The Coach's Responsibility
Pool Lifesaving coaches play a vital role in the prevention of injuries to participants in and around the water. Injuries from diving can range from broken teeth and bruising, to severe face, head and spinal injuries. Each year in Australia, 25 individuals become quadriplegics as a result of shallow water diving.
It is the coach’s responsibility to provide a safe training environment, to communicate the innate dangers of diving to participants, and to assist participants in acquiring the skills and technique to dive safely.
Coaches should be aware that although many children are taught safe diving at a young age through the swimming and water safety pathway, coaches may encounter participants that appear to be confident in or around the water but lack knowledge, skill and correct technique selecting and executing safe water entries, including diving.
Guidelines for diving depend on the facility, environment, supervision and skill level of the participant. Coaches constantly need to assess the coaching environment to identify risks and adjust their session, program or coaching style for the safety of participants.
As a rule, for the purpose of coaching and training, dive starts from a pool concourse may be practiced in a depth from 1m depending on the type of diving being taught, diving should only be practised with a trained supervisor, and signage should be displayed to indicate that diving is under instruction.
For the venue in which you are coaching, always confirm the specific facility guidelines for safe diving with a senior facility staff member before commencing a session.
Check the list of things coaches should do with respect to diving:
Know the water depth and location of pool floor slopes
Understand facility and aquatic guidelines for coaching diving
Assess participants on their diving ability prior to coaching
Coach diving skills progressively and thoroughly, utilising verbal and visual explanations, demonstrations and repetition, and assessing participants frequently. Make sure swimmers can enter water with control at each step before moving to the next step.
Coach diving in an area segregated from swimming activities and away from stationary objects, i.e. no diving over lane ropes or poles.