If you grew up in the 21st century, chances are you have enjoyed jumping on a trampoline. It has become a common recreational activity all over the world. But did you know that it is also a major sport? Yes, it turns out all those double jumps and radical (and probably a little too dangerous) tricks could have gotten you into the big leagues! Actually, trampolining is prestigious enough to be included in the Olympics. Here, we would like to go over a little bit about how trampolining came to be, and what the sport entails.
The trampoline actually started as an assisting tool for tumblers and divers, being co-invented by George Nissen, a tumbler himself. He then marketed the device as an entertainment tool, where it quickly took off in education programs and entertainment centers. It was this wave of popularity that pushed trampolining from a recreational activity into a respectable sport. Unfortunately, in competitive trampolining, injuries and lawsuits have drawn the sport away from many community uses, and it is now practiced almost exclusively in gyms with certified trainers.
The way competitive trampolining works can be broken down into two basic parts: the move and the landing.
First, let’s go over the landing. There are four acceptable landing positions in trampolining: Feet, Seat, Front, and Back. Every trampolining routine has to start and end from the feet position. Each contestant is given 10 “contacts” (landings) on the trampoline per routine, as well as one “out bounce”, which is just a straight jump used to help stick a landing.
Moves have to be done using one of the following three techniques: Tuck, Pike, and Straight. The tuck position clasps the knees to the chest with ones hands. The pike position has the hands touching feet with arms and legs spread straight. The straight position is just like it sounds, with the body straightened rigidly, toes and legs pointed out, and arms by the sides. Moves can be further modified with twists and somersaults to create dazzling displays of acrobatics.
When judging a contestant in a competition, many different factors are taken into account. FIG Shorthand, one of the common rubrics for grading a competitor’s score, is a series of digits representing different aspects of the routine that are ranked numerically and alphabetically. The first digit represents the number of quarter rotations, the second the number of half twists, and the third is represented by a symbol signifying how the contestant landed. “/” refers to the straight position, “<” to the pike position, and “o” to the tucked position.
There are many different kinds of trampoline competitions, including the individual trampoline event, synchronized trampoline, power tumbling and more. Though new, the sport has taken off and continues to gain traction.
You don’t have to be a professional to enjoy a trampoline, though. Why not enjoy doing tricks at your own pace with friends instead? If that piques your interest, check out our trampoline park in Grand Rapids. We’ve got top of the line trampoline equipment available at an affordable price. Our referees are trained to ensure that everyone has a fun and safe experience. Give us a call to find out more.