Sarah Barrow: 'Two double-decker buses and half-a-car...'

Last Updated: 06/06/14 5:13pm

Team GB diver Sarah Barrow will be writing a blog for Sky Sports throughout the year as she travels the world with diving partner Tonia Couch. In her third instalment, Sarah tells us what it's like up there on the 10m board...

I can imagine that being a spectator at a diving competition the dives look pretty effortless and that we love being up on the 10m board doing them.

The reality is a bit different. I know a lot of divers are naturally scared of doing their dives from such a height - 10m is two double decker buses plus half a family car!

I know this because I'm surrounded by it daily - I don't know enough about what goes on down below on springboard but I am sure that a big plank of thick bendy metal coming up past your face is just as terrifying.

Fear is not often shown at a diving competition - by that point the diver should be fairly comfortable with the surroundings, with their dives and relaxed enough to execute them well.

It's in training where you see people suffer and I know some of the team are so scared about a dive that they physically cannot leave the board.

I've had countless conversations with myself on the 10mm board, is it that I cannot or is it that I do not want to leave that board? Do I need to set differently or do I just chuck it off and hope for the best?

There have been occasions where I think I haven't done a dive because I didn't trust my body enough to enter the water without getting 'lost' and ending up being badly hurt.

But is that fear? And how does that fear come about when I have been training that dive for 10 years?

It baffles me. Tom Daley and I go through that - sometimes daily - mostly on twisting dives and on my handstand dive ... which are my best dives!!!

If I really think and try to analyse it, the problem probably starts from a situation outside of the pool - tiredness, pressure, decisions. And that's the problem, THINKING.

There are divers that think too much and there are others just get on with it. For example Tonia, my synchro partner, has never had a problem - she has been scared but never enough for her mind to stop her from diving.

So how do we deal with it? Andy, my coach, has always said to me there are gremlins in my mind controlling what I am thinking - and that I need to get rid of them.

As I have got older, I have learnt to get rid of them easier - if I feel this 'thing' coming on then I know I need to change my mind-set in a way that will put everything to the back of my brain and let my body take care of the dive.

It has taken years to work out how to do that but even then it sometimes doesn't work. It's particularly frustrating for the diver and sometimes embarrassing to have to walk down all of those 10m steps.

Repetition, doing those dives every session enables a diver to become more confident on take-off, therefore hopefully executing them well on entry ... If your brain wants you to take off that is!

I wouldn't say ''I love diving off 10m ", but I do like it. It's more about the thrill of being able to do something well with the feeling of contentment and achievement when I have done well at a competition.

A lot of hard work goes behind a medal with our coaches and a lot of hard work goes into being able to compete well. Diving is about confidence, it's a show.

I pretend to be confident all the time in competition, even if I feel a bit unsure - pretending shows that you are confident.

Next time you watch a competition maybe think about how much thought process goes into each individual dive from each individual person. Would you be confident to jump off a piece of concrete two double decker buses and half a family car high... And land safely?