Trampolining is an acrobatic competitive sport where the players need to perform different acrobatic skills while rebounding on a trampoline. It is considered as a competitive sport as well as an effective gymnastic activity. Trampolining is also a part of Olympic Games and it was introduced in Olympics in 2000. There are three different varieties to this game: Synchronised trampoline, tumbling, and double minitrampoline.
In case of trampolining, players need to perform a series of 10 acrobatic moves after bouncing from the trampoline and flying smoothly. Judges give points to the player based on his skill sets, style of execution, timings. The best three players to get maximum points are declared winner.
Trampolining was initially originated in order to train astronauts as well as a training exercise for other sports. Around 1934, George Nissen made the first modern trampoline with the help of Larry Griswold after observing trapeze artists performing tricks while bouncing off the safety net. Quickly, it was introduced in schools as well as private entertaining centres.
The first ever televised national trampolining championship was held in England in 1958. The first trampolining world championship was held in London in 1964. In 1965, International Trampoline Federation was found which later on worked as the world governing body for trampolining. By 1969, the first European Championship was held in Paris.
Slowly the game was adopted by European countries as well as Soviet Union. Since 2000, trampolining became a part of Olympics after which more numbers of countries started adopting and playing the sport.
Both as a competitive sport and an exercise, trampolining has a huge popularity. Initially American players were very much successful at different worldwide trampolining tournaments. Slowly European players started dominating the sport. Even in countries like Germany and France, trampolining is having a huge popularity.
Trampolining is very popular in USA, France, Russia, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, Bulgaria, Denmark, China, and Portugal.
In case of trampoline, not much equipment are needed. The basic equipment that are needed are the trampoline and the mat.
A trampoline is a workout and sport equipment which has a piece of taut and a strong fabric that is stretched over a steel frame using many coiled springs. People usually bounce on the trampoline for both working out as well as for competitive purposes. The fabric that is spread across the frame is not elastic. However, it is the coiled springs which provide elasticity to the equipment.
Initially, the trampoline was used for training the astronauts and pilots in order to provide them the experience of various body positions while the body is in air. Besides these, trampoline is also used in various sport trainings such as diving, gymnastics etc. in order to develop and sharpen the acrobatic skills of the player.
The trampoline is made of steal and is made in such a way that it can be folded up and can be carried to different places. In case of competitive sports, the trampoline bed is rectangular in shape with a size of 14 ft 1 in × 7 ft. The bed is fitted into a frame of size 17 ft × 10 ft. Around 110 coiled springs are used for providing the elasticity.
In case of recreational as well as for working out, the trampolines used are less effectively constructed than that of competitive trampolines. The springs used in recreational trampolines provide less elasticity as compared to the competitive trampolines. These trampolines come with various shapes like circular, octagonal, rectangular etc.
These mats are mostly used as a safety measure for the players. These are large, thick pads and are placed at every end of the trampoline. It is used in order to cushion the impact in case a player falls down from the trampoline.
The shoes used in this game are specially made for the sport and are ultralight in weight. A typical trampolining shoe weighs around 3.3 ounces. The shoes have foam padding inside with a high quality flexible rubber at the bottom for providing positive reaction during tumbling on the trampoline.
Trampolining court normally consists of a trampoline and mats. Based on variants, the court set-up as well as equipment vary from each other. In case of individual trampolining, a rectangular trampoline is used whereas in case of synchronous trampoline, the court comprises of two adjacent trampolines so that two players can perform their tricks simultaneously.
In case of Double Mini-trampoline, a special kind of trampoline is used which is having a sloped end at the beginning and a flatbed attached to the slope. For dismounting purpose, mats are added at the end of the flatbed. In case of tumbling, there is no trampoline. However, a track of 25 metre width with two metre track is there on which players perform the skills.
In competitive trampolining, a routine consists of ten contacts with the trampoline bed combining various rotations, twists and while landing the player can land in feet or in seat or in front or back positions. A routine must start and finish on feet.
There are two types of routines that are performed by the players −
Compulsory routines − In case of compulsory routines, a player has to carry out a set of ten pre-arranged skills in a specific order.
Optional routines − In case of optional routines, the players can perform any ten acknowledged skills.
The players must end their routine in an upright position with both feet on trampoline bed. They must remain in that position at least for three seconds before ending their routine. Players must start their routine within 60 seconds after presenting themselves to the judges.
Every player is allowed one out bounce, i.e. a straight upward jump in order to control their height balance before sticking to the ground. The trampoline must stop completely, which means the player needs to hold on to the trampoline for three seconds until it stops moving. Players don’t have a time limit to complete their routines.
While playing the game, players need to perform different skills which play a vital role in their final scores. Judges evaluate the scores based on the degree of difficulties of the skill sets as well as the execution. The higher the difficulty level, the higher is the scores.
Based on their degree of difficulties as well as technicalities involved, skills that are performed in trampolining are generally divided into three categories −
In the following sections, we will discuss in detail about these skills.
Straight Jump − This is one of the very basic steps and is also frequently seen being performed by players. Here, players jump vertically with body held straight and arms held straight before taking off and start jumping high.
Tuck Jump − In this case, the jump starts in a similar way as straight jump. The players take off while in vertically straight position and then pull up their knees to their chest while the hand are wrapped a little around the legs between the knees and ankle area.
Pike Jump − In this skill, player has to start the skill in a similar fashion as he/she does in straight jump. While being in air, the legs are held straight parallel to the trampoline and the arms with the player’s body try to touch the pointed toes while still being airborne.
Straddle Jump − The players start the skill similar to straight jump and while being airborne, they need to spread their legs sideways so that both legs stay at 90 degree from the body and the arms has to touch the pointed toes.
Seat Landing − It is one of the basic landing skills in trampoline, where after being airborne, the player lands on the trampoline in a seated position. On either sides of the body, hands support the player’s body and are placed slightly behind the hips whereas palms stay down with fingers directed towards the toes.
Half twist and Full twist − In this skill, the player first performs a straight jump and while being airborne he/she has to rotate his body until he/she faces the opposite direction which is considered as a half twist. In case of a full twist, he has to take a full 360 degree rotation.
Back Landing − In this skill, the player has to jump in such a way that his body is upright and chest and hips shall be in forward direction. The arms should be up and fingers should be above the toes. Then the player has to extend his arms and legs as much as possible so that it causes somersault rotation which helps the player to land on his back.
Front Landing − Here the player lands horizontally on his/her front side facing down. The hands are overlapped in front of the face and the arms are bent to form a diamond shape while the legs are bent slightly at the knee in order to keep the feet off the trampoline bed while landing.
Swivel Hips − This is actually a combination of three moves where the player first performs a seat landing as the first move and then bounces up and then performs a half twist while being airborne as the second move. After the two moves the player again performs a seat landing as the third move while facing the opposite direction.
Front Somersault − Here while being airborne, the player needs to take a full 360 degree rotation in the forward direction with the feet passing over the head. The body can be either tucked or piked or in straight position.
Back Somersault − Similar to front somersault, here the player needs to take a full 360 degree rotation in the backward direction while the body will be in tucked, piked or in straight position.
Barani − In this skill, the player has to perform two skills. Initially, the player has to perform a front somersault and while taking the rotation, the player has to perform a half twist which will make him/her land while facing the opposite direction.
Crash Dive − It is also known as ¾ Front. In this skill, the player first has to perform three quarter front somersault and while landing he need to perform a back landing.
Cody − In this skill, the player first needs to take a back flip and while landing, he/she has to perform a front drop and bounce back to perform a back somersault.
Rudolph − In this case, while being airborne, the player needs to perform a front somersault with one and half twist before landing.
Full in Full out − In this skill, while being airborne, the player has to perform a double back somersault with full twist in each somersault.
Full in or Full out − In this skill, while being airborne, the player needs to perform a double back somersault with taking full twist in either in the first or in the second somersault.
Full in Half out − In this skill, the player has to perform two front somersaults along with a full twist in the first somersault and a half twist in the second somersault.
Miller − In this skill, the player need to perform two back somersaults with one twist in the first somersault and two twists in the second somersault.
Miller Plus − This skill is much similar to the miller skill. Here the player needs to perform two back somersaults with two full twists in the first somersault and another two full twists in the second somersault.
Miller Plus Plus − This skill is an advanced version of the miller skill. Here the player has to perform double back somersaults with a total of five full twists. He can either perform 2½ twists in both of the somersaults or two full twists in the first somersault and three full twists in the second somersault.
Half out − In this skill, the player has to perform double front somersault with a half twist in the second somersault.
Rudy out − In this skill, the player needs to perform double front somersault with one and half twists at the end of second somersault.
Fliffus − In this skill, the player can either perform a front double somersault or a back double somersault with at least one half twist.
Randolph − In this skill, the player needs to perform a somersault with two and half twists.
Ball Out − In this skill, the player first needs to perform a back drop and then taking off from the back drop, he/she needs to perform a one and ¼ front somersault. Usually this skill is performed after a crash drive which ends with a back drop.
Full Half − In this skill, the player has to perform a double front somersault with one twist in the first somersault and a half twist in the second somersault.
Full Rudy − In this skill, the player needs to perform a double front somersault with one twist in the first somersault and one and a half twist in the second somersault.
In case of individual trampolining, the final mark is based on two different scores. If a player performs the skills smoothly without any error, he will get good points and points will be deducted in case of error while performing the skills.
Two individual panels of judges are there to look after the performance and degree of difficulty. Five judges are assigned for judging performance of skills by the player and giving a score out of ten whereas another panel of two judges are there for judging degree of difficulty usually giving a score ranging in between 11 to 15.
The points awarded in performance of skills are as follows −
In case of skills which involve twists and somersaults, points are added together.
The highest and lowest scores among the five individual scores given by the five judges for execution are discarded and the other three scores are totalled and added with the two other scores given by the panel of judges for degree of difficulty and the final result is considered as the total score for that player. In case of a tie, the two discarded scores are included again in order to determine the winner.
In case of failing to touch the trampoline with both feet at the same time costs 0.3 points whereas touching the trampoline bed with hands costs 0.4 points. Even touching the trampoline bed with both hand and knees costs 0.5 points.
The player gets points based on the difficulty level of the skills and performance. In case of other related trampoline types such as synchronised trampoline, tumbling and doublemini trampoline, the game procedure varies. While the basic rules are very much similar in all types, they differ from each other in game set-ups and strategies.
In all types, players need to perform ten different sets of recognised and creative skills such as straddle jumps, somersaults, or twists. Players are awarded scores based on style as well as control on execution of the tricks. These different types are as follows −
In case of synchronised trampolining, two players simultaneously perform on two adjacent trampolines. The routine consists of same set of ten skills which both the players have to perform at the same time. The score is given to each athlete separately by a pair of judges for their ability to perform the skills.
Additional judges are there to provide score for synchronization between the two players. In case the players are performing in a much synchronised manner including jumping up to same height at same time, few points are deducted for synchronization. Here also if the degree of difficulty of the routine plays a vital role in the scoring process similar to individual trampolining.
The double mini-trampoline court is smaller than that of regular trampoline court. Here player runs up and jumps up to the sloping end and then jumping to the flat part of the trampoline before dismounting on a mat. The players perform different skill sets during the jump or while dismounting on the mat.
Here the competition consists of two types of passes. The first kind of pass is called mounter pass where the player performs a skill after a jump from the sloping end to the flat bed and the second skill while dismounting from the flat bed on the mat.
The second type of pass is called spotter pass where the players first perform a straight jump at the slope end and during the landing on the flat bed, they perform a skill and again perform the second skill while dismounting on the mat. The skills that are performed by the players are same as that of skill sets performed by players in individual trampolining. The main difference between individual trampoline and double minitrampoline is that double mini trampoline includes a lot of movements long the trampoline.
Tumbling is also known as power tumbling where players perform routines consisting of eight different sets of skills on the floor without any trampoline. It is performed on a 25 meter long spring track with a width of 2 metres which is a fibreglass rod floor under two layers of foam mats. The floor includes a 10 metre run up at the front and a mat at the end of the track for dismounting.
In tumbling competitions, the players perform two pass. Each of them has eight skills. Usually starting off with a barani or rudy, the skill sets include twisted somersaults and whips before dismounting on the mats. The dismounting skills often include a double or triple back somersaults.
Scoring in tumbling is also very much similar to that of individual trampolining with five judges for execution of skills and one for degree of difficulty.
Based on the guidelines set by the officials, the individual trampoline competition format in the Olympics consists of two or three routines among which one routine consists of compulsory set of skills. The skill sets comprise of somersaults and body landings. Various body landings are performed in various body positions such as tuck, pike, and straight positions.
Routines are performed in an officially regulated 14 foot by 7 foot sized trampoline with a central marker. Each routine consists of ten skill sets with players starting and ending the game on their feet. The degree of difficulty scores are calculated by adding a factor for each twist and somersault performed by the players.
Every player is allowed to carry the spotters during the game. However, players can also carry only one or two spotters during the game. The spotters protect the player against accidental falls during the game by the help of the spotter mats.
If the spotter makes any contact with the player during the game, the player doesn’t receive any points during that pass as judges consider the pass to be interrupted. Similarly, if a spotter communicates verbally with player, the player loses 0.3 points as a penalty.
Some of the famous trampolining championship events held across the globe are as follows −
Many competitors take part in trampolining tournaments that are held in different countries. Let us now discuss in brief about some of the champions of trampolining and their careers −
Huang Shanshan is a trampoline player from China who is the winner of bronze medal in 2004 Olympics and a silver medal in 2012 Olympics. In 2006 World Cup, she won two individual events. She has a long list of achievements in national and international championships.
In 1998, she took part in National Champion’s Tournament where she won silver medal in individual competition and her team won gold medal. In 1999, she took part in National Championship where she won a gold medal as an individual and her team also won a gold medal.
In the same year, she participated in National Champion’s Tournament where her team won a gold medal and individually she won a bronze medal. In 2000, she won a silver medal in National Championship and National Champion’s Tournament. In 2001, she took part in Trampoline World Youth Championship and won a silver medal. She has taken part in many other competitions in which she won gold, silver, and bronze medals.
Steven Gluckstein is a trampoline player from America who started his career in taekwondo. Due to closing of his school, he was forced out from martial arts so his mother introduced him into gymnastics. He won Visa Championship in 2009 which was his first US Champion title.
In the same year, he won a gold medal in Trampoline World Cup in synchronised trampoline where his partner was Logan Dooley. He has taken part in many national and international competitions where he won gold, silver, and bronze medals in individual competitions and also being a part of the team.
Blake Gaudry is a trampoline player from Australia who was Australian Champion in 2009, 2010, and 2012. He was also a national Champion in 2009, 2010, and 2011 in synchronised trampoline event. He started his career in 2002 at the age of ten. He was coached by many coaches at different institutes.
He has taken part in many championships after coaching and won medals in national competitions. In 2012, he participated in Pacific Rim Championships and won a gold medal in synchronised trampoline event.
Kat Driscoll is a trampoline player from Great Britain and has won medals as being a part of a team and also in synchronised events of World and European Championships. She started learning trampolining at the age of seven. In 1998, she took part World Age Games while being a part of Jumpers Trampoline Club.
In 2009, she participated in Aalsmeer Flower Cup and won a gold medal. She has taken part in World Championships and has won two golds, one silver and one bronze. In European Championships, she won three golds, two silvers, and one bronze.
Karen Cockburn is a trampoline player from Canada who is the winner of medals in Olympics. In 2000, she won a bronze medal in Summer Olympics whereas in 2004 and 2008 Olympics, she won silver medal. Besides Olympics, she was successful in other competitions too. In 2005, she took part in Trampoline World Cup and won bronze medal as individual and gold in synchronised trampoline event with her partner Rosannagh MacLennan.
In the same year, both of them participated in World Championships and won a silver medal. In 2006, she won a gold medal in Canadian National Trampoline Championships. In the same year she won gold in individual and synchronised trampoline events in Trampoline and Tumbling Competition. Besides these, she has participated in many other championships and won medals.
Jason Burnett is a trampoline player from Canada who is the winner of Canadian National Championships eight times and a silver medal in 2008 Olympics. In 2010, he participated in Trampoline World Cup and won a silver medal. He has also taken part in Elite Canadian Competition and won a gold medal.
In Pacific Rim Championships, he got gold medals in individual as well as synchronised trampoline events. In 2011, he won a gold medal in Canada Cup in individual event. In the same competition, he won silver medal in synchronised trampoline event.