How to Do a Back Dive Tuck
Although it is difficult, it is also a valuable skill to have: Once you learn it, you can easily transfer the mechanics of the dive into more advanced skills. Below are some tips that will help you learn the control necessary to do this dive successfully.
Before diving it is always smart to do some type of warm up. This includes some cardiovascular activity and some stretching. Preparing your body will not only help you prevent injuries, it will also enhance your performance, decrease stress levels, and (perhaps obviously) loosen tight muscles.
Prepare for the Dive
Once you have completed your warm up, it is a good idea to prepare for the dive. Make sure a qualified coach is present and guiding you throughout the move. Once he/she is present, here are a few good ways to prepare for the dive:
One of the best ways to prepare for this dive is on the trampoline. Remember that whenever you try the trampoline, you should have a qualified coach present to spot you.
The tuck position in a back dive is harder to learn than the layout position. However, the tuck position is far better at teaching you some primary skills. First, this position forces you to control your body in the air. Second, it trains you how to kick out and enter the water in a backward motion dive or somersault.
- Stand in place, and do a back jump with the intention of landing on your back on the trampoline bed.
- In your jump, bring your knees to your chest into a tuck position.
- Grab the tuck only momentarily and kick your legs out to a 45 degree angle in the air and land on your back.
From the side of the pool deck, do a back jump tuck into the water. Try to land in the water at a slight angle. Move the jump from the deck up to the 1-meter diving board. Once you have completed a set of jumps (three to five), it is time to try the dive.
As with all back motion dives, this dive starts with the back press:
- Stand backwards on the tip of the 1-meter diving board with your heels hanging off the board, and your arms down at the sides of your body.
- Make sure your body is in a vertical line with your shoulders directly over your hips.
- Keep your head neutral and start rocking the board.
- Raise your arms above your head, and circle them behind your body.
- When your arms are back above your head, you are ready for the takeoff.
The takeoff on this dive is important: It will be the difference between a dive that is out of control and one that is in control. The main focus in the takeoff is the mechanics in the air. Here is the way to pull it off:
It is important to remember that your head position will direct the dive. If you pull your head back too hard on the takeoff, the dive will over rotate. If you pull your head back towards the water too early in the dive, your legs will drop, your back will arch, and you will be short of vertical. Keep your head neutral in the takeoff and tuck position in order to obtain the control needed for this dive.
- After the back press, your arms should be swinging through in a circle and finishing above your head.
- Jump up and away from the board, with your body at a slight backwards angle.
- Keep your arms narrow and near your ears in the jump.
- Pick a spot at the back of the board and focus on it, keeping your head neutral and in position.
- Prepare to bring your knees into the tuck position.
Once you are in the air, with your arms up narrow by your ears, and your head neutral — it is time to start the tuck position.
- Keep the upper half of your body stable and bring your knees up to your chest.
- Reach down and lightly grab your shins.
- Make sure you keep your head in the neutral position — do not pull back and look for the water.
The tuck position in the air is very quick. You don't want to grab your knees and hold on as you would for a back flip. Lightly grab your shins and get ready for the kick-out.
Kick-out & Entry
The kick-out of a back dive tuck is forceful. The legs need to extend into a straight position in order to stop the rotation of the dive.
- In the tuck position, strongly kick your legs out into a 45 degree angle above the board.
- Unfold only the upper half of your body and look back for the water. Keep your legs in that 45 degree angle.
- Drag your arms up the center of your body and extend them over your head.
- Grab your hands in the flat-hand position and prepare to enter the water.
You should enter the water at a slight angle, just shy of vertical. Make sure your body is tight upon entry — especially your stomach muscles — as you might have a slight arch in your back. Once you learn a back dive tuck, you should practice it on the 1-meter and 3-meter boards to gain control.
Control the Dive
To perform this dive successfully, you are forced to control your body on the takeoff and in the air. Learning this control is one of the hardest parts of successful diving. It takes a while to gain success with this dive, but once you do, it will benefit your diving performance significantly.