It’s been a year since we started working with Steve Prior. Steve Prior is our PADI Course Director (Instructor of Instructors). Steve is one of the contributors to what goes into the Instructor Development course and therefore what an Instructor teaches and how they teach it, is down to his input. And what a difference it’s made! During my Instructor Development Course (that’s me on the left with the yellow mask and snorkel below), I got to experience what positive coaching and natural buoyancy is really like. I couldn’t wait to let everyone else at NHDC in on it, so as soon as we could, Steve (orange arms – you’ll find him) came in to help us all coach our students this way. This post details why we teach how we teach our students here at NHDC.


A pool with 13 people on the surface.  Why we teach how we teach started here.

Clare and Steve in the pool completing confined water teaching sessions.

Why we teach how we teach.

Our teaching style is all about boosting confidence whilst learning new skills. Henry Ford once said ‘If you think that you can do something, you can. If you think you can’t do something, you can’t’. As coaches of a sport like diving we are here to help you become the diver you have always dreamed of being, going to the places you saw on Blue Planet and socialising with like-minded people.

Group of NHDC staff members with Steve and Janet Prior in the pool. Making sure we know why we teach how we teach.

NHDC staff update with Steve and Janet Prior. Making sure we know why we teach how we teach the Prior Knowledge way.

A successful coach knows that each person learns in a different and unique way, successful coaches also know how to help you visualise correct techniques to succeed. During your theory sessions, pool and open water dives we ask you to think about how you are going to achieve the skill, this helps you visualise completing the skill and then you accomplish it. After you have completed a skill once we ask you to repeat it a few times, so you are confident about your own skill level and have mastered the skill. Only when you are happy do we take you to the next step.

Why we teach how we teach ‘Natural Buoyancy’

When you imagine yourself diving do you imagine clearing your mask whilst kneeling on the bottom, or taking a photograph of a beautiful coral reef whilst lying on the coral reef? I doubt it, you imagine yourself swimming effortlessly whilst observing the beautiful environment you are in.

From your first pool session with you will notice we are different. You will start by diving, swimming underwater in the pool in your SCUBA equipment. After all this is what you signed up to learn. You didn’t sign up to spend six hours kneeling at the bottom of a swimming pool learning skill after skill. Don’t get me wrong you will have to complete the skills required for certification, but you will accomplish these whilst diving and swimming.

Why we teach how we teach ‘Confined Water Dives’

For each skill you will talk to your Instructor about what you will be learning, how you are going to accomplish it and how you will let them know you are happy with that skill. Once you descend into the pool your Instructor will demonstrate the skill for you and then ask you to repeat the skill, whilst swimming. After you complete the skill a few times and you are confident you will move on to the next one. We should warn you, there is a lot of high fives, happy dances and laughter in these sessions.

Matt and John with four open Water students at Capernwray. You are the reason why we teach how we teach.

Throughout the year we have seem excellent students thrive under this new teaching style. You are the reason why we teach how we teach.

Why we teach how we teach ‘Open Water Dives’

When you are diving in one of our open water sites you may notice that we use the platforms for their descent and ascent lines and that is all. Once you have descended and you are comfortable you begin your dive, you will swim around exploring the underwater world and your Instructor will ask you to complete the required skills, whilst swimming throughout the dive. At no point in your training will you be asked to kneel on the bottom, this is all practice for when you go out and dive on the wonderful coral reefs of the world, the UK included.

Why we teach how we teach ‘For you to be the best diver you can be’.

So, what do NHDC students, who have gone through this ‘new’ system look like? Take a look in the video below. We have Bex and Laura on their fourth dive of their PADI Open Water Diver Course with excellent control of their buoyancy. So, why do we teach how we teach? It’s because of you our students, we want you to have the best Instruction, with the most modern teaching techniques out there so you can be the best divers you can be.


We hope to see you in the pool or in open water soon.