Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Are You Really Putting in the Time, Effort and Work Required?

The legendary Muhammad Ali once said: "The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses -- behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights."

If we change the words around to make this quote more relevant to diving, perhaps it would read as: "The meet is won or lost far away from spectators -- behind the lines, in the pool, and in the dryland room, long before I soar through the air and knife through the water."

The question is are you as a diver doing all that it takes to be a champion? Are you putting in full workouts with maximum effort -- both in the pool and in the dryland room? Are you eating right, getting enough sleep and taking good care of your body? Are you doing extra stretching, watching films, practicing hurdles, working on entries, handstands, kick outs, slow-motion simulation, visualization, etc.? If not, chances are good that you will not be as successful as you could be (or should be). If you are, then perhaps this other Ali quote will ring true:

"I hated every minute of training, but I said (to myself) 'Don't quit. Suffer now and the live the rest of your life as a champion'."

Monday, April 12, 2010

Does Your Diving Board "Squeak"?

One question we often get at Springboards and More is "My diving board is squeaking -- what is the problem"?

The first thing you should do if your diving board is making strange noises is to do a visual inspection (while somebody is bouncing on the board) and try to determine from where the noise is coming. Is it the board itself or is it from the fulcrum area? Perhaps the hinge area? Maybe the guard rails? Could it be where the stand is bolted to the pool deck? Could it be a combination of some of these?

Often times, it is difficult to determine because noise travels so fast, it can be hard to pin point.

If you can isolate the noise, you should make the necessary adjustments to the fulcrum, guard rails, stand, etc. If you CANNOT isolate the noise, I would suggest you oil the hinges. Yes, that is correct -- oil the hinges. A Duraflex hinge has a "male" and "female" part that are held together with a (hinge) "pin" that is surrounded by four plastic Nyliners ("bushings") and an "O" ring at either end of the hinge pin to keep it from sliding out of the hinge.

You will notice that Duraflex hinges have a small hole in the center of the "male" portion. This is where you insert oil into the hinge assembly. (The Duraflex factory suggests 3 in 1 Oil). The hinges should be oiled every time you grease the fulcrum (about 2x per month). Every time the board is bounced, the hinge pin pivots inside the Nyliners and Hinge. If you do NOT oil the hinges, the (plastic) Nyliners (bushings) start to dry out and as the board is bounced, the hinge pins have difficulty pivoting inside the Nyliners and this is often times where you get the squeaking sound you hear when the board is bounced.

If the problem has persisted for quite some time, it is very possible that the Nyliners have cracked or broken and you may need to replace the hinge pin, the Nyliners and the "O" rings (aka the Hinge "Guts" Kit -- sold exclusively by Springboards and More).

Regardless of what needs to be done, remember the four "P's" and one "M" of diving board maintenance: Proper Maintenance Prevents Poor Performance (of your equipment).