Diving: Tom Daley – Too Much Too Young?

It wasn’t long after Blake Aldridge and Tom Daley, were out of the diving pool that the recriminations began. Aldridge accused Daley of nerves and under-performance. Questions were asked of Aldridge’s focus, as he called his mother between dives. Insiders spoke of the body language between the British pair, being wrong.

But all of this should come as no surprise. In the build up to these Olympics, it was as if Tom Daley had become the Wayne Rooney of diving. The child prodigy, waiting to take the world by storm. His face was frequently highlighted on the big screen during the Olympic opening ceremony.

None of this is Tom Daley’s fault. He is simply a boy who loves diving. However, the persistent media attention, brings pressure and expectancy. The eyes of the world are on you. Suddenly, you have a reputation to live up to. And there is very little in your experience that can prepare you for it.

If you are not careful, you dive to prove that you are as good as your reputation. Which affects natural timings and flow. It loads the nerves and affects the focus. As well as loading pressure onto your partner. Blake Aldridge and Tom Daley, were thrust into the national limelight.

It was a place they were not quite ready for. It would have taken plenty of hard-won experience to handle the pressures of such Olympic expectation. There should be no blame. Only quiet reflection, learning and understanding.

Posted in Diving Psychology, Sports Psychology Blog.