|The term special needs is a term used by the
British Trampoline Federation to cover those trampolinists who need extra attention while
bouncing, and for whom something more than basic coaching skills are required. The reason
for this may be a physical or mental disability, or it may be a problem with
communication. In the context of coaching a person on a trampoline, an inability to speak
English would be a "special need".
The BTF has a special training course, leading to additional coaching qualifications in this area.
In the Gillingham Jumpers we are seriously interested in this aspect of the sport, and have three coaches who are qualified under the BTF scheme.
One of the major drawbacks in this area is that the coach:pupil ratio is much lower with a special needs group, and the numbers that can be involved in this area are still small. We are, however, currently running sessions for people with both mental and physical disabilities; one of these groups includes three blind children, who are benefiting from the use of the trampoline to provide a safe environment where they can use their energies to the full, free from the inhibitions which they usually have on the ground.
In the notes supplied by the BTF as part of the Special Needs training course, a list of the benefits of trampolining is provided. This list includes:
It is an impressive list, and obviously every pupil will benefit in different areas to a greater or lesser extent.
Looking simply at the physiological benefits, which will be achieved even by a very low level of skill in bouncing, the training notes identified the following beneficial effects of trampolining:
During the later phases of Bounce 2000, we will, as a club, be looking to increase our involvement even further in this area, and intend to extend our links with other organisations in the district which are involved in the care and treatment of people with special needs.