Don’t balk, ever! Ok, that may be a bit of an over-simplification, but the point is if you balk in practice you will balk in a meet. And if you don't balk, your dive probably will be effected. First though, what is a balk?
What Is A Balk
A balk, for our purposes here, is defined as any time during practice or training that a diver stops before the takeoff. It can take place on a forward approach, or a back press, on springboard or on platform.
Why Might A Diver Balk?
A diver may stop because someone is talking to them, the hurdle doesn't feel right, their toes are over the end of the board, the planets are out of alignment - the excuses are endless!
The bottom line is that each time a diver stops during a dive in practice they reinforce the belief that they can do that every time something is not “perfect.” They give themselves the chance for a “do over.” Unfortunately, there are no “do overs” in a meet. You get one chance and that is it.
There Is No Such Thing As Perfect
In diving, nothing is ever perfect. And that includes an approach and hurdle. There will always be something that just isn't right. But as a diver you need to be able to deal with these subtle problems. That means going on a takeoff that isn't perfect.
Don’t be the diver that balks three times before every dive. Be the diver that goes off the board every time, regardless of whether you are leaning forward or back. Each time you do go off the board without that balk, the less and less those little imperfections will bother you.
Now that doesn't mean that you should throw common sense out the window. If you have only one foot on the board, you should probably stop. But don’t develop a habit of stopping every time you walk down the board because your last step was one inch further back than the last hurdle.
What Happens in Practice, Happens in a Meet
A main determinant of success in diving is to be able to do what you do in practice, in a meet. If you are having trouble with a dive before a competition, chances are that you will have trouble with that dive in a meet. If you balk in practice, you may not balk in a meet, but chances are that you will feel uncomfortable not being able to stop, and that will effect the success of your dive.
Practicing without balking creates a confident diver. The more confident a diver, the greater the chance of success in a meet, or competitive environment.
So don’t balk, almost ever!