Monday, April 28, 2008

FUNdamentals, FUNdamentals, FUNdamentals

Now that the summer diving season is right around the corner, I thought it would be a good time to remind all coaches -- especially first-time coaches about the importance of teaching FUNDAMENTALS to your divers.

The biggest "coaching" mistake I see from young and inexperienced coaches, is trying to teach young divers "hard" dives when they cannot do the "easy" fundamentals of our sport. I am talking about "GOOD FORM" -- that is legs straight, feet together, toes pointed -- and VERTICAL entry with little or no splash. It makes no sense to teach a young diver difficult dives if they cannot keep their feet together on an easy dive. In the same way, it makes no sense to have a young diver do a front double somersault and land in the water like a bowling ball when that same diver could do a Front 1 1/2 S.S. and go straight in the water -- these are COACHING ERRORS that simply will not score well from the judges. Keep in mind that higher judges' scores almost always beats higher DD (Degree of Difficulty). It is almost always better to do an easier dive well than to do a hard dive poorly.

Make a habit of spending the first 10-15 minutes of your summer league practice (every day) teaching divers "Good Form" and teaching them how to enter the water as close to vertical as possible. Make a game or a competition out of it to keep the kids interested and to trick them into learning the "boring" stuff that will pay big dividends in the long run.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

HELP! My daughter is a recreational summer diver. When we lived in Atlanta, we were fortunate to belong to a swim club with a fantastic dive program and a professional coach (Atlanta Diving Association coach). My daughter ended up taking one year of lessons at the Olympic facilities at Georgia Tech. When we relocated to NJ, we were happy just to find a town that had a dive team. We now live in a lake community with a terrific swim team and a struggling dive team. Part of the problem is safety - or the perception of safety. At today's practice, they had an 8 yr old NEW diver, attempt a back dive. It was her 2'nd practice. In my opinion, they should be focusing on approaches and hurdles. She should be learning how to do a front entry, front dive and rear entry. I want to be more involved in developing the program, focusing on strong fundamental diving skills and making safety a priority but need facts to back up my case. Are there any guides out there to running a summer team or websites that you can recommend that will help me navigate the road ahead?