An important aspect of competition is the ability to compete well at different facilities. While many divers do find themselves with a home pool advantage when they have a meet at their training facility, more often than not they must travel on a regular basis.
Different boards, staying in a hotel, unfamiliar surroundings – all of these factors can put a diver at a disadvantage if they are not accustomed to change. One facet of this change involves being able to dive at both indoor and outdoor facilities. And trust me, there are differences.
Indoor vs. Outdoor
For the unaccustomed athlete, diving outdoors can make a diver feel almost naked, when they stand on a springboard or tower and look out to the countryside (ever been to Moultrie?). And on a hot, sunny summer day, the sun can be brutal.
Many other divers, who spend most of their time indoors, may feel claustrophobic in a small indoor pool or natatorium. Many times the clammy atmosphere of a natatorium can really take a toll on a diver’s mental state.
Lighting, background, the feel of the water, the sunshine (or lack of) – all can be dramatically different when moving from an indoor pool to an outside facility, and vice versa.
Spotting Inside and Out
The most obvious difference between indoor and outdoor pools is the visual clues that present themselves to the diver allowing them to spot correctly during their dives.
This is especially important when a diver becomes accustomed to seeing one particular set of clues over the course of a year, and is suddenly faced with a different environment.
A diver accustomed to the ceiling and walls of an indoor pool suddenly must look at trees and sky when spotting. A diver who moves indoors may feel like the ceiling and the pool bottom are all the same color, or may not be able to distinguish between the springboard and wall while spinning through 2 ½ somersaults.
The weather, especially rain and wind, are also two factors than can affect a diver after coming from the relatively controlled environment of an indoor pool. Diving meets do not pause due to the elements, unless the situation becomes dangerous (lightning, hurricanes, tornados, etc.).
If a diver is prepared for these "X-factors," they stand a better chance of coming out ahead of the competition.