“An involuntary movement where the diver lifts his feet slightly from the board or platform” Crow Hop Definition from the FINA Diving Officials Manual
What Is A Crow Hop
A crow hop is a movement during a backward press and takeoff, during which a diver’s feet leave the board during the armswing but before the flight of the dive.
The crow hop almost always occurs as a diver lifts their arms above the head during the initial stage of the armswing, although the feet may leave the board as the diver creates movement by “rocking the board.”
A crow hop may be inadvertent, an unintentional consequence of trying to get as much spring from the board as possible; or a deliberate abuse of the rules to gain an advantage.
What a crow hop is not is a double bounce, which has a different set of judging instructions. To be specific, a double bounce on a back takeoff involves two armswings. This essentially means that a diver will do two or more full rotations with their arms before the execution of the dive.
Why Is A Crow Hop Illegal
The intent of rules that surround a crow hop is to prevent a diver from gaining added lift - and a competitive advantage, from the board when executing a dive.
Additionally, the rules also seek to prevent the use of a crow hop from causing injury to a diver who may lose balance during the takeoff.
While the intent of the rule and the reasoning behind it are commendable, neither are particularly effective. Most crow hops occur without intent, and it is counterintuitive to instruct a diver to go higher and at the same time tell them to reduce the amount of spring to prevent a crow hop.
When Is A Crow Hop Illegal?
This is a very good question! If you ask a high school official this question, the answer will most likely be …. all the time. Ask a FINA or NCAA diving official, and the response will probably be that it depends on a variety of factors and each case is different.
The only hard and fast rule regarding a crow hop is that there is no hard and fast rule: three different governing bodies, and three different interpretations.
Shall Deduct, May Deduct & Overall Impression - What are the rules?
Crow hops have mostly been ignored by judges in almost all types competition, unless the crow hop is soooo outrageous that it cannot be ignored. Regardless, the three major organizations that distribute and enforce diving rules in the U.S. have three different interpretations.
- High School Diving: High School rules dictate that a crow hop must incur a mandatory deduction of between ½ -2 points if a foot, or feet leave the diving board prior to a back or inward takeoff.
- College Diving: NCAA rules stipulate that if a diver lifts his or her feet from the diving board or platform prior to takeoff, a judge may deduct up to 1.5 points from the score depending on their individual opinion.
- USA Diving/AAU/FINA: FINA rules define a crow hop, but stipulate no penalties or deductions associated with the movement, instead letting the judge base any deductions on their overall impression on the dive and whether a crow hop effected that impression.