Saturday, September 27, 2008

Would YOU Want to Dive with YOU?

Ask yourself this question. If you were a diver, would you want to dive with YOU as the coach? Why or why not? If your list of "why nots" is bigger than your list of "whys" perhaps you should think about making some changes to the way you coach or run your Program.

Do you yell and scream all the time? Are you a tyrant and a slave driver? Do your divers come to the pool with a smile on their face and perhaps more importantly, do they leave practice with a smile on their face? Do you motivate and inspire or belittle and criticize? Do you pay attention to your divers and as a result, do they pay attention to you? Are your practices stimulating and exciting or are they repetitive and boring? Are you enthusiastic while coaching which usually means your divers are enthusiastic while diving? Do you praise often and give positive reinforcement or is it never good enough? The list goes on and on. Coaches should take a look in the mirror and see if they like what they see. Chances are, if you do not like what you see, then your divers will not either.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Torque The Bolts!

One of the most frequently asked questions we get at is "how tight should the diving board carriage bolts be when installing a diving board?"

The correct answer is 110 foot pounds of torque using an 18 inch handle torque wrench. You can purchase one of these at a local hardware store -- although they are a bit pricey ($50.00 - $75.00). You simply set the "torque" on the wrench to 110 foot pounds and tighten the board bolts until the wrench "clicks" or "slips" which tells you that the bolts are torqued to the correct setting.

It is important to "torque" the bolts to the correct setting so as not to over-tighten them as well as to insure that they are tight enough!

You should also try to torque the bolts that go into the deck (stand installation bolts) to 110 foot pounds as well -- although it is sometimes difficult to get the torque wrench onto some of these bolts.

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Most Important Thing To Teach A Young Tower Diver

"The Tower" -- 33 feet up and a mile down!! I was never a tower diver -- never really much of a diver to be honest -- but I certainly enjoy watching it, judging it and coaching it. Diving tower or coaching tower divers is a completely different animal -- not only is it higher than both springboards, but there is the "concrete factor" -- which is much less forgiving than a springboard if the diver comes into contact with it.

In my opinion, a diver should NEVER be allowed to dive tower until they can do the following:

  • They must be able to "line up" an entry correctly. If your divers do not know how to grab a flat hand, line-up and "lock out" when hitting the water, they run the risk of tearing their shoulder muscles, wrenching their back or neck.
  • They must understand the concept of "vertical entry." Diving straight into the water not only earns higher scores from the judges -- it is also less taxing on the body -- if you know what I mean.
  • They must call out to you before they go (after their tower has been called) to make sure you are watching and to confirm all is clear below them.
  • They must have a healthy respect for the tower. Your divers must know and understand that diving tower can be dangerous and that they can get hurt if they are not focused on what they are doing. NO HORSEPLAY UP THERE!

However, the single most important thing that you can teach your young tower divers is to PAY ATTENTION! They must be taught to NEVER dive off the tower until THEIR tower is "called" by you (the coach) or the "tower caller" at a meet. They must be taught to IMMEDIATELY swim back out of the way of the tower after entering the water AND THEN look to you the coach for corrections or instruction. Your divers should NEVER float out under the tower waiting for you to coach their dive -- it is way too dangerous. Divers who do not or cannot pay attention have NO BUSINESS being on a tower.

One final note: It is the very important responsibility of you THE COACH to monitor your divers while diving tower -- especially during warm-ups for a meet. At big meets especially, there are many divers diving off many levels of the tower and it is your DUTY as a coach to keep a keen eye on YOUR divers to make sure they are paying attention and not putting themselves or another diver in a situation where they could get hurt -- or worse.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

6 1/2 'em To Death!

A good lesson for young coaches or high school coaches to learn is that consistency is the key to success in diving. Coaches need to preach to their athletes the "Holy Trinity" of diving skills: 1) Vertical Entry, 2) "RIP" Entry (grab flat hand, line-up and lock-out); 3) Good Form (legs straight, feet together, toes pointed).

Granted, some divers jump higher than others. Some divers spin faster than others. Some divers are more flexible than others. Some divers are more graceful than other. However, if your divers can consistently go straight in the water with good form and a good entry, they are very likely to get scores of 6 - 6 1/2. Maintain this throughout the competition and you will be happy with the end result.

Your competition gets an 8 on their first dive and you get a 6.5 on yours. Then the diver gets 7 on their next dive and you get a 6.5 on yours. In the next round, the other diver get a 4 and you get a 6.5. Then they get a 5.5 and you get a 6.5. etc. etc. In many cases, your consistency will be rewarded with the higher final score when the meet is over. You "6 1/2'd" your competition to death!

Of course, divers and coaches should continue to work hard and improve their dives so that the next time you compete, you "7 Them to Death" and the next time you "7.5 Them to Death" etc. etc. GOOD LUCK!

Friday, September 12, 2008


One of the biggest errors made by diving coaches -- usually young and inexperienced coaches --is having their divers attempt higher Degree of Difficulty (D.D.) dives in meets that that they cannot do consistently well versus doing an easier dive that they can usually nail all or most of the time.

The classic example is the the front double somersault in the tuck position (104C / 2.2 D.D) versus a front 1 1/2 somersaults in the pike position (103B / 1.7 D.D.). If your divers can consistently earn scores of 6's on their 103B (30.60 Total Points), they would need to earn AT LEAST 4.5's and 5's on the their 104 C (30.80 Total Points) just to be even!! It has been my experience, that this does not usually happen. I get a big smile on my face when I walk in to a meet and see other divers crashing "hard" dives in warm-ups because I know that there is good chance that they will crash them in the meet.

All coaches should "Do The Math" before completing a dive sheet especially when deciding whether or not to try out a new "harder" dive. Remember these words of wisdom: "Higher scores from the judges will almost always beats higher degree of difficulty."

Check out the "WHAT IF" Chart that we created for just this purpose.

Monday, September 8, 2008

How To Care For Your Sammy or Aqua Towel

  • Wash or rinse out thoroughly in warm water before initial use. The product is packed with an anti-mildew and anti-mold solution that should be rinsed out.
  • If stuck together, do not peel apart! Soak for about 10 minutes in warm water. Better yet, wash with normal laundry – it will come out perfect!
  • Store the clean, wet towel in its container. Sammy becomes hard when dry. Simply re-wet and it comes back to life!


  • Machine wash with liquid detergent – do not use bleach!
  • Do not dry in dryer!
  • If towel has mold or mildew (brown or black spots), soak in a 5:1 solution (5 parts water for 1 liquid bleach) for about 5 minutes. NOTE: DO NOT BLEACH TYE DYE AQUA TOWELS.


  • Wring towel out after wetting with water.
  • Apply to neck or skin as needed.
  • If towel becomes warm, remove and wave or shake for 15 seconds – towel will cool off.
  • Re-wet towel to increase cooling effect.

The "Sammy" Sport Towel was introduced by and named for Dr. Sammy Lee M.D. -- the 1948 and 1952 Olympic Gold Medallist in Platform Diving. Sammy is 88 years old and lives in Huntington Beach, CA with his wife Roz. He still makes frequent appearances and speeches all across the United States and beyond and is without question "The Diving Ambassador Of The World."

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

How To Measure For A New Trampoline Bed

At some point in your coaching career, you will probably need to replace your current trampoline bed with a new one. If you are going to purchase a "String" Bed you have only two choices -- 6' x 12' and 7' x 14'. These dimensions refer to the size of the bed -- not the size of the trampoline frame. However, if you are going to purchase a Single Poly Black Bed (regular backyard style bed) or the new High Performance Black Poly Bed (HP Poly Bed) then you should do the following measurements to insure a correct fit.

1) Measure the INSIDE FRAME Dimensions (in inches) from spring hook attachment point to spring hook attachment point for the length and the width. (An example might be 101.5 inches wide by 176 inches long).
2) Remove one of your springs and measure the entire length from end to end including the hook. If you plan to purchase new springs, simply note the length of the new spring. (Examples would be 9 inch, 10 inch or 10.25 inch).
3) Count the number of spring hook attachment points that are welded on your trampoline frame. (An example might be 18 on the short ends and 37 on the long ends). In some cases, you will have a "zig-zag" wire that runs the length of your frame.

With this information, we can manufacture for you the correct size trampoline bed to EXACTLY fit your trampoline frame using the springs you have chosen. Often times, you will need a "Custom size" bed. For example, you might need a trampoline bed that is 6' 11" x 14' 2". Yes, a standard 7' x 14' would "fit" but having the exact size bed will make a big difference both in performance and longevity. The cost for "custom" is not much more than for standard and the lead time is just a few days longer.

It is a detail that you will be glad you took the time to do correctly.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

If You're Happy And THEY Know It.........

Tonight was my first night of diving practice for the 2008-2009 season. This begins my 23rd year of coaching age group diving -- more than half my life! My mentors include Charlie Casuto, Stan Randall, Greg Gunn and Hobie Billingsley.

I used to coach diving full-time -- it was my livelihood. I coached both diving team (Cincinnati Stingrays) and diving lessons (DIVE Cincinnati) 6-7 days per week / 50 weeks a year. I worked hard for nearly 15 years but I was starting to get burned out and my divers could tell. I needed a break but I needed a way to supplement my income as I had just been married and a few years later had twin babies. This is how I came to start "Springboards and More." Now nearly 10 years later, and with the continued growth of my diving equipment business, I do not need to coach diving anymore -- but I continue to do so because I ENJOY it! I really do love to see the expression on a kid's face when they learn a new dive. I get as much satisfaction out of teaching a Front 3 1/2 Somersaults to a great athlete as I do teaching a Front Flip to a non-athletic kid who never thought they would learn one.

Since I no longer rely solely on coaching diving for income AND I can quit when ever I want, I have a whole new outlook. I come to practice refreshed and enthusiastic. I enjoy myself and my divers enjoy themselves. In most cases, they leave practice with a smile on their face as do I. They are happy and so am I. They feel good about what they accomplished at practice and I feel good about what I helped them accomplish at practice. It makes me excited to come to practice the next time.

This "concept" is very important for coaches -- especially NEW coaches -- to remember. If you do not enjoy what you are doing, your divers will not enjoy what they are doing. If you are not in the mood to coach, your divers will not be in the mood to dive. If you are not enthusiastic about your coaching, your divers will not be enthusiastic about learning from you. YOU SET THE STANDARD!! You are the leader and your divers will follow suit. So put a smile on your face, and bring a positive attitude with you to the pool and INSPIRE your divers to be as good as they can be! IT IS NOT EASY, BUT THE REWARD IS WORTH THE EFFORT!