Trampolining are British Gymnastics

Many people get involved in trampolining at a very young age through gymnastic clubs, in schools and outside club, which their parents enrolled them in and most of these are run by National Governing Bodies. The National Governing Bodies for Trampolining are British Gymnastics (BG) and the British Schools Gymnastic Association (BSGA) and these organisations entrust the organisation of activities to Regional committees, for example, South East. The BG is funded by Sport England, with Exchequer and Lottery funding to support their development and world class plans. Sport England has helped BG to produce comprehensive guidance on issues like technical requirements and sources of funding for new facilities.

An example of a purpose-built facility is Richmond Gymnastics Association, developed with more than 600,000 of Sport England funding. Richmond Gymnastics Association offers opportunities for boys and girls of all ages and a large variety and range of classes from pre-school children, to coaching and judging courses. The BA has sponsorship from many reliable, well known companies including; LG, UK Sport, Sport England, and Milano. A local club in my area affiliated to the BG is the Coney Hall Cosmonauts, in Beckenham.

There are thirty-eight gymnastic clubs in Kent. Dartford Trampoline club caters for ages three upwards. The Dartford Trampoline Club is linked with Dartford Grammar School and Trinity School in Belvedere and it is a competitive club, both regionally and nationally. The trampolinists at the club can participate in competitions and the club also has links with the county club, Kent. Kent Gymnastics organises competitions throughout the year and also organises county squads. It also assists new clubs with organisation and established clubs with information grants and funding. It assists clubs, schools and leisure centres to link-up so that the Trampolinists from school are able to find clubs and centres to join so that they can increase their skills.

The link between clubs and schools enables people to start a pathway in Trampolining, from when they first get on a trampoline, to competing at a professional level. Schools provide provision for trampolining by teaching trampolining in PE lessons but also having their own clubs, usually non-competitive and outside school hours. Some schools teach trampolining during lesson time but the teacher must be trained in the areas taught to pupils and must know the safety aspects as trampolining can be quite dangerous. Each year the BSGA set up a series of competitions leading up to a National Schools Trampolining Championship, which begins with a Regional competition, organised by the Regional committee. The top placing individuals and teams from these events progress to a Zonal Championship, and then to National Finals.

These competitions can help the elite performers to progress from the schools standards and gives them opportunities to make contact and join outside clubs and maybe their county. There are scouts and coaches from county clubs at these events looking to spot talented Trampolinists to enrol in their clubs. When trampolining with clubs, the members usually participate in competitions and tournaments leading to opportunities to progress through their county. These individuals could have the chance to represent the country if they are talented enough. Coaches and scouts can give them the opportunity to participate in national teams and if they get sponsors they could keep progressing and competing to compete at a higher level, like at the Olympics.

However, sometimes it is very difficult to get enough funding, for example, Ben Brown, the gymnast featured in London 2012 posters has recently had to retire due to lack of funding as the senior gymnasts have failed to reach the required levels in Men’s Gymnastics (to demonstrate they can win medals or make top eight places in major international competitions). As it is difficult to get the necessary funding for development, it also means it is more difficult to progress. Clubs funded by the National Governing Bodies provide training and coaching classes so they can then work with the clubs to train more Trampolinists, making it easier for people to become involved in Trampolining.

The Kent Association Committee work with the Kent development officer to organise the competitions at all levels so that younger Trampolinists are able to take part in competitions so they gain experience earlier. They also hold coaching and judging courses and hold specific workshops. They help new clubs by providing them with information and do the same with established clubs. They also give the established clubs information about grants and funding so the clubs have access to funding for development. Dartford Council recently provided Sutton-at-Hone Gymnastics club with a grant to help bring their equipment up to scratch.

Another additional agency is the LGF (London Gymnastics Federation), which provides funding for the London region for trampolining, is the official London region for Trampolining and is one of ten English regions under the English Gymnastics Association. It is funded mostly through its Regional Club Membership annual subscriptions.

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