Do you like smacking? I would guess not, because most of the time it really hurts and many times it can leave a mark – a big bruise called a welt. Ouch!
But if you do like crashing left and right, here is a sure fire way to get it done. Every time you grab in tuck position, make sure you grab your knees!
Okay, enough sarcasm.
The point of this little tip is that if you grab your legs in your tuck up around the knees enough times, you will smack. And it’s not a matter of if; it is a matter of when.
Why? Because sooner or later one or both of your hands will slip and you will go cart wheeling into the water. If you’re lucky it won’t hurt, but do you want to take that chance?
Proper Tuck Position
Proper tuck position dictates that the diver grab the shins, and pull them (and the lower legs) as close to the body as possible. Not only does this create a tight tuck and a faster spin than a loose tuck, it reduces the chance that a hand will slip off the leg with the result of a dreaded smack.
This is not to say that it couldn’t happen regardless of how you grab, but it’s a rare occurrence for a diver slip out of a tuck with a good grab in the middle of the shin.
On the other hand, I have seen plenty of divers slip out because the kept grabbing up near their knees … many time with disastrous results.
Head Back Spells Disaster
Now that I have already made the point that grabbing the legs around the knees is a bad thing, one technique that helps a diver avoid this is by keeping their head as close to the knees in the tuck and in line with the body during the takeoff from the springboard or platform.
What I mean here is that if a diver spins (especially in back and reverse spinning dives) with the head looking backwards toward the water, it becomes difficult to "squeeze" the tuck for proper position. And if the diver leaves the springboard or platform with the head back, chances are that it will stay in that position for the remainder of the diver and never give themselves a chance for that all important tight tuck.
Practice Makes Perfect
In the heat of the moment, everyone will do what is natural, and familiar. If you are lazy during workouts, both in practice and out of the water in a dryland setting, you will probably reinforce bad habits like grabbing your knees.
If you are diligent and make sure that you grab in the middle of the shin all the time, then the chances are that this will become a habit and it won’t happen during say, a back 2 ½ in tuck at the national championships!