I am thrilled to report that W.T. Woodson High School Boy’s Varsity Dive Team won the 2017 Virginia State High School Springboard Dive Team Championships. Conor Casey, a Woodson Junior, lead the boy’s team winning the Individual VA State Diving Championship. Craig Erwin and Matthew McKenzie placed #8 & #11 respectively. Conor is now in contention to be named the top high school diver in the United States. My Girl’s team of Linsdsey Butchko and Oliva Rummel were runner-up team champions for the second straight year. It was an exciting and thrilling competition and season. As a coach, it’s my 19th VA State Team Championship since 1990 between Lake Braddock Secondary School and W.T. Woodson High School varsity dive teams.
Craig Erwin, Rob the dive coach, Conor Casey & Matthew McKenzie
Most of my high school divers train specifically with me one hour and fifteen minutes a day, three days a week. They compete against U.S. divers who train three to four hours a day, three to five days every week. I don’t get a lot of time to work with my athletes. So I have to cut through all of the nonsense. I have to make something great happen in a matter of hours, knowing that the U.S. coaches have months with their high school divers on the club teams outside of the high school time. There are no feelings nor emotions when it comes to learning a sport. The science has already been done. Those athletes that are trying to FEEL their way to excellence are going to have a terribly painful and long journey. Those athletes that humble themselves and understand and embrace that the laws of science are greater than their emotional experiences, are going to excel and soar to new and greater heights.
I recognize I am asking a lot from my athletes, but I know it can be done. I know dramatic change and growth can happen immediately. I have seen it happen over and over again throughout my 32 years of coaching. But even though progress is achieved and I can get an athlete to a new plateau of excellence, there is no stopping to celebrate. We don’t have the time to stop. I have to continue moving the athlete upward and forward every day until the last day of the season. The VA State Championship Meet is one of the toughest high school championship meets in the country to compete in. If we want to be the champions, then there is a lot of hard work to get the divers ready to compete at the highest level.
At the Championship Meets it’s fascinating to watch the various athletes compete against one another. The top divers, the best of the best, are all humble athletes. It’s an astonishing phenomena. They listen to and respect their coaches. They become a great encouragement to all of those around them, even their opponents. Although they have every reason to be cocky and full of themselves, they’re nothing like that.
Then you have those athletes who have some talent. They have been able to go far with relative ease, no stress, and little work and effort. But when it comes to competing with the top tier, there is no comparison. They fall short of that level. Just about all of these athletes believe in the hype others tell them about how great they are. They don’t listen to their coaches because they think they know more than their coaches. If they lose, it’s not because the others are better. It’s because they “were off.” And they believe that, too. So, they never really improve and stay the same. In their minds, they’re already at the top.
Then, there is the group of hungry, young divers. They have had to work exceptionally hard for all of their success. They are humble, respectful and willing to work and change and do whatever they have to do to be the best they can be. It is their very willingness to change and grow that has made them strong. They beat the naturally gifted individuals because of it. It’s from this group where the elite athletes come from. And it’s from this group that comes the WTW Dive Team.
Rob’s Coaching Record:
1985 to present:
Win/Loss Record between the following two high schools I have coached: Lake Braddock Secondary School (1985 through 1999) & WT Woodson (2001 to present)
354 wins 32 losses (Most of these losses happened between 1985 through 1989 when I was building up the program)
19 Virginia State Team Championships
19 Northern Region Team Championships
35 Conference Team Championships
From 2001 to 2017 I have had four different individual VA Numerous individual VA HIGH SCHOOL STATE CHAMPIONS and numerous All American divers
Every day I am at dive practice, I am there to change the diving world. I know, to some, it sounds silly, but I believe it to my core. Every day I work to stretch the imaginations of the athletes I work with. It takes hard work to to get a person to see just how great they can be and then move them to believe they can become a champion. It takes a powerful vision & energy to make something great happen out of something that once was not there. It takes a non-wavering conviction that monumental change can happen within the limited time that I have to work with my athletes.
I have learned a great deal about life from coaching the sport of springboard diving. If it wasn’t for my 32 years of coaching the sport of diving, the RJ TENNIS BOOT CAMP® program would never have come about.
Changing The Tennis World
– RJ TENNIS BOOT CAMP® –
Just like in diving, everyday that I am coaching on the tennis courts or working behind the scenes in the RJT Command Center, I firmly believe I am working to change the tennis world. When I am coaching, there are no feelings or emotions. The science has already been done. I have to work hard to get my clients to void themselves of their feelings and emotional experiences on the tennis courts. Once I can cut through this non-sense, real change and growth can happen. I know, because I have seen it happen.
It’s my vision to motivate, challenge and inspire my RJT clients to hit like Roger Federer or Serena Williams–that is to be fearless in their efforts. When Roger and Serena train, they train to be the best that they can be. They didn’t tap and dink their way to the top. Every day they have to work to find that source of strength that is within them. And from there they hit that tennis ball with conviction and determination! Most people don’t even know the depth of inner strength that lies deep within themselves. When I am coaching, it’s my job to help my clients learn where to find that inner strength is and then to allow them that opportunity to explore their new found strength.
Throughout the years I have worked with numerous adults and have sometimes wanted to fall asleep watching them play. For some reason they have bought into this belief that their mediocre efforts are the best that they are capable of playing. One night recently, one of my former divers, who is now 30 years old, participated in one of my RJT clinics. This group was terribly uninspiring, completely lacking passion. I couldn’t take it any more. I called the two tennis courts of players together and gave them one of my “pep talks!”
“My Grandmother, can hit harder than all of you. She can run faster and run down these tennis balls quicker than you and she uses a walker! She even turns and steps into her volleys with her whole body! Not one of you is playing even close to what you’re physically and emotionally capable of playing. I am watching completely uninspiring tennis tonight. I would rather have you take a chance and play to your absolute best and lose, than for you to be full of pride that you dinked the tennis ball to victory. Now, stop playing like this and do what I know you’re capable of doing!”
Daniel, my diver, had heard it all before and was smiling, as I was rather animated in my talk. As we were walking toward the baseline after my “pep talk,” to start anew, he asked me, “How old were you when you no longer cared what people thought of you?” I burst out laughing. I told him, “Watch and see how everyone plays now.” From that moment on, the group started playing this game called TENNIS! The points were immediately engaging, dynamic, powerful, fast & high quality. The entire energy of the two tennis courts became palpable. Shouting, laughing, hearts pounds with exhilaration. Same players, suddenly better players.
Excellence takes real work and effort. It doesn’t just happen. This is what the RJ TENNIS BOOT CAMP® program is about.
I want to motivate, challenge and inspire you to play the game of tennis in the same way you aspire to live your life. Stop going through the motions. Listen to the RJT Coaches when they are telling you that you have to turn your shoulder and step into that volley, you have to get low, you have to accelerate and follow through on that forehand, drop your legs, hit that ball, run, run, run. Don’t tune them out with the attitude, “well, he doesn’t know that I win my matches.” Maybe you do, at the level you are at now. But, if you want to jump to the next rating level, what you are doing now isn’t going to work at a higher level. They will crush you. So, plug yourself in. Really listen. Really make the effort. If it’s uncomfortable to hit that way or serve that way, then you know you are actually making changes.
RJ TENNIS® is about motivating, challenging and inspiring you to play the game of tennis in the same way you aspire to live your life. Below is the link to the NEW 2017 Adult Spring Schedule at The Four Seasons Tennis Club. I look forward to the opportunity of serving you in the new season.
Rob the tennis coach, spring board dive coach & life coach
Director of Adult Tennis @ The Four Seasons Tennis Club