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TDI Instructor Trainer
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I was chatting to someone last week who said that they were planning on doing a tech course but weren't sure that their skills were up to the required standard to start the course.

This got me thinking. With all the course reports on YD it can seem that you have to be some kind of dive god just to start a tech course. This isn't true. Courses are intended to teach you the skills you need in order to do the diving at that level.

So I've decided to run some check out dives for anyone thinking if doing a course with me. Wednesday evenings at Wraysbury are a nice easy time and place to do this. So each Wednesday afternoon/evening in May I will be doing some check out dives.

The check out dives will give you a chance to try me out as an instructor and find out if I'm the right instructor for you. You can ask any questions you might have about the course. I will also give you some feedback on whether you are at the right level to start whatever course you are looking to do and how you can practice in the mean time.

If you want to come along then just let me know.
 

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Exiled in Scotland...
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I was chatting to someone last week who said that they were planning on doing a tech course but weren't sure that their skills were up to the required standard to start the course.

This got me thinking. With all the course reports on YD it can seem that you have to be some kind of dive god just to start a tech course. This isn't true. ..........
I see, so with your students looking like Dive novices, you will look like the 'Dive God'...

:D
 

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Team Starburst
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Self assessment

Surely a diver looking to go on any course should be able to objectively assess their own skills level? Can they complete a shut down? can they hold their deco stops with minimal up and down movement? Are they bringing new and hence untried kit for the course-like a stage?

Also there is the attitude aspect, can they manage a basic dive to run times? I have seen numerous cases where divers have overun agreed schedules, which would become substantially more important at 50m than 35m.
 

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All hail the mighty ZOM
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Ppppppppsft!

Some people have a very inflated idea of how good a diver they are. On my OWIC we were having to teach one bloke how to dive before doing any of the skills. The instructor trainer took him to one side and gently suggested he might like to go away and get up to date with basic skills before going on an instructor training course.

What alot of people do too is turn up to a course with kit they have bought from the shop 10 mins ago. One bloke tuned up with a pony and reg for a nitrox course and he'd never even mounted it to his kit. So spent the next 20 mins faffing. Then pulled out a blob and reel still in the plastic bag.

I've also done a dive with a YDer (who shall remain nameless) who comes across as very sorted. Yet in the water they were up and down like a whore's drawers. Oooo and don't forget my favourite bloke on the BSAC forums who has done 10 dives, is only qualified as an Ocean Diver but sits there doleing out advice about deco and twinset configurations. Yet is still firing himself to the surface from 15m feet first.

I think Mark's checkout dives are a great idea. I'd do one before going on a trimix course.
 

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OK I could be having a bad day.

I looked at Mark's post and thought what a good idea, how far is Wraysbury ? then Ian comes along and thinks otherwise.

I would like to take a trimix course just to have more fun on the low 40m dives but wanted to improve my skills first, which was one of my motivations for doing fundies.

Yes I can self assess but it would also be good to chat to someone like Mark, lets face it sometimes we all think we are better than we are.
 

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A VS Cash Cow
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self assessment works to a certain degree if you can be truly objective about it but most people aren't.

having an experienced eye looking over how your diving and giving you a no BS assessment of your level of skills IMO is a great idea.

it something i'd like to do before i go onto MOD2 on the RB, am i ready for the next level, what are my strengths and weaknessess, what skills are loose and need a brush up etc etc.
 

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For some bizarre reason....
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I think this is a superb offer from Mark, and is very similar to the route I used with him.

"Technical" diving encompasses such a range, I would hate for someone to be put off say a twinset familiarisation course because they weren't competant at shutdowns nor knew how to manage a run-time schedule. I would hate to see someone trying to dive a 50+m dive on a single 12, or trying out a shutdown for the first time at 40m without having had some appropriate instruction / feedback.

Believe me Mark will be able to look at your current level and what you propose and will offer you good advice. If that's what you want, then IMHO you would be mad to pass up this opportunity (and no I'm not getting paid for this).

With this type of diving the advice is always to choose your instructor with care - not always easy until you've done a course with them (which if you get it wrong could set you back £££ or worse still kill you). So Mark's offer of a try your instructor out dive before you commit £££ is worthwhile.

Just my 2p

Cheers, Paul
 

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Nigel Hewitt
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This got me thinking. With all the course reports on YD it can seem that you have to be some kind of dive god just to start a tech course. This isn't true. Courses are intended to teach you the skills you need in order to do the diving at that level.
ROTFL.
I'm teched up to the ears but nobody who has seen me in the water thinks I'm a dive god.

Every skill I have cost some poor instructor a lot of hard work and I have to practise hard to keep them up.
 
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All hail the mighty ZOM
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Here's a thought- how many people, when diving with someone you haven't dived with much, ask afterwards "how do I look in the water"?

I do. It's great getting feedback. Especially when it's all "ooooo Woz you are lovely and I found it difficult to keep my hands off you". Even if it's "well you buggered that up next time try unclipping the reel before inflating the blob [1]" then it's all constructive and makes you a Better Diver.

[1] I would like to point out that I have never actually done this. I have clipped the blob to the boltsnap on the reel rather than the boltsnap on the line though then wondered why when pressing the reel trigger I just got a boltsnap sinking sadly downwards towing the reel line with it.
 

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This weekend I was on Mark's Advanced Nitrox and Decompression Theory course and prior to the course I felt that I possessed the necessary skills to pass the course.

Without going into too much detail as I intend to cover this in a report I went away with a list of things I need to improve as did my buddy in order for us to pass the course.

The pre-assessment/shakedown dive that Mark is suggesting is a great idea and would have provided me with a list of skills that needed more work so that when I did sit the course all concerned are at a similar level and can benefit more from the course.

I'd even go so far as to say I'd be prepared to pay a token amount deductable against the course when I eventually took it.

Constructive criticism/feedback is a good thing.
 

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beyond a mid-life crises into complete insanity!
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I didn’t think I had a chance of getting through the TDI Trimix course until I was persuaded by a good friend to get Mark to do an honest assessment of my diving.

He shocked me that day – in one dive he picked up on all the things I knew I needed to work on and a few others I hadn’t even considered

IMHO his assessment of me that day was completely spot on

I’d strongly recommend it to anyone thinking of doing any course with Mark
 

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Wish I lived close enough, what a brilliant offer.

Try an instructor before you buy with somebody willing to put you off a course becuase you are not ready yet.

Really like the principle & think its a great way of doing business.

You guys down south are very lucky to have access to good instructors (I am not saying there arent any up here, Im just saying they are hard to get a hold of)


Davie.
 

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Irish Cave Diver in the making
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Excellent idea Mark!

I would love to go, but distance is a bit of an issue ;)

The problem with Self assessment is three fold IMO:

(1) You have an inflated idea of your skills e.g. you are nowhere near as good as you think you are.
(2) You are so self critical that you think you are rubbish, but really aren't
(3) It is hard when you are not teaching a course to actually know what skills are needed to what level.

Asking other people (a buddy) how good you are is also full of problems:

(1) He / she fancies you, or doesn't want to offend you so tells you that you are wonderful when you are not.
(2) You are better than the other diver so look wonderful to them.
(3) They think they are wonderful, so are overly critical about everyone else.
(4) They are so busy trying to keep themselves right on the dive that haven't time to honestly assess your diving.

I went diving with a new buddy not so long ago, I had mentioned before getting in the water about so of the things I wanted to practice. He then gave me advise like he was perfectly competent in those things. We went diving and by the 4th time he landed on his back on the sea bed trying to vent the air from his dry suit, I guesses that he wasn't quite up to the standard he thought he was. I didn't ask him how he thought my practice went ;)
 

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Yeah, great idea. If you live up north like me, well you're stuffed aren't ya? ;)

Not really, just thought I'd say I went on one of Mark's skills courses for £20 at the Cape the other month, and Mark is quite happy to give you feedback on one of these sessions about whether you're ready to do x course etc.
 

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Some things you could or should have a rough idea of where you're at however others its not so clear.

Before i did my TDI courses i *thought* i was ok with the basics and didn't really know what else was needed.

In short as i wasn't trained in the technical courses it was a case of i didnt actually know what i didn't know.
This is even more the case if your current background in diving and group of divers aren't technically minded and all single tank/BCD/20m stuff which is the case with some clubs as you cant even consult with like minded other people to get an idea.

New techniques, ideas and principles i'd never been exposed to or heard of (despite doing a lot of research) all appeared in the course and gave a steep learning curve. There is no way i could have self-assessed stuff like that as i wasn't even aware of a lot of it. For an objective view on the standards and all skills required i think you really do need an impartial observation from an instructor who can teach the course you're interested in.
As far as the course itself went, one hell of a work out over a week and at times extremely humbling when it came to the skills and execution of them.
 

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Just not enough dive time.
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I was chatting to someone last week who said that they were planning on doing a tech course but weren't sure that their skills were up to the required standard to start the course.

This got me thinking. With all the course reports on YD it can seem that you have to be some kind of dive god just to start a tech course. This isn't true. Courses are intended to teach you the skills you need in order to do the diving at that level.

So I've decided to run some check out dives for anyone thinking if doing a course with me. Wednesday evenings at Wraysbury are a nice easy time and place to do this. So each Wednesday afternoon/evening in May I will be doing some check out dives.

The check out dives will give you a chance to try me out as an instructor and find out if I'm the right instructor for you. You can ask any questions you might have about the course. I will also give you some feedback on whether you are at the right level to start whatever course you are looking to do and how you can practice in the mean time.

If you want to come along then just let me know.
Nice idea Mark. I'd like to come down one evening if I get a half chance, I'm thinking of doing Advanced Nitrox and deco (next), be good to have a shake down beforehand.
Matt
 

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Proud to be "small minded" in the face of credulit
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Hi Mark,

I think you're on a slippery slope. The next thing will be pre-course workshops, than formalising the workshops as most people need a skills brush up bfore the real thing... sounds like how GUE's Fundamentals came about!

Having said that, I think it's a very good idea for many reasons. Good luck!

Regards,

Mark
 

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A Moderate from 04/01/07-24/12/12
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I think Mark's idea is first rate within the context offered.Speaking as someone who has gone through the whole "how was my this?" & "how was my that?", nothing gives better feedback than an instructor armed with a video. Not because the instructor cannot explain a fault or improvement, but that the student's own perception is normally removed from the reality of the situation ... video helps overcome that...well for me at least.

I woild say also that it's easy to get hung up on the whole "looking good thing" and forgetting to enjoy the diving.

Mal
 

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Mark,
You are a brave man, voluntarily putting yourself through The Ego Has Landed experiences for nothing. I'd quite like to sign up for one of these, except I've already booked myself on one of your courses: what happens if I turn up at Wraysbury on a Wednesday and you tell me I should restrict my aquatic activities to nothing more technical than supervised snorkelling tours in Sharm?

I suspect that were I to participate in this my ego would indeed land - in a silty, body shaped hole at the bottom of the lake.

alice
 
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