Springboard and Platform Diving/Some coaching help


Hi Tom! I'm relatively new to coaching though I've been diving for a while. Two of my divers are getting stuck on some dives. I'm trying to switch one of my girls' back dive from straight to tuck so she can move on to reverses and 203s, but every time she tries to tuck she gets a little scared and ends up taking it over to a flip. Any tips on how to fix this, or just in general about teaching backs and reverses? My second question is about twisters. Any tips on teaching those? Right now she has solid flipping but has a problem getting "lost" in the twisting and spotting. Thanks!

Alex -

The problems your diver is having are common and I'll help the best I can. Just know it is not easy to coach diving over the internet.

When a diver performs a back dive straight in a competitive manner for a long time, learning to switch to tuck is not easy. I do not know if this is true for her but it sounds like it. All divers need to start by doing a back dive straight, just not to perfect it and compete with it. Divers need to learn the back dive tuck early in the learning process.

Here is what I have done to teach a back dive tuck on 1 meter. I am assuming you have no dry land equipment like a tramp or dry board with an overhead rig. If you do, teach it there. If not, use this method. You need access to a folding gymnastic mat. They have 3 panels and when you fold it up, it becomes a 'stack mat' to use on the board. One will do but two are better. Fold the mat(s) up and place them on the tip so the 1 meter becomes about 1.5 meters. Make sure the fulcrum is on '1' because you do not want a springy board. Have the diver sit backwards on the end of the may as far out as they can without falling in. Get in a tight tuck position with the hands on the shins and knees on the shoulders. The diver then rolls slowly backwards until they are upside down and off of the mat. Now the coach shouts 'kick' and the diver kicks out, looks back for the water and teaches with the hands together. This will work if they follow these instructions (and you understand them). After they master this and can do it without you saying anything, they should be able to do from a standing position and perform a competitive back dive tuck.

On twisters, I make sure that the diver can do as straight a front flip as they can. Very little pike at the start and not bent waist after that. On the deck, they need to be able to a jump up with one full twist and land back on their feet without falling down. Some coaches do this off the side and into the water but I use the deck method because I think it is safer. The coach can stand near them and make sure they do not get hurt. While doing this deck skill, I do not have them look at anything. Just accomplish the skill with balance. Once they can do the straight flip and the full twist on deck I have them picture putting the two skills together. If they cannot do it in their head, they won't be able to do it over the water. When to twist is important. If they twist too soon, they will go farther than one twist. If they twist too late, they will do less than one twist. Having them twist a little on the late side is best, at about the 3/4 somersault mark.

Good luck. Hope all this helps.

Springboard and Platform Diving

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Tom Trapp


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.


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.

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

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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