What Parents Can Expect in Diving
If you are the parent of a child who is interested in diving, it is important to realize the role you will play. The parent of a diver, just as a parent of any athlete, has certain responsibilities and expectations. The responsibilities will vary depending on how dedicated your child is to the sport. Regardless of your child's level of involvement, you will likely have to drive him/her to practice, run team fundraising efforts, and play a role in your child's diving ambitions.
If you are thinking about getting your son or daughter involved in competitive diving, but are unsure of what lies ahead, here is a brief outline of what you can expect.
Parents & Transportation
The first, and perhaps most obvious, expectation of a parent is the responsibility of getting your child to and from practice.
Behind every amazing athlete is a dedicated and supportive parent. The amount of support you contribute to your child's development will go a long way in regards to their success.
At first, practice may only occur once or twice a week for a short session. But before long, as your child's interest and skill level grows, you will be driving him/her to that pool three to five times a week. Make sure when you are looking for a place to start diving, that you take this commute into consideration: Is this a distance you are willing to drive to and from, multiple times a week?
A coach will expect a child to be at practice on time. If you are late too often, you may have to deal with additional fees. Additionally, your child may miss out on important skill building exercises such as belt work on the trampoline or polymeric drills that are done at the beginning of a workout.
Costs Involved with Diving
Money is an important factor for all families to consider. Costs can add up quickly and it is good to know what you can expect to pay.
- Registration/monthly fees: In order to dive in any United States sanctioned diving club, you must pay a yearly registration fee to USA Diving. Registration ranges from around $12/year, for a basic membership to $75/year for a competitive membership. Monthly tuition varies greatly from team-to-team as well as the participation level you are committed to. Plan on spending anywhere from $75 - $300/month.
- Equipment: Fortunately diving is not an equipment heavy sport. The costs are generally under $50 for each necessary item: A bathing suit, shammy, towel and diving bag.
- Competition: If your diver is competitive, you can plan on spending money on competitions, aside from the registration and monthly fees. For competitive diving you should anticipate additional costs for transportation, meet registration fees, and a team bathing suit.
In order to dive with any USA Diving club team, you must pay an annual registration fee to USA Diving. This registration not only allows your diver to compete in USA sanctioned events, but more importantly, provides your diver with the protection of insurance should some danger befall him/her.
As your child's skill level increases, you should expect competition to begin. Competition will require a good amount of your time. Here are some factors to consider:
- Pool location: Most diving pools will not be located near your home. More often than not, these pools will require your family to travel significant distances.
- Time at the meet: Competition lengths vary depending on the type of meet it is. In general, most age group competitions last two to three days. Each day you will likely be at the pool for three to four hours.
- Additional practice: Once your diver becomes a competitive athlete, you should anticipate attending multiple competitions during the year and driving your son/daughter to additional practice sessions on the weekends.
Participation & Volunteering
All teams require and depend on parent participation in order to run smoothly. This involves not only parents providing transportation, as mentioned above, but also includes the following:
- Team: A parent will often be the one who organizes team functions including: Social outings, fundraising efforts, and the distribution of important team information (often newsletters or web posts).
- Competition: Parents will be called upon in competition to help run various aspects of the meet. From running the concession stand, to collecting the registration fees, to working the scoring tables, the role of parents is an important aspect to a successful competition. To get a better understanding of how a meet operates, take a look at the iSport guide: What to Expect at a Diving Meet.
In reality, a team could not function without the volunteer efforts from parents. This is an important element to consider when deciding if your son/daughter is to get involved in the sport.
Encouragement & Support
Just as any athlete needs a cheering section (especially when things aren't going well), a parent will need to play the role of booster and confidence builder.
Hugs and love is the strongest way to encourage your child and bring out the best in him/her. However, this loving approach also needs to be countered with an equal level of encouragement and pushing — finding that balance is not easy. Here are some tips that may help:
- Pushing: Parents need to find a balance between pushing too hard, and not pushing hard enough. Make sure you are pushing for the right reasons. Your son/daughter should be the one who benefits from your efforts, not you.
- Criticizing: Leave this up to the coach. Even if you are knowledgeable about the sport, let the coach be the one to point out errors and corrections. You should be a support system of love and encouragement. This is often difficult, but it's best to let the coach be the critic.
Only the Best
In general parents want the best for their child. When entering the sport, seek to find a diving team that both you and your child are happy with. Make sure you like the coach and his/her style of instructing, but more importantly ensure that your diver enjoys his/her time in the sport.
Line up your expectations with the reality of your child's ability and you will enjoy the wonder and fulfillment diving can provide.