Have you ever been to a diving meet and seen a diver start a forward or reverse dive from a standing start? If you have competed in a USA Diving or Amateur Athletic Union (AAU), you probably have – it’s legal.
According to FINA rules, the rules followed by USA Diving and the AAU, any forward or reverse take-off can be performed either with a “running,” or standing take-off. The same is also true of NCAA competitions. By running, what is really meant is that the diver will use a forward approach and hurdle.
So What’s The Point?
Why would a diver want to perform a dive standing when they can get much higher with an approach and hurdle There are a myriad of reasons, but they can be boiled down into three points – the progression and learning process, higher scores, and confidence.
A diver who performs a standing dive in competition may be in the process of learning a new dive and the addition of an approach and a hurdle too soon, could complicate the process. An example might be that a relatively inexperienced diver feels more comfortable doing a reverse dive in tuck standing, rather than with an approach. Depending on the importance of the meet, it may be more beneficial to compete the dive from a standing start, until the diver has more time to practice with an approach and a hurdle.
Just as in the prior example, a diver may be able to perform that dive with an approach and hurdle, but it might not be very good at the time of the competition. Therefore, the diver will do the dive standing and receive higher scores. As we all know, the name of the game is to receive the highest scores possible on each dive!
If a diver can perform a dive from a standing start with proper technique and receive high scores, then that same diver is more likely to dive with confidence. Since confidence in the sport of diving can be a very tenuous quality, why rush a diver to use a hurdle and destroy what may have taken months if not years to develop!
The High School Dilemma
Now if you have been practicing one or more of your dives standing, and you have a high school competition in the near future, you will need to add an approach and hurdle to the dive. You see, in high school diving meets, standing dives are not allowed. You MUST use a forward approach and hurdle or you will receive a fail dive. This is an unfortunate circumstance in high school diving, since many of these divers have limited experience and often times are forced to learn dives beyond their capabilty in order to complete 11 dives - but the rules are the rules.
While it is within rules to do dives standing in competitions, the ultimate goal is to use a forward approach and hurdle on all forward facing dives. In the end, a diver will not be able to successfully compete against those divers who do use an approach and hurdle in individual competitions. So use standing dives when you need to, they are an effective method to learn new dives, hone existing technique, and develop confidence, but always have the goal of adding an approach and hurdle to your dive.