This blog is now retired. My new site is at: Predictably Irrational.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Dive Right In

I saw a blurb about my neighborhood pool needing volunteers to judge the pool's dive team. This piqued my interest since I remember last year, they had issues with not having enough judges and potentially needing to forfeit. This, I think, is TERRIBLE! No competition should be won (or loss) via a least, not in this type of competition -- neighborhood pools and all.

I thought it sounded fun too. So I inquired and was told that today at 9AM there would be a judging clinic at a neighborhood pool that is less that four miles away from my house.

I show up and there is a large crowd. It seems that most of the judges are parents of divers. I sign in and there is a field that asks "Parent or Coach". Well, technically, I'm not a parent and when I mention that I am just a volunteer...the lady looks at me all cockeyed and says "really? you don't have a child in the program?!" And I said no but did I have to? And she said no...i guess just a desire to judge.

Seriously. am I the only one that thinks judging dive competitions is fun? Really? I mean, it's not like I sat around thinking "i want to judge dive competitions. it's been a long life dream." *but* when I heard about it, it sounded like fun!

I sit down with my coffee and a bagel they provided (how nice) and realized how much of an outcast I was (and usually that grammatically correct?). No problem. I tend to come off snobbish anyway, as I'm not a mingler. Really. I'm serious. I'm not.

We are handed sheets of paper with information. One is Judging Guidelines with a lot of good information about areas to focus on, areas for potential deductions, etc.

The other sheet has silhouettes of various dives.

It all looks very technical on paper. This I can do.

The statement that I see that is a good baseline, I think, is the second bullet, which states:

Remember to always start at a score of 10 and then deduct for problems within the dive.

And then there are things to look for, for deductions:
* more than 4 feet away from the board
* vertical entry into the water, with as little splash as possible
* an approach without a hurdle
* stretch of the body including toe point
* a forward approach with less than three steps prior to the hurdle
* a dive clearly done in the wrong positions
* etc.

Once the 'instruction' and demo dives started, however, this is what I heard from one of the existing judges:

I usually start at a four and go from there. The younger ones will generally be around four because they are just so young that they _can't_ do some of these things [like tightness, etc.]. They just can't really get above a four.

And then I hear other fellow judges agreeing with her.

Hmmmm...what happened to start off with a 10 and go from there?

Another judge states "there will be no 10s".

Really? Wow. It's tougher than the Olympics!

So I'm a little confused but figure that even though they handed me something in writing that says start with 10, the 'protocol' was to start somewhere else.

But then, from the back, a coach speaks up. She disagrees and it's pretty clear she does NOT like this approach. She continues to state that this is not how it is taught (judging dives) matter the age, no matter the difficulty, you judge the dive starting at 10 and go from there.

And this makes sense. To me: the technical aspects of a dive can be judged whether they are 5 or 15.

So I decide to bring it up -- it says on bullet #2 blah blah blah! And then I was told "you don't have time to figure it out; it's very fast". Well, that still doesn't make sense to me since I have to figure it out if I start at 4.

There were a couple of other parents who agreed with the starting at 10, so I then decided that is what I would do.

But it isn't easy. I got to practice judging volunteer divers and it is very fast. And it is really kind of like an instinct. And there are degrees of difficulty that are outside of our judging scores, so we have to judge the dive and now the wow! factor.

Or in the case of young children, the cute factor.

I was so impressed with the kids that were there showing us dive examples. It's truly amazing, even the bad ones! I love seeing athletes and at one point, my neighborhood pool's dive coach 'called out' to a diver (which is a deduction, BTW, during the competition). It made me want to be a coach even more.

So despite the controversies of judging dives too high, too low, etc. I am really excited about this opportunity. I plan to hang out at dive practices and work with the coach to get a better understanding of what I should look for in good dives. That part is the learning part for me since I don't generally _watch_ dive competitions on a regular basis.

But I will now!!!

1 comment:

  1. Cindy, you truly are impressive. You perused your desire to judge a sport that you love to watch and to learn as much as you can so that you not only understand how to judge but will be able to judge fairly. Good luck with your upcoming competitions.