Trampolining FAQs

Your questions answered

These FAQs were included in the FIT press information pack issued for the 1994World Championships in Oporto/POR.  It is, therefore, somewhat dated although still largely relevant.

Isn’t trampolining dangerous?

No. Like all sports trampolining has a very comprehensive set of safety regulations. It is recommended that activity should only occur under the supervision of persons who have obtained a trampolining coaching qualification and who will know about equipment standards and learning the skills involved.


What is required of a competitive trampoline?

Power is required for top-level jumping so that height, and therefore time is available to execute the double, triple and even quadruple somersaults and twists involved. This necessitates a frame that sets a bed a metre off the ground and that is approximately 7′ (2.14m) by 14′ (4.28m). The bed is made of material (nylon or string) of about 6mm (¼”) width.

Webmaster note – now mostly 4x4mm beds.


When, how and where did trampolining originate?

For hundreds of years there have been circus rebound acts. The modern trampoline was invented by George Nissen, USA in 1936 and spread to Europe in the late 1940s.

Webmaster note – read more about history.


What is trampolining like?

Having your first go on the trampoline can provide a very strange experience – you feel as if you have been on a boat in a very stormy sea! Sooner or later however, you adapt and the up and down experience is very exhilarating. There are 30 or more different skills a beginner can master without having to do any up-side-down somersault movements.

Webmaster note – why not find out first hand at one of our ‘taster’ sessions?


What makes a good trampolinist?

Trampolining demands sound technique with the performer being able to call on courage when learning new moves. The activity at the top level is a power sport, and only those with good innate special adaptability are likely to master the complexities and demands of competition.


How long does it take to get to competitive standard?

Some athletes learn very fast and are normally on the national open circuit within a year of beginning the sport. At youth international level most athletes will have 3-5 years experience in the sport, and at senior level 4-7 years.


How often do trampolinists train?

As with most modern competitive athletes, trampolinists have full training programmes, with some having 1 or 2 training sessions of 1-3 hours duration 5-6 days each week. Others may have less training days each week.


What is the best age for trampolining?

The dynamic demands of the sport make it one for young people, and whilst people in their twenties have taken up the sport and achieved a good standard, the majority of stars are likely to have commenced their trampolining career in their pre-teenage years. The human body appears to be particularly receptive of the learning demands from the ages of 9-14 years, with the associated power demands coming into play from the age of about 12-14 years.


How high does a performer jump?

International rules require that the minimum height of the ceiling in the competition hall be 8m (26′ 3″) and athletes have been known to touch 9.14m (30′) ceiling with their finger tips! 5m is adequate for beginners. International athletes get high enough to spend nearly 2 seconds in the air, so a routine of 10 skills lasts approximately 20 seconds.


Is trampolining in the Olympics?

No. The International Trampoline Federation (FIT) is, however, one of those IFs recognised by the International Olympic Committee. It should also be remembered that there are many more sports outside the Olympics than in!

Webmaster correction – it was first in the Sydney Olympics in 2000 and now has a regular spot.  As at 2018, it still hasn’t made it to the Commonwealth Games though.


How is international trampolining run?

The FIT was formed in 1964. There is an elected Executive of 10 members and a Technical Committee of 7 members, forming the Board, and who run the international side of the sport. There are also various Commissions with their own remits. A Congress is held every two years, in conjunction with the World Championships, with elections every four years. Each of the 42 member federations of the FIT can send representatives to the Congress and each have voting power.

Webmaster correction – in order to achieve Olympic recognition, the sport was required to align with an existing International Body.  To accommodate this, national and international bodies aligned with Gymnastics so FIT merged with FIG and the BTF merged with BG. 


What is the world competitive structure?

Since the 1st World Championships in 1964 there has been a continuous development towards a more comprehensive world-wide structure of competition:

  • 1964 1st World Championships – held every two years e.g. 1992 Auckland (NZL), 1994 Oporto (POR)
  • 1969 1st European Championships – held every two years e.g. 1991 Poznan (POL), 1993 Sursee (SUI)
  • 1972 1st European Youth Championships – held every two years e.g. 1992 Deinze (BEL), 1994 Gent (BEL)
  • 1973 1st World Age-Group Games – held every two years e.g. 1994 Vila do Conde (POR), 1996 Kamloops (CAN)
  • 1981 1st Pan-Pacific Championships (now Indo-Pacific Championships) – held every two years e.g. 1993 and 1995
  • 1992 World Cup Series – held over a two year period with finals at end of second year e.g. 1992-1993 and 1994-1995
  • 1994 1st Pan-American Championships – to be held every two years
  • 1994 1st Asian Championships – to be held every two years

A number of countries also hold international invitational events that attract entries from many members federations.


What events are included in a trampoline competition?

There are individual events for men and women. Out of the results of either the first two rounds of competition, a team result is arrived at, for both men and women. A team consists of 3/4 members. There are also competitions for pairs (synchronised trampoline), tumbling and double-mini trampoline (DMT).


What is involved for a competitor at a competition?

All competitors perform two routines. The top 10 athletes with the highest score, which determines the start order, then proceed to the final where they perform a further optional routine, starting with a zero score. The athlete with the highest score at this stage is the winner. The winner is the competitor, pair with the highest score in the final. The winner of the team competition is the team with the highest overall points. 

Webmaster correction – this is largely correct although rules governing finals can vary depending on the competition in particular as regards numbers and scores reset.


How are the routines judged?

5 judges mark a routine for style. They take into consideration whether the routine has good form (tidy with straight legs and arms, head controlled, body straight, …), is kept in the middle of the bed and is off a consistent height.

Additionally, with voluntary routines, difficulty (tariff) is assessed and this is added to the mark for style (form). Style has 3 times the weighting of difficulty – it used to be 1:1 a number of years ago, so the sport is very much more an aesthetic one, and safer too.

Webmaster correction – the principles remain the same but recent changes now see competitions run using 4 form judges (2 mid-scores to count) and 2 displacement judges (average score to count), with time of flight and difficulty being additional scores depending on competition structure. 


How is difficulty worked out?

The amount of movement a performer makes, whether somersaulting or twisting, decides on the rating (tariff) of a move, i.e.

  • for every 90 degrees of somersault 0.1 is given
  • for every 180 degrees of twist 0.1 is given

Therefore, a double (tucked) somersault with 1/2 twist gets 0.9. At the somersault level, piked and straight moves receive a 0.1 bonus for each somersault, compared with tucked somersaults. E.g. a double somersault, piked, with 1/2 twist would get 1.1.

Webmaster correction – not entirely true now, the following is sourced from FIG:

Somersault Credit:

  • Per 1/4 ss  0.1
  • Per complete single ss 0.5
  • Per complete double ss  1.0
  • Per complete triple ss     1.6
  • Per complete quadruple ss  2.2

Twist Credit:

  • Per 1/2 twist   0.1

Bringing it together:

  • Side ss and elements without twist or somersault rotation have no difficulty value.
  • In elements combining somersault and twist, the difficulty values for the somersault and twist are added together.
  • ***  Single somersaults of 360 – 630° without twists, executed in the straight or pike position, will be awarded an extra 0.1 points.
  • Multiple somersaults of 720° or more, with or without twist,  executed in the straight or pike position, will be awarded an extra 0.1 points per somersault.

How does double-mini trampoline and tumbling feature?

The disciplines of double-mini trampoline and tumbling have featured in the World Championship schedule since 1976. The number or participating nations is slowly growing in these disciplines, but we would like to see a greater interest shown in these sports by our members.


What is involved with tumbling and double-mini trampoline?

Tumbling – athletes perform two voluntary passes (each of 8 elements) along a 26m sprung surface track, which must be padded. The top ten athletes after the preliminaries proceed to the final where they perform an additional voluntary routine, consisting of 8 elements. Passes should show good control, form, execution and maintenance of tempo. The winner is the competitor with the highest score in the final.

Competition consists of both individual and team events. The winner of the team competitions is the team with highest overall points.

Double-Mini – athletes perform three passes (preliminaries) with a maximum of 2 skills in each pass, and a further two passes in the final on the 2.85m x .72m bed. A pass includes a run up, mounting the bed, doing a maximum of two moves (but including up to 3 contacts) dismounting the bed onto a soft landing area. The top 10 after the preliminaries proceed to the final. The winner is the competitor with the highest score in the final.

Competition consists of both individual and team events. The winner of the team competition is the team with the highest overall points.