This can be especially true in summer club or high school diving where the judges are not as experienced or as knowledgeable as those who sit at the Olympic Games.
With that thought in mind, how can a diver improve a line-up and entry?
It is pretty simple, by practicing them.
Practicing Line-Ups And Entries
Entries can be practiced by any diver, regardless of the facility in which they train. Now of course, you can’t really practice an entry in a dryland setting, but if you have access to deep water you can work on entries.
It always helps to have a diving board, but sometimes practice from the side of the pool can be as beneficial as line-ups from 5-meter.
What’s The Point?
Whether from the side of the pool or from a 5-meter platform, a line-up allows the diver to practice their posture and entry while simply concentrating on the intended task. In other words, working on the entry without the fear of smacking, spinning out of control or hitting the diving board.
This is bigger than it sounds, because that fear of smacking can make even experienced divers do things that you would not think possible, much less conentrating on getting into the water clean.
What Is A Line-Up
Whether facing forward or backwards, a line-up can be defined as when a diver falls to the water from a stationary position, never rotating more than ½ of a somersault. An example would be if a diver sits on the end of the diving board and rolls forward in either a tuck or pike position, diving into the water head first.
Now of course divers can practice posture and entries on easier dives, like a forward dive pike or a back dive tuck (and they should!), but eliminating all other thoughts but squeezing and ripping can make it easier to do just that after spinnging for 3 ½ somersaults.
Break Down the Skills
The many types of entries offer a diver the chance to break down the parts of a line-up and concentrate on the specific elements, which is a key component in learning skills that are comprised of multiple movements.
This mimics the KISS concept, which is “Keep It Simple and Straightforward,” (sometimes used in different variations!) The simpler the task is, the easier it is to master and accomplish.
Allows Practice of Saves
Another benefit of entries allows a diver to practice “saving” a dive – a technique used to counteract the over- or under-rotation of a somersault. The diver can purposely over- or under-rotate while at the same time working on the techniques used in a save.
This is where the side of the pool or 1-meter springboard can almost be more beneficial than the 3-meter or platform. Needless to say, purposefully going “over” from 5-meter can lead to less than desirable results.
Another Fundamental That Needs To Be Stressed
If you watch divers from large successful clubs, or say, the National Training Center, you will notice that they spend a great deal of time working on fundamentals which include line-ups and entries.
This concept is lost many times in programs where there is limited time and resources like a summer clubs, high school programs, or small USA Diving or AAU clubs.
The point is that at these programs is where these fundamentals need to be stressed. Better and more successful divers come from strong fundamental backgrounds rather than those who can do all the “tricks.”
Just because a diver does a dive with a high degree of difficulty does not mean they will be successful. But those who do easier dives and smoke the entry, will no doubt be better in the long run, as well as the short.
So what are you waiting for ... go do some line-ups!