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How to Coach a Very Nervous Adult On Trampoline

31 May

This question recently landed in our inbox, “How do I coach a very nervous adult on trampoline.” I have coached many levels, but trampoline is not my forte. I came up in the age where trampoline had gotten a bad wrap and wasn’t really taught anymore. We had one for drills but we never learned anything past the basics. I do, however, have some tips based on my coaching/20+ years-of-adult-gymnastics-class-participation advice :

  1. Avoid an ankle sprain by showing the student the trampoline springs under the padding and telling them to step over it, not on it, when getting on and off of the trampoline. I’ve seen too many first-timers step onto the padding and roll an ankle or stumble onto the tramp and get hurt right off the bat.
  2. Teach them the stop position (the squat used to kill the bounce) on the ground first. Next, take them onto the tramp and have them practice this. They don’t even have to bounce high enough to have their feet leave the tramp. You can even stand in front of them and hold their hands to help their confidence.  (I’m sure one of you trampoline people can actually tell me what the “stop” position is called? Probably a kaboombkiller or some such goofy tramp name. You trampolinists do enjoy yourselves with your crazy skill names.)

In order to find substantive direction for this reader, I reached out to our ever-friendly neighbors to the north for help with this question. As usual, Canada came through like a dream.  Greg Roe a trampolinist and coach wrote a detailed response on his website Greg Roe Trampoline. Here are some highlights from Greg’s post. He gives some beginning drills and progressions as well. Read the entire article here.

DONT’S : 

  • Don’t say anything negative like, ” ‘We’ll, make sure you progress slowly so you do not hurt yourself.’ Obviously right there is a red flag to the athlete. ‘Why do I have to go slow, what happens if I don’t?'”
  • “DO NOT jump high when demonstrating. This will freak the athlete out because they are trying to copy what you are doing and if you do a back drop with 1.5 seconds of air time the athlete will get nervous. “

DO’S :

  • Exude confidence that despite their age, they can learn anything and you can teach it to them, “Oh, you want to learn a stomach drop? Oh that is easy, let’s try it right now.”
  • “Go very low, and talk during the demonstration. It shows that it is easy and there is nothing to be worried about. I do not take more then one bounce for backdrops and front drops and half airplanes etc.

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