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Trying Too Hard?
Wayne Oras

Why is it that some divers will look awesome in practices/warm ups and turn in a sub-standard performance in a meet? Some say it was a choke… but is it really? Could it be a matter of trying too hard?

I have never known an athlete to enter a contest with the sole intention of blowing a performance. If that was the intention of any diver, then they should not be unhappy after the event because they did achieve the original goal. All of the unhappy divers I have seen felt unhappy/frustrated because they missed their dive(s) unintentionally. They actually intended to nail the dives for perfect scores to please the coach, their parents or themselves but it just didn't happen. What did it happen?

The answer in many cases is that the diver just tried too hard to get that best performance. In competition if you try to give a dive that little extra something, inevitably it will not be the best one you ever did. That little extra may mean that the diver jumps a little higher, spins and/or twists a little faster. In any case the diver is not used to reacting to these increases. The increases will throw the timing a little off from what is normally done and thus the reason for the not so successful attempt. If you don't give it that little extra in practice, why would you do that in a meet? It would be like learning a new dive during a contest. If the diver has that little extra to give, he/she should do that in the practices thus learning the sensations and timing for that dive(s).

In order for the diver to get the desired performance, he/she must do it in a contest the same way it is practiced. That little extra or not enough will hurt any performance.

The diver's point of concentration should be focused at that same place in time as his/her body is during the dive. Ideally he/she should be at a point where they are anticipating the appropriate moment for the next reaction. If they are distracted by a different sensation than they are used to, many times they will not respond appropriately. This happens because the distraction replaces the anticipation of reacting. They are now in a conscious decision making mode. When they reach this point, many errors can occur.

IMPORTANT POINTS

Practice does not make Perfect!
Perfect practice makes perfect!
Practice makes you more consistent!
Practice is a rehearsal of your performance!

Your performance is usually a reflection of the way you practice!

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