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How to Perform a Splash-Worthy Cannonball!

Want to rule the pool? Show off your perfect cannonball skills with these tips.

Every kid knows there's no better way to make a big splash than with the cannonball. "The cannonball is the direct opposite of what we want to see from Olympic divers," says Steve McFarland, two-time Olympic diving judge and vice president of USA Diving. "But there is definitely an art to a cannonball that will help you make bigger splashes."

Performance Tips -- Ker-splash!

Follow his tips and you'll soak everyone around with a big splash.

  • Safety First. If your pool doesn't have a diving board, plan your landing for the deepest end. Jump away from the pool side from a standing start -- never run on the pool deck.
  • Onward and Upward. The physics are simple: The higher you can leap before hitting the water, the more gravity will help you make waves.
  • Stay Loose. Keep your knees apart and hold your elbows out to the sides as you place your hands around your legs. "The more surface area you have when you hit the water, the bigger the splash, so it's best to keep your cannonball loosely formed. It's not true that the tighter the ball, the bigger splash," says McFarland.
  • Prepare for Landing. The first thing to touch the water should be your bottom, as you slightly angle back. Keep your head up and knees slightly apart so the force of impact doesn't drive your knees into your noggin. Half the fun of a perfect cannonball is watching the looks on the faces of everyone you're about to drench!
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