Wednesday, July 30, 2008


"Be Prepared" is the motto of the Boy Scouts of America but is should also be the motto of any diving meet director.

During the 2008 AAU National Diving Championships at The Coral Springs Aquatic Center in Florida, there were a number of things that occurred that COULD have severely interrupted the diving meet but because the meet directors were prepared, the meet continued to run on schedule (weather delays the exception). Here are a few examples:

1) Knowing that it usually storms nearly every afternoon in Florida, the event schedule was set-up so events took place in the morning and late afternoon. This was good planning because almost every day during the mid-afternoon, there was inclement weather that closed the pool for 1-2 hours but it rarely affected the meet because only warm-ups were scheduled for that time period.

2) Each score table had a supply of plastic tarps and plastic bags that could quickly be used to cover the score tables, computers, printers and speakers.

3) They had handheld diving score cards available in the event that one or more of the computers went down during an event (which did occur). They simply continued the meet using handheld scorecards and paper sheets while the computer personnel addressed the computer issues.

4) There were plenty of areas under cover if divers or parents wanted to get out of the sun or rain.

So the next time you host a diving meet, make sure that you spend a little time beforehand planning for things that could go wrong and BE PREPARED!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Your'e Going To Wear That?

Now this is not really relevant to diving, but I heard this idea from JEN REHBERGER (a former diver of mine) who has coached high school and summer league diving with me for many years in the Greater Cincinnati / Northern Kentucky area. I liked it so much, I thought I would share it with you. At the end, I will tie it in to diving with another "Moose" Moss classic that IS very relevant to diving.

Recently, Jen and I were judging a local Summer League Champ Meet and between events we were talking about our children and some of the joys and concerns of raising them. Jen told me that her husband Jeff tells their two children the following:

"You can wear whatever you want outside of the house but whatever you do decide to wear, please know that I will show up at school to pick you up in front of all your friends DRESSED THE EXACT SAME WAY."

WOW!! That is good -- there is quite a bit of incentive for their children to dress in a manner deemed appropriate by their parents.

Getting kids to do the right thing is difficult. Among other things, it takes time; it takes patience and it takes discipline. The same could be said about coaching diving. One of the most difficult things to do while coaching diving is getting your divers to do what you want them to do, the way you want them to do it all the time. This also takes time, patience and discipline.

To end with the immortal wisdom of legendary diving coach Robert "Moose" Moss: "The secret to getting a kid to do something they don't want to do, is to give them the choice of doing something they'd rather do less."

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Keeping The Hogs Cool!

For those coaches who are lucky enough to have diving programs with an outdoor tower facility and if you have Rough-tex installed as your non-skid surface -- specifically BLACK Rough-tex -- you are well aware just how hot the material can get on any summertime afternoon.

Try this remedy: run a garden hose (or 1/2" PVC pipe) up the back of the tower and then attach to another PVC pipe or hose that runs along one or both outside edges of each tower. The PVC pipe or hose should contain numerous pin size holes. When the water is turned on, the pipes or hoses that run along the side edges of the towers will spray a very fine mist of water onto the top surface of the tower. In most cases, this will make your BLACK Rough-tex surface quite comfortable -- definitely cool enough to stand, walk or dive on without burning your feet.

I first saw this set-up while attending the Moss Farms Diving Invitational in Moultrie, GA back in the mid 1990's. Those who have had the opportunity to attend a meet at this well known diving facility in southern Georgia know how hot it can get in the summer months. I asked "Moose" Moss -- the legendary (and now late) diving coach at Moss Farms -- where he got that idea and he said in that oh so memorable slow southern drawl of his -- "Uh, that's how we keep the HOGS cool in the summertime."

So there it is.

In honor of "Moose" Moss, go ahead and add some hog coolers to your diving platforms -- your divers will very much appreciate it!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The Last Thing the Judges See!

The outcome of a diving meet is determined by the diving judges. The scores they give for each dive directly affects the final scores and places.

The goal of the diver should be to perform each of their dives in such a way that the judges will reward them with high scores. This is NOT POSSIBLE if a diver gets sloppy or lazy at the end of the dive. I firmly believe that the last thing a diving judge sees on each dive he or she judges leaves an overall impression (good or bad) about that dive. Let's say a diver jumps high, spins fast, is good distance from the board and enters the water vertically but loses their feet on the entry (feet come apart) -- it is my opinion and experience that the judges will not reward that dive as well as they should because they formed an overall negative opinion of the dive simply because the diver's feet came apart on the entry. The judge starts thinking that there must have been other things wrong with the dive as well. The same could be said for similar dives as mentioned above that go in the water with flat feet, or a slight twist or a bad entry. Everything about the dive is good EXCEPT for the last thing the judges see.

Coaches need to constantly reinforce (and divers need to be constantly reminded) that the dive is NOT OVER UNTIL THE TOES DISAPPEAR UNDERNEATH THE WATER. The diver must be taught to maintain GOOD FORM (legs straight, feet together, toes pointed) for the entire duration of the dive and they must try to enter the water with as little splash as possible each and every time they do a dive.

These little things that separate "good" divers from "not-so-good" divers do not occur accidentally -- they must be practiced and perfected over time.