The belly flop is the last thing you want to do when teaching a child to properly dive off the starting block in competitive swimming. According to the CoachesInfo.com, the dive start is critical to winning and in short distances like the 50 meters freestyle, it can contribute to 30 percent of the overall race. Guide young swimmers into learning and then improving their starting block dives with practice and hard work.
Sit the children by the starting blocks at the swimming pool. Show them the proper dive technique with an older child or teenager who competitively swims. The children can watch up close and copy it.
Watch the teenager go through each motion slowly while you explain with words out loud. Say, "She is now placing her lead foot in the front and then placing both hands down onto the starting block," for example.
Instruct the children learning to stand up and go through each motion like the example diver. Together the children copy the correct form. Allow them to practice while supervised. Ask them if they have any questions or concerns.
Video tape the children practicing their starting block dives after a few sessions. After the swim meet, view the tape together to discuss their form and how to improve their dives. Watch video of Olympic swimmers who have excellent dive skills.
Practice a competitive swim meet where the children dive start and perform their usual swim competition. Discuss their overall performance and help make any changes in their starting block dives.