Annelie Pompe is no stranger to mental training. Having been down to -126m on a single breath and having climbed Everest, this woman knows her game. Freediving is as much about training the body as well as the brain. However, as most freedivers focus on the first part, they quickly find themselves stuck at a certain depth. Here's what she had to say about it.


The Importance Of Mental Training In Freediving

 

One of the things that got me most  interested in freediving, apart from just being in the ocean, is the mental game of freediving. I have a long background in sports psychology, which comes from my other sport, rock climbing, where i found that the body will listen  to everything you think. As soon as you think i can't do this anymore, i cannot hold my breath, i cannot reach the bottom, your body will listen and it will prepare to do what your mind thinks you're going to do, which makes the mental game very important in freediving. Physical training is quite easy, you just train your body and get enough food and get enough sleep but how do you train your mind?


Start Working On Your Mind, Not Just Your Body

 
I think the mental training deserves as much effort and time as the physical training, so it's  good to actually have a plan for your mental training as well as your physical training. And when you start your mental training practice, it's always good to start with relaxation, because if you have a relaxed body it's easy for the mind to relax. So start with relaxing your body, whether it's  a sitting position, or a lying down position, and when your body is relaxed, for instance by body scanning, make sure your entire body is relaxed and you can start to train your concentration.

Regarding concentration training, i would advise focusing on your breath because you need to breathe anyway, and you might as well do good breathing and train your concentration by focusing on the breath. So one way of focusing on the breath is by following the breath - in meditation they would call it chasing the breath - so you would chase the breath  and with your mind's eye follow your inhale, from the nose down to your sinuses, your throat, and all the way out again. 

You follow the breath with your mind's eye and that's why it's better to have your eyes closed, because when you look, you think. So start your focus training by chasing the breath and you will see that thoughts come up and when they do, just let them go. Focus on only one point, for instance the point where the inhale becomes an exhale, and then you have a more of a pointed concentration. And after that it might be good to choose what you want to focus on during a dive. For instance i chose the words "let go". I went freediving really deep, i let go of all the tension, i let go of all the thoughts, i let go wanting to reach the bottom, just letting go. That made it much easier to focus on what was going on. So my advice is to have a plan for your thoughts and use your mental training to really plan what you want to think, during your deep dives.





Do You Know How To Restore Your Carbon Fins?