Invisible Skills for scuba diving

We learn lots of skills as scuba divers: buoyancy control, clearing a flooded mask, procedures for sharing air …  These skills involve physical movements, so we can mostly see them.  We can watch someone else do them and copy their actions so we can learn the skill.

But, there are other skills, ones that cannot be seen. Like what a person does in their own mind to handle stress, or deal with a difficult, unwanted thought.  Or the skills that are involved in directing conscious attention.  These are skills we do learn through life and from others, but we may not have fully picked them all up, and there is always room for refinement.  

Explore some of the invisible skills below:

Mental Rehearsal

Visualisation and mental rehearsal is useful in preparing for dives, and for improving learning during training.  It is a way to practice skills out of the water.

  • Understand how mental rehearsal and visualization of dives can help in your diving and training.
  • Learn how to construct your own visualization exercises to suit the dives and activities you do (e.g. specific skills, procedures, checks).

More about mental rehearsal in scuba diving …


Anchoring skills involve connecting with the present environment.  During a stressful event, being able to anchor and expand your focus can be helpful to maintain awareness and take useful action.

  • Understand how the mind can get caught up in unwanted emotions (fear, anger, frustration), so that it makes it hard control actions necessary to address stressors.  
  • Apply techniques for stabilizing under stress and regaining control of actions.

Our attention is frequently pulled away from the task in hand.  Sometimes getting lost on internal stuff, or sometimes being so absorbed we miss vital sensations and cues. #

  • Our minds sometimes get “hooked” on unwanted thoughts, leading to loss of focus.  Sometimes we get pushed and pulled by our own thoughts and feelings.
  • Build skills in noticing when this is happening.
Attention Training

Attention is a process that our brains perform.  A big part of this is involuntary, but it can be trained.  We can train attention to the things we want to focus on.

  • Set up a practice  in moving around, narrowing and widening “the beam of attention”. 
  • Apply techniques for refocusing attention on a more useful aspect of the situation.

Sometimes what our minds say is so compelling that we get fused to it. Defusion is the process of stepping back from the mind chatter.

  • Learn skills in “unhooking” from unwanted, unhelpful or distracting thoughts or sensations.
  • Apply the concept of “workability” to thinking and other actions.
Taking action

Even when we know what we want to do, finding motivation or direction can be difficult.  Explore what really matters to you in diving and set goals.

  • Engage in exercises for exploring what matters to you and where this fits in your diving.  
  • Apply skills in connecting with what matters to you to set goals that make sense for you, and ways to act.