A few years ago, my family made the decision to join a summer pool. It’s not flashy or fancy, but it has something that hooked us every year since: a diving board. My son was fairly young when we first joined, but he fell in love with diving. Well, to be clear, first he fell in love with jumping off it. Then he felt brave enough to try a forward dive….and the rest is history! A few summers of dive lessons, one summer of dive team (so far!) and he has cemented diving in his summer activity routine.
Diving isn’t quite as easy to participate in as swimming. There aren’t diving boards at hotel pools, for instance, and it’s not always easy to tell the depth of lakes, making diving risky. But if you have the desire to dive, we’re here to share some beginning diving information. We hope this helps answer some beginning dive questions!
Four Things to Know about Diving:
- Age matters. While some very young kids may have the courage and strength to dive, most kids will be ready to learn around age 6 or 7. Part of the reason for that is because kids are often afraid to try it the first time, and it can be hard to reason or reassure younger kids who feel scared. Once they are old enough to explain how diving works and how to do it safely, diving becomes a bit less scary.
- Start S-L-O-W-L-Y. Your child doesn’t have to start diving off the board right away. Start small – regular jumps from the side of the pool, for example – and progress slowly. Once they’ve mastered the art of jumping in, let them try cannonballs. Then move to kneeling dives from the side (obviously make sure the water is deep enough and that diving is allowed where you are practicing!). Finally, let them try to jump off the board until they feel comfortable before you ever attempt a dive from the board.
- Help! You can guide your child through the diving process, especially if you start with kneeling dives from the side of the pool. Help get your child into the right position, point their arms up, and help guide your child into the water by their hips and arms. It may not feel natural to your child at first, so keep trying until they are comfortable enough to attempt it alone.
- Consider a pro. Look into local diving clubs, summer dive programs or a teacher for private lessons. Sometimes having someone work one-on-one with your child can help them feel more comfortable and confident. Locally, we have Wisconsin Dive Club for year round diving programming, and most Madison area outdoor pools offer diving over the summer.
Whether your child is a daredevil or risk-adverse, diving can be an awesome activity for building confidence, teaching discipline and growing your child’s love of the water.