Learning a New Skill - Diving!
Once in a while with training, it is good to learn a new trick.
Diving may not spring to mind immediately as useful for a triathlon, but what about that 'beach entry', what about that 'Australian exit'. The normal approach for these is a running dive, so let's start with a running dive...in a race... having never practised one before...!?!
It is also worth considering some of the co-ordination skills required to dive. So many of us live such sedentary lives outside of training and then expect to be highly skilled with our bodies when we crowbar ourselves out from our laptop and desk. We all know one annoying person who can pick up skills very quickly, but this is likely because they have been what we would call a lifetime athlete across many different sports. Their body is highly literate and can communicate with ease and speed with each component: they are highly coordinated.
Picking up a new skill may just be the key to unlocking a little progress in other areas of your triathlon training and making a breakthrough. So lets breakthrough the surface of the water with some diving...
Where to start?
A dive has a few basic requirements;
Launch, starting height relative to water
Body position in air
Body position/angle upon entry
Body position into and under the water
So how do you learn these? To begin with, jumping in head first is a difficult place to start and you may miss a couple of the basic learning points that are critical to a successful 10 point dive!
Many people find the height to entry point quite daunting to say the least. Have a read through the practice steps below and have a watch of the video to see some demonstrations.
Jump in arms at side (check water depth)
Jump on the spot or Tip Toe walk slowly forwards on pool deck holding position
Jump in streamlined (check water depth)
Jump in streamlined through hoop
Sitting Dive, from raised deck
Crouched/Kneeling Dive from waters edge
Tuck from waters edge
Crouched/Kneeling Dive from raised deck
Tuck from raised deck
Tuck from raised deck through a hoop
Racing blocks dive
Body Tautness - Stretch tall so that you hold good posture and have control
Hands on top of each other - lie one hand flat and place the other on top
When jumping imagine you are entering the water through a hoop floating on the surface
As you enter make sure you have your arms taut and over your ears. This hands first also very importantly protects the head in open water entries (Always check the water by walking or lowering yourself in before a dive entry)
Keep your chin neutral - do not look up towards hands. This will help keep your head tucked in
As you dive, Tuck - Roll (rotate forwards) and push off and stretch tall into a fingers first entry
Remember will follow your hands so think about where you are pointing them before pushing off, set your position.
Think about the angle of entry - shallow vs steep outcomes being the bellyflop or simply going straight down.
Try to use a little height from the entry point to start. This makes things easier as there is no need to launch yourself up into the air. Simply roll and push at the correct time to get the angle of entry correct.
Body tautness on entry into the water is key, again think about entering the water through a floating hoop as you did with the jump.
WAIT - until your feet have entered the water before trying to kick. The huge splash many dives make is due to the swimmer trying to kick before their feet have entered the water, the bend at the hip or knee then causes the legs to make a huge splash.