How to Do an Inward Dive Tuck
The thought of standing backwards 3-meters above the water only to rotate forward towards the board may seem crazy, but for divers, the inward dive is just par for the course. Just like with reverse dives, the inward dive is a skill that intermediate divers learn after they understand the fundamentals: back press, entry, and body position.
In this guide (which assumes you have that foundation), we will focus on how to do an inward dive tuck. The dive is easiest to learn in the tuck position for two reasons:
- The position speeds the rotation off the board
- It is easier to land vertically in this position compared to others
Below are five of the key components needed to a complete a good (and safe) inward dive tuck.
1. Good Back Press
For this dive, the proper takeoff is the back press. It is the motion the body makes in the press, as well as the motion of the board, that will push a diver out away from the board when doing an inward dive.
- To start, stand backwards on the diving board, with the heels hanging off the board and the arms to the side of the body. Gently rock the board and begin the back press.
- In the press, keep the body vertical; leaning either forward or backward makes it more difficult to execute the dive properly.
- The head should be straight in line with the arms, with the eyes focused on the back of the diving board. It is the motion the body makes in the press, as well as the motion of the board, that will push a diver out away from the board when doing an inward dive.
2. Arm Swing in the Dive
The arm swing is an important part of an inward dive. Here is what to focus on:
Hot Tip: Use a Proper Press
If a diver has the proper head and body position in the back press, the physics behind the lift of the board will naturally propel the diver up and away from the board.
- The arm swing needs to be quick in an inward dive.
- The arms should circle behind the body and finish up by the ears before the diver leaves the board.
- Once the arms are up by the ears, swing them down the middle of the body. This motion of the arms swinging down the middle of the body is especially important when adding somersaults to the dive.
- The arms should stay narrow which helps the head stay in line with the body.
3. Legs & Hips in the Dive
In an inward dive, the legs and hips play an important role. Here is what you need to know:
- The legs need to bend deeply while in the press to help the diver get a good jump off the board with sufficient height to complete the dive.
- Once the diver leaves the diving board, the hips need to lift up into the air with the upper half of the body leaning forward, bending at the waist. Focusing on the hips lifting up off the board will help the diver start the proper rotation needed for the dive.
4. Tuck Position
Once the hips have left the board and are up in the air, the diver can then begin the tuck position. Here are some things to keep in mind:
- The legs should be bent
- The arms grab the sides of the calves.
- Although the legs are bent in the tuck position, they still need to be tight. The legs need to be together with toes pointed.
- While in the tuck position, the head will be looking down towards the water. Look at a point in the water and get ready to enter the water head first.
5. Vertical Lineup
This is one of the easiest and hardest elements of the dive. It is easy because it is clear to see: in the tuck position the diver can clearly see the water and pinpoint a target spot of entry. It is hard because the timing can be tricky: timing when to come out of the tuck determines whether the dive lands over-vertical, under-vertical, or perfectly vertical.
The timing of coming out of this dive will take practice and it is easy to over rotate. To practice, focus on a spot in the water and firmly kick the legs out of the tuck position to dive into the chosen spot.
There are two common mistakes divers make when learning an inward dive:
1. Trying to get off the diving board too fast: This rush to exit the diving board actually cuts the dive off from the natural trajectory the board provides, which makes it harder to complete the dive.
2. Crow-hop: This is an extra bounce or jump before the diver leaves the board. It is a bad habit that many divers develop as a way to get extra height off the board, but the problem with crow-hopping is two-fold.
- First, it is a safety concern. During a crow-hop, the feet can slip off the board, and the diver can scrape his shins and body down the side of the board.
- Secondly, a judge can deduct up to two points if they see the crow-hop in competition.
Beyond the Basics
Once able to perform the inward dive tuck, it is fairly easy to move it into the pike and layout positions. A good inward takeoff will also enable a diver to add somersaults to the dive fairly easily. Just get the basics down and let the fun begin!