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.

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