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The 20 Skills Broken Down

Discussion in 'Going Pro' started by lishen, Jun 3, 2008.

  1. b1gcountry

    b1gcountry Divemaster

    # of Dives:
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    Well, its hard to say how to help without knowing why they failed you. I've found that every instructor tends to teach things their own specific little way, and as a DM demonstrating a skill, they will likely want you to do a close aproximation of the way they do it. They also stress doing them in a way that can be readily understood by an OW student seeing it for the first time. Even a perfectly executed skill may not be demonstration quality if you don't do it slow enough, and stress the key points.

    That said, most shops train DMs for their own future use, so it would probably be in both of your interests to have this conversation together, and anything you missed might be remedied.

    Tom
     
  2. Matt83

    Matt83 Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives:
    Location: Palm Beach Gardens, FL
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    I dont know where to start. This is a good post with a lot of positive feedback untill thalassamania got involved. As a Board Guide, your comments are appreciated, but you took this a little too far. Any good instructor knows that feedback is a good thing, but it needs to be positive feedback. Nothing is going to come from a complete bashing. What I saw was just that. I want to thank GoProHonduras for posting the video and giving us all something to learn from. I admit, there are a few things that may not be the way everyone teaches or wants their students to look, but to get into an arguement when someone is trying to be helpful is rediculous. So, let me comment on your post Thalassamania:

    Part 1 Comments:
    1. I was told that as long as your tank is within reach you are OK. You dont have to have a hand on it at all times.
    2. I have an Octo and an Air 2. Is there something wrong with being able to supply 2 out of air divers with air in an emergency?
    3. Did the tank fall out? No, so its not to low.
    4. Did the weight belt do its job? Enough Said.
    5. Never heard of an embolism from having a reg in on entry. Have heard of drowning from not having one in. Update your teaching style.
    6. Snorkel is a matter of comfort. As long as it works and is comfortable and not in the way, it is right.

    Part 2 Comments:
    1. You exchange reg for snorkel at surface so you dont waste air. Why is that a problem?
    2. You do descend to the bottom. Its a pool, not a reef.
    3. You expect an open water diver to do skills without being on the bottom? What if its a 4 foot pool. You failed the diver multiple times for touching the bottom. We get the point, you must be training NAVY SEALS.
    4. Rolling in and out of your weight belt could cause disorientation. You should be able to remove and replace the weightbelt without a lot of movement.

    Part 4 Comments:
    1. When out of air you signal OUT OF AIR and secure the alternate. What is the signal for give me air that you are refering to.
    2. If the reciever doesnt hold the alternate what happens if the mouthpiece comes loose, or the doner turns and rips it out of the recievers mouth?
    3. The diver needs to settle to the bottom to clear their mask. Its an OPEN WATER student. Their not all salty old pros like you are. They are learning for the first time.

    Listen, Im sorry to keep the arguement going, but I think Thalassamaina illustrates that all instructors teach differently. No one does everything perfectly. It is a joke to me that a diver who has been diving for over 50 years can be so out of date with the learning system of today. Sorry if I have offended anyone in this post, but the comments posted by this "Board Guide" were just a bashing and I felt he should be bashed right back.
     
  3. Thalassamania

    Thalassamania Diving Polymath ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: On a large pile of smokin' A'a, the most isolated
    22,171
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    Matt: If, when you reach CD rank, you decide to accept as "demonstration quality" the shoddy performance of the divers in those 20 skills videos, that will be your right and you will be certifying instructors who, as I said, "would not meet our standards for an entry level diver, not to mention a leadership candidate."

    I had the forbearance and good grace to outline, in detail, what (IMHO) they did wrong. If you would want either of those divers to teach your loved ones how to dive, or would accept either of them on an expedition where their safety is your responsibility, so be it. I would not. If they meet your standards, fine ... you've every right to accept what ever level of performance you want; they do not meet my standards, which I guess are a bit more rigorous than yours.

    There are three different things at work here, and let's in the interest of fairness and calm try to separate them out. There are things that were done in the video that are the "PADI way," and there are things that go on in some classes from all agencies, and there are things that are just flat out badly done. Keep in mind that these are supposed to be demonstration quality skills, not OW diver attempts to perform the skills:

    1. I was told that as long as your tank is within reach you are OK. You dont have to have a hand on it at all times. - Keeping control of your equipment at all times is critical. In a demonstration of the skill I (and the several PADI CDs whom I've worked with over the years) expect a candidate to have a hand on the tank or BC at all times to prevent surge from jerking the regulator out of the candidate's mouth. Failure to maintain control of the gear is an automatic failure of that skill at quality ITCs that I've observed, PADI, NAUI, YMCA and LA County. What do other CDs here think?

    2. I have an Octo and an Air 2. Is there something wrong with being able to supply 2 out of air divers with air in an emergency? - too many failure points, too few odds of needing both, I know of no agency that recommends this configuration. What do other CDs here think?

    3. Did the tank fall out? No, the tank did not fall out, so its not to low. But that is not the definition of proper placement, in my view the tank was too low and if it had been a student of mine I'd have fixed it. What do other CDs here think?

    4. Did the weight belt do its job? Enough Said. - solving problems befor they occur is the heart of diving safety - read BettyRubble's accident post. What do other CDs here think?

    5. Never heard of an embolism from having a reg in on entry. Have heard of drowning from not having one in. Update your teaching style. - I do know of a few such cases as well as the drowning cases that you mention. There are a number of advantages and disadvantages to both approaches and have, spent several long threads hashing through them. On balance I hold the opinion that entering with the snorkel in your mouth is a better technique. What do other CDs here think?

    6. Snorkel is a matter of comfort. As long as it works and is comfortable and not in the way, it is right. - there are some ways that better than others, if one is going to use a snorkel (and that's a separate discussion) and the snorkel is not mounted properly it does not work well and the student will never learn to be comfortable with it, so if it is a matter of comfort, then it is critical to get it right. What do other CDs here think?


    1. You exchange reg for snorkel at surface so you dont waste air. Why is that a problem? Not a problem per se - why not enter with the snorkel in the first place?

    2. You do descend to the bottom. Its a pool, not a reef. - you dive as you train, train sloppy/dive sloppy, remember we are expecting DEMONSTRATION QUALITY skills. What do other CDs here think?

    3. You expect an open water diver to do skills without being on the bottom? What if its a 4 foot pool. You failed the diver multiple times for touching the bottom. We get the point, you must be training NAVY SEALS. - If all you've got is a 4 foot pool I'd recommend that you try to find another training location becuuse that is, IMHO, inadequate. Yes, I expect OW students to learn to stay off the bottom and I know a number of other instructors who feel the same way, across any number of agencies. I expect demonstrators to NEVER touch the bottom unless that is a specific part of the exercise. What do other CDs here think?
    4. Rolling in and out of your weight belt could cause disorientation. You should be able to remove and replace the weightbelt without a lot of movement. - far less movement in rolling in and out, far faster and much easier too. I haven't heard of a diver being disoriented by it in over forty years, it is a far superior technique and (as far as I know) acceptable to all agencies. What do other CDs here think?


    1. When out of air you signal OUT OF AIR and secure the alternate. What is the signal for give me air that you are refering to. - Point to your mouth, a fine point, however, once again, this is supposed to be demonstration quality. What do other CDs here think?

    2. If the reciever doesnt hold the alternate what happens if the mouthpiece comes loose, or the doner turns and rips it out of the recievers mouth? Holding on to the donor's wrist rather than the regulator body is clear acknowledgment that it is the donor's regulator and that you are under control and will not do anything to impede the donor returning it to his or her mouth. You manuver the regulator by moving the donors wrist.
    - touching the regulator itself, except to momentarly activate the purge, is unacceptable.
    What do other CDs here think?

    3. The diver needs to settle to the bottom to clear their mask. Its an OPEN WATER student. Their not all salty old pros like you are. They are learning for the first time. - Then why not teach them right? Besides, once again, this is supposed to be demonstration quality. What do other CDs here think?

    I submit that while there is some variation in how instructors teach, that is not what we are talking about here. This conversation is not about how we teach, it is about what level of performance we demand for demonstration quality skills. Those that were shown in the video do not cut it, in a few cases as a matter of my view as to how it should be done, but in most cases because the videos showed rather sloppy performance.

    While you find it a joke to you that my views do not sync with those of the handful of leadership types that you've seen in your rather short career, I find it a tragedy that the leadership types we are churning out today (in almost all agencies) are willing to accept such piss-poor performance. But then it's not your fault that you have not been exposed to other approaches. The real point though is found in your last paragraph where you state, "No one does everything perfectly." What you are forgetting is that these videos are purported to be examples of DEMONSTRATION QUALITY skills, which (by definition) need to be perfect. What do other CDs here think?
     
  4. b1gcountry

    b1gcountry Divemaster

    # of Dives:
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    Thal, you're harping a little too hard on your banjo. The video was very well done. A lot of effort was clearly put into its production. If it meets their needs, then so be it. You have a very unique training approach. I think that would be a fair assessment, no? I don't know of any other instructors that teach students to enter the water without a regulator in their mouths. I've also never seen another diver wearing a snorkel the way you teach...and I'm pretty sure that every user here on Scubaboard has heard your opinion on the proper way to wear one :wink:

    My point is that you do a lot of things in a unique way, yet I'm sure you do an excellent job in your classes. Allow other some leeway too.

    I just watched the video for the first time, and it definitely had some peculiarities. The Octo and Air-II was interesting, and I would seriously question the use of both, but I wouldn't be caught dead with an Air-II in the first place, so whatever, the choice to use both seems only slightly more odd than why someone would want an Air-II in the first place. I do wonder if the decision was dictated by gear sales, but that's another thread. I also saw the tank, and yes, it was definitely too low.

    Aside from that, for better or worse, it seemed about on par with any of the videos I've seen with PADI's name on them. I also hate to admit it, but I think most (not all) of the CDs I've met would be the first to encourage having a student securely anchored to the bottom. I've even been failed on a couple of the Demonstration quality skills because the examiner wanted me on my knees so the students could better learn how they should be doing the skill. I'm not saying its a good thing, but it seems to be pretty much the standard.

    The only other thing I would add is that a demonstration quality skill isn't a perfect skill. If my tech instructor saw me take more than a minute to remove and clear my mask, I wouldn't have passed my trimix class.

    Tom
     
  5. Thalassamania

    Thalassamania Diving Polymath ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: On a large pile of smokin' A'a, the most isolated
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    Effort without quality is a step backward. Do you think that either of those divers, who are supposed to be exemplars of leadership level skills, could pass the new GUE recreational course skills? Or even get a provisional for Fundies?
    If it suits their needs they should use it, when they put it out in public for comment, analysis is fine.
    No ... what I have done is, over the last 40 years or so, take a very conservative (in the true sense of the word) approach to diving instruction. I have taken a holistic approach, form, and basic structure that was first solidified in the mid 1950s and continuously upgraded it to accommodate changes in gear and to incorporate the best ways that I learned, from the acknowledged masters of the art, to teach each of the parts of an integrated whole. That's hardly unique, I have just not been shoved by market forces, or those beholden to market forces, to take the great leaps backward that most of the recreational community has taken whilst pretended its all "new and improved" when its actually, "new and diminished."
    Let's look at that issue as an example. As I stated there are pluses and minuses to both approaches. The advantages of the snorkel approach include a (granted) minor lowering of embolism risk and a lessened chance of loosing one's mask. The advantage of regulator in the mouth is a lessened chance of drowning if you enter that water over weighted, with no air in your BC and your power inflator not hooked up or your tank not turned on. Since one of my goals is to assure that no diver that I train will ever do any one of those four things, it is really a non-issue. You see, once upon a time, not so long ago, entering with the snorkel in your mouth was SOP, that has clearly changed, but the truth behind the change has been obfusticated.

    The change stemmed from three things: first and foremost was a desire on the part of some to cut the time for a course, first from 100 hours to 40 hours then from 40 hours to 18 hours; second was a similar desire, not just to teach people who have poor watermanship skills to dive, but to do so within that aforementioned 18 hour time frame; and third was a plan to reduce the requirements for becoming a diving instructor so that the costs of training (which like air fills had evolved into loss leaders aimed at selling gear) could be kept at a low level. These "goals" were well know, they were openly discussed, advocated by some and opposed by others. What it came down to in the end were two increasingly polarized camps that I'd style as the business men vs. the educators. It's pretty clear who won. And just as in any conflict the victors get to write (or should I say re-write) the history, and when the victors just happen to be those whose very core nature is to put profit ahead of truth, then great violence is done to reality.

    Freediving skills, that used to be the backbone of quality classes, have been all but eliminated under the pretext of, "its a scuba class." Along with the elimination of freediving skills went any real knowledge of the finer points of snorkels. Since a generation of scuba instructors is born, fails to flourish, and dies inside of two to three years ... it does not take very long for something that was once common knowledge to disappear from the community's cognizance and human nature then transmogrifies the commonplace into the unique.

    I guess you never looked at any of Fdog's photos, like this one from the Performance Freediving class he attended:

    [​IMG]

    You see, your comment is illustrative of the very problem that I'm dissecting here, and please don't take my remarks personally, they're not aimed at you, rather at the milieu your diving has evolved in. You're GUE; a member of what is likely the most proficient segment of the recreational diving community. But GUE divers tend to have a blind spot, most of them can't freedive. It's not part of their mind set, they solve their problems with great care and concern over the gear that they use, how it is placed, and how it is used; yet, because a snorkel is (at best) a begruging part of their kit, they have no idea of how to wear one for optimal results.

    The way I teach my students to wear their snorkel is exactly the same way in which I was taught to wear my snorkel by Frederic Dumas in the mid 1960s, I'd done it wrong for a decade because I had not thought about it, as I expect you have not thought about it; because you likely do not see a snorkel as a piece of gear that deserves, in terms of selection and thought, as much care as a even bolt-snap. So ... let's think about it. Dumas said to me, "Were does a whale breathe? At the tip of his nose or the top of his head? We connect the top of your head with your mouth with a short tube and you are part whale." That about sums it up. Proper placement clearly follows. I have not invented something unique, I have just followed a long line of people who came before and thought it out.
    I hope that you are starting to see that I am not really unique, I just appear that way to some, because they are, if I many use the term without offending, so provincial (or should we call it provisional?:D).

    I try to assure that there is nothing that I do in the water that does not make sense, that for everything I can trace a clear path, for as in the snorkel's tale, provenience is important too. How much leeway do you allow for where the bolt-snap for your SPG is placed or where your knife (and what sort of knife) is placed; or how an S-drill is conduced or which hand holds your light and where your instruments go? Well, believe it or not, there are a number of us who over the last half century, in our own quiet corner of the diving universe have put DIR-like perspectives into play in the careful and methodical design of diver training programs, not where we train people to "dive DIR" but rather were we use optimized, holistic and tested approaches to training the diver to be able to operate with a multitude of equipment configurations. Our success is clearly demonstrable, in over 50 years we have never had a training fatality; our bends rate is an order of magnitude lower than that of sports divers and people who trained in this fashion (which does not include everyone who might be called a research diver) have suffered but three fatalities.
    The tank thing is classic. My interlocutor in this thread feels that as long as the tank doesn't fall out it's OK, but there lots of other ramifications, can you imagine struggling to perform whatever their equivalent of an S-drill is with the valve down in the middle of your back? Not impossible, but infinately more difficult and (once again) sloppy.
    I completely agree, but that was not the topic and you are now bashing PADI big time.:D
    Most (not all) of the CDs I know can't do the skills in a hover themselves, so of course, if they can't do it, it must be way too hard to teach. Yes, it is way too hard ... in an 18 hour referral program, with students that you can not sure are well enough prepared to not rocket off to the surface in response to any unexpected stimulus.
    We always had a rule that students could not touch the side of the pool or go to the surface without first signaling. On observing our class, Walt Hendricks, Sr. (then DSO for the Univ. of Puerto Rico) asked me why we let out students crawl along the bottom. We changed that the next night and discovered that not only was it a rather easy change to make, but that our final product was way, way, better than it had been. We were able to get more done in less time as a result of that change.
    That is where we part company, for me a demonstration quality skill is a perfect skill. If it takes you a full minute to demonstrate how to remove and replace your mask, I say that your wasting about 45 seconds. But then, when I'm teaching students how to remove and clear their mask they are already comfortable with the requisite component parts such as immersing their face without a mask and exhaling and independently controlling exhillation from their nose and mouth.

    There are similar "losses of knowledge" when it comes to gear, for much the same reasons. Permit me to share this short story:

    I issue a very detailed equipment list before each class that students where were accepted into the class need to purchase and show up with at the first meeting. The suits we were using at the time were, as I’ve mentioned elsewhere, 5mm, skin two side, Rubatex GN-231N, attached hood, farmer johns, no zippers. I send my list to all the LDSs in the area and freely distribute whatever they send back to the students (this is a big deal, twenty full sets of gear with no selling or inventory required: take the order, take the money, deliver in two weeks).

    One student did not go to an LDS, but rather to a shop near her home, about a hundred miles away. I got a call from the Instructor in the shop informing me, in a fairly emphatic tone, that, “No diver could possibly wear this suit. They could not put it on without a zipper.” Now, please understand, that I’ve been diving this suit design since the mid sixties, and the only people who need an inverted half zipper in the jacket are incredibly curvaceous women that are of petite statue. This woman was just shy of six foot and her blueprint could have been confused with a plan for a javelin.

    Having nothing better to do (and considering that the woman in question was one of the brighter marine geology grad students), I drove up to the shop later in the day. I brought my suit with me. I showed the Instructor how easy it was to put on and take off, etc. We solved the problem, but the bottom line was that this Instructor, well meaning as she was, had not yet worn out here first suit and was repeating what her Instructor’s had told her. It wasn’t a marketing issue, the LDS could and did supply the gear (and nicely matched the prices of the LDSs that had sent fliers).

    When it comes to dive gear, real information is hard to come by. Most of the opinions that you hear are biased either by being the only piece that class of gear that an instructor has ever used; or being a loaner that the expert tried out on one or two dives. Much of the "lore" has no basis in fact, its just a student repeating what the instructor said, who is just repeating what the instructor said, who is just repeating what the instructor said, etc., etc., etc.

    In summary (and I've said it before):
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2009
  6. Jim Lapenta

    Jim Lapenta Dive Shop

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Canonsburg, Pa
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    I have not watched the videos in question unless they are the PADI videos from OW or DM video. I am not a PADI instructor. I do not require students to kneel on the bottom to do skills. I require them to be horizontal from session one for mask clear, reg retrieval, weight belt, and hovering. After a full pool session going over swimming, snorkeling, and free diving we begin scuba. I start them off by getting them horizontal on the bottom to get used to that position. The pool I use has three distinct levels at 4 ft, 7 ft, and 10 ft. By the end of session three they are doing skills horizontal with just their feet( fin tips) on the edge of the 7ft level so that their body is fully extended in midwater. I have them do all basic skills in this position before having them do it in full hover by session 5. From then on they will repeat the skills while swimming, sharing air, and hovering. All in a horizontal position. THere is no need to do any basic skills while kneeling. I demo all skills while facing them in midwater. THe only time the end up kneeling on the bottom at any time is when doing the doff and don and bailout. And usually that is only for a second as it has been so ingrained that diving is done in a horizontal position that they try to get that way as soon as possible. When doing checkouts this past weekend my students without instruction knew that when it was time for skill evaluation to get horizontal and neutral. I do not want them or a DM planted on the bottom to demo skills. If a DM cannot do the demo while hovering horizontal clearly enough to show the student how it's done then they will not be showing my students anything.

    It did my heart and mind good to have my students ask why other classes were there doing skills while kneeling, swimming like they were riding bicycles, and not side by side with a dive buddy but being led around single file. Vis was not the greatest and they were ok'ing the lines where there were lines between platforms but they were not pulling themselves along, or using the lines for buoyancy. They did have some minor issues like when another group came barreling thru, and when the husband hit a patch of 1-2ft vis and took too deep a breath. He started up dumped too much air too fast and had to put a hand out to keep from hitting the bottom. But all in all they did better than I hoped for and loved it. They are already planning the trip to the shop to buy gear and I'm going with them.

    They had a few challenges to overcome but with patience, hard work, and a desire to become safe competent divers they met all agency and my requirements for certification. They are people I would trust at this point to dive with my son, daughter, wife, etc at any time in similar or better conditions with no professional present. They are also 61 and 62 yrs young and they are fully capable knowledge wise, skill wise, and perhaps more important, judgement wise to plan, execute, and come back from a dive. THey would not have gotten a card otherwise. Could they have done this in a couple weekends? No way. But then again I will not teach and cannot teach a class less than 32 hours in length plus checkouts.

    As Thal said short courses put people in the water fast. But they are seldom in a postion to dive wihout a DM or other pro in the water. They need to go back and waste money on more and more classes to learn basic stuff. I do not teach for a living and really don't want to. I teach because I love this sport and want to see others enjoy it as well. But I want to see them do it competently and with full realization of what it entails. I also want them to know that it can and does kill those who have not been made fully aware of what it is they are doing. And you can't get that through in a few short classroom and pool sessions. And it certainly is not in any of the videos I've seen showing all these people having fun and kneeling to do skills. Why doesn't each video show some shots of divers in chambers and in body bags? I have each of my students watch the Deceptively Easy Way to Die video. It should be mandatory for every OW diver.
     
  7. Matt83

    Matt83 Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives:
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    Deceptively Easy Way to Die video.

    Who makes this and where can i get it. While I have been taught not to do anything to scare a diver and to follow the PADI "Dive Today" philosophy I would like to view it for myself.
     
  8. Thalassamania

    Thalassamania Diving Polymath ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: On a large pile of smokin' A'a, the most isolated
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    Watch out Matt, you're starting to turn from the dark side, the first one is (after all) free.

    here it is
     
  9. Thalassamania

    Thalassamania Diving Polymath ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: On a large pile of smokin' A'a, the most isolated
    22,171
    2,771
    113
    Here's an example of my mail (that the author lacking I2I posting rights) requested that I post:

     
  10. b1gcountry

    b1gcountry Divemaster

    # of Dives:
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    I prefer to believe that most divers with sub-par skills have them because they have never been taught the correct way to do things. Bob Bailey was probably the first really good diver I ever dove with. When I saw how smooth and in control he looked in the water, I wanted to dive like him. I think most people would be more concerned with their trim, etc if they had a good example set before them. So, yes, I believe most people who take fundies with a genuine desire to improve can at least get a provisional pass.

    That's pretty unique, and I mean that in a good way. If it isn't unique, its at least very rare. I would be asking you to sit in on one of your OW classes if we happened to live in the same state. I would even wear a snorkel however you asked me to :wink:

    It's the #4 value meal mindset. People want things quick, cheap, and easy. I'm not sure I'd completely blame the dive industry. The clientele are just as much, if not more to blame. I'm not innocent of this either, I got certified in Hawaii on vacation.

    No. Actually, I've never seen anyone who even slightly resembles those guys in any way. Freediving seems to be less popular when there's a drysuit involved. I never thought freedivers bothered with snorkels though? Isn't a snorkel just a CO2 trap for a freediver?

    What group exactly are you referring to?

    You may be confusing S-Drill with valve drill. The S drill is just donating your primary. It would probably not be affected by a low tank.


    Tom
     

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