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Suggestions For The Judging of Competitive Diving
Hobbie Billingsley


Suggestions For The Judging of Competitive Diving

Much has been done in recent years to make competitive diving a bigger and better sport for all age groups in America. More and more children are being encouraged to take an active part in the diving programs, Age group meets with only diving events are being conducted in many areas throughout the country. More swimming pools with better diving facilities are being built in our schools and clubs. New dives are also being added to the rulebooks to challenge the abilities of our more experienced diverse Although great progress has been made in competitive diving, many of those who conduct the diving events are having great difficulty in finding qualified diving judges who have kept pace with the progress of competitive diving.

In most instances it is very difficult to select persons or find volunteers who are willing to serve as diving judgcs. It is natural that they do not wish to be placed in a position where they must pass judgment on the performance of others. Judging fancy diving is not easy for anyone, Even diving coaches and former national diving champions are usually reluctant to judge diving events. However, the job must be done so those who are most qualified should be willing to help.

Finding or selecting qualified diving judges at championship meets such as the nationals, is seldom a problem. However, it is often very difficult to provide competent judges who have had a competitive diving background or a great deal of judging experience at the less important meets. Naturally, the persons with these ablities should be selected when available but if such persons are not present, then those who are familiar with competitive diving or are familiar with judging other competitions, like gymnastics, should be called upon ,far too often, the diving judges with a limited judging background try too hard to do a satisfactory job. They follow the diving rules so close that they become hypercritical of the divers every move and thus give such low scores that the diver often becomes un- rightfully discouraged. It is suggested that the judges try to recognize the caliber of competition at hand and not judge the children by comparing their efforts with the top performers found in the national championships. The judges should try to realize that these young competitors have spent many hours each day for several months perfecting and practicing their dives with the belief that their efforts will be judged fairly and accurately in competition0 Therefore, the judges should do the best job they can in encouraging the youngsters by giving scores, subject to the level of the competition, which will inspire and encourage them to further pursue their chosen sport. This does not mean that a judge should mislead the diver by giving a high score for any kind of effort but the judge should compare the diver with the other divers in that particular competition, which should allow for a greater variance in scores.

It is believed by this writer that a complete novice or beginner is very capable of executing a dive in competition that would rate a superior score. However rare this may be, it is even more rare to find a judge who is willing to give the competitor the score he so rightfully deserves, this is especially true in the execution of dives requiring a feet first entry. In many age group competitions, the judging is so low that the competitor would receive higher awards if he were competing in the national championship. One of the most serious situations that confronts most diving judges is that of' allowing himself to fall into a rut where his scoring.

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