Tom Daley to enlist psychologist over 10m diving issues

By Nick HopeBBC Olympic sports reporter in Barcelona
Tom Daley
Tom Daley

Olympic bronze medallist Tom Daley says he will consult a psychologist in a bid to overcome his issues diving from 10m.

He finished sixth in the 10m platform World Championship final, having suffered a recurrence of an arm injury.

The Briton, 19, was in contention for a medal in Barcelona, but a poor routine in the piked position ended his hopes.

"I can't concentrate on that dive properly and I panic," he said. "I'll probably have to learn it from scratch by taking it right back to basics."

Daley's specific issue is with the backwards 2.5 somersault with 2.5 twists routine in the piked position.

He opened the London Olympic final with it, but had to re-take it after camera flashes impeded his initial effort, eventually clinching bronze.

"Ever since the Olympics, I've had a massive struggle on that dive," said Daley. "But I'm going to be working with our sports psychologists and with Andy [Banks, his coach] to devise a plan to get back on track."

Leon Taylor, the 2004 Olympic silver medallist, mentored Daley through his early years and taught him the routine after inventing it in 1998.

"I call it 'paralysis by analysis' and he needs to strip everything back," Taylor told BBC Sport.

"A psychologist will help, as will some time off to rest. With time, he'll overcome the problem."

After tearing his right triceps muscle for the third time in his career, Daley revealed he needed a series of painkillers and an injected anaesthetic to get him through Sunday's final.

"If this wasn't the World Championships, I wouldn't have dived at all," he said. "Normally it takes six weeks to be able to back face first off the 10m again and I did it in 24 hours.

"It throbs all the time and is really painful. I can't even straighten my arm, so I just had to grit my teeth and try to hold out, but every time I was hitting the water I was just collapsing."

Injured Daley battles to sixth

Taylor feels the diver is now entering a new phase in his career.

"He's dived from 10m since the age of 11 and he's now 19, so gone are the days where he will feel like rubber," he said.

"It is a high-impact sport and most divers have areas of concern."

British Diving performance director Alexei Evangulov said Daley was a "hero" after reaching the world final under such conditions.

The Russian is unsure whether Daley can reproduce dives of the same difficulty as two-time world champion Qui Bo, who won on Sunday, but insists they have a different strategy for success at Rio 2016.

He said: "Our plan with Tom is to improve his quality, so he has flawless technique and is able to score 9.5s and 10s consistently. We want technical improvements so he is more athletically beautiful."

Daley will now be given a complete break until the beginning of October, but is likely to work with a physiotherapist every day to aid his recovery.


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