Instructors should make sure water is at least 12 feet deep before allowing students to practice diving.
Many different techniques exist out there when it comes to diving. (I hope the USA Diving Team proves this point enough!) For now, I will tell you how to teach the basic kneeling dive with your students. Once they master the kneeling dive, they can move on to the more advanced leaning dive and racing dive, which I will cover in future posts.
Diving is a fun skill to learn, so long as you practice safely, in deep water. Your students should practice this skill in an in-ground pool that is at least 12 feet deep. And never, ever, ever practice this skill with your students in lakes, rivers, ponds or oceans; the water is not always clear in these bodies of water.
How to dive from a kneeling position:
1.) Tell your student to stand next to the side of the pool. Next, the student should kneel down on one knee and place the front foot in the pool gutter. The toes of the foot should be curled over the edge. The other knee should stay on the pool deck. Be sure the student is not sitting on his or her back foot.
2.) Instruct the student to go into a streamline position, with the fingertips pointing up toward the ceiling or sky. Remember, the arms should squeeze the ears tightly.
3.) Remaining in streamline position, the student should bend his or her waist slightly so that the fingertips are now pointing toward the water. Be sure the student’s chin is tucked – if it helps, tell the student to keep the eyes glued to the belly-button.
4.) Keeping the waist bent, the chin tucked and the arms in streamline position, the student should use the front leg to gently push off and dive fingertips-first into the water. The student should then swim back to the surface and front-crawl to the pool wall.
Notice how this swimmer remains in streamline position as she dives into the water.
Keys to success:
In order to dive properly, students should remember to:
1.) Always keep their eyes on their belly-button. This prevents them from lifting up their chins,
To prevent belly-flopping, students should keep their chins tucked and their arms squeezed in streamline position.
which would subsequently cause them to belly-flop into the water. (Ouch!)
2.) Stay in streamline position. Many students who are new to diving forget to keep squeezing their ears as they lean in toward the water. If they don’t remain in streamline position, the students could, again, belly-flop into the water. (Double-ouch!)
3.) Dive down, not out. Diving is not jumping.
Students hardly get diving right the first time. For the first few tries, you the instructor can stay in the water using a swimming noodle or other floatation device for support and assist the student by holding onto his or her fingertips as he or she dives into the water. This would ensure the student learned to a) stay in streamline position and b) dive down, not out.
COMING SOON: How to dive from a standing position