The answer to that question can be answered with another question – How good do you want to be in the sport of diving?
What Are Your Goals
If your goal is to have fun in summer league diving meets and leave it at that, you might be able to hang with the competition doing a back dive in layout instead of learning that dive in tuck. But if your goal is to qualify for a regional or national level competition or your high school state meet, then you should forget about that dive in layout and practice, practice, practice your dives in tuck!
For most beginners a dive in layout, or straight position, will be easier and a lot less scary to do than that same dive in tuck or pike. Falling off backward and giving a gentle push is much easier than jumping as high as you can, tucking and kicking out properly for a perfect rip entry.
Layout is Harder
However, the reality is that dives in layout - or straight position, performed with the proper technique, are harder than tuck or pike. The more advanced the level of competition, the more scrutiny that is place on the execution of the dive, and if you do not have proper fundamentals and cannot execute the dive properly, lower scores are generally the norm.
So do you see where I am going? Difficult dives require proper fundamentals, and it is much easier to learn these basics when doing easier dives. This is where dives in tuck play their part.
Voluntary Dives to Learn in Tuck Position
- Forward Dive Tuck
- Back Dive Tuck
- Reverse Dive Tuck
- Inward Dive Tuck
Dives in the tuck position, especially the voluntary dives, provide a valuable opportunity to teach solid fundamentals that a diver needs to master in order to learn and compete harder dives. They not only teach a diver how to leave the board with the correct balance and reach, but also teach the diver how to kick out a dive. And if you do not know how to kick out of a back 2 ½ tuck then, well, I don’t need to tell you what can happen!
By learning dives in tuck and pike before progressing to layout and many of the harder optional dives, divers will give themselves a better chance at a long and successful career in the sport of competitive diving.
So before you rush off to learn a back, reverse or inward dive layout, think about where you want to be down the road. You might just want to spend a little more time on your back, reverse and inward dive tuck!