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Trampoline Routines - Construction & Performance

The following material was produced by BG as an aid to those studying Trampolining for GCSE and A Levels - it is also of some general interest to those new to the sport although might be slightly out of date in references to current BG grading routines.

What makes a routine?

A Trampolining Routine comprises ten consecutive skills, a ‘skill' being defined as any action, other than a straight jump, between taking off from the trampoline, and the next landing back on it.  It is essential, therefore, to remember and to count any follow-on skill which might be implied; e.g. a Front Drop will always require a following skill, usually "To Feet". When preparing routines, this follow-on will be counted as one of the ten skills.  A straight jump is not considered to be a skill, and must not appear within a routine. The last skill must terminate on the feet; body landings can not, therefore, be used as the 10th. skill.

N.B. The term ‘Swivel Hips', often written as a single skill by children, does in fact imply three skills:

  1. Seat landing
  2. Half Twist to Seat Drop
  3. Return to feet.

Care must also be taken to ensure that the chosen combination of skills is safely practicable for candidates with limited experience, as a poorly-performed skill could lead to dangerous problems.  For example, the link of Back Drop, Half Twist to Feet, Front drop could be dangerous if the Half Twist to Feet is under-rotated.  Rollers (Seat drop, Full twist to Seat), Turntables (Front Drop, Half 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:

  1. Full twist jump
  2. Straddle jump
  3. Seat drop
  4. Half turn to seat
  5. Half turn to feet
  6. Pike jump
  7. Back drop
  8. Half turn to feet
  9. Tuck jump
  10. Front SS (Tucked)

An alternative routine, used for the British Gymnastics National Grade Competitions, is to start with a Back Somersault (Tucked), and to finish with a Full Twist Jump.  Both of these routines form excellent models for the GCSE and A-level examinations.

Some Examining Boards, in their requirements for trampolining activity, list a range of skills and specify that a certain minimum number from the list must be used in the construction of a routine for the practical examination. Care is needed 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.

Routine Performance

Essentially, an athlete performs a trampolining routine by firstly taking a number of lead-in jumps to establish his/her stability and jumping height, then executing the ten skills in sequence, and finally by standing still in the centre of the trampoline.

The candidate may perform as many straight jumps as he/she wishes before commencing the routine, and should ensure that the initial take-off is safe and confident. (Under competition rules, penalty marks are deducted if the athlete takes more than one minute to execute the first skill, but this would be inappropriate in an examination.) During the routine the athlete must not stop, nor land on one foot only, nor touch the safety mattresses or padding. All skills should be completed near to the centre of the trampoline. 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’, following).

The take-off for each skill should ‘flow’ smoothly from the previous landing, so that there is a fairly consistent rhythm throughout the routine. Should the candidate fail to maintain and use the elasticity of the bed (i.e., he/she kills the rebound) between each skill, then 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

There are five Judges who mark the ‘Form' of a routine, by deducting marks for poor performance.  Each skill in a routine is given 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, or 8.2, or 6.9, for example.

The five scores are recorded, and then the highest and lowest marks are cancelled. The three remaining marks are totalled to give the competitor's Form Score.

In a voluntary routine, one more judge marks the difficulty, or ‘Tariff', of the routine. (Often two judges work together, to check each other, but only one Difficulty score is shown.) This Difficulty score is added to the competitor's Form score.

Calculating Difficulty marks.

Difficulty is assessed according to the amount of twist and/or somersault rotation in each skill.

(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.

Where skills combine rotations around two axes the respective points are added together.  E.g.

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.

Note: 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

  1. Back Somersault to Seat (0.5)
  2. Half Twist to Feet (0.1)
  3. Seat Drop (0.0)
  4. 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)
  10. Front Somersault (Piked)
Total: 1.2   Total: 3.4  

٭ This is a 3/4 Front Somersault to Back

Judging Requirements for Form & Execution

The basic elements of judging a competition routine are:

  1. How neat is each skill in the routine?
  2. Does each skill land in the centre of the bed?
  3. Is a consistent height maintained throughout the routine?
  4. Does the routine finish securely?

1. Form (or ‘Neatness').

2. Centre.

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'.

3. Height.

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.

4. Stability.

At the end of the routine, the competitor is allowed to take one straight jump to ensure her 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.

5. Interruptions.

A routine is considered to be ‘interrupted', and no further skills are marked, if the athlete:

  1. Fails to use the elasticity of the bed (i.e. stops jumping, even if only briefly.)
  2. Lands on one foot.
  3. Touches the frame, padding, springs, or safety mattresses.
  4. Fails to perform the correct skills of a compulsory routine in the correct sequence.
  5. 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.