The Starting Block Jump and How to Leap to Victory!

Monday, August 8, 2016

Competition winners always have a forceful spring off the starting block that launches them far along the pool in seconds.  And to improve your race performance, you should develop a good starting block jump technique. 

For beginners, I recommend practising your dive from the side of the pool at first.  But for experienced swimmers, here's how to get off the block at lightning speed!

Take your mark

Step the starting block and place one foot in front with the toes positioned over the edge.  It doesn't matter whether you put the left or right foot in front. Try it with both during training to see which works best for you. Your other foot should be located about a shoulder's width behind you.  You should be breathing steadily and looking ahead until you hear the words ‘Take your mark'.

Lean far out

Then crouch down keeping your feet in position and grab the front of the starting block.  At this point, your chest should be touching the tops of your thighs. When you've practised enough in training, you should be able to lean far out over the water.  Remain poised in this position until you hear the starting pistol or beep.

Push off

Then jump off the starting block with your arms and legs pushing off hard at the same time.  In mid-air, move your arms up above your head to streamline your body.  Make sure you tuck your head in as you enter the pool and then straighten out your body fast to avoid going too deeply into the water.

Single hole entry dive

Advanced swimmers can learn the single hole entry dive which gives an excellent starting block jump distance.  This dive should only be practised in water that's at least 1.50 metres deep, with a coach or companion to observe your technique and in case of accident.

  • Head down – chin resting on chest and rear high
  • React to the starting beep or pistol shot
  • Head up – pushing with toes and feet upwards and outwards
  • Head down and arms down follow through with the whole body
  • Correct your depth under water
  • Shoot up to the surface with your most powerful stroke

The starting block jump can decide who wins or loses a race within the first few seconds.  So, practise getting a really strong push off the block and see your times increase!

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