It is a bit obvious to say that the problem with a specific dive, and dives in general, is that some go short, and some go long, but … some do go short and some do go long.
With twisting dives, the usual cause for this glitch is the lack of attention paid to the somersault. While the focus of twisters, hence the name “twisters,” is the twist, the real meat and potatoes of the dive is the somersault - the foundation.
Of course, you can’t learn a forward 2 ½ with 2 twists until you learn to rotate around an axis, but typically once a diver learns how to twist, it is relatively easy to stay proficient in this technique.
It’s a Twister, Right
Twisting is important, but the control of the dive comes when the diver starts the somersault. Not that twisting is unimportant, but the somersault sometimes gets second billing because as I said before, it’s a twister. Since the twist adds another element of motion to a dive, it is easy to neglect one element (the somersault) while being concerned about another (the twist).
Again, why is the somersault so important?
The Twist Accelerates the Somersault
Any time a diver begins the twisting motion, either on forward or backward twisting dives, this action will accelerate the somersault. If the somersault is spinning too fast or too slow, the diver will have very little control over the entry into the water.
This sounds obvious, but many inexperienced divers will attempt to correct the entry and the success of the dive, by changing the amount of twist. This is like trying to control the amount of water that comes out of a hose by putting your thumb on the end, instead of reducing the flow.
Higher and Slower
In order to counteract the effects of an accelerating somersault, use techniques to slow, or control the somersault. In twisting dives, this would involve going higher and slower during the somersault. Many divers and coaches refer to this as “getting stuck in the dive.”
The normal speed, or rotation for a forward 1 ½ in pike position, is more often than not (this of course depends on each individual diver) going to more somersault than is needed. The same goes for a back somersault straight. If you go long during the flip, when the twist is added you will have a hard time getting your feet to land before your face.
Lead Up to Twisters with Somersaults
Using progressions, especially when learning twisters, is an important aspect of learning these dives. Practicing forward somersaults in open pike or back somersaults straight, learning to slow down the somersault while going as high as possible, is one the best methods to learn control. If you can’t control one somersault, you probably will not be able to control multiple somersaults with twists.
Controlling the somersault for beginners is especially important, for the simple reason that the results can be rather harsh. Many a coach has seen the results of an inexperienced diver learning a full twisting flip. They throw a somersault off the board and wrap up the twist, only to then find that they have completed the dive three-feet above the surface of the water. The result – fun to watch, not fun to do.
Yeah, you may be able to then duck your head and claim a forward 1 ½ with 1 twist as a new dive, but in the long run you will not have a very good dive for competition.
Of course, these points are all relative. Without enough somersault you will go short, and if you have too much somersault, you will go long. This brings us back to the main point: learn how to control the amount of spin in a somersault before adding twists.