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Competitive Trampolining - A Sport For All

In it's report on sport, Into the 90's, the Sports Council highlighted the fact that women, and in particular, housewives, were under-represented in sporting activities. It also pointed out that providers of sport should address the need for sports for the disabled, and for other minority groups. Trampolining is able to address this need, and ensure that sport is indeed made available for all. Our club aims, through our project (Bounce 2000), to ensure that these needs are met.

Sex

Some sports such as boxing, rugby, or American Football, are clearly targeted at males rather than females (indeed American Football with its cheerleaders is perhaps a clear example of sexism in sport). However, other sports, which at first sight are open to both sexes, do tend to favour one. Tennis is a prime example of this, where the prize money is much higher for the men that for the women. Another example is athletics, where television coverage of men's events is much higher than for the women. Trampolining has neither direct or indirect discrimination. Indeed, it was pleasing to note that when the World Championships were shown on television recently, equal time was allocated for the men's and ladies' finals. In trampolining, points are awarded for both style and for skill. Neither of these attributes is the sole preserve of either sex.

Age

This is perhaps the greatest discriminating factor in most sports. Few sports clubs will allow children to join before they reach school age, and often the minimum age is much higher. There is also often an upper age, if not because of the rules, then because of the physical nature of the sports concerned. Trampolining can be enjoyed across the whole age spectrum. We have in our club a very active "tots" section, where children under 5, and sometimes as young as 2, can join in. We find that even the under 5's not only enjoy bouncing, but also master many of the basic skills. Indeed, we have at times been able to enter under 5's in competitions. At the other end of the spectrum, many adults, generally parents of our younger members, have been introduced to trampolining for the first time. And as for an upper age limit, a trampolining coach was recently talking about a 65-year-old, whom he had taught to do a double somersault for the first time!

Race

The Sports Council has identified the need to target ethnic minority groups in projects for growth in sports. While we have always ensured that nobody is excluded for our sport because of their race or colour, we are aware that only a small percentage of our members come from ethnic minorities. Indeed, the same appears to be true of all of the trampolining clubs in the country. As we expand our membership base under the Bounce 2000 initiative, we will be looking very carefully at this area, to try to identify any reasons for this. We recognise that there is wide scope for introducing people from ethnic minorities to the sport.