When to Use an Open Pike in Diving

There are three types of body positions in diving: Layout, tuck, and pike. All three are used frequently. However, when it comes to putting your artistic touch onto a position, the pike position provides the most versatility.

Unlike the other positions, the pike position can be performed in two different styles: Either open pike or closed pike. Both of these positions have equal degrees of difficulty, and neither is specified in the dive description.

When a dive is announced in the pike position, it is up to the diver to choose the artistic style he/she will perform. It is important for divers to know how to perform both styles, but there are some reasons one style might fit better than the other. Here are some of the ways to determine which style works best for you:

Different Positions

An open pike and a closed pike are very similar positions. In both, the body is bent at the waist, the stomach is close to the legs, and the legs are straight with toes pointed. However, the two positions differ in how the arms are placed in the dive. Here is a short explanation of each:

  • Closed pike: The body is bent at the waist in the pike position, and the arms are holding the back of the calves.
  • Open pike: The body is bent at the waist in the pike position, but the arms are out to the sides of the body in a hollow “T” position.

Open pike positions are generally restricted to forward and inward voluntaries. Here is a list of dives that you will often see in the open pike position:

  • 101 B: Forward dive pike on the 1-meter, 3-meter, and platform.
  • 103 B: Forward one and a half pike on the 1-meter, 3-meter, and platform.
  • 401 B: Inward dive pike on the 1-meter, 3-meter, and platform.
  • 403 B: Inward one and a half on the 1-meter, 3-meter, and platform.

When performed correctly, an open pike is a graceful alternative to a closed pike position.

Choosing a Position

Both positions can score well when executed properly, but there are good reasons to perform one opposed to the other.

Here are two ways to evaluate when you should use an open or closed pike:

  1. Flexibility: Knowing how flexible you are is a good indicator of when to choose an open or closed pike position. The more flexible you are, the better an open pike position will look.
  2. Preference: When it comes down to it, knowing when to use an open pike or closed pike is really a matter of preference. Some coaches and divers prefer a closed pike. Deeper pike makes these dives look better. Others argue that an open pike is more graceful, especially on a forward or inward one and a half.

A judge may have a preference to one style, but if the dive is performed well — with tight form and a good entry — both positions will score high.

Hot Tip: Don’t Leave Space

Avoid an open pike that has too much space between the stomach and the legs. The tighter the open pike — the closer the stomach is to the legs — the better it will look and the higher it will score.

Benefits of Learning an Open Pike

Regardless of whether or not you choose to use an open pike position in your voluntary dives, it is important to know how to perform it. An open pike serves several functions in diving that will ultimately benefit all divers. Here are a few of the benefits to learning an open pike position:

  • Twisters: In order to square out of a twisting dive, you need to have an open pike position. Squaring out of a dive is how a diver stops the rotation of the twist and prepares for entry. A good open pike position is essential to making a square out appear polished.
  • Pike-out: In order to pike-out of a dive, you need to get into an open pike position. A pike-out is a way for a diver to stop the rotation of a multiple somersault and prepare for entry into the water.

For these reasons, knowing how to get into and out of the open pike position will benefit all divers.

Decision Time

Choosing to perform a dive in either the open or closed pike position is a decision that both you and your coach should discuss. Some will feel that a closed pike exemplifies more control and beauty; others may feel the open pike is the more beautiful choice of the two. Regardless of your choice, remember that a tight pike position — either in the open or closed style — will give you the best scoring potential!

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