Five Strategies All Good Divers Know
The sport of diving is fairly simple. The main objectives are consistency and trying to score the highest number of points you can per dive. In order to accomplish these simple tasks, you must devote serious time and effort. But as any good diver knows, there are some tricks that can help you accomplish your tasks in less time. Below are five strategies that all good divers should consider implementing.
1. Boardwork & Takeoffs
One of the most important skills in diving is the ability to master your takeoff off the board. A good takeoff will give you the height, control, and speed you need to perform your best. To hone this skill, focus on these areas:
- Dryland training: Practice hurdles, lunges, and jumps on dryland. This includes jumping rope, trampoline work, and dryboard hurdles. Concentrate on your posture, leg positions, foot work, and arm positioning in your jumps. A strong takeoff with proper body positioning will benefit all divers.
- Weight room: Work in the weight room getting your legs strong and powerful. Work on your quad muscles, hamstrings, calves, and ankle strength. Having strong legs will help you exit the springboard or platform with power.
Focusing on getting your takeoff the best it can be is a great strategy to improving your diving skills.
The importance of a good entry cannot be overlooked. Achieving good entries is a skill that all good divers spend hours practicing to perfect. To focus on getting a great entry, work on the following dryland and water skills:
- Dryland: Before you get into the water, practice your entry position before each dive. Stretch your arms tight above your head, and practice your swim-saves on the pool deck. Make these dryland drills a part of your daily routine.
- Lineups: Once in the pool, work on your lineups every day and practice your swim-saves consistently. Knowing how to save a dive that is going over — making it appear vertical and clean upon entry— is a skill that will help any diver advance through the sport. To get a better idea of how to do a swim-save, take a look at the iSport guide How to Do an Underwater Save in Diving.
Although a judge will score the entire dive — not just the entry — dives with a good entry will definitely score higher than those without!
Learn how to spot so you know exactly where you are in the air. Once you know your position in the air, you can consistently land on your head — an absolute must in order to rip an entry! To get more information on this important skill, take a look at the iSport guide How to Visually Spot in Diving.
Any good diver can tell you, one way to gain an advantage in a competition is to focus on your form. Knowing how to put the finishing touch to a dive will help you stand out from the competition, and having immaculate form is a great way to do just that.
Keep your legs straight when needed, tucked tightly when required, and your toes pointed at all times. Good posture and form will help you look polished when on the diving board and in the air. If you can concentrate on keeping immaculate form, your diving presence will shine and your scores will be the evidence of your effort.
4. Hide Flaws
Good divers know how to hide their flaws and exemplify their strengths. It is important to choose positions and dives that work best for you. Here are few things to consider in regards to your strengths and your weaknesses.
- Dive position: Know the dive position that works best for you. If your form or lines are not your strength, choose either tuck or pike positions. The simple motion of initiating a tuck or pike position in a dive will distract a judge from obvious errors.
- Spin: If you are not a fast spinner, try to do dives in the tuck position. Tuck will spin quicker than pike, and will make the dive appear faster.
- Flexibility: If flexibility is a problem for you — especially in a tight pike position — make sure you grab your pike under your knees and calves. If you wrap your arms around your knees and get your chest down to your legs, a slight knee-bend will not be noticed from the side of the pool… where the judges are sitting.
5. DD & Quality
If you choose a layout position in a dive, your entire dive will be clearly seen by the judges. You will need to make sure your position, height, and distance are all perfect. Any imperfections will be noticed!
Know the difference between diving to impress, and diving to win! If you are diving to impress, you may choose more difficult flipping and twisting dives that carry a higher degree of difficulty (DD). But when you dive to win, you will often choose the more consistent and less risky dives.
As your diving skills increase, you will want to increase your DD by performing harder dives. But if you have just learned a dive and are not yet consistent in performing it, you'd be better off choosing the easier dive to score higher. Take a look at this comparison:
- 105B: Forward two and a half somersaults pike on 3-meter; DD 2.4. If you score 6s, you will earn 43.2 points.
- 107C: Forward three and a half somersaults tuck on 3-meter; DD 2.8. If you score 4s, you will earn 33.6 points.
So what is the lesson? Choose a dive that you can perform consistently (even if it has a lower DD) in order to excel at your meet!
Diving is a simple sport. The more you practice, the better you become. If you can focus on the five strategies detailed above, your diving will become easier, and you will do better at competitions. Diving really is a game of strategy. Use the advice above and have fun reaching you scoring potential!