Rotation Characteristics of Elite Divers During Dry Land Training

O'Meara, D.

Introduction:
During the flight phase of diving, the speed of whole body rotation plays a crucial role in determining performance outcomes. Body positioning during rotation alters rotational inertia and affects whole body rotation speed. Athletes aim to achieve maximum speed to execute their dive routine efficiently and to have enough time to attain a straight body position for optimal entry, maximizing points. Elite divers typically engage in dry land training around 6 days a week to practice body rotation activities such as somersaults. However, it remains unclear how athletes’ somersault techniques vary and what constitutes the optimal movement pattern for dry land training. This project seeks to measure the rotation speed of elite divers during dry land training to profile individual techniques, potentially leading to improved training approaches and talent development methods.

Methods:
During the flight phase of diving, the speed of whole body rotation is a key element to determine the performance outcome. Body positioning alters rotational inertia and determines whole body rotation speed. Athletes attempt to reach maximum speed to achieve the desired dive routine in the least possible time, and to enable sufficient time to achieve straight body positioning for maximal points on entry. Elite divers spend around 6 days/week performing dry land training to rehearse body rotation activities such as somersaults. It is unknown how athletes somersault technique differs in their attempt to perform this task, and the optimal movement pattern for dry land training is unclear. This project aims to measure rotation speed of elite divers during dry land training to profile individual techniques. This information may lead to improved approaches to training and methods of developing young talent.

Results:
Analysis of time series data during Forward Tuck somersaults indicated low inter-trial variability for all athletes tested. However, profiles for individual athletes were unique.

Conclusion:
Gyroscopes are useful for monitoring individual rotation profiles for elite athletes during dry land training. Data is repeatable allowing for individual profiles to be clearly identified. This method will allow for the assessment of individual techniques and monitoring athlete progression.

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