Boys diving team develops mental aspect of sport

Ani Mathison, Staff Writer

In sports such as hockey or soccer, the physicality of the sport is seen as the hardest part of it. However, according to members of the boys diving team, diving is more of a mental sport, and getting past certain mental barriers can pose challenges.

The boys diving team currently consists of three members: juniors Bobby Stitt and Sam Pollak and the captain, senior Nick Shlosman.

The team has a new coach this year, Gretchen Lima. Lima has been diving since she was fifteen years old, and she dove in college.

“Diving’s my passion; it’s my favorite sport,” Lima said. “It’s really rewarding, especially when they learn new dives. I really like coaching high school because of that aspect, I get new kids in every year who try it for the first time, and it’s a lot of fun to get them all the dives that they need and watch them improve throughout the year.”

According to Stitt, Lima’s coaching style is a welcome change.

“She tries to get us so that each individual dive is better, whereas our old coach just tried to get us through as many dives as possible,” Stitt said. “I like her method better.”

Shlosman said trusting your coach is especially important for diving.

“Diving coaches try to push their divers, they try to get them to try new things a lot and progress what they learn,” Shlosman said. “It’s more of putting your trust into knowing that your coach understands what you can do and what you can’t do.”

According to Pollak, diving is not so much a physical sport as it is a mental one.

“It takes a lot of mental capacity and mental strength and motivation to get through the dives,” Pollak said. “I think the biggest part about diving isn’t the physical capability, it’s the mental capability, and I think getting past that mental block is my favorite part.”

Stitt said that the pressure during competitions also adds to the mental difficulty of diving.

“When you’re in a competition, the whole meet stops so that everyone can come around and watch you dive,” Stitt said. “And you have to be completely silent when someone is diving, so mentally you have to be able to perform under that pressure. And at practices, you know that people are going to be watching you when you dive.”

Shlosman said there are unique aspects of diving that make the sport challenging.

“Especially just learning new things in the air can be really disorienting and really scary, especially when you belly-flop,” Shlosman said. “Not knowing where you are, it’s a scary feeling.”

According to Shlosman, seeing success over time makes diving rewarding.

“It’s a sport where you build off what you know,” Shlosman said. “It’s a very progressive thing. And over time you get to see how much effort has gone into it, because it’s about how advanced you get and how far you can get.”

As for the school’s attitude towards the team, Pollak said he believes it could be improved.

“Diving is a really fun sport to watch, and I’m sure a lot of people would love it once they know what it’s about,” Pollak said.

Lima said she looks forward to seeing where the team will go next.

“I’m really excited to see what they have to do at the end of the year,” Lima said. “I know that it’s gonna be leaps and bounds from where they’re at right now than where they’ll be come February. That’s the biggest thing. I’m super excited, and I know they’re going be way better by the end of the season.”