Image via WikipediaI get asked all the time, “How can I improve my buoyancy control?”. Many people think that there is a silver bullet that will allow them to have precision buoyancy control. You want to know the truth? There is none. If you want to gain awesome buoyancy control, all you need to do is slow yourself down. If you can slow down your mind, you’ll start to think like an expert diver. If you can think like an expert diver, you’ll start to preform like an expert diver. Then your divers will be exponentially more enjoyable. You’ll be surprised how your mind can cause you to become a better diver.
The Buoyancy Paradox
One of my former instructors once told me, “Slow is smooth and smooth is fast.” I never really knew what that meant, until I started to slow down my actions while under water. Once I started to move slower, I quickly realized that I was actually moving more efficiently than before. My movement became more deliberate. This deliberate movement allowed me to gain more control of myself while under water. The lack of useless movement allowed me to sit still. My hand and feet movement decreased and I was able to hover in a fixed position without swimming all over the place.
You’ll be surprised just how much small hand movements will move you around. Think of your hands as small oars on a boat. When you wave your hands around even the slightest, you’ll create resistance in the water. This is a tiny bit of propulsion. Combine this with foot/fin movement, you’ll move all over the place when trying to hover. The best thing to do when learning how to control your body movements while underwater is to simply grab yourself (no, not there). Fold your arms and hold onto your elbows. You can also extend your arms and hold your wrists. This is actually preferred as it puts your body into a stretched out position and allows you to remain in trim. Holding your hands like this will also help keep you from rolling to the left or right. It will square your shoulders and make difficult rolling.
Try swimming with your hands held out in front of you. It will force you to put more focus on propelling yourself with your feet. Then you’ll start to realize that you are swimming to fast and can start to develop those swimmer’s legs. That is, you’ll start to control your leg movement. Once you can minimize your hand and feet movement, you’ll start to stay put and can focus on using your breathing to control your movement up or down in the water column.
Give it a try. Make slow and deliberate movements and see how your buoyancy control improves.
Thanks to Duane of Precision Diving