Catching: Oh my word!

All I can say is after a pretty hairy situation this weekend while coaching I am so glad that I am now more confident about just getting on the trampoline and being a bit more hands on! Since doing my first level 3 trampoline module (more on that later) I’ve been really working on not only being more confident catching, but generally just using the more basic skills as a brilliant way to make my catching skills more intuitive.

I think it’s safe to say I’m definitely better at catching the unexpected!

On Saturday I had a slightly over clocked back landing, that was totally going to be a head landing. Luckily for the kid, and me, I was on the trampoline and was able to grab, and block the kids legs before he landed on his head. Phew! As you can tell, he was pretty new to trampoline (before you ask, yes there was a mat) but it was still definitely safer me being there – it avoided an injury, so take notes and if in any doubt at all, just be there. You’d be a fool not to!

I’ll upload a picture I drew while on my L3 course as to where my hands were, so you can tell what I mean by ‘block and grab’ on the legs. Kid was pretty light, so I was able to stop all momentum before he landed, proving the method really does work!

I hope you never have to use it! ~ Bella


Guest post: Lost Move Syndrome

Originally posted here, what this blog calls a ‘mental block in gymnastics’ is now well documented as Lost Move Syndrome, or LMS in Trampoline and can affect any performance athlete. Here’s a bit more information about it.

Mustafina LMS

Virtually 70% of high level gymnasts have experienced psychological blocking – the inability to perform a skill previously performed with ease. Only a small percentage of these athletes experience blocking to the point that it disrupts their performance. Nonetheless, for those who do, the experience is devastating.

Research shows that blocking has a number of predictable characteristics (Feigley, Robbins & Berger, 1989):

It generalises backwards within a sequence of skills. For example, blocking on the back somersault phase of the roundoff, back handspring, back somersault sequence quickly spreads to the back handspring and frequently to the round-off itself.
It generalises across skills. For example, a problem on the back salto on the beam quickly spreads to a back salto on the floor and/or to a back walkover on the beam or the floor.

Athletes susceptible to blocking have similar characteristics. They are:

  1. very bright
  2. fast learners, at least initially.

Their high intelligence and rapid rate of learning often results in their learning skills without learning intermediate steps. This characteristic has been noted as a possible cause or factor related to a cause in a study of trampolinists (Day, Thatcher, Greenlees & Woods (2006).

Read more

Have you suffered from LMS? I’m hoping that by sharing this, that as coaches we’re more aware of it and that performers realise that they’re not alone in what can be a major crisis in confidence for many and that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

New Skills

Consolidating new skills and keeping confidence levels high when learning new skills.

Learning any new skill in trampoline takes time, patience and often requires a “two steps forward, one step backwards” approach between sessions. What do I mean? Well, in a nut shell if you take two steps forward in a training session, you will need to take one step backwards in the following training session in order to consolidate the skill just learned.

Top It Up or Turn It Over - Jack Kelly

Image courtesy of Jack Kelly

For example, we recently had a competitor learning a tuck back somersault. Two steps forward would be when we went from a coach on the side to spot it; to a mat coming in for the landing (one step forward) followed by landing the skill on the trampoline (second step forward). The competitor finished the session feeling buoyant and very confident in the skill. We had worked on it for several turns on the trampoline and by the end it was being performed with a very consistent somersault and good height and awareness. With any two steps forward for a new skill learned though, you have to remember at least one step back is required to build on that confidence in the next session. The last thing you want is hesitation because they’ve had a few days off and now just ‘going for it’ is a little bit more scary than when you’d learnt them and the method was fresh in your mind.

So our step back was to reintroduce the tuck back somersault into the next session with confidence from the coach and a mat. The competitor was obviously keen to do more, as it’s a new skill, but it was important to ensure it was spotted on a mat. I must also add at this point that the mat coming in should be by the coach, to give further confidence – the competitor was keen enough to do it with a fellow participant matting on another trampoline, but we would rather it was under the full supervision of the coach first. Incidentally this ensures they’re not beginning any new bad habits that they weren’t doing before, such as keeping the head in line with the shoulders (which can be lost after a day or two of not thinking about it).

Our competitor was then able to continue her somersaults with or without a mat 🙂

Happy bouncing!

Supported Somersaults with a Belt

Using a Karate belt round the waist to support a single front or back somersault on the trampoline.

So this is a field I previously didn’t know much about, so if you have any feed back, please feel free to comment below. I recently used this apparatus for the first time. It’s a bit different to manually supporting somersaults when on the trampoline, because it’s a step back and less ‘hands on’.Martial_arts_belt

So how is it done?

Using a fabric karate belt and a performer who has previously been hand supported to complete a front or back somersault, the belt is folded in half length-ways, so you have a loop at one end and the two ends at the other. This length wraps round the performer, with the loop at the waist and sitting above the hip nearest you. By threading the ends through the loop, this creates a secure slip knot round the performers waist and the two ends which you can grip.

The advantages of using the belt

It is secure around the waist of your performer, giving them the confidence to complete the skill in the same manner as previously, without you, while still having the coach able to step in and keep less secure SS’s from falling forward or back.

For me the belt seems another step, providing further support options to the coach and competitor, but I’m not sure it’s all that necessary unless your competitor needs a confidence boost…

What do you think?

Comment below if this is a method you use/ don’t use. Let me know what you think is best.

Please note this method should only be used by a qualified coach familiar with the method, this post is not designed to teach the method, only to inform and reflect on personal experience.

Posts Archive

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New Skills

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Supported Somersaults with a Belt

Using a Karate belt round the waist to support a single front of back somersault.

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