
  • Mathis, B. (2017) What are the benefits of adventure sports? (livestrong.com/article/149821-what-are-the-benefits-of-adventure-sports/)
  • OMG Lifestyle (2017) Major health benefits of adventure sports. (omglifestyle.co.uk/major-health-benefits-adventure-sports/)
  • Scott, K. (2015) The surprising benefits of extreme sports. (coach.nine.com.au/2015/10/19/13/34/the-surprising-benefits-of-extreme-sports)
  • Smart Health Shop (2018) Surprising mental benefits of doing extreme sports. (blog.smarthealthshop.com/2018/04/10/surprising-mental-benefits-of-doing-extreme-sports/)
  • org. The health benefits of sport and physical activity.(sportanddev.org/en/learn-more/health/health-benefits-sport-and-physical-activity)
  • Vitelli, R (2012) Can lifelong learning help as we age? (psychologytoday.com/us/blog/media-spotlight/201210/can-lifelong-learning-help-we-age)
  • The Wellness Seeker, Extreme sports benefits and health promotion. (thewellnessseeker.com/extreme-sports-benefits-health-promotion/)

A version of this article originally appeared in the 4th Quarter 2018 edition of The Undersea Journal®.

The Undersea Journal First Quarter 2019 – Now Available

Each quarter The Undersea Journal is filled with stories and articles that help you stay informed and inspired as a PADI Professional.

The First Quarter 2019 edition includes articles on; tips for turning students into engaged divers, how to make PADI’s marketing resources work for you, DEMA show updates, dive shops making a difference, how travel helps a commitment to dive, and many other articles.

There are several digital reading options for you to access this publication:

If you’ve opted for the printed version, it will continue to be delivered to your mailing address.

If you have any questions please contact customerservice.ap@padi.com.

The Undersea Journal – Fourth Quarter 2018 – Now Available

Each quarter The Undersea Journal is filled with stories and articles that help you stay informed and inspired as a PADI Professional.

The Fourth Quarter 2018 edition includes articles on Trends in Teaching and Training, Digital Optimization, The Revised Project AWARE Specialty Course,  Dive Travel, Family Additions, Gear and much more.

There are several digital reading options for you to access this publication:

If you’ve opted for the printed version, it will continue to be delivered to your mailing address.

If you have any questions please contact customerservice.ap@padi.com.

Crossing over dive leaders to PADI Professionals

By Tony Cook, PADI Regional Training Consultant

Frankie owns a PADI Five Star Dive Resort in Thailand. At a local bar after work, he chats to a group of French tourists. One of them, Amina, says she is a dive leader from France and is looking for work in Thailand. Frankie does need a new instructor, but tells her he can only employ PADI Pros. He says she should contact him again if she eventually gets her PADI qualification.

What opportunities has Frankie just lost?

  1. A potential employee.
  2. Greater income from new students. While there is a cost for Frankie in crossing a diver over from recognized French organisation to PADI, the potential income she could generate is far greater.
  3. Fresh ideas – Amina might have other great skills like social media or IT skills that Frankie doesn’t have.
  4. New markets – Amina could attract more French and European customers to Frankie’s business.

Crossover process

What Frankie didn’t know is that a dive leader in good standing qualified with another diver training organisation can cross over to PADI via the PADI Assistant Instructor (AI) course or the PADI Instructor Development Course (IDC). They do not have to repeat what they already know and can do.

*Remember to contact and involve your PADI Regional Training Consultant early in the crossover process if you have any questions on eligibility.

What should Frankie have done instead?

Frankie should have checked Amina’s qualifications together with Steve, a PADI IDC Staff Instructor who works for him.  After verifying that all the course prerequisites have been met, Steve could have enrolled Amina in the AI course*. Steve would then have conducted a knowledge and skill pre-assessment with Amina – any necessary remediation training can be personalised and scheduled before the start of the AI course.

*Review the course standards, organisation and curriculum in the PADI Course Director Manual.

Assessing candidate readiness*

Typical examples of great tools available for assessing the readiness of a dive leadership candidate are Dive Theory Online, and eLearning Quick Reviews for knowledge and to gauge dive skills use the Skill Evaluation Slate.

*Refer to PADI General Training Standards and Procedures when assessing open water dive readiness.

Remember, if in doubt, contact your PADI Regional Training Consultant.

Other factors to consider

There are other factors to consider during your assessment, before accepting the candidate into your PADI AI or IDC program. Take a moment to verify:

  • When was the candidate certified at dive leadership level by the other agency?
  • Has the candidate acquired any active experience as a dive leader?
  • How recent is this experience?
  • Does the candidate fulfil all other AI / IDC course prerequisites?
  • Can I help the candidate document all prerequisites?

A reminder

Prospective PADI Professionals are required to provide copies of all underlying prerequisite qualifications: their entry-level, advanced, rescue diver certifications and proof of first aid / CPR training within the past two years.  Make sure you verify these and have them on file before accepting the candidate on to the course.  Don’t forget to attach copies of non-PADI certifications when sending their completed application form to PADI for processing.

Following PADIs assessment standards and documentation procedures reduces your risk. It also ensures the candidate (and you!) will have an enjoyable experience during their instructor-level program and avoids unnecessary delays in processing their application upon training completion.

Crossing dive leaders over to PADI professionals is easier than you think. Take a few moments to consider the opportunities you could gain.

Contact your PADI Regional Training Consultant at training-sales@padi.com.au to find out more.

Tony Cook – PADI Regional Training Consultant