Diving is a recreational and competitive water sport in which people jump off a springboard or platform into a body of water. Competitive diving has been an Olympic sport for many years, and is judged on a number of factors, including a diver's approach, takeoff and entry into the water. To achieve mastery, you must learn four key aspects of diving.
The first element of diving is the starting position. Whether it is springboard diving, which uses a flexible board, or platform diving, which has an immobile surface, a diver must assume a posture that demonstrates confidence. A diver should maintain good posture with a rigid back, eyes that stare straight ahead and little or no movement of the head. The diver's body should form a straight line, with his head, shoulders and arms creating the appearance of symmetry and length.
A diver's takeoff occurs at the moment that he springs his feet off the board and launches his body into the air. Divers are required to spring from the board with both feet and are penalized if they use only one foot. To generate the greatest amount of height, springboard divers take off from the edge of the board. Platform divers, however, must take a running approach and use their own power to thrust off the platform. The goal is to spring as high into the air as possible before executing the dive, whether it's a reverse, forward or twisting dive.
A strong takeoff creates the necessary amount of space for a diver to move her body into the form required for a particular dive. Divers must keep their arms still until the last possible moment before entry into the water. Judges measure a diver's rotation and flight by noting distance and height from the board, and how quickly a diver's body moves into the correct position to execute the dive.
The final element of diving is the position of entry into the water. A clean entry requires a diver's body to be vertical, with toes pointed and legs touching and fully extended. The angle of entry is affected by many factors, such as sufficient trajectory, proper rotation and a diver's ability to get his body into the right position in a short period of time. Clean entries are characterized by a minimum amount of splashing.