Are you thinking of becoming a freediving instructor? First, make sure you have spoken to another freediving instructor about their job or read our article on 10 things you need to know before becoming a freediving instructor to understand what being a freediving instructor entails. If you are sure that you want to invest in yourself with freediving instructor certification, congratulations and good luck to you! No matter which organization you are already a part of, there are 8 things you can do before the instructor course to help you along the road to success. Check them out below.
Already being able to perform the necessary requirements
The instructor course is not there to teach you how to go deeper or help increase your static time. If there are requirements for depth, stamina, and rescue, it will only serve you well to already be able to perform these requirements before the course starts. Plus, it will remove some performance anxiety if you know that you have already done the skill successfully before.
Make sure your technique is perfect
The instructor course is also not there to teach you technique; the last level of certification that you passed before the instructor course should have perfected your technique, if not earlier. By the time you are participating in the instructor course, you should already have a role-model technique. Which brings us to the next point…
Arrive early for extra training/coaching sessions
If you are able to, come 2 to 3 weeks early and book some sessions with an instructor to refine your technique and practice the requirements, especially if you are not able to train at home and cannot perform the requirements yet. You can also find a buddy to train with, but booking coaching sessions with an instructor will ensure proper critique of technique and helpful guidance.
Plan on a few extra days after course
Anticipate that there might be a problem: sickness, performance anxiety, etc., just in case. That way, if you are not able to perform all of the requirements, you can book an extra session or sessions with the Instructor Trainer to fulfill those missed requirements. Make sure to e-mail or call in advance and ask if the Instructor Trainer will even be available after the course.
Verify that your EFR certificate is less than 2 years old
If there is a large gap between the time of your last EFR certification and before the instructor course, make sure to check that your certification is still valid. If not, arrive earlier in order to take the EFR certification again, so there is no delay in your course. This also applies to students who do not yet have their EFR certification: notify the Instructor Trainer and make sure to arrive earlier than the course start date in order to complete the certification.
Have your own equipment
You should have your own equipment, with a wetsuit that fits you well, fins that are efficient and a perfect fit, and a reliable mask that does not leak. This is not guaranteed if you rent your equipment. Your own dive computer is especially useful for the course, as you can set alarms to notify you when freefall begins, or when to take your mouthfill if you are using mouthfill already.
Have the special presentation ready beforehand
If the agency you are becoming certified with requires a special presentation at the end of the course, it will save you a lot of stress having it done already before the course begins. E-mail your Instructor Trainer beforehand, and suggest a few topics you would like to present, and then create and practice performing the special presentation before the course begins. That way, you can focus on other details in your free time, or even better, have some time off!
Study course materials beforehand if possible
If the course materials are already available to you before the start of the instructor course, start looking them over and studying them in order to have a good knowledge base before your Instructor Trainer starts giving their own presentations. For example, the AIDA Instructor Course gives instructor candidates an exam that covers the AIDA 2-4 materials. Since instructor candidates already have access to the AIDA 2-4 materials, they should study it before the course, so there is one less thing to study for and worry about.
It important to realize that the instructor course is physically and mentally challenging. The zero-to-hero approach in freediving generally does not work out very well, unless there is an internship before or after your instructor course; in fact, some dive shops offer a master program where you can spend a set amount of weeks with multiple coaching sessions that develop new skills and improve technique. It is advised to have an ample amount of freediving experience under your belt before the course so that you are prepared. After all, freediving centers and students want a knowledgeable, passionate, and confident instructor; not someone who just barely passed and is uncertain of their abilities.