Learning the Dive Pool

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4-way Problem Page series by World Champion Roy Janssen

Learning the Dive Pool

Dear Rolls

I have joined a 4-way team, we will be doing AA category and I have been tasked with learning the dive pool before our training camp. Now I don’t mind spending time on ‘homework’ but my problem is, the formations all look pretty similar to me. I haven’t really done much 4-way before, so the only things I know already are star, donut and diamond.

When I look at the stamped out pictures, most of them are a lot more complicated than that. I’ve been trying to make up little ditties to help me associate the numbers with the names of the formations… but that doesn’t really help when I can’t remember what a Hook or an Adder looks like anyway! The pictures just look like a bunch of ants to me!

I tried watching teams in the tunnel to see if real people would be easier to understand… but that made me even more confused because often I can’t recognize the formations. Then someone explained that each formation can also be built as a mirror image. So what kind of chance does that give me?!

I think I will be Tail as I am replacing someone who has left. But the team said the coach might decide to swap me with someone else. Do you have any tips to help learn the pool as I am struggling badly with my first assignment?

Yours forgetfully


K, a Hook, the cheat makes it look different from the drawing

Roy Replies…

Hello Brenda,

I can understand that in the beginning some formations look quite the same, and that the names sound unfamiliar to you. Probably it is more difficult for you to learn them because you don’t have much 4-way experience. But if I can do it, for sure you are able to do it as well; it is not exactly rocket science.

Concentrate on your position

What helps in the beginning, is to know which slot you will be flying and concentrate only on this position. If the paper, or online dive pool, is confusing you because the continuity plan is mixed up, I suggest putting all the formations on the creepers with your team and take a picture of each random and block from above. You can do this wearing your own jumpsuits and maybe even with the rigs if this helps. In this way you see exactly what grips you need to take and from who. If you do this, you are sure that you see all your A-slot (standard) formations.

Things to Learn

There are a few things you need to learn. First you need to know the number or letter and the name of each formation (block and random). Than you need to know how each formation looks like, from the top view (camera flyer) and from inside of the formation.

 Hayabusa in random C
Hayabusa in random G

If we are eager to learn, soon we will be able to speak all the same language

Draw them out

Back in the days when I started to learn the dive pool, I practiced them by writing and drawing. I just wrote down the numbers 1 till 22 and below I had to write the names of the start and end of the blocks. I did this until I had it right every time. Once I knew this, I also start drawing the complete formation (top – bottom). I visualized how it looks like from above but also which grips I should be holding. I did it the same way with learning the randoms.

Small steps

Maybe you can start with a small part of the dive pool first. Let’s say you do the randoms A till H until you know them. Then you practice the second part of the randoms – J till Q. Same goes for the blocks.

Practice every day

If you can spend every day 15 minutes of training the dive pool, you will learn all of them very fast. You can use videos as well as a training tool. By watching 4-way you will automatically start to recognize some formations. It is just a matter of spending some more time before you know all of them. I am convinced that if we are eager to learn them, soon we will be able to speak all the same language.

Good luck with your Homework!


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