The Importance of Pointed Toes in Diving
Learning how to correctly point your toes in diving is very important. A proper toe point is one of the many small details in diving that combine to make the sport so impressive. A good toe point is the finishing touch: It makes a dive appear graceful and beautiful.
In order to get great scores, you need to have a great toe point. Below, learn exactly how this small element can make a big impact on your diving.
The Value of a Good Toe Point
The value of a good point cannot be understated. It is an essential element that often goes unnoticed, unless of course, it's missing. In other words, if you perform a beautiful dive and your toes are pointed, the judges will likely not take notice of the toe point. However, if your feet are flexed, it will be immediately noticed and your scores will be affected negatively.
A good toe point has the effect of making a dive look classy and sharp. It won't help you get into a position faster, rotate more quickly, or reduce your splash. It is, however, an essential component to receiving great scores.
How to Point Your Toes
Before you can point your toes, you need to know what properly pointed toes means. The phrase “pointed toes is a misnomer. It actually means pointed feet, not toes. Curling your toes while keeping your foot flat looks quite unattractive during dives.
When your coach says, “Point your toes, he/she wants you to extend your foot from the ankle. You also need to curl your toes, but the most important part of the toe point is your foot — not your toes. Follow these steps to practice a basic toe point:
- Sit on the ground with both your legs out in front of you. Keep your legs straight and flat on the floor.
- With your legs tight and muscles flexed, place the heels of your feet on the ground.
- Bend both your feet towards the ground. Bend at the ankle, and keep your heels on the ground.
- While keeping both legs straight, try and get your toes to touch the ground.
- The middle of your foot should be in an arch above the floor: Both your heel and toe should touch the ground.
- If you can't get your toes to the floor without bending your legs, only go as far as you can with your legs straight.
Keep Legs Together
Another important element that goes right along with pointing your toes is form. A beautiful toe point won't help much if your knees are bent or your legs are apart. The overall impression of the dive is what a judge looks at.
When you bend your foot and curl your toes, you will occasionally get a toe cramp. This is very painful! If you have a cramp, get to the side of the pool and grab your foot with your hands. Massage the ball of your foot, and gently flex the muscles in your foot and lower leg. These techniques should relieve the cramp fairly quickly.
When you think about a good toe point, try to see it from a judge's perspective. A judge will view the dive from the side of the pool deck. When you enter the water, the judge will only see your profile and thus they should not see two separate legs enter the water. Your legs should be squeezed together so tightly and with such a strong toe point, that it appears to the judge that just one leg is entering the water.
Good form, including a solid toe point, will lend to the overall impression of the dive. This is a significant factor in receiving additional points to your score.
A good toe point is a simple element to competitive diving. It often goes unnoticed, but its absence is very obvious. Every time your body leaves the springboard or platform — in the hurdle, back press, or air — your toes should be pointed. If you practice this skill regularly, it will quickly become a good habit that will give you a competitive advantage over your opponent.