On Friday afternoon, I spent a few hours with the owner of the local dive store (LDS). I dabble in some web based software and developed a prototype storefront for the LDS so that people can sign up for classes via the Internet. After I spent time at the LDS I decided to go to the local Barnes and Noble to read a few magazines and relax for a while until the rush hour traffic died down.
After I had a great cup of coffee and chocolate cheesecake, I decided to check out some of the new books that are on sale. I picked up a book to scan through, and could literally not put it down. The book had me totally captivated. The author is Eric L Haney and it is called Inside Delta Force. The book is very well written and provides a first person account of Haney's experience inside Delta Force. There was one scene in the book that had me laughing till I had tears in my eyes. Haney's description of his selection interview with the famous Col Beckwith had me in the room there with them almost hearing and seeing the reactions of Haney and Beckwith.
Interestingly enough, I found that I learned a valuable lesson from the book that I applied to my divemaster class today. It was time for us to work on the rescue skills today and I remembered Haney's description of how they were taught to perform a hostage rescue. At first the students were walked through (in slow motion) the steps of clearing a room. Gradually the tempo was increased until the students could do a room clearing at full running speed.
The rescue skill is not all that hard to do, but a lot of students have trouble do a rescue to demonstration level. So what I did was start the candidate divemasters on the shallow end of the pool by talking through the rescue. We broke down the rescue into a number of phases and practiced each phase until the candidates mastered the sub skill. We then ramped up the tempo slowly until the candidates performed the full blown rescue by putting together all the steps. This approach seemed to work well for the candidates and they appeared much more confident in their ability than I have observed with candidates in previous classes.
We will be practicing the rescue skill until the candidates can perform the skill almost by second nature. As I wrote above, the rescue skill is not all that hard to do, but there are a number of things that can (and often do) trip you up.