How to Do a Forward Approach on Platform
Platform is significantly different than springboard. As such, the forward approach on platform is completely different than it is on springboard. On platform, you cannot rest on the spring of the diving board: Your height and distance off the platform is initiated by your power alone. By ensuring a low and quick running approach down the platform, you will be able to gather the speed and strength you need to perform a dive.
There are several ways to initiate a forward approach on platform. In general, all platform approaches will involve three components: Run, skip, and gallop. Regardless of how you include those three components into your approach, your goal is to gain speed as you move towards the end of the platform. Below is a description of one way to perform a front approach on platform.
Hot Tip: Trace Your Steps
In order to determine an accurate starting point for your forward approach on platform, trace your steps backwards. Stand with your heels at the edge of the platform and your back facing the water. Initiate your forward approach (running towards the back of the platform). When you have completed your run, you can place a marker on the platform surface so you have an accurate way of knowing where to start your run.
The running approach involves three stages: Two quick steps (or running steps), followed by a gallop, and then a low skip to the end of the platform. Here is a description of each stage:
To initiate the approach, you need to gain speed. Most people either take two quick steps or two running steps at the start of their approach. Here is how to align your body on the first two steps of the approach:
- Stand with your feet together.
- Maintain good posture. Your shoulders should be stacked above your hips, your head straight, and your arms down by the sides of your body.
- With your strong leg, take two quick steps (running steps) to initiate your approach.
- Keep your arms at your sides, slightly moving them back and forth as you would in a normal walking pattern.
A gallop is similar to a chasse in ballet. It is a running motion that gives you momentum as you move down the platform. Here is how to do it:
- After the two running steps, take another step out in front of your body with your lead leg.
- With this leg, lunge and initiate a low jump (with the momentum of the body going forward, not upward). At the same time, swing your arms in front of your body and below your chest.
- During the jump, your body will be moving forwards and your back leg will follow your lead leg.
- During the gallop, your arms swing into an X-position in front of your chest. The arm swing will help you gain momentum.
- Land on your back leg and simultaneously swing your arms out of the X-position and to the sides of your body.
- Take a lunging step with your front leg and be prepared to skip to the end of the platform.
The final stage of the running approach is the skip to the end of the platform. The skip is similar to a small jump. Here is how to do it:
- When you are ready to perform the skip, your arms will be coming out of the X-formation and your weight will be on your front leg.
- With your front leg, initiate a small jump (skip) forwards toward the end of the platform.
- Keep your skip low to the platform. Make sure you do not jump up, but instead forward.
- Continue the momentum of your arm swing out of the X-formation, up the sides of your body, and above your head.
- Land your low skip on both feet at the edge of the platform.
- Keep your head up, your body vertically aligned, and prepare to perform your dive.
Hot Tip: Maintain a Low Center of Gravity
In order to maximize the momentum in your forward approach, you need to maintain a low center of gravity. In your run and gallop, make sure to keep your body centered towards the platform, and minimize any bounce.
The running approach on platform is a continuous motion. When you are performing it, the three steps — run, gallop, skip — occur as a fast moving stride that helps you gain the vital momentum needed for your dive.
Practice several times on the ground before taking it up onto the platform. Start on the lower levels to get a good feel of the movement. Once you have a solid grasp of the approach, performing more complicated forward somersaults and twists will be much easier!