In my opinion, one of life's simple pleasures is the smell of homemade bread baking in the oven! This weekend, my kids and I made homemade bread. They love mixing the ingredients, kneading the dough, eating the dough and finally enjoying the warm bread after it comes out of the oven. What they do not like is the time it takes to make homemade bread and the clean-up that must be done when finished.
It got me thinking about how making bread and the sport of diving are similar. First from a spectator point of view. There is something rather enjoyable about watching an elite level diver perform a difficult dive with grace and ease. The best divers in the world can make it look so easy that it is sometimes difficult to really comprehend how much time and preparation went into perfecting that dive. The same could be said for the enjoyment you might get after eating a slice of homemade bread -- it seems so simple and basic you sometimes forget the time and skill that went into making it.
From a coaching point of view -- think of yourself as the "baker" and think of your diver at the Nationals as the freshly baked bread that just came out of the oven. You (the baker) have your own special recipe that you use to create this freshly baked loaf of bread (your diver). As with most recipes -- especially bread recipes -- it is very important to follow the steps in a certain order for the recipe to turn out the way you want or expect. This is certainly true when training a diver. You must do certain prep work, and mixing, and kneading, and waiting, and finally baking -- a long and sometimes boring journey. There are no shortcuts to making homemade bread and there are no shortcuts to making an elite level diver. There is only hard work, discipline and patience combined with a little luck that will hopefully produce an unforgettable result.