Movement is life
I have been coaching springboard and platform diving now for almost 20 years. 14 of those years have been in Wellington. During that time I have had the privilege of working with some very talented athletes, whom I have managed to turn into good divers.
Coaching is an amazing journey, the day you stop learning and developing yourself is the day you get left behind. My coaching philosophy is very different now to what it was when i first started out...if I’m honest I don’t think I really had a coaching philosophy at the very start. My philosophy of course has developed over time, the more exposure I have had to world class coaches through attending international events and seeing world class athletes, has helped me to progress as a coach...In turn, producing better athletes.
This leads me to the point of this blog, I would just like to share one aspect of my coaching philosophy with you. I am sure you will have noticed that I have used the word athletes quite a few times. The biggest mistake I believe I made at the start of my diving coaching was trying to produce only divers.
I coached with blinkers on, all I thought about was producing divers. Obviously there needs to be a huge element of technical development in all sports, you can't get away from that, should all the conditioning outside of the technical training be only sport specific? That was the question I started to ask myself...the answer I came up with was no.
I have always been a sports fan, whether trying things or watching it on tv, I would consider myself a bit of a sports geek, I would watch sports not really caring about the results, but wondering what sort of training they do. I also had a real appreciation for the finer side of performance...some wouldn't consider snooker a sport, but how those guys maintain concentration throughout a frame and a whole game is amazing, constantly calculating points and angles, something could be learned from that.
This led me to then take a closer look at the sport I coached...it's the best thing I’ve ever done. I tried to forget everything I knew about conditioning divers and started again. I did away with as many of the so called “traditional” diving exercises as I could and started again.
My key word became movement...my thinking became I am going to develop athletes first, divers second. I also began thinking of life outside of the pool, if any of my athletes left diving, I didn't want them to do so broken from a bad conditioning programme, I wanted them co-ordinated, well balanced, mobile, agile, flexible, strong and with an understanding of movement.
Whether kids or adults do sport, I think they should move, movement is life...it is what we are designed to do on a basic functional level. Movement isn't about bulging muscles or a six pack, nor is it about running marathons...It's about getting out and just doing what the body is meant too. Through movement a passion for a certain sport may occur, which is great.
This is why I got involved in Bonobo. I think we have developed a space which is conducive to developing good basic movement patterns. It's about helping people set themselves up for a better quality of life, so they can get out and enjoy this amazing city we live in.