Teaching Diving

There are basic prerequisite skills necessary for successful diving. 

Traditionally, in club sessions, we may leave these skills to the end of the session as the ‘alternative activity’ for five minutes, however there are many that can be introduced while swimming lengths, such as pushing off deep, streamline glide, somersaults, and surface dives. 

Swimmers must be comfortable under the water before introducing a dive. 

They need to be able to do the following.

Head under water:

  • Blowing bubbles
  • Controlling your breathing
  • Being comfortable/happy under the water … and at different depths
  • Pushing off the bottom of the pool ‘like a rocket’
  • Push and glide in a tight streamlined position on front and back 

Jumping in from the side:

  • Different jumps off the side
  • Tuck jump
  • Pencil jump
  • Star jump

And activities that ‘get the hips higher than the head’:

  • Somersault
  • Handstand
  • Surface dives

Other activities include:

  • Bounce up the pool (in streamlined position)
  • Jumping through noodles
  • Kicking through hoops
  • And any similar challenge to take their mind off their nerves.

In addition:

  • Floating
  • Tuck Float (mushroom/canon ball)
  • Look for each other, thumbs up.

The steps into a competitive dive are:

  • Sitting Dive 
  • Kneeling Dive 
  • Crouching Dive 
  • Standing Dive (Lunge)
  • Standing Dive (Plunge)

Points to consider are :

  • Stance
  • Flight
  • Entry
  • Transition

Commands might include:

  • “Keep looking down, or you’re going to get a pink face and a pink chest”
  • “We want our legs to be together”
  • “Aim for the upside-down T”
  • “Chin on the chest, squeeze your ears”.


  • Always have a noodle to hand. This gives them something to dive over, and can be on the surface of the water, or held up. 
  • Loads and loads of praise. Kids love it 🙂 
  • Build up good relationships so that they can trust you.
  • Don’t force them into anything.

Things they must remember:

  • One hand on top
  • Arms in streamlined position
  • Chin on the chest
  • Eyeline looking down
  • Arms parallel with the water

Kneeling Dive

  • Good to start from deck level
  • Push with the back leg
  • Taken up by the forward leg
  • Split leg mid-flight
  • MUST push with your legs
  • Aim over the upside-down T (REPEAT OFTEN)
  • Remind them ‘EYES DOWN” or their chin will be off the chest

Crouching Dive

Sitting Dive from ‘Know the Game: Swimming’ ASA
  • Bend the knees
  • Arms parallel to the water NOT aimed at where they are going
  • Eyes Down
  • Hips still need to be above the knees
  • Lean forward and knock ourselves off balance
  • Aim passed the upside-down T
  • Nice and straight body

Plunge Diver or ‘Full Standing’

Sitting Dive from ‘Know the Game: Swimming’ ASA
  • As crouch, but slight bend of the knees
  • High hips
  • Good for transition into a racing start with hands to the feet

Faults, Causes and Corrective Practices


Diving too deep:

  • Fix:
    • Make sure they have the stance right. 
    • Have a point they are aiming for

Hands Coming Apart: They’ve not got their hands together in a locked position. 

  • Fix:
    • Set up the streamlined. 
    • Take them back a step with push and glide through hoops if they are splitting their hands. 
    • “Straight as an arrow, straight as a pencil”.

Falling in: Anticipating, excited, in a hurry. 

  • Fix:
    • push and glide
    • surface dive
    • feet first to get them to jump.
    • how high you can get in the air. 

Surfacing too early: Pulling hands apart.

  • Fix:
    • Take them back to progressive practices.

Chest entering first: Head up, chin up …

  • Fix:
    • Remind them to focus their eyes.
    •  Are you squeezing their ears?
    •  Imagine having a £5 tucked under their chin. 

Corrective Practice

  • Take them back to the progressive practices 
  • Build up the progression
  • Reiterate the instructions