Trampoline Routines – Construction & Performance
Some years ago British Gymnastics (BG) produced material as an aid to those studying Trampolining for GCSE and A Levels. Those new to the sport may also find it of some interest. We have updated it where it was obviously out of date.
What makes a routine?
Trampoline routines comprise ten consecutive skills. A ‘skill’ is any action, other than a straight jump, between taking off from the trampoline, and the next landing back on it. Make sure you count any ‘implied’ follow-on skill. Any body landing implies a “follow-on” skill, often “to feet”. The follow-on will count as one of the ten skills in any routine. A straight jump in a routine is not considered to be a skill. The last skill must terminate on the feet so you can not use a body landings as the last skill.
Take Care in Terminology
The term ‘Swivel Hips’, often written as a single skill by children, does in fact imply three skills:
- Seat landing
- Half Twist to Seat Drop
- Return to feet.
You must take care ensuring that the chosen combination of skills is safely practicable for candidates with limited experience, as a poorly-performed skill could lead to dangerous problems. Linking “back drop, ½ twist to feet, front drop” when the ½ twist to feet is under-rotated is a good example. Rollers (seat drop, full twist to seat), Turntables (front drop, ½ turn to front), and Hands-and-Knees landings are NOT suitable for incorporation into a routine.
The compulsory routine for the BSGA Open Schools Competitions is:
- Full twist jump (or, linked to the option for move 10, Back SS (Tucked))
- Straddle jump
- Seat drop
- ½ turn to seat
- ½ turn to feet
- Pike jump
- Back drop
- ½ turn to feet
- Tuck jump
- Front SS (Tucked) (or Full Twist)
Some Examining Boards list a range of skills and specify a number to use in the routine for the practical examination. You need to take care in these cases to ensure that the resultant routine complies with the rules of the sport, not only in the interests of teaching the pupil to practise the sport correctly, but also to aid the pupil’s safety.
Essentially, an athlete performs a trampolining routine by, firstly, taking a number of lead-in jumps to establish stability and jumping height, then executing the ten skills in sequence, and finally by standing still in the centre of the trampoline.
You can perform as many straight jumps as you want before commencing the routine to ensure that the initial take-off is safe and confident. This is different to competition rules when penalty marks are deducted if the gymnast takes more than one minute to execute the first skill. During the routine the athlete must neither stop, nor land on one foot only, nor touch the safety mattresses or padding. You should try to compete all skills as close to the centre of the trampoline as you can. Each skill should show a recognisable body ‘shape’, and be performed with sufficient height for the moderator to be able to see a definite take-off, action in flight, and landing. (See ‘Judging Requirements’, below).
The take-off for each skill should ‘flow’ smoothly from the previous landing, so that there is a fairly consistent rhythm throughout the routine. When a candidate fails to maintain and use the elasticity of the bed (i.e., they kill the rebound) between each skill, the routine is terminated at that point.
After the last skill, the athlete may perform one straight jump to finish. On the last landing, whether or not it is the optional straight jump, the athlete must absorb the rebound and stand still for three seconds to show a controlled landing.
The Basis of Scoring
Judging considers up to four elements:
- Form – how closely the skills adhere to technical requirements,
- Horizontal Displacement – how much the routine drifts from the centre of the trampoline,
- Time of Flight – the amount of time spent in the air from the point of leaving the bed on the first skill to landing the last skill, and
- Tariff or Difficulty – how complex the routine was.
There are four Judges who mark the ‘Form’ of a routine, by deducting marks for poor performance. Each skill in a routine has a starting mark of one point (so the full routine is worth a maximum of ten points). Form Judges deduct from 0.0 to 0.5 from the base mark of each skill, according to errors described in ‘Judging Requirements’, following. In practice, deductions of 0.0 to 0.2 are very good, from 0.3 to 0.4 mediocre, and 0.5 indicates a skill
that only just survived! The Judges total their deductions and take them from the base mark of 10; they then display the net score – 7.5 (average), or 8.2 (good), or 6.9 (mediocre), for example.
‘Recorders’ note the four scores and then discard the highest and lowest marks. They then total the two remaining marks to give the competitor’s Form Score.
Horizontal Displacement or HD
A further two judges mark ‘horizontal displacement’ which is based on how far the routine drifts from the centre box marked on the trampoline. Deductions for landing outside this box can range from 0.1 to 0.3 depending on which box they land in. Again, recorders note the scores and average the two to add to the form score.
Time of Flight
All Regional BG competitions upwards now use Time of Flight. An official uses an electronic device to calculate this although it can also be done using a stopwatch and an approximation method. Once again the score will added to the Form score.
In a voluntary routine, a further one (or two) judge(s) marks the difficulty, or ‘Tariff’, of the routine. The recorder will add the agreed difficulty score to the form score.
Calculating Difficulty marks.
Difficulty is assessed according to the amount of twist and/or somersault rotation in each skill.
- For each ½ twist (180 degrees), 0.1 is awarded.
- For each ¼ somersault (90 degrees), 0.1 is awarded.
(Note that ‘somersault’ is measured by rotation of the torso; a Seat Drop, even though the legs rotate from the vertical, is not classed as somersault rotation.) E.g.
- Front Drop (quarter of a somersault) – 0.1
- Return to feet from Front landing (also quarter of a somersault) – 0.1
Rotation around 2 axes
Where skills combine rotations around two axes the respective points are added together. E.g.
- Half Twist to Front Drop – 0.2 (Half Twist plus quarter of a somersault)
Complete somersaults of 360 degrees are given an additional score of 0.1. Somersaults of 360 degrees or more rotation and without twist and which are performed in the straight or piked shapes, are given a further bonus of 0.1 for each complete somersault. E.g.
- Back Somersault (Tucked) – 0.5
[0.4 for the four quarters of rotation, plus 0.1 for a complete somersault].
- Front somersault piked – 0.6
[0.4 for the four quarters of rotation, plus 0.1 for the complete somersault, plus 0.1 for the piked shape].
- But Barani (Front somersault with half twist) piked – also 0.6
[0.4 for the four quarters of rotation, plus 0.1 for the complete somersault, plus 0.1 for the twist, but no bonus in this case for the piked shape].
Difficulty marks are only awarded for each different skill in a routine; if a skill is repeated, no difficulty mark is awarded for the repeat. For example, in the link of
- Back Somersault to Seat (0.5)
- Half Twist to Feet (0.1)
- Seat Drop (0.0)
- Half Twist to Feet (0.0)
Skill (4) is identical to skill (2) – it is a Half Twist to Feet from a Seat Landing. The repeat does not, therefore, earn any difficulty mark.
Examples of routines:
|1. Full Twist||0.2||1. Back Somersault (Straight)||0.6|
|2. Straddle Jump||0.0||2. Straddle Jump||0.0|
|3. Seat Drop||0.0||3. Back Somersault (Tucked) to Seat||0.5|
|4. Half Twist to Seat||0.1||4. Half Twist to Feet||0.1|
|5. Half Twist to Feet||0.1||5. Tuck Jump||0.0|
|6. Pike Jump||0.0||6. Barani (Piked)||0.6|
|7. Back Drop||0.1||7.Back Somersault (Tucked)||0.5|
|8. Half Twist to Feet||0.2||8. Crash Dive (Straight)٭||0.3|
|9. Pike Jump||0.0||9. Half Twist to Feet||0.2|
|10. Front Somersault (Tucked)||0.5||10. Front Somersault (Piked)||0.6|
٭ This is a 3/4 Front Somersault to Back Landing
Judging Requirements for Form & Execution
The basic elements of judging a competition routine are:
- How neat is each skill in the routine?
- Does each skill land in the centre of the bed?
- Is a consistent height maintained throughout the routine?
- Does the routine finish securely?
1. Form (or ‘Neatness’).
- All skills must show a definite shape – ‘Tucked’, ‘Piked’, or ‘Straight’. (‘Straddle’ is not a shape – it is a variation on the Piked shape.)
- The head must be naturally-aligned (i.e. not thrown back).
- Arms and legs must be straight whenever possible.
- Arms must be close by the body whenever possible.
- Hands must touch the legs below the knee in tucked shapes.
- Legs must be together in flight (except for the Straddle jump).
- Toes must be pointed in flight.
- Skills must show definite ‘phases’ of take-off, flight, and landing.
- Tucked shape requires the angle between the thighs and trunk, and that between the thighs and the shins, to be less than 90 degrees; in effect, the heels should be as close to the buttocks as possible, and the knees as close to the chest as possible.
- Piked shape requires the angle between the legs and the trunk to be less than 135 degrees, and ideally less than 90 degrees.
- Straight shape requires the angle between the legs and the trunk to be greater than 135 degrees, and ideally be 180 degrees.
Most competition trampolines have a ‘box’, one metre by two metres, marked out in red on the webbing; all skills must land within this box to avoid penalty. Skills which start outside the box, but land within it, are not usually penalised for ‘travel’.
[For several years, now, the centre box mentioned has been divided into three with a one metre square box being the ‘target’ landing zone for all skills. Skills landing outside this box will receive a reduction of between 0.1 – 0.3].
All skills are expected to be performed at the same height. In practice, marks are deducted if a skill is lower than its predecessor. Skills performed from body landings, e.g. seat drops, will inevitably lose some height, and some allowance is made for this.
At the end of the routine, the competitor is allowed to take one straight jump to ensure balance, but after that must absorb the rebound of the bed and stand still for three seconds to show a controlled landing. In competitions, there is a range of penalty points to be deducted according to the level of instability, but a knowledge of these is outside the needs of the GCSE syllabus.
A routine is considered to be ‘interrupted’, and no further skills are marked, if the gymnast:
- Fails to use the elasticity of the bed (i.e. stops jumping, even if only briefly.)
- Lands on one foot.
- Touches the frame, padding, springs, or safety mattresses.
- Fails to perform the correct skills of a compulsory routine in the correct sequence.
- Falls off.
For the purpose of a GCSE Examination, it is recommended that a candidate whose routine is so interrupted should be allowed a further attempt, the failed routine being dismissed. The number of attempts allowed should be for the Moderator to decide.