New families and experienced families, sometimes there are questions. In the FAQ, we will try to answer them all here. If there is an answer that you can't find, send us an email, and we will do our best!
What if I have a question, concern or complaint?
Is this athlete development for good health? Is this for every kid?
While the goal of the LTADM is to help create the best divers possible, one of the side benefits is good health. The prescribed exercises make children stronger, which makes them less prone to injury. It also makes them more likely to pursue a more active lifestyle. In that respect, yes, it is for every kid, whether they want to be an Olympic champion, or they just want to give diving a try.
Do you need to know how to swim already? I’ve heard kids can’t coordinate the strokes at younger ages. Are we pushing them too early?
For diving itself, children don’t need good quality strokes; they just need to get from under the diving board to the side of the pool. Kids can begin in a life jacket, however their progress will be limited until they are able to swim in the deep end without a life jacket.
Can I be involved?
Most clubs have some form of parent involvement, including officiating, event management, fund raising, etc. However, the coach / participant relationship depends on children being focused, much like school or music lessons. Most coaches allow parents to watch practices, but be sure to do this out of earshot and the view of your kids, so they can concentrate.
I can’t see it. What are we trying to do to these kids at this age? I want a normal kid. Why start earlier?
Long term athlete development means offering children instruction in fundamental movement skills during the development window when they can best learn them, whether they are to be competitive athletes or simply enjoy physical activity. An appropriately structured program is intrinsically appealing to children. If they don’t like it, look elsewhere for a program that is fun and teaches skills.
How do we know this model is right?
The model was created by a group of experienced Canadian diving coaches, including age group specialists and coaches of Olympic medalists. This model is a summary of their experience applying these principles. Also, the model has been reviewed and approved by the experts leading the Canadian long term athlete development model project, “Sport for Life”.
This model seems to demand much more activity than our kids are doing now.
Are you sure this is safe?
Children can handle more training than many believe. When permitted to play at their own pace, outdoors, they will play hard for hours longer than they are typically allowed in a modern urban society. There are also safety benefits to starting earlier. Smaller, lighter bodies are less susceptible to injury. Chinese divers start much younger on tower and have fewer injuries learning it. Also, some of the best Canadian divers have done this level of training and have not had any greater rated of injuries or loss of interest. Coaches can tell when an athlete is not ready for this level of training and will gradually increase it when the diver is ready. No good coach will force a child to do more than they are ready for.
Photo credit: Cheryl Stewart @Living Sky Studios
“Athlete development model” sounds like it’s for elite athletes. How does it apply to children with lower aspirations?
All children acquire skills in the same order; some are just faster than others. The model recommends skill progressions that apply to any diver learning skills. Even more importantly, kids learn physical skills most efficiently before the growth spurt (11-13 for girls, 12-15 for boys). Children benefit from learning a variety of skills during this window, even for the simple enjoyment of physical activity. Divers especially need to learn dance and gymnastic movements early for diving performance, but these activities are also among the best general fitness and coordination activities for kids this age.
Isn’t this hard on their bodies?
In fact, it is better for their bodies: it helps prevent injury. Proper preparation will protect them from injury, whether in diving, other sports, or in the unpredictable bumps and knocks of childhood. A program which leads to injuries is probably at fault, not the age at which the athletes begin. That said, some people are prone to injuries, and coaches will adjust a program to address these concerns.
How do you handle a child who is scared?
All divers are scared at some point, whether learning a front dive from the side or a reverse dive from 10m. The model, and all good coaches, teaches diving in small incremental steps called progressions, so children gain confidence as they master a dive before moving on. These are some of the advantages of diving: that participants learn to face fears and deal with them appropriately.
Do they also need to do gymnastics? Dance?
The LTADM has both gymnastic and dance elements built into it. It would be beneficial for divers to do additional gymnastics or dance, but in a diving context. Certain dance movements and positions are different from diving positions, and, particularly at an advanced level, many gymnastic movements are contrary to diving movements.
Shouldn’t kids just be allowed to play on their own? Aren’t we over-structuring their time?
They gain further abilities that enhance play. They will get more out of play, they will be more likely to be physically active in their free time, and they will be less likely to injure themselves. The LTADM is necessary to learn structure and discipline; there is plenty of extra time for free play.
What should coaches do during the Adolescent Maintenance stage?
Coaches (and parents) must be aware that self-image and self-esteem are fragile. Divers
may need to compete less. Coaches should work on improving weight training skills, dance
skills, and keeping diver fit. They may want to involve the diver in coaching younger athletes
once or twice a week. The coaches, diver, and parents may have to lower competitive
Why isn’t my boy going to Nationals even though he qualified?
His goal for the year was to qualify for Nationals, which he managed to do. He’s not ready to
be competitive at that level, and finishing near the bottom of the pack will do more damage
than good. He should wait until next year, when he can be more competitive.
Why should my kid go to Provincials when there is no one good to compete against?
To win. Successful divers have been motivated by success at all levels throughout their career.
Why do you need so much dry land space and equipment?
It is the standard around the world. All of the top diving countries, as well as a lot of the lesser countries, have dedicated dry land space and equipment. It also allows us to get more kids involved.
Why does it cost so much?
It doesn’t. It usually costs less than daycare, while being far more valuable. It usually costs less per hour than public swim and other sports, while being a far more beneficial program.
What about time for homework and chores?
With the structure and discipline learned through this program, athletes get better at structuring their time when they begin training. School often improves.
Quite often, my kid does not want to go to diving, but then they like it when they are there and afterwards.
This is very common. Parents need to make decisions for children. If you believe in the program, make sure your child attends all scheduled lessons.
Why is my child not spending more time in the pool?
Time is limited and better used on technical aspects of diving, which are learned more efficiently on land before being transferred to the water.
Why is my child not doing weight training?
Time is limited and better spent on technical aspects of diving. When the technical aspects are mastered, weight training will be added if strength is still a limiting factor.
What mental training are you doing?
- We are doing mental training: diving training is inherently mental training.
- Many seemingly mental issues are actually technical deficiencies that may
appear to be psychological in nature. The LTADM helps alleviate the
weaknesses in technical development.
Can my child do other sports?
Yes, but fewer days are available for other sports because diving requires
more commitment than other, late-specialization sports.
When is too late for elite success in diving?
- Beginning after puberty is usually too late to fully realize one’s potential
unless the child has developed the skill and flexibility requirements from
other acrobatic sports or activities.
- It is not an exact science before puberty. There will be the most success
when there has been enough time to achieve the requisite skills and flexibility
before puberty’s onset.
How do you know when the Adolescent Maintenance stage begins?
Rapid growth occurs, as do the appearance of secondary sex characteristics. Coordination and speed often suffer. The difficulty of the diver’s dives may be affected, as well as the aesthetics.
How can my diver change programs?
In order to change programs divers must pass the required skills to move into the next level and be invited by the head coach. If you change programs, please complete a Program Change form, revise your Payment Schedule and submit the forms to the Registrar. Please refer to the Program Change Policy.
What happens if we have an address change or change phone numbers?
Please provide the Administrator or Registrar with written notification of your new address or phone number. The Registrar will distribute the information as necessary. The Registrar for RDC is our recreational administrator – please see the contact information page at the back of this handbook for current contact information.
What is required before my child will compete in a competition?
Every age group has a required dive list – required dives, directions and difficulties – and all divers are working towards perfecting these dives based on their age group. Talk to your child’s coach for details on your child’s progress. There is not a requirement to compete - that is a coach, athlete, and parent decision. Even when the athlete has gained his required dives it may not be necessary to attend every competition.