Tips for Control in Diving
The importance of control in diving cannot be understated. Control is what makes divers perform multiple flips above the water, and then enter the water gracefully with minimal splash. In order to accomplish control, a diver must work at it continually.
There are three important ways to gain the control that it is needed in diving. Below are details of each, and how you can incorporate them into your daily workout.
1. Stomach Control
The key to control in diving is strong stomach muscles. This area of the body is responsible for providing proper posture, as well as control over other muscles and movements in your body. Here are three exercises you can work on daily to get your core into shape.
Tuck & Pike-ups
This important exercise works both the lower and upper stomach muscles. Lie down on the ground and simultaneously lift your lower and upper body to meet at the middle. In tuck-ups, you simulate a tuck position at the top of the crunch. With pike-ups, you simulate the pike position. Do at least 10 of each before every workout. To get a better understanding of this exercise, take a look at the diving guide: The Importance of Stretching in Diving.
Pike holds give you strong stomach muscles as well as control in the lower half of your body. In order to perform this move, you will need a bar that is — depending on your height — six to seven feet off the ground. It should be high enough that your feet don't touch the ground when you hang from the bar.
If your core is pulled in tightly, you will stand up straighter and have better posture. Similarly, strong stomach muscles will benefit you in regards to balance. If your core is tight, you'll be less likely to lose your balance.
Grip the bar tightly with your hands and hang. Keep the lower half of your body still and lifted off the ground. Bring your legs up to your face with as much control as you can muster. Keep your legs straight and toes pointed. When you get into a solid pike position, slowly lower your legs back to the resting position. Do not let your legs swing at the bottom, as this takes away from the control you are working on. Try to do a set of five pike holds.
Front & Back Falls
Forward and backward line-ups off the 3-meter springboard and platform will help you maintain strong stomach muscles. In order to line up your body vertically and achieve the “rip entry, you need to have a tight core and a tight body while entering the water. Start every practice with a set of five forward and backward falls: Concentrate on your core, flat-hand grab, and entry.
2. Takeoff Control
In order to have control of your dives, you must have control of your takeoffs. This applies to both springboard and platform diving.
To master a springboard takeoff, you need to control the diving board. You must know where the fulcrum should rest for each of your dives, and how to get the maximum height from the board.
This is an art form, and takes years to perfect. Every practice should begin with boardwork skills. Learning to perfect your hurdle and ride the board will go a long way in gaining control of your dives. Here are a few ways to help you accomplish this:
- Springboard jumps: Bounce the board several times before each workout. Work on your hurdles and back presses. Jump and perform simple dives into the water. This will help you gain the control you need in both your forward and backward takeoffs.
- Fulcrum setting: The fulcrum is an adjustable wheel that sits under the board. It adjusts the board's flexibility. The proper setting will vary depending on your weight and body size. During practice, try adjusting the fulcrum until you find the setting that is right for you.
Platform does not require the timing that springboard diving demands. However, in order to have good control off the platform, you need to have the proper body positioning on your takeoff. Your body should be vertical, without too much of a lean (forwards or backwards). Your head should be lifted on takeoff. Make sure you take a strong jump up and away from the tower. A lack of control off the platform can have disastrous results.
3. Visual Spotting Control
The last component of control is the ability to spot throughout your dive. You have to know exactly where your body is in order for you to complete a dive successfully. Once you know where you are, you will have better control of your dive.
Spotting takes the guess work out of the dive: You will know exactly where you are in relation to the water. This component not only provides control within the dive, it also gives you a sense of confidence. To get more information on how to master this skill, take a look at iSport's diving guide, How to Visually Spot in Diving.
If you concentrate on practicing control within your diving, you will see a huge increase in your diving ability. Dives will be become easier to complete, and more fun to practice. Focus on the three tips above — stomach control, takeoff, and spotting — and you will quickly see a boost to your success in the sport of diving.