Call-Out: In diving, the act where a coach uses a verbal clue to alert the diver when to initiate the kick and stretch for the water.
Many divers need to be called out of dives. Some more than others. Some a lot more than others.
The majority of instances where a diver is "called out" occur when a new dive is being learned, and the diver is unsure or unaccustomed to the amount of spin, and visual references needed to correctly and safely complete the dive.
A call-out can be especially important for younger divers who are learning new dives, have a lack of confidence in their skills, and have not learned to spot visual clues - diving with your eyes closed is not advised!
Make no mistake; there are times when a coach needs to call their diver. It can be important from the standpoint of a diver's confidence, and sometimes the promise of a call is the only thing that stands between learning a dive and reinforcing the bad trait of heading to the hot tub when a new challenge occurs.
But a call is not a panacea, or a replacement for knowing when to kick out of a dive. Often times, a diver will begin to rely on a call too much, using it as a crutch.
At this point, the benefits gained from a call begin to turn into a liability.
What Happens in a Meet
On numerous occasions I have had divers ask for calls when they do not need them. My response is usually the same, "Can I call you during the meet?"
The answer is no.
Practicing dives with a call makes a diver good at …. you guessed it, doing dives with calls. Since you can't use a call in competition, the diver will inevitably set themselves up for failure.
Calling is Not an Exact Science
Here is another reason for divers to learn to exist without calls, and it focuses on the well-being (both mental and physical!) of the diver. Calling is not an exact science.
Every diver is different. Some spin fast, others slow. Some react quickly, others, not so quickly. Some spin fast one day, slow another, and their reaction time is dependent on what they had for breakfast.
Coaches must make the decision to call in the blink of an eye, and even the slightest error (hundredths of a second) can mean the difference between a rip and a smack.
The point is, divers should not count on their coach to give them a perfect call every time they do a dive because, it's just is not going to happen. Now granted, some coaches are better at it than others, but none of us are perfect.
If a diver lacks confidence in their ability, and relies on the coach to call every time a dive is attempted, sooner or later, the coach is going to miss time their call and …. Smack!
Spotting is the Key
As I mentioned before, calls are important. They can help build confidence in diving and are a valuable tool when learning a new dive.
The key is to not let a call turn into a liability. This is where spotting comes into play.
Being able to spot visual references during a dive is a must for every diver. Once learned, a diver can then control what happens in a dive, and lessen a diver's reliance on a coach - and a missed call.
So be very careful when you ask to be called out of a dive, because just like the boy who cried wolf, you never know when a coach might "forget" to call!