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Jumping Your Way To Fun

Aug 17, 2007
For an activity that's packed with thrills and excitement, it's hard to beat trampolining. It's a lot like bouncing up and down on the old spring bed when you were very young... except that you can bounce a lot higher, and increased area gives you more room to perform stunts.

Besides being a lot of fun, trampolining is a great body conditioner, helping you develop balance, rhythm, coordination, and a keen sense of timing.

Stretched within the frame is the performing surface or bed, about twelve feet long and eight feet wide. The heavy canvas or woven webbing sheet is attached with elastic cords or metal springs.

Make sure that safety pads are on the metal sides of the frame. Safety pads are required accessories, protecting you in case you land off the bed.

For further protection, you'll also need spotters, to catch or warn you if you get too close to the edge.

When you mount the trampoline, always climb carefully onto the bed. Don't chance an injury trying to leap onto the frame

And be just as careful when you dismount . . . climbing over the frame rather than bouncing onto a hard floor. Practice mounting and dismounting a few times to get used to doing it right.

Initial Exercises

Spend a few minutes bouncing low and easily ... getting the feel of the trampoline. As you gain confidence, you can begin bouncing a little higher.

Hit the canvas with your feet about eighteen inches apart, and flex your knees. As you land, let your arms come down to your sides.

Swing them forward and up as you bounce up from the bed. As you go up...bring your feet together and stretch your arms above your head at the top of the bounce. As you drop to the bed again... swing your arms back down to your sides, and open your legs again. If you want to stop bouncing...flex your knees the instant you touch the bed, and hold them flexed. This kills your spring, preventing an uncontrolled bounce.

Work on the simple bounce until the form feels comfortable and natural. Then you can begin trying some of the bounce variations.

The half pirouette is one of the easiest to learn. All you do is bounce, half twist in the air, and come down facing in the opposite direction.

Start the half pirouette with a regular bounce. But, instead of swinging both arms above your head ...pull your outside arm across your stomach to help you spin. Your outside arm is your right arm if you're turning to your left.

You should find it easy to half-spin your body so that you come down facing in the opposite direction. By adding a little more twist or spin... you can do the full pirouette. Just pull your outside arm harder across your stomach, so your body spins all the way around...and you come down facing in the same direction as when you started the bounce. Throw your arms to the sides to stop your spin as you land.

Work on both the half pirouette and the full pirouette until you can do them gracefully, with your body straight and with the right amount of spin.

Then you can go on to the tuck bounce. Here you bounce high into a tuck or ball, and drop back to the bed in regular bounce position.

Begin the tuck bounce as you would a regular bounce. But as your feet leave the bed...bring your knees up close to your chest and grab your shins so your body is tucked into a tight ball. On the way down...let go of your shins and straighten your body so you land in regular standing position.

Once you've learned these elementary bounces...try practicing them in combinations. Your success as a trampoline performer will depend on how well you build one skill upon another, mastering each new step through repeated practice. A thorough knowledge of the fundamentals will go a long way toward helping you become a top-notch trampoline man.
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