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What is a Trampoline Competition?

By Matthew F.
Updated May 23, 2024
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A trampoline competition is a gymnastic sport performed while bouncing on a trampoline. Competitors use acrobatic moves to gain points from judges in official competition. Moves are performed after bouncing on the trampoline at a height of about 25 ft (about 7.5 m). Trampolining requires athletic strength and body control and has been an Olympic sport since 2000.

A trampoline competition involves backward and forward somersaults, twists, rotations, and a variety of other moves. Take-offs and landings can be performed from the feet, the front of the body, or the back side of the body. Moves in a trampoline competition are performed with many different bodily moves, and involve most body parts.

There are three basic moves in a trampoline competition. A straight move is performed with the entire body straight — legs and neck straight and arms down to the sides. A piked move is performed with the legs and arms both straight out at 90 degree angles to the body — the arms and legs in this move sometimes touch at the hands and feet. A tucked move is performed with the legs and arms both bent—the knees are pulled into the chest and the arms are folded around the legs. This move is comparable to a “cannonball” dive into a pool. These moves are performed with rotations and somersaults of the body at different angles and different degrees of difficulty.

A trampoline competition must be started on the feet and ended on the feet, and 10 touches of the surface of the trampoline are completed in between. Competitions are performed on regulation sized trampolines, and are judged out of three routines. Scores are given in a trampoline competition on a 10 point scale, based on completion of moves, degree of difficulty, and body form. Degree of difficulty is determined by turns added onto the three trampolining moves. One half turn added onto a tuck, for instance, adds one half point. One full somersault, then, would add one full degree of difficulty point.

The trampoline competition was made a popular sport by NCAA gymnastics champion George Nissen. The trampoline sport was invented in 1937. It first became popular in high schools and colleges in the United States. It then moved to Europe and the first World Championship was held in 1964. The sport of trampoline competition became popular internationally in the 1970s and 1980s and began to be dominated in tournaments by Europeans countries and especially countries of the former Soviet Union.

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Discussion Comments
By sweetPeas — On Nov 02, 2011

I participated in gymnastics in high school. We could compete in every event, like balance beam, vault, floor exercise, and uneven parallel bars. But we weren't allowed to compete on the trampoline. We could jump on it to develop strength and body control. If we wanted to do somersaults, we had to be hooked up to a belt. It was fun anyway.

But I realize now how dangerous trampolines are. There are many serious accidents that happen on home trampolines.

By julies — On Nov 02, 2011

I grew up in a small town and we were the only family in town who had a trampoline. We spent hours outside jumping on the trampoline.

Of course, we never knew we had so many friends until we got our trampoline, and everyone wanted to come and jump.

It has always amazed me that nobody got hurt all those years we had our trampoline. We would make up our own competitions, and although we didn't do tricks nearly as sophisticated as those at real competitions, we could get pretty serious about it.

We also loved doing seat wars and would see who could last the longest jumping up, landing on their seat and getting back up again. These were always done with 2 people jumping at the same time.

Over the years I got so I could do several kinds of flips and jumps. I have always been fascinated when I have seen a trampoline competition going on as I know how hard it is to complete some of those jumps and moves.

By Ivan83 — On Nov 01, 2011

My friends and I used to have trampoline competitions in my backyard. We would basically play it like a game of horse. One person would do a trick and then everyone else tried to repeat that same trick.

It was a lot of fun and we ended up doing some really cool tricks. There were a couple of small injuries but nothing too serious.

By tigers88 — On Oct 31, 2011

This is kind of strange, but I went to a trampoline competition once and was actually too freaked out to stick around. Watching the people jump up so high and do so many flips and spins really scared me. I was sure that one of them was going to fly off the trampoline and end up mangled.

My friends stuck around and kept watching but I had to wait in the car. I don't normally react like that but I just couldn't handle it that day.

By jholcomb — On Oct 30, 2011

@Sara007 - Another safety tip for home trampolines is to actually sink it in the ground. People don't realize that trampolines are incredibly, incredibly dangerous. (Your child is much safer playing at the home of a friend whose parents keep firearms than at the home of a friend with a trampoline.)

But the main reason so many injuries and deaths are associated with trampolines is many people do not take sensible safety precautions; they don't have to be so dangerous. One thing that some people do is sink the trampoline in the ground so that the jumping surface is at ground level. That way, if someone falls off, there is less distance to fall and less chance of serious injury.

The other huge, huge risk is more than one person jumping at a time. Trampolining can be good exercise and a fun competitive sport, but only for one person at a time. Two people jumping skyrockets the risk of serious injury because you can take a bad bounce, fall off and get a serious head injury, so make sure to talk to your girls about only one person jumping at a time.

By lonelygod — On Oct 30, 2011

@Sara007 - If you want a trampoline that lets your daughters practice gymnastic style jumps I would go with a rectangular trampoline versus the round ones. You will also need a much bigger one so you may have to get one like the 15 foot trampoline that has an enclosure included.

One of the things you should buy, if you don't go for a trampoline that is already enclosed, is a trampoline safety net. I know a lot of people put up their trampolines without one, but it is really dangerous. This is doubly true if your girls are doing actual gymnastic jumps and not just bouncing up and down.

By Sara007 — On Oct 30, 2011

While no one in my family is at the level for trampoline competitions yet, my daughters are into gymnastics and love playing on the trampoline at their friend's home. I am considering whether or not to buy a trampoline for them. Does anyone have any tips on what to look for at a trampoline sale?

There is a sporting and recreation goods place near my home and they actually have a surprising number of trampolines available. I have no idea though about which size would be best and if I need anything else besides the actual trampoline. I just want something that will let me girls improve their skills.

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