Most people have seen the summer Olympic games, with one of the most intricate sports being Men and Women’s Diving. Ranging from the ten meter platform to three meter synchronized springboard events, these professional athletes train routinely every day; however, the same goes for college and high school students during their seasons. College and high school divers are devoted to their work on and off the board. The sport is more than flips and twists as there is a more mental aspect to the activity compared to other sports.
When standing on the board, the only thing that the eyes see is the end of the board and a pool full of water. The mind is an interesting factor. Mental blocks are very common within this sport. Reaching the end of the board while processing what the next step is can be very challenging for a beginner, or even an expert. Depending on the dive itself, sometimes there is no time to think and the main focus becomes chucking the dive.
The main goal of diving is achieving and performing the perfect dive. Diving officials that score at meets usually aim towards scoring three things; distance from the board, the amount of splash made upon entry, and how straight the form is.
These three variables can be difficult for divers based on the category of the dive. The categories for dives are front, back, inward, twister and reverse. In a dive meet, divers must dive six times. Divers must execute one dive from each category along with one additional. In a bigger environment, such as a diving competition, there are eleven dives to compete in. Scoring is on a 1-10 scale, one is the lowest score and ten is a perfectly executed dive. Pressure is a factor as well depending on self thought.
The divers here at Woodland are extremely determined upon improving their overall capabilities when completing their departure from the board. Apart from the girls and boys swim and dive team here at Woodland, many have chosen to take the opportunity to improve their skills by joining an off-season team. Elite Diving of Cheshire is where divers such as DJ Mulligan, Ella Bernegger and Shaelin Digoia dive. The advanced team at Elite travels around the country participating in competitions and championships along with weekly practice.
“The most challenging part of diving is obtaining the mental bravery to attempt to try new dives,” says Patty Conte, a previous diver and current coach for Elite. “As a coach, it is difficult to help athletes improve when divers are too frightened or unmotivated to progress.”
Of course in any sport there is always a risk involved; however, the coaches at Elite are not only coaches but were previous divers. This helps many divers that are struggling with a skill when asking the coach who may have struggled at the same moment.
“A struggle that I and, many students, face is being strong and having fluid motion at the same time,” said Coach Dan, previous diver and current coach for Elite.
Many individuals believe that diving can come naturally or appears to be easy, many don’t know the struggles or behind the scenes which each athlete faces no matter the sport. Training and determination can lead to amazing results when understanding that practice will only increase the overall skill.