A solid platform diving guide combines the science of rotation and inertia with the art of jumping off a 16-foot long board. Whether in competition or training, there is a lot more than meets the eye when discussing platform diving. Guide readers should be prepared to practice seemingly isolated moves until perfected.
Before taking advantage of this platform diving guide, get ready with the following:
- Competition platform
- Practice area
- Spotter or coach
When the preparatory steps are completed, it is time to get started.
- Warm up prior to diving. Jumping jacks get the blood pumping and some simple stretching exercises prevent back pain later on.
- Check to see the pool’s bottom. Gauge the water depth and ensure that it is sufficiently deep for the exercise. If the water is so cloudy that the bottom is not easily visible, do not dive.
- Stand straight at the edge of the board. Whether preparing for a somersault or tuck, this platform diving guide urges the athlete to stand perfectly erect with the arms straight down the sides. This puts the body at attention for the moves to follow.
- Jump flat feet first. A standing jump may not score any points in competition but it acclimates a novice with the diving experience and also the safety of the water’s depth. From a psychological point of view, this portion of the platform diving guide is a must.
- Gauge the hurdle step by the direction of the board. A somewhat upward facing board does not add a lot of distance to a jump. On the flip-side, a board with a downward facing tip can indeed insert quite a bit of give during takeoff. Occasionally one side of the board will point lower than the other; when practicing, make up for this flaw with the help of the hurdle step.
- Time the jump for the fourth step. In competition, a missed step results in a two-point deduction.
- Jump after having both feet on the board. This is tricky when relying on a one-foot takeoff for maximum air. It requires the athlete to not only time the hurdle step just right but also seamlessly move into a one-legged jump without halting the progress. It takes a lot of practice to get this one right.
- Maintain form throughout the dive. Point the toes and be sure to face the water in an appropriate manner. For example, a backward lift-off should not see the diver facing the water while in the forward version it is an absolute must.
Following this platform diving guide is difficult without help. Work with a coach or spotter who offers feedback and points out errors in timing and form. As a last resort consider installing a camera to capture the dives. The downside of this approach is the fact that the athlete may practice a jump incorrectly until taking the time to review the footage.