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.

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