Springboard and Platform Diving/front somersaults

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Question
I have a diver who's suddenly struggling on the basics. Before, she had no problems on fronts and was doing 1 1/2s and leadups to doubles. However, right now she developed problems with her fronts because she's throwing the dive slightly off center and ducking her head to the left just a little bit as she comes off the board. Because of that, she can't get the full rotations in and ends up with a really slow somersault. I've tried tons of drills, but it seems to have developed into an incredibly frustrating mental block. Any tips on how to fix this or drills I can try to get her back on track? Thanks!

Answer
Arianna -

I'll do the best I can with the information you have provided. Because I do not know the age and experience level of the diver or what drills you have tried, some of these suggestions you might have already tried.

When I have a diver who is relatively new to diving with this type of problem, I always return to the fundamental skills I had the diver do to learn to somersault. I put them back on a simple tumbling mat and ask them to do a front roll making sure their head does not contact the mat when they start the roll. If the diver ducks their head to the left like you say she does, then I keep having them practice the front roll until the head stays in line with a 'neutral' head position.

The next thing I have them do is a standing front somersault off of a one meter platform. They stand with their arms over their head and with no arm circle, practice 'push, throw, spin and stick it' drills. If the head turns back to the left, they go back to the mat and practice the front roll again. This drill off the one meter platform also helps them figure out how to spin faster because they have to create more rotational force than on a board. If you do not have a one meter platform, you can create one by using gymnastic stack mats to a height a few feet high off the deck. Place a towel on the end of the top mat to prevent slipping and also stand close by to make sure she does it safely. If you do not have mats, just use the side of the pool.

When you have the somersault corrected, I then have them do a lot of front dives tuck on the springboard to practice the correct kick out. Finally, I have them put the two skills together and perform correct front 1 & 1/2's that go in straight.

I would only do lead-ups for front doubles after the problem is corrected. Using dry land equipment like tramps and dry boards with over head spotting rigs can really help speed up this process. I answered this question based on you not having access to this type of equipment.

Good luck. Hope all this helps.

Springboard and Platform Diving

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Tom Trapp

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I can answer any questions pertaining to all levels of springboard and platform diving including : beginner lessons, intermediate, advanced, high school, Junior Olympic, AAU, Masters (Adult), Collegiate and Senior diving. Questions about training, technique, competitions, dryland training including trampoline and dry board.I can answer questions about how to judge/referee diving events.Also questions about how run, direct and administrate all different types of diving meets from novice events through Olympic Trials.I am also available as a consultant and expert witness for legal cases involving diving. I cannot answer questions about swimming (how to dive off a starting block) or SCUBA diving.

Experience

3 time U.S. Diving National Team Coach. Coached World, International and National Junior Olympic individual and team champions. Collegiate level experience (Junior College and Division I).Chairman, U. S. Diving Region 10 and Northern California Diving Associations. Professional diving referee, judge and meet director including U.S. Diving Junior and Senior Nationals, National Qualifying events and Division I collegiate events including the 2010 Men's NCAA Division I Diving Championships. Head Referee for the Big 12 and ACC Conference Diving Championships.Competition Director for past NCAA Men's Division I Nationals and numerous Pac 10 Conference Championships.In 2010, attended the FINA Junior Olympic World Diving Championships to take the International Judging Certification Class which was successfull completed.

Organizations
U.S. Diving. AAU Diving. Professional Diving Coaches Association. FINA.

Education/Credentials
B.S. in Recreation and California Teaching Credential in Physical Education/Aquatics. U.S. Diving Safety Certified Coach.

Awards and Honors
U.S. Diving National Award of Excellence. Northern California Diving Association Coach of the Year. U.S. Diving Region 10 Coach of the Year

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