Body positions in the gym - image

Body Positions during flight through the air when diving

Body Positions during flight through the air when diving

Body positions can be in any of the main three set shapes. You will spot a diver using any of these body positions during their passage through the air. These positions are used for any direction you are turning from the groups already discussed. They are appropriate to the number of somersaults you’re trying to perform during the dive.

The position determine whether you want to spin fast or a little slower. The positioning of your arms legs or head are responsible for this.

Everyone, every object, in fact everything you see on this planet has a “centre of balance” (centre of gravity). Everything that projects away from this centre of balance – in a divers case, arms, legs and even head – alters the way that the body turns. The centre of balance of a human body is an imaginary dot inside your body between your front and your back at the level of your hips. Depending upon your body position, your centre of balance  moves outside your body and can be any distance away from your hips. This depends upon how much bend you give your body, and how far away, or near, your arms and legs are placed in distance from your invisible centre of balance.  The red ball represents your centre of balance.

Body positions. Centre of balance - image

The red ball indicates your centre of balance

The closer your head, arms, legs and chest are from your centre of balance the faster you will turn. The further away you take them then you will turn more slowly. This is all according to the diving body positions you wish to use.  A basic illustration above.

The body positions

Straight or A

Body positions - forward dive straight (a. jessel. C.) gif image

Forward dive straight

This means that your body shape is held perfectly straight with no bend at the hips or knees. Your toes must be pointed with the your in line with the upper part of your body.
how straight a ruler is. This is how your body should be. Your arms may be in any straight position in the air, but as you enter the water the hands are clasped beyond your head. Your palms face upwards and your upper arms squeezing your ears. Your head must be in line.

It is a beautiful position, and looks really graceful during a half somersault (from feet to head first). The “A” position can be performed in the forward, backward, reverse, inward and twist groups.
The straight position is one where you will rotate or turn slowly. Your arms and your legs are far away from your centre of balance.

Pike or B

Body positions - forward dive piked (a.jessel.C.) gif image

Forward dive piked

This means that the only bend in your body is at the hips. The knees must be stretched, with toes pointed and the head in line with the upper part of the body.
Your arms may be in any position. They may be close to the sides of the body, pulling onto the backs of the knees, or stretched down to meet the toes. They can be stretched out sideways across the shoulder. This last position of the arms is called an “open” pike.

Your coach will find the best position for you whether its for the simple pike dive, or a somersault or multiple somersaults. You can apply the centre of balance law here – the closer your arms are pulled in to the centre of balance the faster you will turn and vice versa. So it really depends on how fast or how slow you want to turn where you place your arms!

A general thought to have is, that you turn at twice the speed than if your body was in the straight position. This shape is performed in all the diving groups.

Tucked or C

Body positions - forward dive with tuck (a.jessel.C.) gif image

Forward dive with tuck

This means your body is bent at the hips and the knees. You pull into a tight ball. Your arms are pulled in to your side, with one hand on each shin (just below the knee) pulling them in tightly. You make yourself as small as you can.
Your toes must be pointed and head should remain in line with the upper trunk looking over the tops of the knees. This position C is used for faster somersaulting dives especially for 3 or 4 somersaults plus. However this is the first position you learn for all basic dives and simpler somersaults.It goes without saying that as everything is pulled in close to your centre of balance you rotate or turn very fast – twice the speed as when in the piked position and four times as fast as when you are in the straight position! This diving shape is performed in all the diving groups.

The fourth from the body positions is one which isn’t a particular shape at all! This is labelled

“Free” or D

This body shape or position is literally what it says. Normally any shape to help you fulfil the somersaulting dive with a twist to help you with a good entry into the water.

Turning directions twist group 6 - image
Normally this is acceptable whilst learning a brand new somersaulting dive with a twisting action at the same time. At first it may look a struggle but….boy….the entry is good! For example you may have started with a piked shape but had to bend your knees to get that good entry. Very usually the dive is soon perfected and the shape evolves into a pike shape all the way! This D position is accepted in all the diving groups.

A dive that uses two diving positions is…

The Flying Dive

Body positions - Flying one and a half somersault with tuck (a jessel. C) gif image

The flying dive with tuck


This means there is a combination of the straight position with either a piked or tucked position. You must hold the straight position for at least 180 degrees (half a somersault or turn) of the dive before the pike or tuck is performed.
You then line up for your entry into the water. I must say to see a flying dive using the straight position combined with the tucked position is quite spectacular. The contrasting body shapes make this so.
The Flying dive can be used in the groups, forwards, backwards, reverse and inwards.

TO CHAPTER 14 – “Every dive has a “price”…the degree of difficulty”

FINA Diving Degree of Difficulty. Dive values set in a tariff table