I Spy, You Spy: Tips for Visually Spotting by a Springboard Diving Coach

Have you ever watched a springboard diver perform amazing twists and spins in the air and take note how they still manage to grasp total awareness amidst their impressive maneuvers? This looks incredibly complex, but simply enroll in springboard diving lessons taught by a certified San Diego springboard diving coach, and you will discover this is actually rather common sense: a diver simply opens his eyes and is cognizant of his surroundings.

The Primary Objective

To put it in a straightforward manner, any certified springboard diving coach will teach her students to locate various objects and use them as “spots” or reference points. This is a vital part of the process because it allows a diver to use a random object as a reference point to track how many somersaults he performed, and how many twists he finished so he will know when to kick out of the dive. This technique is absolutely necessary when a diver engages in visually spotting. Many people assume that a diver simply “feels the situation” in the air, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.  In over 20 years of offering springboard diving lessons, our coaches have found that most divers find this to be very challenging. However, there are some great tricks you can utilize to make help you develop and master this important skill.

Dryland Practice

Anxiety is one of your biggest enemies. For many, the more nervous a diver is, the narrower his field of vision becomes. When anxiety sets in the brain shuts our vital stimuli that can prohibit you from hitting your spot. Relaxation is key to spotting and this is why any experienced coach offering springboard diving lessons will run students through a series of dryland practices to help crumble any anxiety. When a coach puts a student in a spotting belt she can control the diver’s rotation and somersaults which in turn helps the diver learn to spot while spinning in a slowed state that gradually increases.

Bright colors can help in this process. A red flag or a towel would be an ideal indicator that could be placed on the edge of the trampoline with given instruction for the diver to keep an eye on it.

Verbal cues are also helpful tactics to use in springboard diving lessons to help divers in their quest to master visual spotting. A certified springboard diving instructor can help students catch their spots by using verbal commands every single time the diver’s line of vision is in line with the spot.

Practice Makes Perfect (On the Diving Board)

Once your springboard diving coach has given you a passing mark for your trampoline dryland practices, you can advance on to the diving board and place the red flag on the springboard. Depending on your sill level, you can engage in back somersaults and forward & reverse somersaults under the care of an experienced springboard diving coach. Start by locating the red towel at the beginning and conclusion of every dive and gradually move the flag closer to the end of the board until it is deemed no longer necessary because throughout your springboard diving lessons the board will become your spot.  As this becomes more and more simplified for you, your springboard diving coach will likely have you advance into a 1 ½ somersault. You can try holding your position longer and kick your legs above the board followed by a back reach before you enter the water.

Spotting Your Goals

There are many springboard diving levels that require various skill sets determined by the springboard diving coach. However, each classification requires a degree of spotting in order to safely perform a dive, and advance on to the next level of difficulty. Make sure that you and your springboard diving coach sit down together and determine how far you hope to advance into the sport and what your short-term and long-term goals are. This will enable your instructor to help you succeed, as communication is key. Here’s to happy spotting!

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