If you want to rip dives on a consistent basis, set a goal of having all your dives enter the water head first, or actually hands first! If you have ever had a chance to watch elite divers, you will never see them performing a dive with a feet first entry. Every one of their dives will have a head first entry, entering the water with a flat hand. You won’t see a diver at senior nationals perform a reverse triple in pike on one-meter, even though it has a 3.3 degree if difficulty. Why is this?
There are two basic reasons:
- Dives that enter the water headfirst are easier to control.
- It is much harder to rip a feet first entry than with a head first, flat hand rip.
It is much easier for a diver to manipulate their body to get a better line-up on a headfirst entry. The reason is quick hands and strong legs.
Strong Legs: A diver’s midsection and legs are usually much stronger than their upper body and torso and as a result, they can be lifted to a vertical position, much like doing a handstand. On a feet first entry, the diver will many times create a whip-like action to “stand up” to a vertical position for the entry, or not be able to reach that vertical entry due to a lack of strength in the midsection.
Quick Hands: Because the arms and hands can move more quickly than the legs and are generally posses more coordination, a diver stands a better chance of getting their hands to the water for a flat hand than getting their feet to the water flat for a good entry.
Although there are exceptions, the vast majority of divers stand a better chance of a rip, or a clean entry, when the hands hit the water first. One of the important aspects of a rip is to create a flat surface when entering the water. With a flat hand, a diver will be able to enter the water by holding that flat hand and allowing only one surface – the hand, to hit the water. While a diver can create a flat surface with the feet, the water will make it more difficult to hold that position with the two feet pressed together. This is especially true on harder dives with more rotation.
That is not to say that you can’t rip a feet first entry. Many divers have that unique ability. But in the long run would you rather work on a forward 2 ½ in tuck with a D.D. of 2.4 that will have a consistent flat hand entry, or continue using a front double with a D.D. of 2.2 with an inconsistent feet first entry?
Use your head and go for the hands!