To determine strategies for initiating rotation in armstand back and reverse triple somersaults tuck dives from the 10-m platform, videotaped records of 17 elite male divers performing in competitions between 1995 and 1999 were analyzed. Linear and angular momenta at last contact were similar for both dives. Although the lower extremity actions were comparable, they occurred significantly earlier (p < .05) in reverse triple takeoffs, allowing divers to enter the tuck more quickly. As divers lean, the moment arm of the vertical platform reaction force increases with respect to the CG. The vertical platform reaction force moment promotes back and opposes reverse somersaulting angular momentum. Meanwhile, the horizontal platform reaction force moment promotes reverse and opposes back somersaulting angular momentum. Consequently, divers performing reverse triples maintained a more vertical trunk position during the early part of the takeoff, while those executing back triples leaned further before initiating lower and upper extremity actions to exert force against the platform. Since the strategy for reverse rotation may result in the head passing close to the platform and there is very little to gain in degree of difficulty, it is recommended that competitors execute back rather than reverse somersaulting armstand dives.
The authors are with the School of Kinesiology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Western Ontario, London, Ont., Canada N6A 3K7.