Springboard and Platform Diving Camps

The Positives and Negatives

Christina Loukas diving
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Diving camps can be a positive way for a child to learn and advance in the sport of diving. But beware, not all camps are equal and not all campers benefit by attending. Depending on the diver, their situation and their goals, some camps can be a positive experience, while others can be a disaster.

A Double-Edged Sword

A bit of a double-edged sword, diving camps have their benefits and drawbacks. In certain circumstances, these camps can be the trigger that propels a diver to long-term success, while others may be a waste of time. But the determining factor usually rests with the diver and just like any educational environment; you usually get what you put into it.

Most diving camps occur in the summer months and are generally open to all ages and skill levels. But many programs prohibit their divers from attending a camp. This may a financial concern, but more often this week or two weeks in the summer months interrupts an important training regime that is focused on the success of that particular diver.

Leaving a well organized and successful diving program the week before a big meet is probably not the most productive move, while for other divers who practice sporadically at a run down facility it can be a huge benefit.

The Decision

Sending a child to a diving camp is a decision best made by a diver and his or her parents, with input from a coach. Whether to attend or not should depend on what a diver expects to gain from the experience.

Before attending a camp a diver should develop a few goals – what they expect to achieve. With these goals, the diver can make a prudent choice as to which camp will be the most beneficial.

Love and Hate

Coaches who run camps love them. They get to share their coaching knowledge, meet new divers, and make money. Coaches who are not so fond of camps are those who lose divers and valuable income to camps, and many times have their hard work thrown out the window when a diver diverts from a strong training schedule with set goals.

There are many divers who have had positive experiences at camps, growing personally and learning skills that have allowed them to become successful divers, and have returned to those camps summer after summer. On the other hand, there are also divers that have returned home feeling as though they have wasted their money.

Make It a Positive Experience

Attending a diving camp can be a rewarding experience, but just as with any choice, it does have its pitfalls. Set your goals, talk to your coach, and make the choice that will leave you with a positive experience. And don’t forget, regardless of the camp you may attend, success always depends on the effort that the diver puts forth.

Here are some of the good, and not so good aspects of camps that every diver and parent should consider before deciding if, when and where they would like to attend a diving camp.

The Good Points

Diving camps offer many positive attributes and can be a rewarding experience. Here are a few of the positive aspects that a diver can gain from attending a diving camp.

Personal Relationships - Diving camps offer an opportunity for divers to take part in a new and exciting experience in their sport. The opportunity to meet new friends from different parts of the country and different backgrounds and to cement existing relationships are positive aspects of camps. The social aspect of being a part of a larger group in what many times can be a solitary endeavor; can act as a trigger to build excitement and desire for the diver.

Confidence Builder - Diving camps can prove to be a confidence builder for many divers. Training with, and receiving support from a group of their peers can build confidence in his or her abilities. Working hard in a solitary environment or with a small group can become tiresome. This change of pace and kudos from new divers and coaches can bring about a new positive attitude.

Expert Coaching - Diving camps have the ability to expose divers to a level of coaching that they may not have access to. Many elite level coaches run camps and while they may not get to coach every diver every day, one well-placed comment from an Olympic coach or former champion can be as important as a year's worth of coaching. Additionally, a new perspective from a different coach can be just what a diver needs to break out of a rut.

Time Away From Home - Camps can be beneficial experience from a personal growth standpoint, by allowing a diver to be away from home, develop a sense of independence and find their own niche within the sport. A week away from mom and dad and the daily grind can be like a breath of fresh air.

A Chance to Train - Not all divers have the opportunity to train in a state-of-the-art facility with full-time coaches. Many divers, for instance, only get the opportunity to dive during a high school season, for their summer clubs, or only on a one-meter springboard. Diving camps may open up new opportunities and experiences (i.e. platform) for many divers.

Not So Good Points

The dark underbelly of diving camps is that they must provide an economic incentive to exist. Not that this should detour a diver from attending a camp, but the best decisions (as to where to go) are made with the most information, so be aware of the some of the not so great aspects of diving camps.

Money Maker - Summer camps are a money maker for coaches. That is a simple fact. The vast majority of camps help coaches and diving clubs supplement their income and as a result, it is a numbers game - the more divers, the more money.

Coach to Diver Ratio - The diver to coach ratio is not always what it should be at some summer camps. With the intent to make money, camps will host a large number of divers and this can pose problems if there is a lack of coaches and/or organization - becoming more akin to summer play time than a learning environment.

Inexperienced Coaches - Many times the coaching expertise at camps is not always what it is cracked up to be. Coaches may be hired as glorified babysitters, and may not have the technical experience to teach new skills.

The Value - Divers returning from camps are often times asked the question, “What did you learn?’ Many times the response is, “New dives.” Learning new dives is great, as long as it is the right thing to do. The point here is that many times divers learn new dives at camp they may not be ready for. If you pay your money you expect something in return, and this can be the tangible value that a diver will take away from the camp. Many times though, this “new dive” can destroy fundamental skills that divers need to advance.