Sunday, October 25, 2009

How Carving Pumpkins and Coaching Diving are Related

It is my favorite time of the year -- the leaves are changing colors, a chill is in the air, fires are crackling in the fireplace and my kid's most favorite "holiday" is just around the corner -- HALLOWEEN and the weeks leading up to it. They love decorating, costume shopping, apple cider, fall festivals, corn mazes, hay rides and of course selecting and carving the perfect pumpkin.

We carved our pumpkins the other day and I, the diving geek that I am, found some strange similarities between carving pumpkins and coaching diving. Here goes:
  • Going to a pumpkin farm and searching for the perfect pumpkin is like a diving coach attending a summer league championship meet scouting new talent for your team. There are many that appear to be acceptable -- but to the trained eye, there are but a few who make the grade. You have an idea of what you want and it is your mission to sort through all of them to find the right one or two.
  • There are many pumpkin carving kits available on the market today just as there are many different ways to coach diving. You choose the way you think will work the best with your personality, strengths and weaknesses and those of the divers you coach. Keep in mind that YOU may need to make changes or adapt depending on the pumpkin you are carving or the diver you are coaching.
  • There are many tools in a pumpkin carving kit that can help you get the desired result. Diving coaches also have many tools from which to choose that can help them help their divers reach the desired result. It is up to you the coach (or carver) to make use of these tools and to choose the correct tools to help do the job.
  • In pumpkin carving kits, there are different levels of carving difficulty -- the more difficult the pattern, the larger the potential payoff as far as contest success, accomplishment and pride. The same could be said for coaching (and learning) diving.
  • When learning to carve a pumpkin, it is best to start with an easy pattern before moving up to more complicated, time-consuming and difficult patterns. Coaches need to make sure their divers are well-schooled in the fundamentals of diving before moving on the more challenging and difficult dives.
  • And finally, take your time; use all the tools at your disposal; be patient and most importantly -- pay close attention to detail. If you cut corners while carving a pumpkin, the end result will be less than satisfactory -- ditto for coaching diving.

May all your pumpkins be perfectly carved and may all your divers learn from you how to jump high, spin fast, enter vertically and disappear under the water with nary a splash!! HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Now That Summer Diving Has Ended.......

Now that summer league and country club diving has ended, it is time to take care of your diving equipment -- particularly, if your Club has Duraflex and Durafirm Diving Equipment to make sure it is in good working order for next season. Here is what to do:

1) Remove your diving boards from the diving stands and inspect them -- both top and bottom. Inspect the top surface of the diving board to make sure the factory applied non-skid surface is still in good shape. Inspect the underside of the diving board (all eight ribs from front to back) for any cracks or missing rubber channels. If the diving board non-skid surface is beginning to wear or the board feels slippery to the touch (wet foot on wet board), now is the time to get it sent back to the Duraflex Factory for a refinish job. If the diving board is cracked, you must remove it from service and start planning for the purchase of a new board for next season. Contact Springboards and More for help with either of these two situations.

2) After inspecting your boards, store them out of the weather (in a shed, storage room, bath house, etc.). It is best to store them in a place where they will not be stepped on; driven over by a tractor or in any place where something could fall or be dropped on them. We suggest that your boards be stored on their side (see picture above -- but make sure board is inside and out of weather). You should also spray your diving board carriage bolts (the large bolts that attach the diving board to the diving stand) with WD-40 or similar product and wrap them in newspaper and place in a zip lock bag that you then tuck between the ribs of the underside of the diving board.

3) Using some old rags, wipe off any grease, dirt or grime from your fulcrum slide tracks, fulcrum assembly, hinges or the actual diving stand. We have found that a spray can of carburetor cleaner or brake parts cleaner does an excellent job of removing this type of gunk from your equipment. (You can find these products at any auto parts store for a few dollars per can).

4) Use large plastic garbage bags or tarps to completely cover the fulcrum assembly and hinge assembly of your diving stands. You can secure with duct tape or bungee cords -- being careful to NOT stick the duct tape to the actual diving stand. This cover is to protect the fulcrum and hinges as well as the epoxy paint coating of your diving stands from the weather.

You can now rest easy that your valuable and expensive diving equipment will be in good working order for next summer. It is amazing to me the number of summer swim clubs that leave their diving equipment uncovered and exposed to the elements all Fall, Winter and Spring and then wonder why it does not last as long as they thought it should.

Thursday, October 1, 2009


The Duraflex International Corporation has announced a 5% across the board price increase effective for all orders that ship on or after January 1, 2010.

Due to the lead times involved with diving board and diving stands, the cut-off date for placing orders for these items to guarantee shipment before the end of the year (and therefore get current pricing) is December 1st, 2009. For small parts orders, the cut-off date to guarantee current pricing is December 28, 2009.

Pictured above is current Duraflex President JAN RUDE with her late father RAY RUDE -- the inventor of the Duraflex Diving Board. This photo was taken inside the main entrance to the Duraflex International Factory circa 2002.