Findings from a new study suggest that facilities that bar patrons from performing certain types of dives aren’t necessarily curbing injuries among kids.
Dr. Dave Williams and Louise Odin of the School of Psychology and Sports Sciences at the University of Hertfordshire in England surveyed 20 public pools in the U.K. to determine if there was a link between the strictness of diving regulations and the number of associated injuries.
They concluded that there was no correlation, leading them to believe that divers tend to be pretty good about regulating their own behavior.
"The policy of permitting some dive forms, while banning others in public diving sessions, may be less effective than imagined because it may overlook people’s natural tendency to attempt only that which they feel reasonably capable of achieving based upon their past experience,” said Dr. Williams, a senior lecturer in psychology.
The study not only questions the effectiveness of such rules, it goes on to say that they may even deprive young people the opportunity to face their fears in a supportive setting. It also found that more experienced divers, such as those who belong to a club, would like to be allowed to practice more dive forms than are currently allowed.
However, the authors acknowledge that the study is limited and that it would be premature for pool managers to revise rules based on their research.
The takeaway: Don’t take down that “No Backflips!” sign just yet.