Your Guide to the Greater Spotted TPL Swallow Dive
Filming a TPL Swallow Dive is harder than people think. The match conditions and timing must be right but, with careful planning and the right equipment, you too can film this graceful pirouette of pain and recovery.
To prepare for your chance, like all TPL twitchers, you must show patience and seek out the best spot. Prepare an unobscured view of the middle third of the pitch and wait patiently for the tell tell signs of activity. Don’t be rushed into second guessing when a brutal foul has been committed. There’s no way to differentiate between normal tackles, vicious hacks or diving rituals, but some clues help you prepare for the wasted minutes ahead. A stricken player completing three or more forward rolls is preparing to Swallow Dive. Listen out for the tell tale sound; a high pitched vocalisation heralds the start of the ritual, flanked by uninterested team mates and the absence of stretching subs. Now you must apply your skills with calm precision: click on your camera, pan from stretcher to player as they move together, focus on the stricken diver and keep tracking him as he receives the treatment Lazarus would have envied.
There are fertile times to prepare yourself for the Swallow Dives, but don’t discount a scoreless game. Some pre match research reaps rewards if the away team enter the game struggling with form or injury. Even without preparation, observe the first few away team goal kicks. Note the tell tell signs of a slow walk with studied indecision as places the ball and track his sight lines accompanying the frustrated shouting which, often in this sequence, is directed to someone sitting half way up the pitch side stand.
The most fertile time of all is a first half goal by an away team in a slump: be on full alert for the repeated crack of snipers from the stand. Although spotters don’t like to miss opportunities, you need to prioritise your twitching. The riding of a challenge before clutching the contact point is too common. Most serious spotters prefer to capture the players who find themselves injured off the pitch before rolling back on to stop the game and the head wound from an invisible elbow. The most prized spot for TPL twitchers is the player stretchered off with one injury which is forgotten as he is treated for something different. Some people feel that diving is a disgraceful and unmanly behaviour that drags down the standard of the league, but we embrace it. For us, even though we don’t mix well with others, it helps to spice up the fantasy match reports we share with each other in our online world. Without it, we’d only have the game to talk about and that would, as we say in twitchers’ world, be such a crippler.