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.
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 nor 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
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
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.