Springboard diving is an art of diving off a board acrobatically. The diving board is specially designed to give a spring effect to the diver.
‘Falling with style‘! that is what diving is all about, according to the popular movie Toy Story! Diving as a fun sport gained popularity in the 17th century in Europe. Today, people learn to dive either for the adventure, and also to take part in competitions. It is a major Olympic sport and quite popular in many countries. Diving is all about style, strength, performance, and grace.
The basic requirement for a beginner is to be able to swim well. Confidence is another crucial factor. Swimming and diving in deep water is enjoyed by few, but feared by many. A prospective diver must be as comfortable in deep water as in shallow. A healthy, supple, and lean built is always an advantage for a diver.
There are two major lessons to achieve perfection – the mechanics involved in diving and timing of a dive. Springboard dive is performed from a height of 1m and 3m. A beginner starts with a simple dive and goes on to perform more complicated dives. The 3 main phases of mastering a dive are:
- Take-off: Divers can jump facing forwards or backwards. A forward dive can be performed with a short run on the board, while a backward dive is performed by springing from a standing position. The balance, position, and synchronization of body parts determine a good take-off.
- Flight: The flight stage consists of many types depending on the style of the dive adopted by diver in the air. Different positions during a flight (after take-off and before entering water) are: straight, pike, tuck, and free position.
- Entry in the Pool:The most important aspect of a good entry is the splashing of minimum water during the dive. A well performed dive will ‘knife’ the water and not splash it all around. The prerequisite of a perfect entry is a properly aligned body with the arms outstretched above the head and the feet straight in line with the body.
Types and Techniques of Springboard Diving
There are six types of dives one must know to achieve springboard diving perfection.
- Forward: The diver faces the front and spins in the direction of the water.
- Backward: Here, the diver spins away from the board with his back towards the water.
- Reverse: In a reverse dive, the diver faces the front of the board and spins inwards in the direction of the board.
- Inward: This type is the opposite of a backward dive. The back of the diver faces towards the water and the diver spins towards the board.
- Twisting: It is the dive with many different styles. Any number of twists and turns can be incorporated into it while diving.
- Arm Stand: A very special type of dive that involves hand standing balancing the body on one’s hands) on the edge of the board and diving.
All the above types can also be performed in synchronization with another diver. This type of diving is called synchronized springboard diving.
Finally, it can be concluded that diving requires a thorough understanding of the technique and procedure involved. Therefore, it is very important to have an expert guidance. A good coach is always recommended to learn diving.
Diving Techniques for Beginners
- Stand in an erect and balanced position; a few steps back from the edge of the diving board.
- Step forward at a normal walking pace. Concentrate on the end of the board and at the same time, keep the head facing up and the body relaxed.
- Swing the arms to get into a forward momentum. Lift one leg up and jump straight up balancing on the other leg.
- Keep the legs straight and together in the air. Raise the arms together on top of the head.
- Jump and land on the edge of the board. Bounce out of the board by jumping forward keeping the eyes fixed on the opposite end of the pool.
- The spring action of the board will propel the diver high into the air. Bend slightly at the waist, keeping both hands parallel together and stretched above the head brushing the ears.
- Pointing the arms towards the water, make an entry in the pool ‘piercing’ the water; arms first followed by rest of the body. The body should be in a perfect streamline position.
Ensure that the water is sufficiently deep before diving. A minimum depth of 9 meters is advisable to avoid getting hurt. Be relaxed and confident and practice regularly to get used to the spring effect of the board. Always propel forward while lifting off the board. Maintain a good balance and control of the body.
The last and most important tip is, to observe good divers and learn from them. He Chong and Guo Jingjing of China, Alexandre Despatie of Canada, Yulia Pakhalina of Russia, are some of the many champion divers who can be watched and followed.
Diving is one of the most exciting ways of unleashing the zestful energy within us. Learning to dive perfectly is a wonderful experience to savor for a lifetime.