Many beginners, or divers that lack experience, often ponder the question of what position to put a dive in when competing in a meet.
While straight position is used rarely in the optional rounds, with the exception of a back or reverse 1 ½ straight, the question of whether to use tuck, pike or layout does rear its head on a regular basis during the fundamental, or voluntary round of dives.
For the lay person, the response to the question is usually,”the dive with the highest degree of difficulty, or course!” But before you dive right in and change all your dives to layout, here are a few points to consider.
1. Dives in Layout Are Harder to do Correctly
Photo: Junko Kimura/Getty Images
Any diver can fall off backwards, or do a backbend into the water, but correctly executing dives in straight position (or layout as the two terms describe the same position) requires excellent balance and technique. As a result, dives in straight position have a higher degree of difficulty
. If the diver has not learned how to jump properly during dives in layout, it is a pretty sure bet that that dive will not receive high scores. Now if the diver has an adequate jump on a back dive tuck, the chances are that they will receive higher judges awards, and despite the lower degree of difficulty, an overall higher score.
2. Dives in Tuck or Pike Can Hide Flaws
Photo: Harry How/Getty Images
Dives that are executed in tuck or pike have more movement. The act of grabbing for the tuck position or touching the toes in pike, coupled with a proper kick out and stretch for the water, will make the dive appear “busy.” Because of this movement, flaws may not be as noticeable as in layout, where the straight position is sustained throughout the majority of the dive – the diver hanging in the air as the judges’ critique every aspect of their form.
3. More Aesthetic Body Lines Have an Advantage in Layout
Photo: Tony Duffy/Getty Images
Divers that execute a dive properly, and with better body lines, score better. That is not to say the best-looking divers win, and the importance of this point has diminished as many of the fundamental, or voluntary dives, are only used in the junior ranks in FINA
and in high school. But given equal dives, the one that looks better will receive better scores. So if you’re diving can be characterized as more power that grace, find ways to capitalize on that with dives in tuck and pike and eliminate layout. On the other hand, if aesthetics and grace are what make you good, use that to your advantage and add as many dives in straight position as possible.
4. Dives in Tuck or Pike Lead to Better Fundamentals
Photo: Quinn Rooney
Continuing to do voluntary dives in tuck or pike will help to develop better fundamentals that in turn, will make a diver’s optional dives get better. While it is important to do voluntary dives well, competitions are generally not won or lost with these dives. The optional rounds are the meat and potatoes of a diver’s list
, and should garner the most attention during a diver’s workout. So anytime you can do anything to improve your optionals . . . do it!