By James Fothergill
This is the very first skill, so it must be the easiest – right? Wrong. Straight jumping takes practice, with lots of elements coming together with perfect timing to ensure maximum efficiency, power and height can be obtained. Olympic trampolinists are able to bounce as high as they do largely thanks to their proficiency at straight bouncing, and their timing of straight leg drive.
Jumping up and down on the cross, without moving from side to side. You also need to learn how to stop quickly!
None – this is the very beginning. If the gymnast is young, you can play games to get them used to the trampoline – balancing isn’t always easy. Some exercises might include running from one end to the other, stopping, turning around and running back.
How should I straight bounce?
Firstly you need to look for the middle of a trampoline. On a competitive trampoline this is usually marked with a red cross. In the middle of the trampoline the bed dynamics are at their best, the trampoline will push you straight up into the air.
Trampolining is all about the vision – when straight bouncing you need to hold your gaze on a fixed point in front of you. Most people will choose to look at the safety matt that is in front of them, but if you are on a garden trampoline, you might need to find a place on a fence/bush that you can stare at.
The knees and hips will bend when the trampolinist is in contact with the trampoline, and then push to straight as the trampolinist leaves the trampoline. At this point it is really important to learn to push through your toes – your trampoline coaches will be very helpful and remind you to do this, because the sooner you learn to push through your toes, the easier trampolining becomes.
Your arms need to be in control, when you are in contact with the trampoline your hands should be held by the side of your body. When you are at the top of your bounce your hands should be held directly above you. When you are straight bouncing your arms should always be straight.
How do I stop?
As you are falling down from the top of your bounce, and about to land on the trampoline then you bend your legs and absorb the recoil of bounce. You keep your legs bent as you make contact with the bed, and then don’t push out of the trampoline.
Coaching Points & Helpful Tips
If you find yourself drifting forwards, you have probably chosen a vision point that is too low. Concomitantly, if you find yourself drifting backwards, you have probably chosen a vision point that is too high. In trampolining it’s all about the vision!
How I can practice?
Try doing three straight bounces, and then stopping dead. Repeat this until you can get to your full height quickly, and kill the trampoline bounce completely when you stop.