trampolining competitions - Beginners Guide

All participants will need to learn the basic skills and progressions before mastering new skills.

The basic skills that should be learned first are, stopping, straight jumping, tuck jump, straddle jump, pike jump, half twist, full twist, seat drop, sear drop half twist to feet, 1/2 twist to seat drop, seat swivel, front drop and back drop.

All of these moves, with the exception of the straddle jump are incorporated into more complex moves at a later stage. It is very important that these skills are learned in the correct way as building blocks for the future. Many problems at high level trampolining stem from faults in basic moves. These moves must also be mastered so that if a move is not going to plan, a move can be used for a safe escape!

For example if you are learning somersaults and you do not have enough rotation to land on your feet, your escape move would be to land in another position such as back drop or seat drop.  At MTC your safety and well being is the most important part of the sport, and to perform well you must listen to your coach and spot fellow trampolinist to  help you learn and to make sure everyone is safe and well.


Spotting is the term used for watching fellow trampolinist while they are performing or practicing moves.  A trampoline must have a spotter on each side of the trampoline that is not protected by spotting decks. When spotting (or end decks) are in use spotters are needed on each unprotected side of the trampoline.  Spotters watch the trampolinist perform, if the performance goes wrong or they travel too close to the ends or sides of the trampoline, the spotter raises their arms to protect themselves and to prevent the trampolinist from falling off the trampoline by pushing the trampolinist back onto the trampoline. This action can prevent or reduce the level of injury sustained by the performer.

The Moves

Many moves are named with reference to how the trampolinist lands on the trampoline. There are four possible landing positions:

  • to feet: landing in a standing position
  • to seat: landing in a sitting down position with the legs pointing straight ahead
  • to front: landing on the stomach, or front, with hands under chin
  • to back: landing on the back with arms & legs pointing upward

The seat, front & back positions lend themselves to three basic moves, the seat drop, the front drop & the back drop which are performed from a normal upright jump. These can then be linked together one after another  with no upright jump in-between.

For example the linked move we call seat drop to front drop means 'land on your bottom & rebound straight over onto your front'.

We must also consider twists. A ½ twist jump is when the trampolinist simply jumps up and faces the other way (180°). From that it follows that a full twist involves a complete revolution to face the same way again (360°).  Landing positions and twists can be combined to form more complex moves and links. For example: A ½ twist to back drop involves the trampolinist in jumping up, twisting through 180° and landing on the back. A front drop ½ twist to seat drop means jump & rotate forward into a front drop then on the rebound simply roll over through 180 ° to land in a seat drop position.

A glossary of trampolining moves is available in our trampolining skills forum

Body Shapes

When your body is not in a straight position (i.e.) upright and fully extended, there are three other possible body shapes in flight.

  • tucked - curled up in a little ball with the hands on the shins and the knees together.
  • piked - in a 'touching the toes' like position with legs straight and together and the hands near the feet.
  • straddled - the same as piked but with the feet apart.

These three shapes are also the three most basic moves of all. The tuck jump, the pike jump and the straddle jump. The tuck and pike are also used in somersaults as well as other moves, but the straddle is never used apart from in a straddle jump.


Somersaults are partial or complete rotations, forward or backwards, or even sideways.  The name of the somersault depends on the following:

  • The direction of rotation: forward, backward or  sideways
  • The amount of rotation: single, double, one and three quarters etc.
  • The amount of twist: in multiples of a half
  • The body shape in the air: straight, piked or tucked
  • The takeoff position: from feet, from seat, from front or from back.
  • The landing position: to feet, to seat, to front or to back.


Competitive trampolining is a judged sport (like gymnastics or diving) whereby the competitor performs two routines, each of ten moves. One mark is awarded for each move performed perfectly and deductions are made according to the imperfections in each move. The scores for each move are then added up to give a total score out of ten.  Marks are also added on for the difficulty of the of the second routine. This is referred to as the tariff.  The routine tariff  is calculated by adding up the tariff of each move within the routine.

More about trampolining competitions...

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