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How to Improve Reaction Time on a Dive Start

QUESTION:

Hi Gary,   What is the best way to improve my daughters reaction time off the blocks, she is 10yrs old and seems to be overly cautious when doing her starts   Regards Diane

ANSWER:

Hi Diane, There are a number of different ways that children can improve their starts.

The first way is to practice them correctly and regularly.  Your daughter needs to make sure she is getting into the correct position when the starter says “Take Your Marks’, with one foot forward and one foot back for a track start or both feet at the front of the block for a grab start.  The toes of the front foot / feet should be curled over the front of the block and the body weight should be forward so that the centre of gravity sits over the front of the block (but not too far forward so they feel like they are going to tip in).  On the starting signal she need sto push hard off the block as soon as she hears the signal, making sure that the toes are the last part of the feet to leave the block.

Some exercises that your daughter can do to improve her reaction time include:

  • skipping on a regular basis
  • practicing burpees so that she learns to jump out, jump in and jump up all as part of one exercise
  • practice on the starting block by going into the take your mark position and then when someone claps their hands together she jumps out as far as she can
  • the same as the one above, but diving out as far as she can.

Regards

Gary

The Swimming Expert and author of Swimming for Parents and Nutrition for Swimmers

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