Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The "Perfect" Diver!

It has been said that the "perfect" diver is an orphan with a trust fund. This tongue in cheek joke makes reference to a diver who does not have meddling parents and one who would have no problem paying team and coaching fees in a timely manner.

Of course, all coaches know that there is no such thing as the "perfect" diver but a "near perfect" diver would definitely have:
  1. DESIRE -- You cannot force a kid to want to be a good diver.
  2. ATHLETIC ABILITY -- In order to compete at a high level -- the diver must be physically able to successfully complete the big dives required.
  3. MENTAL TOUGHNESS -- The diver must be able to block out any and all distractions while they are on the board.
  4. COMPETITOR -- The diver must not crumble under the pressure of a big meet and they must be able to "answer" when necessary during a meet.
  5. WORK ETHIC -- The diver MUST and MUST WANT TO put in the time necessary to be a good diver. (See #1 above)
  6. FOLLOWS DIRECTIONS -- The diver must LISTEN to the coach and try their very best to make the correction each and every time.
  7. SUPPORTIVE PARENTS -- The kind of parent that brings their kid to practice on time, every time; pays their fees on time, every time; never engages in negative talk about another diver, parent or coach; lets the coach do the coaching; is a team cheerleader and helps the team whenever and however asked.

If you can find a kid that has most of these qualities, chances are good that they will be successful in this sport. If the diver is missing some or all of these characteristics, you will be fighting an uphill battle.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

High Cost Advertising -- FOR FREE!

Let's face it -- there are not too many (if any) diving programs in this great land of ours that can afford television or radio advertising. However, here is a simple way to get your Diving Program name on T.V. and Radio -- all at no cost!!

Now that Fall and Winter are upon us, there is a good chance that snow and ice will be prevalent in many areas of the country. When this happens, schools, churches and businesses are closed or delayed. Radio and TV stations announce this information all day long.

WHAT TO DO: Contact your local TV and Radio Stations NOW and ask them what their procedure is for submitting and announcing a closing or delay for a business or after school activity. Create a handy reference on your computer that gives you the contact number, e-mail or website of each station to do this.

When inclement weather strikes your area that causes many schools and businesses to close, the first thing you should do is send your diving program "closing information" to all the TV and radio stations in our area. Then sit back with a big smile on your face as you see your diving program name scrolling across the TV screen all day long and hear your diving program name read over and over again on the radio.

Warm Winter Greetings To All!!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Immerse Yourself!

When it comes time to teach a "big" dive or learn HOW to teach a "big" dive -- both the coach and the diver need to IMMERSE themselves in the dive.

Both diver and coach should watch video of the new dive; the coach should talk to other coaches who have divers doing the dive or have had a diver do the dive. The diver should talk to other divers who are doing the dive. Ask them what steps they did to prepare for the first attempt. What type of dryland skill work was done? Ask them to describe any pitfalls or problems they encountered when teaching or learning the new dive. Ask if there are any drills or skills that should be practiced over and over to help the diver prepare for the dive. Does this new dive require the coach to make a "call" that they have never made? Should you wait until you are able to do the dive in an over-the-water spotting harness or have access to a "Bubbler Machine"? The list goes on and on. Immersing yourself in a dive is not easy -- but it is well worth your time.

Coaches should be willing to help out other coaches; divers should be willing to help out other divers. Besides just being good sportsmanship -- it can only help to improve the sport.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Diving Program Tool Box and Accessories

This past weekend, I attended a college diving meet -- simply to watch a former diver compete and somehow got roped into announcing the meet so I missed most of the watching!!

Anyway, when it came time to start the meet, the home team could not find their diving judge scorecards, DD Calculators, etc. which made me stop and think about my next blog entry.

Every coach (or at least every diving program) should keep some basic (and pertinent) diving supplies together (and nearby) so that when needed, they can be easily accessed. My suggestion is to buy a small plastic tool box with removable top shelf. The box should have the ability to be "locked" so it cannot open as you run down the pool deck trying to start the first event on time! In this "diving supplies box" should be:
  1. Diving Judge Scorecards (At least three -- maybe five or seven depending on what kind of meets you host)
  2. Degree of Difficulty Slide Calculator (At least one -- two to be safe)
  3. Numerous pencils and pens, pencil sharpener, colored markers, stapler, (solar) calculator, paper clips, etc.
  4. 1/2", 9/16" and 15/16" combination wrenches. These three wrenches will tighten (or loosen) every nut and bolt on a Durafirm Diving Stand.
  5. Grease gun with tube of grease (for your fulcrum)
  6. Small can of 3 in 1 Oil (for your hinges)
  7. Small tube of powdered graphite (for your twisting belt)
  8. A couple repair parts for your fulcrum or hinge -- just in case something breaks during your next meet.

Best Wishes for a Safe and Successful Diving Season!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

You Can't Get A Great Score Without......

I cannot stress this enough to divers and coaches. You CANNOT get a great score on a dive without a great entry!

I know what the rule book says. I know what they tell you in judging clinics -- BUT it is nearly impossible to get a great score on a dive that does not have a great entry. Cheating? No! Biased? Maybe. Incorrect? Perhaps. But if you watch enough diving at meets or on television you come to understand that a dive with a great entry is looked upon very favorably by the judges. A great entry actually seems to camouflage some deficiencies in the dive. Right or wrong it is reality so you as coaches must learn how to "play the game."

What Does This Mean?

It means that you as coaches should take the time necessary to teach your divers how to get into the water with little or no splash. Make sure they know how to grab a flathand, line up and lock out on every dive. It makes no sense to teach your diver more difficult dives if they cannot do their current dives vertically, with good form and a AT LEAST a good entry. A good dive with a good entry will get a good score but in most cases you will find that you cannot get a GREAT score without a GREAT ENTRY!

Now get back to the pool and have your divers do some more lineups (both forward and backward) to perfect this most important of skills!