Failed my Day 1 PADI Pool Training

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Neilwood

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I have to agree with most of the posts above - it sounds like you are not best suited to group lessons.

Group lessons are ideal for people who are confident in the water and have no underlying issues but they rely on everyone being able to pick up skills very quickly. Instructors doing these are under quite a bit of pressure to watch so many divers it is hard for them to be able to assist if there are problems.

I would also agree with comments regarding trying one to one instruction. I did this (more down to timing issues) but it made my course very easy as I could have a very good dialogue with the instructor. I had some issues with buoyancy control in the pool and was getting frustrated at myself but because it was one to one, he simply told me to take my lunch early and come back in an hour. I did, we had a small chat and I tried it again and managed it perfectly. Being able to sort issues there and then with the instructor not needing to herd cats was brilliant.

Have a chat with other instructors, be up front about your issues and see what they say. Good instructors will be willing to work with you to get you through the bits you struggle with.

Oh and just in case you don't think you can do it - have a read of this journal about a diver who started out having a horrendous time and ended up being a very accomplished diver. Unfortunately Lynne (TSandM) is no longer with us but her story is a lesson in what can be achieved.
 

BoundForElsewhere

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I would suggest watching tons and tons of videos on Youtube of the skills required. Imitate the movements and actions of the instructor along with them (regulator clearing, mask clearing, reg replacement, etc.). Once you have the physical movements memorized do it yourself in front of the mirror to assess your comfort level and accuracy. Once you feel like you have the skills accurately learned, go through them over and over in your head, imagining that you are underwater. Watch your breathing rate and tension. If you find yourself getting nervous while doing all this in front of the mirror, take a breath and start over. By the time you get into the water, it will all be second nature.

This is the way.
 

rx7diver

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Yesterday, I failed to get past Section Two in the training. A lot hit me at once and I couldn't recover from it. ... Any tips for these issues? ...

Are you and your wife comfortable learning from--i.e., being instructed by--each other? If so, then can your wife work with you in a confined water setting?

I introduced my daughters to my scuba "obsession" when they were very young: mask, snorkel, plastic backpack, cylinder, and regulator, in my parents' backyard pool. Regulator recoveries, surface entries, buddy breathing. Single hose regulator and double hose regulator. Several summers of this during our semi-annual vacations to visit my parents.

My girls never expressed any interest beyond that bit of summer fun.

This past weekend, my eldest (currently a college junior) grabbed her mom's old BCD and wanted to learn. So, we spent a couple of hours Saturday evening in the family room going through the basics of understanding and configuring gear and doing pre-dive testing. Next step: A confined water session.

Instruction at this pace is often very successful. Your wife can easily take you through the basics.

FWIW,

rx7diver

P.S. This is the pic my daughter texted me, when she first donned her mom's 1987-era Scubapro Stab Jacket, complete with basement dust!


CJT_in_SSJ_20210925.jpeg
 

NothingClever

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Yeah, going to agree with others - don’t beat yourself up.

The instructor sounds like he’s just impatiently trying to hustle you through.

Go for a one-on-one class where the instructor can tailor the pace to you and uses a building block approach. Also, a good instructor is going to take deliberate time to help you figure out your motor and wheels (legs).

Five fundamental skills that may help you make sense of what you’re trying to learn are:

Buoyancy control
Trim
Breathing
Swimming / propulsion
Awareness (oneself, others, environment, boat)

The “kitchen sink” instructional approach works for some activities but is counter-productive in others.

Your wife sounds like she’s doing a great job as your ally.

Don’t give up. You can do it.
 

wnissen

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I did read the whole thing, and my impression is that you have an instructor who isn't even covering the basics of helping you figure out your gear. They are terrible!

  • Weights: It's possible to get in the ballpark by eyeballing someone, but the specific amount (and location) depend a lot on individual body composition. If you aren't getting down, you tend to get anxious because things aren't working, that leads to shallow breathing, and then it's even harder to get down. Overweighting is bad, too, but next time add some weight and try again. I don't know why this wasn't done immediately when you had trouble getting down. No point in struggling.
  • Fins/boots: These shouldn't be tight. Slightly snug is better than loose (less rubbing, warmer, better power transfer) but under no circumstances should they be cutting off circulation. The instructor didn't choose those boots, but it's an obvious and unnecessary hindrance that you can fix today.
  • Mask. A well-fitted, well-adjusted mask only needs to be cleared a few times an hour, if that. You're still getting things dialed in, but there should not, even with a crappy rental mask, be a trickle of water coming in steadily. I don't understand how your instructor didn't address this when you communicated it.
That's just the obvious gear things that this newish non-instructor diver noticed from your post.

As far as the panic, that's not a universal experience but it is common. I have personally had a leaking mask, janky ear, and had the beginnings of panic, even after a dozen dives. If you reset and try things again without the equipment issues fighting you every step, I think you'll do fine.

There's always some tension in instruction because they are taking someone who does not have skills and trying to make them independent. The goal is to have you manage your own weight, select your own boots, adjust your own mask. But I don't think you're getting reasonable instruction. Probably not getting your money back at this point, but I would ask if they have another instructor. The class is supposed to be challenging but fun.

Or if you can swing it, I would try for semi-private instruction. I personally really like to see someone else do something first. Plus, you can work on your buoyancy while the other student is doing the skill.

One last thing, you did not fail. PADI (as they note in the instruction materials) is mastery based. You do the skills, you pass. There's no failing unless you quit. Good luck!
 

Marie13

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You need a better, more patient instructor, as well as a smaller class. One on one is best. I had a very rocky beginning, somewhat similar to that of Lynne that @Neilwood linked to earlier. Just keep going. I’m a baby tech diver diver five years later…
 

Miyaru

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I'm really surprised about the level of detail you remembered. For such a bad first time experience, it's impressive how consciously you went through all of it.

If you can't keep up with others in a group, it's not your problem. It's the instructor's problem. He's the one to come up with a solution.
If the instructor expresses agitation, verbally or non-verbally, the instructor is flattening your learning curve.

There are thousands of divers on this board. They all started diving without any experience. So you can learn how to dive too. Find an instructor that encourages you to learn.
 

bassplayer

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My brother got certified in one of those rush classes and came out with few useful skills, then ended up slightly hurting his ears (too fast descent from being overweighted and then struggling to vent BC, then venting it all at once) and swearing off diving.
Recently he wanted to give it another try, so he's been coming over to my place (where I have a pool) and slowly figuring out everything at his own pace. Things like, how much weight does he need to hold in his hands to be neutral in the pool, how mask clearing really works (by experimenting with slow/partial clears), where is the air bubble in the bc based on body orientation so that he can vent it in a controlled way, how to distribute weights to get effortless trim, etc.
Being able to also experiment with different ways to clear his ears and figure out what works best has been a big help.
Putting gear on and taking it off in the water has led him to arrange some weight on a belt and some on the bc so that the difference in boyancy isn't so extreme.
And practicing hovering in the pool has done wonders for his boyancy.
Being a pilot and a smart person, this kind of process might be a lot more logical to you and stick better than the way those fast pace group classes work, where you sort of just rush through copying some things but dont really figure them out deeply and try out different permutations.
 

MtnDiverColorado

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I am definitely not an instructor, but my advice is similar to others and your inclination, which was to find an instructor who is really willing to take the time to take you through this at your own pace. Including making sure your gear and weighting are correct. Sounds like you had a number of strikes against you when you started out, and they kind of snowballed on you.
 
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