22 September 2019
| THE HEARTBEAT OF WOMEN'S SPORT

Getting started – trampolining

July 16, 2008
trampolining

Anyone who’s seen garden trampolines for sale at their local garden centre or DIY store could probably tell you that trampolining is increasingly popular among children. What is less well known is the growing popularity of trampolining among adults, particularly women.

What’s it all about?

trampolining.pngFirst and foremost, trampolining involves bouncing! It’s a real adrenaline sport that has the advantages of taking place indoors, supervised by qualified coaches. Your body goes through 2G (twice the normal pull of gravity) as you bounce, and there is a noticeable buzz of excitement as you jump.

Before you do anything else, you need to learn how to jump safely and stay in the middle of the trampoline. Within the first few minutes on a trampoline, most people are able to make shapes in the air while they jump, and then go on to learn twists and how to land on their front or back quite quickly.

With time and practice, these moves are then linked together to make more difficult (and impressive) combinations of moves, as well as things like somersaults. Sometimes called flips, somersaults involve turning upside down in the air and landing on your feet afterwards (and can incorporate shapes, twists, and sometimes as much as 1440o of rotation – a quadruple somersault).

Modern trampolines (the kind usually found in sports centres) are around 1.5m x 2m of highly strung webbing surrounded by padded frames and safety equipment, designed to allow you to jump as high as 3m or more. The sides of the trampoline may be protected by fold-out nets or end decks (mesh grills that are screwed to the frame of the trampoline) that support large, flat crash mats, in case you jump too far in one direction.

Part of learning to trampoline is learning to be a ‘spotter’. This is someone who stands at the unprotected sides of the trampoline, keeping an eye on whoever’s bouncing in case they come too close to the edge and need a hand to keep them on the trampoline.

If you decide to take part in a trampolining competition, you learn a set list of ten skills and perform them in front of a panel of judges who mark you on how well (neatly) you execute the skill, and how difficult the combination of moves was.

What do I need to wear?

Trampolining requires very little in the way of kit, although for safety reasons there are a few things you can’t wear. Socks, a t-shirt, comfortable tracksuit bottoms, shorts, or yoga/pilates trousers and a good sports bra are all you’ll ever really need when you trampoline. While learning some techniques, you might find your knees and elbows become sore, so a long sleeve t-shirt and trousers might be a good idea, but this is usually a brief period of the trampolining experience.

Jeans, jewellery and piercings are all a bad idea when trampolining – many coaches have horror stories about them, so any studs or bars that can’t be taken out need to be covered over with plasters. Longer hair also needs to be tied back.

trampolining-2.png

Do I need to be ultra fit/flexible to trampoline?

If you’ve seen trampolining on the television, you might have seen people bending at what seem to be impossible angles while in the air. The good news is, most trampolinists aren’t that flexible, and no one will expect a beginner to be!

Many women do have a natural advantage when it comes to things like pointing their toes (something a lot of men really struggle with), and flexibility comes with time and practice. Being stiff after a trampolining session isn’t unusual at first, especially if you’re going to several sessions a week, but a careful warm up/warm down and stretching exercises will help with this.

The same goes for fitness – initially, trampolining may leave you out of breath and pleasantly tired after a session, but your cardiovascular fitness catches up remarkably quickly, and it’s possible to hold a conversation, sing, or interview a celebrity while bouncing (just like a Blue Peter presenter!)

Where can I give it a go?

Leisure centres all over the country run trampolining lessons and clubs for children and teenagers, but finding classes for adults can be more difficult. British Gymnastics (the governing body and insurance provider for many UK trampolining clubs) has an interactive search facility on its website (www.british-gymnastics.org/site/) to help you find your nearest club.

Then it’s often a case of phoning up local leisure centres or coaches and asking them if they run an adults’ class. If you have a group of friends who would all like to try trampolining, it’s probably worth letting them know this, as adults’ classes might be set up if they think there’s enough demand.

Competitive trampolining

Trampolining competitions aren’t just for Olympians and children. More and more women are now taking part in competitions, often in ‘veteran’ categories (anyone over the age of 19). Competitions are often great fun, as typically clubs will attend a small local event, and enter a team of friends. Each person’s score goes towards a team total, and it can be a fantastic bonding experience.

Many people also find that practising for a competition inspires them to learn new and more difficult moves, as well as perfecting the moves they already know as much as possible. Beginners are also exempt from wearing leotards, although a lot of people find (unexpectedly!) that wearing a leotard gives them confidence.

What to watch

Don’t miss this summer’s Olympics Games in Beijing, where the 7-time British Champion Claire Wright will be competing in her first Olympic Games.

The National Trampolining Championships, were held this year at the NIA in Birmingham, on 5th and 6th July. This annual event is a great a chance to see the best trampolinists in the country compete, as well as watching synchronised trampolining, and DMT – a cross between trampolining and tumbling.

Glossary

Straight bounce – the first skill you learn, pushing up through your feet, moving your arms behind you in a circle, and landing on your feet again

Seat landing – jumping and landing in a sitting down position.

Pike jump – jumping, pushing your legs up in front of you, and tapping your shins before landing again.

Somersault – a 360o ‘flip’ in the air, usually done with your knees pulled in to your chest, going upside down and landing on your feet again.

Barani – a somersault with a twist in it, so you land facing in the opposite direction.

Charlotte Houldcroft, Sportsister
The Women’s Sports Magazine

Charlotte is coach and president at the Oxford University Trampolining Club.

Useful link

www.british-gymnastics.org – Official website of trampolining’s UK governing body – click on Find a Club

Look out for Sportsister’s upcoming interview with 7-time British Trampolining Champion Claire Wright.

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